Wu Zetian, also known as Empress Wu Zhao, was the first and only female empress in Ancient China. She was the only woman to rule her own right in Ancient China. Born in the year 624 AD at Guangyuan, Sichuan Province, in China, her rule lasted from 16th of october 690 – 22nd of February 705. She was born during the Tang dynasty and ruled in her own dynasty, called the Zhou dynasty until she died at Luoyang, on 16th December 705.
Before she became emperor, she was a married to Emperor Taizong. After the Emperor Taizong’s death, she married one of Emperor Taizong’s successors, his 9th son, Emperor Gaozong at 655. They were married for 28 years and during their marriage Wu’s mother (Lady Yang) had died and Emperor Gaozong told all the imperial members and their wives to attend the funeral. Also Wu became one of Emperor Gaozong’s favourite wives, since he had many. The other wives became jealous of Wu. One day Wu’s daughter had passed away. Wu had always wanted to become the 1st wife of the Emperor, by telling the emperor that his 1st wife was responsible for her daughters’ death and Emperor Gaozong believed her and Emperor Gaozong arrested her and Wu Zhao became the 1st wife of the emperor and the empress. Later, the Emperor became sick,at 660, so Wu Zhao ruled for him during his sickness.
After the emperor’s death, at 683, Wu’s son was next in line for the throne and since her son was still young, she ruled for her son for the first few years, and even though she technically wasn’t the emperor, she still had all the power since she was married to the previous emperor. She then made her son step down and she became the first female emperor of China, after establishing the Zhou dynasty.
She was a very good emperor because she reduced tax for people like peasants and she gave promotions for people according to their ability and not who they were or where they came from. She expanded the borders of China and made it easier for farmers by introducing new farming techniques, and she also built lots of public works to help the community.
Then, at 705, she was overthrown by a coup but her title of Empress Wu Zhao still remained until she died in December 705, a few months later. After her death, her son took the throne and abolished the Zhou dynasty, and restarted the Tang dynasty.