The Korean Empire was the last independent unified Korean state. Proclaimed in October 1897 by Emperor Gojong of the Joseon dynasty, the empire stood until Japan's annexation of Korea in August 1910. During the Korean Empire, Emperor Gojong oversaw the Gwangmu Reform, a partial modernization and Westernization of the military, land system, education system, of various industries. Korea in the Joseon dynasty had been a perfunctory client kingdom of China in the Qing dynasty due to the diplomatic reason though Joseon was managed by the King independently from China. Towards the end of the 19th century, influence over Korea was an area of conflict between the Qing and Japan; the First Sino-Japanese War marked the rapid decline of any power the Joseon state had managed to hold against foreign interference, as the battles of the conflict itself had been fought on Korean soil and the surrounding seas. With its newfound preeminence over the waning and weak Qing dynasty, Japan had delegates negotiate the Treaty of Shimonoseki with the Qing dynasty.
Through signing the treaty, a move designed to prevent the southern expansion of Russia, Japan wrested control over the Liaodong Peninsula from Qing and more over Korea. However, Russia recognized this agreement as an act against its interests in northeastern China and brought France and Germany to its side, in saying that the Liaodong Peninsula should be repatriated to Qing China. At the time, Japan was powerless to resist such foreign pressure by nations that it considered far more advanced and which it sought to emulate, as such relinquished its claim to Liaodong Peninsula. With the success of the three-country intervention, Russia emerged as another major power in East Asia, replacing the Qing Dynasty as the entity that the Joseon court's many government officials advocated close ties with to prevent more Japanese meddling in Korean politics. Queen Min, the consort of King Gojong recognized this change and formally established closer diplomatic relations with Russia to counter Japanese influence.
Queen Min began to emerge as a key figure in higher-level Korean counteraction against Japanese influence. Japan, seeing its designs endangered by the queen replaced its ambassador to Korea, Count Inoue, with Lieutenant-General Viscount Miura, a diplomat with a background in the Imperial Japanese Army, he subsequently orchestrated the assassination of Queen Min on October 8, 1895, at her residence at the Geoncheong Palace, the official sleeping quarters of the king within Gyeongbok Palace. With the assassination of his wife Queen Min, King Gojong and the Crown Prince fled to the Russian legation in 1896. During the time from Queen Min's death to the king's return from Russian protection, Korea underwent another major upheaval both at home and abroad. By 1894, new laws passed by progressives and reformers in the royal cabinet forced through long-desired reforms aimed at revamping Korea's antiquated society; these laws were called referring to the year in which they began. Meanwhile, the new reforms aimed at modernizing Korean society soon attracted controversy from within.
Anti-Japanese sentiment, which had become entrenched in the minds of commoners and aristocrats alike during the Japanese invasions of Korea, became pervasive in the royal court and upper echelons of society following the Ganghwa Treaty of 1876 and soon extended explosively to most Koreans following perceived Japanese meddling in court politics and the assassination of Queen Min. However, the new and modern reforms pushed forward by the pro-Japanese progressives, the most controversial of, the mandatory cutting of the traditional man bun, ignited further resentment and discontent; this led to the uprising of the Eulmi temporary armies aimed at avenging the assassination of Queen Min. In 1897, King Gojong, yielding to rising pressure from both overseas and the demands of the Independence Association-led public opinion, returned to Gyŏngungung. There, he proclaimed the founding of the "Great Korean Empire" re-designated the national title as such, declared the new era name Gwangmu severing Korea's superficial historic ties as a tributary of Qing China, which Korea had adhered to since the prior Manchurian invasion in 1636.
Gojong became the Gwangmu Emperor, the first imperial head of state and hereditary sovereign of the Korean Empire. This marked the complete end of the old world order and traditional tributary system in the Far East. Korea's new status as an empire meant "Completely independence from Qing's sphere of influence" which means Korea was not influenced from Qing externally according to the Treaty of Shimonoseki of 1895 and implemented the "full and complete" independence according to the treaty; the name meaning "Great Han Empire", was derived from Samhan the Three Kingdoms of Korea, in the tradition of naming new states after historic states. The significance of the declaration of an Empire, in the Korean understanding of the situation was to declare Korea's end of tributary relationship with the Qing dynasty; the usage of Emperor was reserved only for the emperor of China, the Son of Heaven. Korean dynasties had given tribute to Chinese dynasties; when Japan experienced the Meiji Restoration, the Emperor of Japan was declared the source of sovereignty in the Japanese government.
