The Death of Empress Cixi
The Dowager Empress of China died on 15 November, 1908, after ruling the country for almost 50 years.
Three centuries after Elizabeth I, at the other side of the globe, another formidable woman breathed her last. The Dowager Empress of China, Tzu-hsi (or Cixi), had started life in a minor Manchu family in 1835. Pretty and charming, at 17 she was recruited to the harem of the Son of Heaven, the Hsien-feng (or Xanfeng) emperor, to whom the court eunuchs presented her naked within a red robe whenever he wanted her for the night. She was the only one of his wives and concubines to give him a son, the future Tung-chih (or Tongzhi) emperor, and when the little boy succeeded his father at the age of six in 1861, she as co-regent made herself the effective ruler of the country.