Psst, wanna know who Empress Wu is?
Empress Wu Zeitan is the only woman to ever single handedly run China. She started out as a concubine and used her position to gain power at the court. Though pledged to the emperor, she quickly started an affair with his son, Li Zhi. Upon Taizong’s death, Wu shaved her head and was sent to live out the rest of her days in a temple, as was customary at the time. Li Zhi had already fallen in love with her, however, and beckoned her back to court, where she rose to Li’s greatest favor, sparking jealousy in his wife and first concubine. She gained power without a title and ruled from behind the scenes until Li’s death, after which she declared herself Empress and changed the name of the dynasty to Zhou. Though a controversial figure, Wu Zetian helped extend China’s boundaries far west into Central Asia and is seen by some as one of the great leaders of ancient China.