Chinese History Fascinates Me

As said in the title, Chinese history fascinates me.

China was ruled under a monarchy up until 12 February 1912 when a group of revolutionists in southern China led a successful revolt against the Qing Dynasty. The monarchy originally began around 2070 BC when Yu the Great established the Xia dynasty. China has had a total of 83 dynasties and about 559 emperors and kings.

The first dynasty in China was the Xia Dynasty and the very first emperor in China is said to have been Yu the Great. It’s also said he is one of the very few Chinese monarchs who were honored with the epithet “the Great”.

The very last monarch in China was Emperor Puyi of the Qing Dynasty. He ruled between 1908-1912 when China’s monarchy was overthrown. Ironically enough, he was only six years old when the monarchy was overthrown. He was born on February 7, 1906 and started his rule on December 2, 1908. When the monarchy was overthrown, he was not killed like you may think. As he got older, he tried to fight back for control over China but did not succeed. From my understanding, he gained control over some parts of China but later, that was taken from him. He also received help from Japan to try to gain control over China at one point.

At one point in time, China had their first and only female emperor, Wu Zhao (624-705). She was also known as Empress Wu Zetian. She ruled as the “Holy and Divine Emperor” of the Second Zhou Dynasty for 15 years. She had a reputation of being one of the most cruel rulers in China’s history. At the age of 14, she was chosen to become a concubine for Emperor Taizong. While being his concubine, she started having an affair with his favorite son who later became Emperor Gaozong. When Emperor Taizong died, she was sent to live as a nun, however, seeing as she had connections with the new Emperor, Emperor Gaozong, she returned to the palace and became empress consort. People have said that Wu Zetian killed her own daughter and blamed the former empress for her death, so Wu Zetian could take her spot. When Emperor Gaozong died, Wu Zetian forced her sons away from the throne and declared herself as Empress Regnant. While she ruled, she had several male concubines and established an office to maintain them all. Wu Zetian was also known for being a feminist, remarkable leader, and a strong military commander. She left behind a legacy as one of the greatest emperors in all of Chinese history. Towards the end of her ruling, her power began to slip as she began to be more paranoid and spent more time with her young lovers (mainly the Zhang brothers) rather than ruling China. Her paranoia resulted in a purge of her administration and she banished or executed anyone she became suspicious of. Her rule really started to decline as she became addicted to different types of aphrodisiacs. Eventually, court officials got sick of her behavior and murdered the Zhang brothers. She was forced to abdicate the throne so her son, Zhongzong, and his wife, Wei, could ascend to the throne. By the time Zhongzong and his wife ascended the throne, Wu Zetian was in poor health and died about a year later. Wu Zetian was buried with Emperor Gaozong in a tomb in Qian County, Shanxi Province. To follow tradition, a huge stele was built outside of the grave, but the marker remained blank. Today, Empress We Zetian is considered one of China’s greatest rulers and her character has appeared in many Chinese dramas including Women of the Tang Dynasty (2013) which starred actress Hui Tinghong as Wu Zetian.

To this day, there are still living heirs to the Chinese throne.

Author: Georgia Bailey

I was born in Colorado and moved to Mississippi in 2008. I like reading pretty much every type of book except for romance. My family consists of me, my mom, my brother, my dog, and my brothers dog.

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