Upon receiving news of the Meiji restoration from Japan, the Korean government refused
A great power is a sovereign state, recognized as having the ability and expertise to exert its influence on a global scale. Great powers characteristically possess military and economic strength, as well as diplomatic and soft power influence, which may cause middle or small powers to consider the great powers' opinions before taking actions of their own. International relations theorists have posited that great power status can be characterized into power capabilities, spatial aspects, status dimensions. While some nations are considered to be great powers, there is no definitive list of them. Sometimes the status of great powers is formally recognized in conferences such as the Congress of Vienna or the United Nations Security Council. Accordingly, the status of great powers has been formally and informally recognized in forums such as the Group of Seven; the term "great power" was first used to represent the most important powers in Europe during the post-Napoleonic era. The "Great Powers" constituted the "Concert of Europe" and claimed the right to joint enforcement of the postwar treaties.
The formalization of the division between small powers and great powers came about with the signing of the Treaty of Chaumont in 1814. Since the international balance of power has shifted numerous times, most during World War I and World War II. In literature, alternative terms for great power are world power or major power, but these terms can be interchangeable with superpower. There are no set or defined characteristics of a great power; these characteristics have been treated as empirical, self-evident to the assessor. However, this approach has the disadvantage of subjectivity; as a result, there have been attempts to derive some common criteria and to treat these as essential elements of great power status. Danilovic highlights three central characteristics, which she terms as "power and status dimensions," that distinguish major powers from other states; the following section is extracted from her discussion of these three dimensions, including all of the citations. Early writings on the subject tended to judge states by the realist criterion, as expressed by the historian A. J. P. Taylor when he noted that "The test of a great power is the test of strength for war."
Writers have expanded this test, attempting to define power in terms of overall military and political capacity. Kenneth Waltz, the founder of the neorealist theory of international relations, uses a set of five criteria to determine great power: population and territory; these expanded criteria can be divided into three heads: power capabilities, spatial aspects, status. As noted above, for many, power capabilities were the sole criterion; however under the more expansive tests, power retains a vital place. This aspect has received mixed treatment, with some confusion as to the degree of power required. Writers have approached the concept of great power with differing conceptualizations of the world situation, from multi-polarity to overwhelming hegemony. In his essay,'French Diplomacy in the Postwar Period', the French historian Jean-Baptiste Duroselle spoke of the concept of multi-polarity: "A Great power is one, capable of preserving its own independence against any other single power."This differed from earlier writers, notably from Leopold von Ranke, who had a different idea of the world situation.
In his essay'The Great Powers', written in 1833, von Ranke wrote: "If one could establish as a definition of a Great power that it must be able to maintain itself against all others when they are united Frederick has raised Prussia to that position." These positions have been the subject of criticism. All states have actions, or projected power; this is a crucial factor in distinguishing a great power from a regional power. It has been suggested that a great power should be possessed of actual influence throughout the scope of the prevailing international system. Arnold J. Toynbee, for example, observes that "Great power may be defined as a political force exerting an effect co-extensive with the widest range of the society in which it operates; the Great powers of 1914 were'world-powers' because Western society had become'world-wide'."Other suggestions have been made that a great power should have the capacity to engage in extra-regional affairs and that a great power ought to be possessed of extra-regional interests, two propositions which are closely connected.
Formal or informal acknowledgment of a nation's great power status has been a criterion for being a great power. As political scientist George Modelski notes, "The status of Great power is sometimes confused with the condition of being powerful; the office, as it is known, did in fact evolve from the role played by the great military states in earlier periods... But the Great power system institutionalizes the position of the powerful state in a web of rights and obligations."This approach restricts analysis to the epoch following the Congress of Vienna at which great powers were first formally recognized. In the absence of such a formal act of recognition it has been suggested that great power status can arise by implication by judging the nature of a state's relations with other great powers. A further option is to examine a state's willingness to act as a great power; as a nation will declare that it is acting as such, this entails a retrospective examination of state conduct. As a result, this is of limited use in establishing the nature of contemporary powers, at least no
Prince Itō Hirobumi was a Japanese statesman and genrō. A London-educated samurai of the Chōshū Domain and an influential figure in the early Meiji Restoration government, he chaired the bureau which drafted the Meiji Constitution in the 1880s. Looking to the West for legal inspiration, Itō rejected the United States Constitution as too liberal and the Spanish Restoration as too despotic before drawing on the British and German models the Prussian Constitution of 1850. Dissatisfied with the prominent role of Christianity in European legal traditions, he substituted references to the more traditionally Japanese concept of kokutai or "national polity", which became the constitutional justification for imperial authority. In 1885, he became Japan's first Prime Minister, an office his constitutional bureau had introduced, he went on to hold the position four times, becoming one of the longest serving PMs in Japanese history, wielded considerable power out of office as the occasional head of Emperor Meiji's Privy Council.
