600 - 1450 // Empress Wu 

    During the time period of 600 CE to 1450 CE, Tang Dynasty became one of the powerful dynasties in China. Empress Wu was in power from 690-705 CE. Wu Zetian (618 CE-907 CE) was born from a rich, noble family and was also taught how to play music, write, and read. She had beauty and brains, but she was a concubine who was favored by Emperor Taizong. Being his favorite, it led Wu to take an interest in state affairs. Wu was also admired by the next heir, Emperor Gaozong who took Wu after the death of Emperor Taizong in 649. To gain power and the throne, Empress Wu had motives in mind that led to her being the only female emperor in Chinese history.

Before Empress Wu took over the throne, Tang dynasty was under Emperor Taizong. Emperor Taizong was a successful emperor, for his actions had made the dynasty a powerful one. He had conquered the Mongolian Plateau whichwas under the Turkic group. While looking for ministers, he decided not to look at family background, but instead he looked for the wise and competent ones. System of Prime Minister, System of Three Cabinets and Six Departments, and Civil Service Exam System were all establish by the emperor. The economy of Tang dynasty was very prosperous. Emperor Taizong had systems for taxes and diving fields equally. Tang dynasty's society was steady and because of his actions people had named it the "Prosperity of Zhenguan". Before his death, he was worried about the next person who will take his throne. In the end it was Emperor Gaozong, his son who admired Empress Wu and made her his wife.

    To get full power of the dynasty, Empress Wu had motives and goals. Emperor Gaozong was married to Empress Wang and Wu was only the Zhao Yi, a kind of concubine. In order to get the title of being empress, Wu Zetain killed her baby daughter and blamed it on Empress Wang which made Emperor Gaozong depose his wife. Her plan was succesful for she has taken the title. She did not only depose Empress Wang but also her sons and a senor minister was murdered, so she cannot be withdrawed. All Empress Wu wanted was to take all the power. Empress Wu Zetain participated with her husband in state affairs. They were "saints" and "heavenly emperor and empress". Since Gaozong was not as intelligent as her, decisions for state affairs were up to her and all the power ended up in her hands after Emperor Gaozong caught an eye disease and died later on. After his death, she made her two sons become the emperor, Zhongzong and Ruizong. Empress Wu deposed them were also killed to reach her political aims.

    Empress Wu was in power for fifteen years. She developed Keju Educational System and also acknowledge talented people regardless of their family backgrounds, just like Emperor Taizong. She punished administrative who taxed too much and rewarded those who made the agriculture better. Empress Wu also took notice on military defense and foreign relations. She initiated the Silk Road which made the trading with China better. The dynasty or state was renamed to Zhou by her. The Empress's actions made the economy and society prosperous and stable. The one and only empress of Chinese history had many faults too. She was cruel to people whose behaviors were not the way they should be and killing her sons and daughter.

    After her death, her other son who continued the name, Emperor Zhongzong, became the next emperor. Empress Wu was hungry for power, but it was her fantasy. Empress Wu had an effect on women society and status. Being the only empress in Chinese history, women status were sometimes based on her. She showed how women can have so much power and motivations, even if it means killing her own daughter and sons. Taking Emperor Gaozong's job, showed that not only men can handle and rule a whole country.