Wu Zetian


Wu Zetian (624-705) was a native of Wenshui county in Bingzhou prefecture in Shanxi province. She also named herself Wu Zhao. Zhao was a Chinese character invented by herself, which literally means "the sun and moon in the sky", signifying her majesty as an empress. Wu was the second daughter of Wu Huo, a general in the early Tang Dynasty and her mother's family name was Yang. Wu was the only female monarch in Chinese history, who was crowned at the age of 67. She was the monarch who had the longest life (she died at the age of 82) in Chinese history. She was the empress of Emperor Gaozong (655-683) and the dowager empress during the reigns of Emperor Zhongzong and Emperor Ruizong. She named herself the monarch in 609 and the name of the sovereignty was called Zhou, taking the place of Tang. She resigned in 705 and was called the "Zetian Grand and Sacred Empress" as a honorable title. The renowned stateswoman was also a poet.