Biography of Emperatriz de China Cixi o Yehe Nara (1835-1908)

Empress and Regent Chinese born in Canton of November 29, 1835 and died in Beijing on November 15, 1908. His family name was that of Yehe Nara. It exercised the Regency in China after the death of her husband, Emperor Xianfeng, during the minority of age of your child, Tongzhi (1862-1873), and his death in 1875, returned to play it during the minority of his nephew and adoptive son, Guangxuage. The two emperors were unable to cope with Cixi, who actually exercised power. In front of a group of conservative nobles was supported nationalist postures, the expulsion from China of foreign powers and oppose China's modernization. It dominated Chinese politics for over forty years at the end of the 19th century.

He belonged to a clan of lineage of manchu origin. According to some writings, his father was a member of the Imperial Guard who was in charge of guarding the Imperial Palacio of the forbidden city. When I was a teenager, Cixi fell in love with a commander of the manchu garrison in Beijing called Lu Jung, that he planned to marry. But its beauty made that it was chosen as one of the concubines of Emperor Hsien Feng, which moved to the forbidden city. When he joined the Court in 1851 it was a concubine of degree less than the emperor. Ascended to the rank of Imperial consort first class with the title of I-fei when, in 1856, gave birth to the first son of the Emperor, Tongzhi, which became the future heir. In spite of this the affection of the Emperor, not won since regarded this as his favorite concubine to Li fei, who mysteriously disappeared when Cixi reached the Regency.

In 1860, when British and French navies attacked Beijing, moved along with the Emperor and his son to Jehol, locality where the Xianfeng Emperor died in August 1861. Their son, who was five years old, was named successor. At that time he changed his name from Yehe Nara by Cixi, which meant 'Bondadosa and virtuous'. The Affairs of State were to be exercised by a Regency Council, made up of eight members of the Court. A few months later Cixi and the concubine of the deceased Emperor, Tzu An, older were appointed Regents and assumed total control of power. They had strong opposition from an influential group of nobles and Imperial counselors. However, the two women were supported in the Imperial Guard, who looked favorably that the power was exercised by the daughter of one of his officers.

They began to exercise the Regency with the help of Prince Gong, older brother of the late Emperor, who was appointed Adviser to the emperor. Cixi used their status as mother of the emperor to strengthen its position and increase its power. The return of the Emperor and the Regents to Beijing was followed by a political purge of the main figures of the Court. In the main government posts were placed members of the major clans of manchu origin. They tried recruiting the most qualified for each position men, so trying this way to put an end to the corruption that enveloped all the Chinese administration. This upset members of clans of other ethnic origins, by what the Regents had faced numerous rebellions throughout the country, which included the Taiping rebellion, which had devastated the South of China, and the Nien rebellion, which rose up in arms to the North of the country.

The Government of these two women made that China lived a period of economic, political and cultural revitalization. They put together a Western-style army, created a service of Foreign Affairs, founded language schools and trade began to be managed by foreign experts. Although the emperor was only a child, the two empresses not could exercise the Government openly, for what they did to build a bamboo screen behind the throne. When government officials gave their reports to the young emperor, Cixi was placed behind the screen and told his son what had to say. During the rule of the two Regents Western influence was on the rise in China, although its conservative character did they objected to the introduction of Western Railway and Telegraph inventions.

Tzu An and Cixi presented in 1873 the power to Tongzhi when it reached sixteen years of age and married. He married Alute, the daughter of a manchu nobleman, who thus wanted to continue influencing Tongzhi. To avoid the loss of influence over his son, he ordered that did not take concubines. Although the Regency had officially ended the mother of the Emperor continued taking in the dark the reins of Government. The members of the foreign diplomatic legations were aware that behind all the decisions of the emperor was the hand of Cixi. Two years later came the death of the Tongzhi. The official cause was smallpox, although soon emerged rumors that the death was caused by his mother. Soon after, his wife Alute committed suicide by taking poison, so it began to speculate if it was prompted by her mother-in-law, who could see it as a rival to keep control over the power.

On the death of the emperor without succession, Cixi, who was determined to keep control of the Government, began a series of moves to get the appointment as new emperor of his nephew, Guangxu, whom he adopted as a son and that only had three years of age, which violated the strict law of succession since the new emperor was not in the official line of succession. Again practiced the Regency next to Tzu An and with the help of Prince Gong. When the death of Tzu An occurred in 1881, Cixi took total control of the Government. The Regent took advantage of the new situation to strengthen his power and trim the responsibilities of the Government. In 1884 the Regent dispensed with his main collaborator, the Prince Gong, whom he accused of having been unable to expel the French from China.

The strict Confucian education of Guangxu did it show unable to object to his aunt. In the Cixi government corruption was on the rise, which increased the discomfort to the figure of the Regent in the ranks of the most progressive sectors of China. Its image was severely impaired after a naval defeat infringed by the Navy of Japan, caused mainly to the diverted funds destined to the maintenance of the Chinese fleet for your personal use. It began to emerge an opposition movement calling for the immediate implementation of far-reaching reforms in the Government. He handed power over to Guangxu in 1898, when it reached the age of majority. He forced his son to marry a niece of his, through which tried to continue influencing the politics of his son. Cixi officially abandoned any task of Government and retired to live in the summer palace which had been built to the Northwest of Beijing.

They began to emerge rumors that the emperor was innocent and incompetent, and that was often visited by his mother to give him advice. However the Emperor approached progressive elements, calling for the modernization of China and took a series of liberal measures in teaching, hacienda and the army, which bothered to Cixi and his circle of conservative contributors. The former Regent with the help of the army staged a coup and regained power. It annulled all the reforms undertaken by the Emperor, which bordered on the forbidden city isolated from the rest of the Court, although it left her to continue ruling as mere window-dressing. The only Emperor was abandoning its closure to perform certain public appearances on the occasion of some public celebrations. The main reformist leaders were executed or forced into exile. In 1900 when it erupted the boxer rebellion supported, together with the manchu clan headed, the rebels. The Regent thought that the foreign presence were an attack on the Chinese way of life.

An army formed by American troops international, British, French, German, Japanese and Russian marched on Beijing, where the boxeres had surrounded the foreign legations and had burned churches and murdered numerous Christians. Cixi fearful of that foreign powers forced to leave power, ordered Chinese troops to attack foreign troops and all foreigners in China were killed. When foreign powers crushed the boxer she was forced to flee Beijing and seek refuge with the Emperor in Sian. Because of the defeat suffered it had to accept a humiliating peace treaty, known as the peace of Beijing, and in which important trade privileges were granted to foreign powers. Many members of the imperial court were exiled, and others were executed or forced to commit suicide.

This severe defeat did the people dirigieses their anger to Cixi and his manchu Court. On his return from exile in 1902 it undertook a series of reforms that resumed plans reformist Guangxu that she herself had paralyzed in 1898, although continued while participating to the emperor at the beginning of Government. He began to build railway lines, established modern schools and other Western innovations. Outlawed opium, and forbade out smoked under penalty of beheading. He finished with the privileges of the Manchus and allowed people of Chinese origin settle in Manchuria. He promised the drafting of a Constitution and the establishment of a representative Government. Suffering from a stroke he ordered the poisoning of the Emperor on November 14, 1908. A day after Cixi died, but not before named as successor his nephew Puyi, who was three years old, and that was to become the last emperor of China. The Regent was buried covered jewelry.