Tz'u Hsi was born in Peking, China, on November 29, 1835. She started out as no more than the Hsien-feng emperor's concubine. Then, in 1856, she gave birth to their son and the emperor died soon after. Hence, the boy became the emperor T'ung-chih, but he was too young. Instead the regency governed, which was usually a group of elders, but the power instead was given to Ts'u Hsi and two other partners.
During Tz'u Hsi's rule, the government revitalized, the great Taiping Rebellion was quelled, the Nien Rebellion was stopped, foreign languages were added in schools, custom service was installed, arsenals were created in Western style, and the first Chinese foreign service office was created.
In 1873, Tz'u Hsi's son became old enough to rule and became full emperor, but she still had the power. She named her adopted nephew (who was only three years old) as the heir so she could still be regent. Then, in 1881, one of her partners died and she became sole regent after displacing her last partner.
In 1889, Tz'u Hsi retired from the office to live in her northwest Peking palace. But in 1898, the new emperor instituted radical proposals to stop China's corruption, and Tz'u Hsi didn't like them. So, she confined him in the palace and took the power of the regency again. In 1900, the Boxer Rebellion, occured and she was forced to flee Peking for her life and had to accept the peace agreement's terms. In 1902, she reverted from her thoughts in 1898 and decided to eliminate China's corruption as best she could.
Tz'u Hsi died in Peking, China, on November 15, 1908, the day after the real emperor died.
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