Today in World History: September 21st

Empress Dowager Cixi of China seized control over the Qing Empire on this day in 1898. Serving as regent following the death of her husband, Cixi was able to manipulate the successive heirs and control the falling Empire herself. However, by 1898, there were calls for reform throughout the country, leading to a movement called the Hundred Days’ Reform, in which Chinese Emperor Guangxu fought for the reformation of the administrative and military branches of the Qing Empire. Cixi, who strongly opposed such reforms, seized control over the government, ordering the house arrest of Emperor Guangxu and taking direct control for herself, despite not assuming the title of Empress. She continued to rule until her death in 1908, although during the last few years of her life she relented, passing reforms due to both internal and external pressure following the Boxer Rebellion. Following her death, politicians instituted political reforms that saw the institution of a Republic and the end of the Qing Dynasty, paving the way for China’s Westernization and the rise of Communism in the Far East.

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