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Wu Zetian Perpetual Footprint on China

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Over a span of several decades, Wu Zetian inalterably changed life in China for woman as well the clergy and the poor. By doing so, she left a perpetual footprint on China’s long history that transcends the mere fact that she was the first woman to rule the “Red Dragon”.
Wu Zetian was originally known as Wu Chao, born in 625 in Taiyuan in northern China. She adopted Wu Zetian when she seized the Chinese throne in 660. “Wu Zetian was a beautiful young woman…” (Knight 372). Empress Wu ultimately assumed the title of emperor for herself in 690, becoming perhaps the first “dragon lady” and the lone woman to act thus in Chinese imperial history. During her reign, she proved herself the equal of any male emperor in terms of ruthlessness, ability to effect social change for the common good and political acuity.
The origin of Wu rise to power was based more upon her abilities and not necessarily destined by status. Wu’s father, Wu Shi-huo, was a wealthy businessman in southeastern China. Due to Wu's father wealth, she was selected early in her life as a low-ranking consort (companion) of the emperor Taizong. After the emperor died in 649, Wu Zhao was ordained a Buddhist nun, a customary fate for childless consorts of deceased emperors. Ordinarily, someone such as Wu would be required to pass the remainder of her life in the monastery. However, her charm caught the attention of the new emperor Taizong and Wu was called back to the palace, first as consort, and later as his empress, whereupon she held the title Zetian.
After Taizong’s death in 649, Wu’s cunning allowed her to become the privileged wife of Taizong’s son and heir to the throne. Wu had been a concubine, an official mistress of Emperor Taizong. Concubines were extremely i...

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... that highlighted the High Tang era.

Works Cited

Carlton, Kelly. "The Karmic Retribution of Pei Huaigu:." The Reign of China's Only Female Emperor from the View of An Unofficial History. Armstrong Undergraduate Journal of History, n.d. Web. 16 Mar. 2014. http://www.armstrong.edu/Initiatives/history_journal/history_journal_the_reign_of_chinas_only_female_emperor_from_the_view_.
FitzGerald, Charles Patrick. "Wuhou (empress of Tang Dynasty)." Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica, n.d. Web. 16 Mar. 2014. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/649822/Wuhou.
Howell, James W. The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Love, Courtship, & Sexuality through History. Ed. William E. Burns. The Medieval Era ed. Vol. 2. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 2008. Print.
Knight, Judson. Middle Ages. Ed. Judy Galens. J-Z ed. Vol. 2. Detroit: UXL, 2001. Print.
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