The Empress Dowager Cixi rose from the position of concubine to become the most powerful woman in China, in a reign that lasted 47 years – from 1861 to 1908. Seen here as a young woman, Cixi had the good fortune to bear the Xianfeng Emperor’s only male heir. After the death of the Emperor, Cixi ruled through her son, who was only five years old when his father died. Then, when the boy Emperor himself died at an early age, Cixi installed her nephew to the throne and ruled through him.
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