A monarchist, Itō favoured a large, bureaucratic government and opposed the formation of political parties. His third term in government was ended by the consolidation of the opposition into the Kenseitō party in 1898, prompting him to found the Rikken Seiyūkai party in response, he resigned his fourth and final ministry in 1901 after growing weary of party politics, but served as head of the Privy Council twice more before his death. Itō's foreign policy was ambitious, he strengthened diplomatic ties with Western powers including Germany, the United States and the United Kingdom. In Asia he oversaw the First Sino-Japanese War and negotiated Chinese surrender on terms aggressively favourable to Japan, including the annexation of Taiwan and the release of Korea from the Chinese Imperial tribute system. Itō sought to avoid a Russo-Japanese War through the policy of Man-Kan kōkan – surrendering Manchuria to the Russian sphere of influence in exchange for the acceptance of Japanese hegemony in Korea.
A diplomatic tour of the United States and Europe brought him to Saint Petersburg in November 1901, where he was unable to find compromise on this matter with Russian authorities. Soon the government of Katsura Tarō elected to abandon the pursuit of Man-Kan kōkan, tensions with Russia continued to escalate towards war; the Japan–Korea Treaty of 1905 made Itō the first Japanese Resident-General of Korea. He supported the sovereignty of the indigenous Joseon monarchy as a protectorate under Japan, but he accepted and agreed with the powerful Imperial Japanese Army, which favoured the total annexation of Korea, resigning his position as Resident-General and taking a new position as the President of the Privy Council of Japan in 1909. Four months Itō was assassinated by Korean-independence activist and nationalist An Jung-geun in Manchuria; the annexation process was formalised by another treaty the following year after Ito's death. Through his daughter Ikuko, Itō was the father-in-law of politician and author Suematsu Kenchō.
Itō's birth name was Hayashi Risuke. His father Hayashi Jūzō was the adopted son of Mizui Buhei, an adopted son of Itō Yaemon's family, a lower-ranked samurai from Hagi in Chōshū Domain. Mizui Buhei was renamed Itō Naoemon. Mizui Jūzō took the name Itō Jūzō, Hayashi Risuke was renamed to Itō Shunsuke at first Itō Hirobumi, he was a student of Yoshida Shōin at the Shōka Sonjuku and joined the Sonnō jōi movement, together with Katsura Kogorō. Itō was chosen as one of the Chōshū Five who studied at University College London in 1863, the experience in Great Britain convinced him Japan needed to adopt Western ways. In 1864, Itō returned to Japan with fellow student Inoue Kaoru to attempt to warn Chōshū Domain against going to war with the foreign powers over the right of passage through the Straits of Shimonoseki. At that time, he met Ernest Satow for the first time a lifelong friend. After the Meiji Restoration of 1868, Itō was appointed governor of Hyōgo Prefecture, junior councilor for Foreign Affairs, sent to the United States in 1870 to study Western currency systems.
Returning to Japan in 1871, he established Japan's taxation system. That year, he was sent on the Iwakura Mission around the world as vice-envoy extraordinary, during which he won the confidence of Ōkubo Toshimichi, one of the leaders of the Meiji government. In 1873, Itō was made a full councilor, Minister of Public Works, in 1875 chairman of the first Assembly of Prefectural Governors, he participated in the Osaka Conference of 1875. After Ōkubo's assassination, he took over the post of Home Minister and secured a central position in the Meiji government. In 1881 he urged leaving himself in unchallenged control. Itō went to Europe in 1882 to study the constitutions of those countries, spending nearly 18 months away from Japan. While working on a constitution for Japan, he wrote the first Imperial Household Law and established the Japanese peerage system in 1884. In 1885, he negotiated the Convention of Tientsin with Li Hongzhang, normalizing Japan's diplomatic relations with Qing-dynasty China.
