Empress Wu

Biographical Data Empress Wu is also known as Wu Hou, Wu Chao, Wu Zetian, or Wu Tsê T?ien ("Emulator of Heaven"). She was born in the year of 625 AD. She was born and raised in China during the Tang dynasty. Empress Wu was the daughter of Wu Shih-Huo, a rich and noble merchant at the time. The Tang Dynasty was a time of relative freedom for woman. Since Empress Wu lived during that period of time, she was well educated at home. Like most other rich and noble people of her time, she was taught to play music, write, and read the Chinese classics. Empress Wu started out as a low-ranking concubine of the emperor of the Tang court, T?ai Tsung. She was well known for her beauty, wit, and intelligence, and so that was why she was recruited to the Tang court at the early age of 13. It was the year of 638 AD when she was recruited. Soon after she was recruited to the Tang court, she went from a low-ranking concubine to his favorite concubine. When T?ai Tsung died in 652 AD, Empress Wu mourned his death and traditionally, she shaved off all her hair and became a nun. Meanwhile, in the Tang court after T?ai Tsung?s death, T?ai Tsung?s son, Kao Tsung, became the emperor of the Tang court. Kao Tsung?s empress, Empress Wang, was jealous of a new concubine that Kao Tsung gave much affection to. Her name was Hsaio Shu-Fei. She then ordered Empress Wu to grow her hair back and come back to the Tang court. She did what she was told and came back. Empress Wang?s plan was to take away the affection that Kao Tsung gave to Hsaio Shu-Fei. Empress Wang?s plan worked, but it also backfired on her. Empress Wu got Kao Tsung?s affection, but still, Empress Wang was not satisfied because she still didn?t get any affection. So then Empress Wang became jealous of Empress Wu and tried to get rid of her as well. Empress Wang?s jealousy grew when Empress Wu gave birth to a baby girl for Kao Tsung. Empress Wang panicked and tried to spread rumors about Empress Wu, but Empress Wu was too clever for that. In order to become the empress of Kao Tsung, she had to find a way to get rid of Empress Wang. So then she killed her own daughter and framed Empress Wang for the murder. Kao Tsung believed Empress Wu and made her his new empress. But Empress Wu was still not satisfied, so she framed Empress Wang and Hsaio Shu-Fei for the crime of trying to poison Kao Tsung. Their punishment was that they, along with their entire families, were striped of any government ranks or titles. They were left to be known as village commoners. Using the title of "Empress," she sent people to kill them. Also, she used the title of "Empress" to easily destroy anybody who dared to go against her. Eventually, she has ordered the death of hundreds of imperial family members and many others that have gone against her. When Empress Wu was 70 years of age, she was in very bad health and there were a lot of rebellions against her. The rebels threatened her and told her to give the throne back to her third son. On one night, the rebels broke in and killed many of the people that supported Empress Wu and proclaimed for the throne to be given back to Empress Wu?s third son. A while after that incident, Empress Wu was forced to retire and give the throne back to her third son. Empress Wu had a total of 4 children. There were three sons and one daughter. Her first child was a daughter that she killed to frame Empress Wang. She used her second and third son to control the Tang Court by telling them to do whatever she wants. In other words, they were just puppets controlled by her. Her fourth child, who was her third and last son, was named Chung-Tsung. Chung-Tsung took the throne and became emperor right after Empress Wu was forced to retire. Chung-Tsung was the only one remaining that was acceptable to take the throne. Empress Wu was forced to retire in 705 AD. Empress Wu was very sick at the time and due