I feel that it is important for women to know about our her-story that has been hidden for years. While as a lesbian, I am fond of writing about lesbians in herstory, I also like to pay tribute to heterosexual or bi-sexual women. This blog is about a formitable woman in China – Express Xoapdiamnwen who was born in 1600 and who died forty-nine years later.
Empress Xiaoduanwen’s Early Life
In 1616, a Mancvhu leader named Huangtaiji founded the Qing dynasty that would rule China until 1912. It was a common practise for Manchu leaders to marry Mongolian princesses.
Hungtaiji took a thirteen year old named Boerjijite Bumubutai, (called Jere) daughter of a Mongolian chief to be one of his concubines. He was 33 years of age at the time.
From Concubine to Empress Dowager
Jere was not a favorite of her husband, but she did bear him a son, Fulin. Her husband died from a disease in 1643 without naming an heir. Jere at age 43 must have learned political dialogue and compromise because she was able to ward off a struggle amongst the Manchu nobles. She suggested that her six- year son be put on the throne and her husband’s son, Dorgon, act as regent. This ended a potential war between Dorgon and a rival. Dorgon while not named the emperor still had all the powers of Prince Regent.
Allowing Her Son to Grow up
If Jere had plans to wait until her son Fulin grew up, it was thawarted by the fact that he died at age 18. Again the nobles argued and it looked like a civil war would break out. It is hard to imagine but once again Jere stepped in and averted a war. She asked that her grandson, Xuanye, aged 8 ascend to the throne as empeor.
A Little Ruthless?
Eight years later, Jere’s grandson (aged 16) was hindered in his ruling by the fact that the prime minister, Aobai, was ruling every aspect of the royal court. He consulted his grandmother, Jere and she gave him a secret plan. We are not sure what it was, but her grandson went on to rule until his death.