In 1885, based on European ideas, Itō established a cabinet system of government, replacing the Daijō-kan as the decision-making state organization, on December 22, 1885, he became the first prime minister of Japan. On April 30, 1888, Itō resigned as prime minister, but headed the new Privy Council to maintain power behind-the-scenes. In 1889, he b
Ye Wanyong known as Yi Wan-yong, was a Korean statesman who served as the last Prime Minister of the Korean Empire, pro-Japanese and remembered for signing the Japan–Korea Annexation Treaty, which placed Korea under Japanese rule in 1910. Born to a prominent family in [Gyeonggi-do province), Ye spent three years in the United States from 1887–1891. Ye was a founding member of the Independence Club established in 1896 and belonged to the "reform faction" which wanted to Westernize Korea and to open the country to foreign trade. Ye was a prominent government minister at the time of Eulsa Treaty of 1905, was the most outspoken supporter of the pact which made the Korean Empire a protectorate of the Empire of Japan, thus stripping it of its diplomatic sovereignty; the treaty was signed in defiance of Korean Emperor Gojong, he is thus accounted to be the chief of five ministers who were denounced as Five Eulsa Traitors in Korea. Under Japanese Resident-General Itō Hirobumi, Ye was promoted to the post of prime minister from 1906-1910.
Ye was instrumental in forcing Emperor Gojong to abdicate in 1907, after Emperor Gojong tried to publicly denounce the Eulsa Treaty at the second international Hague Peace Convention. In 1907 Ye was chief amongst the seven ministers who supported the Japan–Korea Treaty of 1907, which further placed the domestic affairs of Korea under Japan's control, thus completing the colonialisation of Korea by Japan. Ye is therefore listed in Korea amongst the Seven Jeongmi Traitors. In 1909, he was injured in an assassination attempt by the "Five Eulsa Traitors Assassination Group". In 1910, Ye signed the Japan-Korea Annexation Treaty by which Japan took full control over Korea, while Korean Emperor Sunjong refused to sign. For his cooperation with the Japanese, Ye is listed in Korea amongst the eight Gyeongsul Traitors, he was rewarded with a peerage in the Japanese kazoku system, becoming a hakushaku, in 1910, raised to the title of kōshaku in 1921. He died in 1926. After the independence of Korea at the end of World War II, the grave of Ye was dug up and his remains suffered the posthumous dismemberment, considered to be the most disgraceful punishment in Confucian ideology.
Ye Wanyong's name has become synonymous to that of ‘traitor’ in modern Korea. However, Seo Jae-pil's Dongnip Sinmun never wrote a single line of criticism against him; the Special law to redeem pro-Japanese collaborators' property was enacted in 2005 and the committee confiscated the property of the descendants of nine people that had collaborated with Japan when Korea was annexed by Japan in August 1910. Ye is one of those heading the list. Portrayed by Woo Sang-jeon in the 2015 film Assassination. Both Ye Wanyong as well as Lee Wan-ik, a fictional pro-Japanese Korean Minister that resembles Ye in name and action, are characters in the South Korean television series Mr. Sunshine. Special law to redeem pro-Japanese collaborators' property
Leopold II of Belgium
Leopold II was King of the Belgians from 1865 to 1909. Born in Brussels as the second but eldest surviving son of Leopold I and Louise of Orléans, he succeeded his father to the Belgian throne in 1865 and reigned for 44 years until his death – the longest reign of any Belgian monarch, he died without surviving male heirs. The current Belgian king descends from his nephew and successor, Albert I. Leopold was the founder and sole owner of the Congo Free State, a private project undertaken on his own behalf, he used Henry Morton Stanley to help him lay claim to the Congo, the present-day Democratic Republic of the Congo. At the Berlin Conference of 1884–1885, the colonial nations of Europe authorized his claim by committing the Congo Free State to improving the lives of the native inhabitants. From the beginning, Leopold ignored these conditions, he ran the Congo using the mercenary Force Publique for his personal enrichment. He extracted a fortune from the territory by the collection of ivory, after a rise in the price of rubber in the 1890s, by forced labour from the native population to harvest and process rubber.
