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Born Nov. 29, 1835; died Nov. 15, 1908, in Peking. Manchu empress; de facto ruler of China from 1861 to 1908.
Tz’u Hsi was the concubine of the emperor Hsien Feng, but after the birth of his son—the heir to the throne—she became his second wife. She was regent from 1861 to 1873 and from 1875 to 1889. All power was again concentrated in her hands as a result of a palace coup in 1898. Tz’u Hsi was known for her cruelty and shrewdness.