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Lü Hou (r. 195–180 BCE)

Lü Hou (r. 195–180 bce)

Chinese empress and regent of China. Name variations: Empress Lu or Lü; Lu Hou of the Han. Reigned 195–180 bce; murdered in 180 bce; m. Gao Zu (Kao Tsu) who became the Han emperor Liu Pang (r. 220–195 bce); children: Hui Ti.

Persuaded husband to seek the throne; began the Chinese tradition that the mother of a son deemed heir apparent be recognized as an empress; following husband's death (195 bce), waited until son Hui Ti was safely ensconced on the throne, then dismissed husband's relatives, who were in positions of power, to make way for her own family; a few years later, when her son died, grasped even more power, choosing another child as his successor; when the child balked under her authority, had him imprisoned and designated a 3rd child as emperor of the Han; was put to death by husband's loyal ministers.

See also Women in World History.

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