He used great sums of the money from this exploitation for public and private construction projects in Belgium during this period. He donated the private buildings to the state before his death. Leopold's administration of the Congo was marred by murder and other atrocities, his regime was characterized by notorious systematic brutality. The hands of men and children were amputated when the quota of rubber was not met. Thousands were sold into slavery; these and other facts were established at the time by eyewitness testimony and on-site inspection by an international Commission of Inquiry. Millions of the Congolese people died: modern estimates range from one million to 15 million deaths, with a consensus growing around 10 million; some historians argue against this figure due to the absence of reliable censuses, the enormous mortality of diseases such as smallpox or sleeping sickness, the fact that there were only 175 administrative agents in charge of rubber exploitation. In 1908 reports of deaths and abuse in the Congo induced the Belgian government to take over the administration of the Congo, free from Leopold's oversight.
Leopold was born in Brussels on 9 April 1835, the second child of the reigning Belgian monarch, Leopold I, of his second wife, the daughter of King Louis Philippe of France. The French Revolution of 1848 forced Louis Philippe to flee to the United Kingdom; the British monarch, Queen Victoria, was Leopold II's first cousin, as Leopold's father and Victoria's mother were siblings. Louis Philippe died two years in 1850. Leopold's fragile mother was affected by the death of her father, her health deteriorated, she died of tuberculosis that same year. Three years in 1853, at the age of 18, he married Marie Henriette of Austria in Brussels on 22 August. Marie Henriette was a cousin of Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria, granddaughter of Leopold II, Holy Roman Emperor through her father, Austrian archduke Joseph. Marie Henriette was lively and energetic, endeared herself to the people by her character and benevolence, her beauty gained for her the sobriquet of "The Rose of Brabant", she was an accomplished artist and musician.
She was passionate about horseback riding to the point that she would care for her horses personally. Some joked about this "marriage of a stableman and a nun", the shy and withdrawn Leopold referred to as the nun. Four children were born of this marriage, three daughters and one son named Leopold; the younger Leopold died in 1869 at the age of nine from pneumonia after falling into a pond. His death was a source of great sorrow for King Leopold; the marriage became unhappy, the couple separated after a last attempt to have another son, a union that resulted in the birth of their last daughter Clementine. Marie Henriette retreated to Spa in 1895, died there in 1902. Leopold had many mistresses. In 1899, in his sixty-fifth year, Leopold took as a mistress Caroline Lacroix, a sixteen-year-old French prostitute, they remained together for the next decade until his death. Leopold lavished upon her large sums of money, gifts, a noble title, Baroness Vaughan. Owing to these gifts and the unofficial nature of their relationship, Caroline was unpopular among the Belgian people and internationally.
She and Leopold married secretly in a religious ceremony five days before his death. Their failure to perform a civil ceremony rendered the marriage invalid under Belgian law. After the king's death, it was soon discovered that he had left Caroline a large fortune, which the Belgian government and Leopold's three estranged daughters tried to seize as rightfully theirs. Caroline bore two sons who were Leopold's; as Leopold's older brother named Louis Philippe, had died the year before Leopold's birth, Leopold was heir to the throne from his birth. When he was 9 years old, Leopold received the title of Duke of Brabant, was appointed a sub-lieutenant in the army, he served in the army until his accession in 1865, by which time he had reached the rank of lieutenant-general. Leopold's public career began on his attaining the age of majority in 1855, when he became a member of the Belgian Senate, he took an active interest in the senate in matters concerning the development of Belgium and its trade, began to urge Belgium's acquisition of colonies.
Leopold traveled extensively abroad from 1854 to 1865, visiting India, China and the countries on the Mediterranean
Wilhelm II, German Emperor
Wilhelm II was the last German Emperor and King of Prussia, reigning from 15 June 1888 until his abdication on 9 November 1918 shortly before Germany's defeat in World War I. He was the eldest grandchild of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom and related to many monarchs and princes of Europe, most notably his first cousin King George V of the United Kingdom and Emperor Nicholas II of Russia, whose wife, was Wilhelm and George's first cousin. Assuming the throne in 1888, he dismissed the country's longtime chancellor, Otto von Bismarck, in 1890 before launching Germany on a bellicose "New Course" to cement its status as a respected world power. However, due to his impetuous personality, he undermined this aim by making tactless, alarming public statements without consulting his ministers beforehand, he did much to alienate other Great Powers from Germany by initiating a massive build-up of the German Navy, challenging French control over Morocco, backing the Austrian annexation of Bosnia in 1908.
