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    (November 29, 1835-November 15, 1908)
    Born in Anhui Province, China
    China’s last Dowager Empress
    De facto ruler of China (1861-1908)
    Concubine of Emperor Xianfeng
    Mother of Emperor Tongzhi and aunt of Emperor Guangxu
    Succeeded by Emperor Puyi
    Part of Qing Dynasty (last dynastic house of China)
    She came by her power mainly because she gave birth to the Emperor’s only son.
    She had the eight chancellors who were to rule until her son came of age jailed or killed.
    She used military funds to build a summer palace, causing China to lose the Sino-Japanese war.
    When her nephew tried to modernize China, she overthrew him in a military coup.
    She supported the anti-reform, anti-foreigner Boxer Rebellion.
    The Qing Dynasty, weakened by her rule, fell three years after her death.
    Her last words were ‘Never again allow a woman to hold the supreme power in the State.’
    She started out as a minor concubine from an ordinary family.
    She controlled and outlived both her son and nephew.
    She generously supported the arts.
    Political enemies may have exaggerated her corruption.
    She was forced to flee Beijing when foreign troops intervened to end the Boxer Rebellion.
    She founded the Beijing Zoo, the first zoo to breed giant pandas.
    Her tomb was broken into and robbed in 1928.

Credit: Georgina

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