Tang dynasty

Empress He


Empress He, also known as Empress Xuanmu, was the wife of Emperor Zhaozong during the declining years of the Tang dynasty in China. Born in Zi Prefecture, she became a consort of Li Jie, later Emperor Zhaozong. After Emperor Zhaozong fled Chang’an in 896 due to a conflict with the warlord Li Maozhen, he created Empress He empress in 897. However, in 900, following a drunken incident where Emperor Zhaozong killed some eunuchs, powerful eunuch Liu Jishu forced him to abdicate in favor of their son Li Yu (later Emperor Ai). Subsequently, Emperor Zhaozong and Empress He were placed under house arrest. In 903, Zhu Quanzhong kidnapped them and took them to Fengxiang, setting off a chain of events leading to Zhu’s control of Chang’an, Emperor Zhaozong’s death, and Empress He’s forced move to Luoyang. Later, Zhu, fearing Li Yu’s potential resistance, killed Emperor Zhaozong and declared Li Yu emperor. Empress He begged for her life and that of the young emperor but was eventually accused of conspiring to restore Tang imperial power. In 905, she was falsely charged with having an affair with Jiang Xuanhui and was put to death by strangulation, later posthumously restored as Empress Xuanmu in 933 by Emperor Mingzong of Later Tang.


Spouse: Emperor Zhaozong


Emperor Zhaozong of Tang, also known as Li Jie, reigned from 888 to 904 during the final years of China’s Tang dynasty. The empire faced widespread rebellions and a decline in central authority, exacerbated by unsuccessful campaigns against regional warlords like Li Keyong, Chen Jingxuan, and Li Maozhen. Emperor Zhaozong’s efforts to salvage the weakening dynasty ultimately failed, and the warlord Zhu Wen seized control in 904, orchestrating the murder of Emperor Zhaozong and several officials, including Chancellor Cui Yin. Zhu Wen installed Zhaozong’s 13-year-old son as a puppet emperor (Emperor Ai), paving the way for the establishment of the Later Liang dynasty in 907. Emperor Zhaozong’s reign lasted nearly 16 years, and he was interred in the He Mausoleum at the age of 37.

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