Wilhelm II's turbulent reign culminated in his guarantee of military support to Austria-Hungary during the crisis of July 1914, which resulted in the outbreak of World War I. A lax wartime leader, he left all decision-making regarding military strategy and organisation of the war effort in the hands of the German General Staff; this broad delegation of authority gave rise to a de facto military dictatorship whose authorisation of unrestricted submarine warfare and the Zimmerman Telegram led to the United States' entry into the conflict in April 1917. After Germany's defeat in 1918, Wilhelm lost the support of the German army, abdicated on 9 November 1918, fled to exile in the Netherlands, where he died in 1941. Wilhelm was born on 27 January 1859 at the Crown Prince's Palace, Berlin, to Victoria, Princess Royal, the wife of Prince Frederick William of Prussia, his mother was the eldest daughter of Britain's Queen Victoria. At the time of his birth, his great-uncle Frederick William IV was king of Prussia, his grandfather and namesake Wilhelm was acting as regent.
He was the first grandchild of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, but more the first son of the crown prince of Prussia. From 1861, Wilhelm was second in the line of succession to Prussia, after 1871, to the newly created German Empire, according to the constitution of the German Empire, was ruled by the Prussian king. At the time of his birth, he was sixth in the line of succession to the British throne, after his maternal uncles and his mother. A traumatic breech birth resulted in Erb's palsy, which left him with a withered left arm about six inches shorter than his right, he tried with some success to conceal this. In others, he holds his left hand with his right, has his crippled arm on the hilt of a sword, or holds a cane to give the illusion of a useful limb posed at a dignified angle. Historians have suggested. In 1863, Wilhelm was taken to England to be present at the wedding of his Uncle Bertie, Princess Alexandra of Denmark. Wilhelm attended the ceremony in a Highland costume, complete with a small toy dirk.
During the ceremony, the four-year-old became restless. His eighteen-year-old uncle Prince Alfred, charged with keeping an eye on him, told him to be quiet, but Wilhelm drew his dirk and threatened Alfred; when Alfred attempted to subdue him by force, Wilhelm bit him on the leg. His grandmother, Queen Victoria, missed seeing the fracas, his mother, was obsessed with his damaged arm, blaming herself for the child's handicap and insisted that he become a good rider. The thought that he, as heir to the throne, should not be able to ride was intolerable to her. Riding lessons were a matter of endurance for Wilhelm. Over and over, the weeping prince was compelled to go through the paces, he fell off time despite his tears was set on its back again. After weeks of this he got it right and was able to maintain his balance. Wilhelm, from six years of age, was tutored and influenced by the 39-year-old teacher Georg Hinzpeter. "Hinzpeter", he wrote, "was a good fellow. Whether he was the right tutor for me, I dare not decide.
The torments inflicted on me, in this pony riding, must be attributed to my mother."As a teenager he was educated at Kassel at the Friedrichsgymnasium. In January 1877, Wilhelm finished high school and on his eighteenth birthday received as a present from his grandmother, Queen Victoria, the Order of the Garter. After Kassel he spent four terms at the University of Bonn, he became a member of the exclusive Corps Borussia Bonn. Wilhelm possessed a quick intelligence, but this was overshadowed by a cantankerous temper; as a scion of the royal house of Hohenzollern, Wilhelm was exposed from an early age to the military society of the Prussian aristocracy. This had a major impact on him and, in maturity, Wilhelm was seen out of uniform; the hyper-masculine military culture of Prussia in this period did much to frame his political ideals and personal relationships. Crown Prince Frederick was viewed by his respect, his father's status as a hero of the wars of unification was responsible for the young Wilhelm's attitude, as were the circumstances in which he was raised.
This is a Manchu name. The Guangxu Emperor, personal name Zaitian, was the 11th emperor of the Qing dynasty, the ninth Qing emperor to rule over China proper, his reign lasted from 1875 to 1908, but in practice he ruled, under Empress Dowager Cixi's influence, only from 1889 to 1898. He initiated the Hundred Days' Reform, but was abruptly stopped when the empress dowager launched a coup in 1898, after which he was put under house arrest until his death, his regnal name, "Guangxu", means "glorious succession". Zaitian was the second son of Yixuan, his primary spouse Yehenara Wanzhen, a younger sister of Empress Dowager Cixi. On 12 January 1875, the Tongzhi Emperor, died without a son to succeed him. Breaking the imperial convention that a new emperor must always be of a generation after that of the previous emperor, candidates were considered from the generation of the Tongzhi Emperor. Empress Dowager Ci'an suggested choosing one of Prince Gong's sons to be the next emperor, but was overruled by her co-regent, Empress Dowager Cixi.
