In The World History There Is
In the world history there is many significant female figures that changed the course of history,
Three centuries after queen Elizabeth I, on the other side of the world was known to be the most powerful woman to rule China, raising the prospect of a revisionist look, proven to be the woman who ruled China for almost half a century until her death in 1908.
Cixi was born in 1835 and was the daughter of Huizheng, who is an ordinary officer. In 1851, Cixi was force to participate in the selection for consorts to the Xuanfeng Emperor. Soon after she was placed in the six rank of consorts, which is one go the lower rank of wives and in 1854 she was elevated to fifth rank. These rank are important because the higher rank the more power you would have. On April 27, 1856 she gave birth to Zaichun, which is the only son that Xianfeng had. It was crucial that Cixi had to keep her son safe and healthy because it will assure her the seat of the empress. Soon after her son first birthday she was place in the third rank as the “Noble Consort” This rank place her second to the Empress. Cixi was well known in the imperial house hold because of her ability to read and write Chinese. Not a lot of woman in China was allowed to learn basic education because that was for the mens. With this powerful ability it granted her the ability to help the emperor with advice on governing. As results, Cixi knows a lot of the state affair and the art of governing.
Most of the consorts in the emperor’s household was jealous of her power and was more jealous of her son. Things took a left turn in September 1860, during the Second Opium war when Harry Parks was arrested along with other British diplomatic. They were soon tortured and executed, In results the British and the French attacked Beijing and burned the Old Summer Palace. The Emperor and his entourage, including CiXi, fled to Beijing for safety. Due to failure of protecting the summer palace, the emperor fell into a depression, turning to alcohol and drugs for comfort. Due to his dementia and depression he got really ill, on August 22, 1861, Emperor Xianfeng was pronounce dead at the Chengde Mountain Resort.
Following the death of Emperor Xianfeng, his son of the noble consort CIXi was announce to be the next emperor of China at the age of five. Therefor CiXi at the age of 27 was promoted to the status of empress dowager she had also became the political strategist. She was well known to “Rule China from behind the curtain” It was a system created in the Asian monarchies because the emperor was still a child to because he was incapacitated. When CiXi started to rule her first priority was to “clean” the bureaucracy. Internally China bureaucracy was infested with corruption. To fix this she sent out Han Chinese officials as governors in Southern Chinese provinces.
After the Second Opium Was (1856-60) a wake call to China and the empress. she realizes that military strategies, weapon and education was severely out dated. Due to the traditional ways, China have been defeated by foreigners and their treaties. Cixi made an outstanding decision for the first time in Chinese history, it was to allow citizen to learn from the Western powers most importantly there knowledge and technology. In 1862, she open the fist school for foreign languages in Beijing. It specializes in astronomy and mathematics but most important languages such as English, French and Russian. She named the school Tongwen Guan, this was a sign that china was finally going to modernize its country. Many of the elders disagree with her logic because the believe in tradition and didn’t want any foreigner to intrude in there way of life, but the generation found this leap to modernization was a sign to allow them to fight back and be defeated by foreigners.
After her fight of revolution, Cixi decided to retired from the political standpoint on March 5, 1889. Although she retired she was still the head of the imperial family. Even though she left as a political leader many of the officials felt and showed her more loyalty to the empress than they did to the Emperor Guangxu. In spite of her residency at the Summer Palace, Emperor Guangxu would visit her every second or third day to update her on the political regime and ask her for advice. After the Sino-Japanese War Emperor Guangxu made his own decision without going over with Cixi made her furious. She felt that the emperor threatened the privileged class of traditional Chinese society. Causing CiXi to come out of her retirement and imprisoned the emperor in his palace. He lost all of his respect and power and freedom of movement.
One of the most famous incident that happen in China under her regime was known to be the Boxer Rebellion. In 1900 the boxer Rebellion was created by a Chinese secret organization called the Society of the Righteous and Harmonious Fists. They were well known because the performed multiple physical exercises, making everyone to believe that there fists were made of metals and they are bullet proof, which allowed them to kill foreigner and Chinese Christians. After hearing these rumors, CiXi decided to support their movement, hoping to declare a war against the Western powers. Several hundreds of foreigners decided to come and rescue hundred and thousand of Chinese Christians that were being killed. On August 14, after fighting its way through China, 20,000 troops from eight nations arrives to Beijing to declare war. When Cixi realized that rumors were false she fled to Xi’an. Once the foreigners won the war they negotiated a treaty called the Boxer Protocol, which basically requested 333 million in war reparations. China agrees to terms and condition.
In January 1902, she decided to return to Beijing. When she came back she decided to abolish the examination system in 1905. In attempt to make a mend with the foreigners she decided to invite wives of the diplomatic corps to tea in the Forbidden City. To build further connection with foreigners she had an important request that Katharine Carl would paint a portrait of her siting on the thorn.
Soon after that Empress Dowager CiXi dies in the Hall of Graceful birds on November 14, 1908. Before her death she was unsatisfied with her tomb, and order it destruction and reconstruction in 1895. The new tomb was a complex of temples, gates and pavilions that are covers in gold leaf. Even though CiXi left but her remark is still with us today. Due to her belief in modernization she changed foreigners perspective of China. Although historian portray her as this evil ruler, the truth is she is an intelligent woman with great political ability in her straggles and in her practice. The Qing dynasty, establish in 1644 was weaken du to the Boxer Rebellion and CiXi poor administration cause the dynasty to end in 1911 and China became a republic in 1912.