Were women ever emperors of China?

1 Answer
Nov 7, 2016

Yes! But often through their sons.


During the dynastic period of Chinese history, emperors were usually male. However, if an emperor died and left their son the empire at a very young age, the young emperor's mother would take control until he was old enough to rule. These women were known as Empress Dowagers, and they often continued ruling through their sons even once they were old enough to rule independently.

An example of this is the Empress Dowager Cixi - who ruled through her son the Tongzhi emperor and then later her nephew, the Guangxu emperor. She held a lot of power and, while she was not technically the emperor, she was recognised as the person in control.

I hope this helps! I have been doing a project on Chinese history, so let me know if you have any other questions and I'll do my best to answer them:)