Instead, Cixi nominated Zaitian and the imperial clan agreed with her choice because Zaitian was younger than other adoptable children of the same generation. Zaitian was named heir and successor to his late uncle, the Xianfeng Emperor, rather than his cousin and predecessor, the Tongzhi Emperor, so as to maintain the father-son succession law, he ascended to the throne at the age of four and adopted "Guangxu" as his regnal name, therefore he is known as the "Guangxu Emperor". He was adopted by Cixi. For her part, she remained as regent under the title "Holy Mother, Empress Dowager" while her co-regent Empress Dowager Ci'an was called "Mother Empress, Empress Dowager". Beginning in 1876, the Guangxu Emperor was taught by Weng Tonghe, involved in the disastrous upbringing of the Tongzhi Emperor yet somehow managed to be exonerated of all possible charges. Weng instilled in the Guangxu Emperor a duty of filial piety toward the Empress Dowagers Cixi and Ci'an. In 1881, when the Guangxu Emperor was nine, Empress Dowager Ci'an died unexpectedly, leaving Empress Dowager Cixi as sole regent for the boy.
In Weng's diaries during those days, Guangxu was seen with swollen eyes, had poor concentration and was seeking consolation from Weng. Weng too expressed his concern that Cixi was the one, suffering from chronic ill health, not Ci'an. During this time, the imperial eunuchs abused their influence over the boy emperor; the Guangxu Emperor had reportedly begun to hold some audiences on his own as an act of necessity. In 1887, the Guangxu Emperor was old enough to begin to rule in his own right, but the previous year, several courtiers, including Prince Chun and Weng Tonghe, had petitioned Empress Dowager Cixi to postpone her retirement from the regency. Despite Cixi's agreement to remain as regent, by 1886 the Guangxu Emperor had begun to write comments on memorials to the throne. In the spring of 1887, he partook in his first field-plowing ceremony, by the end of the year he had begun to rule under Cixi's supervision. In February 1889, in preparation for Cixi's retirement, the Guangxu Emperor was married.
Much to the emperor's dislike, Cixi selected Jingfen, to be empress. She became known as Empress Longyu, she selected a pair of sisters, who became Consorts Jin and Zhen, to be the emperor's concubines. The following week, with the Guangxu Emperor married, Cixi retired from the regency. After the Guangxu Emperor began formal rule, Empress Dowager Cixi continued to influence his decisions and actions, despite residing several months of the year at the Summer Palace. Weng Tonghe observed that while the emperor attended to day-to-day state affairs, in more difficult cases the emperor and the Grand Council sought Cixi's advice. In fact, the emperor journeyed to the Summer Palace to pay his respects to his aunt and to discuss state affairs with her. In March 1891, the Guangxu Emperor received the foreign ministers to China at an audience in the "Pavilion of Purple Light", in what is now part of Zhongnanhai, something, done by the Tongzhi Emperor in 1873; that summer, under pressure from the foreign legations and in response to revolts in the Yangtze River valley that were targeting Christian missionaries, the emperor issued an edict ordering Christians to be placed under state protection.
The Guangxu Emperor, while growing up had been instilled with the importance of frugality. In 1892, he tried to implement a series of draconian measures to reduce expenditures by the Imperial Household Department, which proved to be one of his few administrative successes, but it was only a partial victory, as he had to approve higher expenditures than he would have liked to meet Cixi's needs. 1894 saw the outbreak of the First Sino-Japanese War. During the war though the Guangxu Emperor was nominally the sovereign ruler of the Qing Empire, officials ignored him and instead sent their memorials to Cixi for her approval. Two sets of Grand Council memoranda were created, one for the emperor and the other for the empress dowager, a practice that continued until it was rendered unnecessary by the events in the autumn of 1898. Following the Qing Empire's defeat and forced agreement to the terms of the Treaty of Shimonoseki, the Guangxu Emperor expressed his wish to abdicate; the emperor and the Qing government faced further humiliation in late 1897 when the German Empire used the murders of two priests in Shandong Province as an excuse to occupy Jiaozhou Bay, prompting a "scramble for concessions" by other foreign powers.
Following the war and the scramble for