Han Dynasty

Rule of Empress Lu Zhi
Empress Lu Zhi ©Image Attribution forthcoming. Image belongs to the respective owner(s).
195 BCE Jan 1 - 180 BCE

Rule of Empress Lu Zhi

Louyang, China

When Ying Bu rebelled in 195 BCE, Emperor Gaozu personally led the troops against Ying and received an arrow wound which allegedly led to his death the following year. Shortly afterwards Gaozu's widow Lü Zhi, now empress dowager, had Liu Ruyi, a potential claimant to the throne, poisoned and his mother, the Consort Qi, brutally mutilated. When the teenage Emperor Hui discovered the cruel acts committed by his mother, Loewe says that he "did not dare disobey her."

The court under Lü Zhi was not only unable to deal with a Xiongnu invasion of Longxi Commandery (in modern Gansu) in which 2,000 Han prisoners were taken, but it also provoked a conflict with Zhao Tuo, King of Nanyue, by imposing a ban on exporting iron and other trade items to his southern kingdom.

After Empress Dowager Lü's death in 180 BCE, it was alleged that the Lü clan plotted to overthrow the Liu dynasty, and Liu Xiang the King of Qi (Emperor Gaozu's grandson) rose against the Lüs. Before the central government and Qi forces engaged each other, the Lü clan was ousted from power and destroyed by a coup led by the officials Chen Ping and Zhou Bo at Chang'an. Consort Bo, the mother of Liu Heng, King of Dai, was considered to possess a noble character, so her son was chosen as successor to the throne; he is known posthumously as Emperor Wen of Han (r. 180–157 BCE).

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Last Updated: : Mon Sep 26 2022