Chinese Substates

lWorldwide Guide to Women in Leadership
Female Heads of Chinese Substates

See also China_Heads_of_State and China Ministers

Mongol States in West Turkestan (The Qara Khitai Empire covered parts of present day’s Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia and China)


674-10 Khanum Qubaq Hatun


219-245 Queen  Wu Mu

Also known as Lady Wu her husband the warlord Prince Liu Bei, named her as Queen of Hanzhong.It was period of many uprisings, various Emperors. When he became Emperor in 221, she was named Empress to serve the ancestral temple and be mother over the empire. His succesor, Liu Shan, named her as the Empress Dowager. She (d. 245).


1127-28 Regent Dowager Queen Meng

Liao/Kara Khitui

1154-68 Queen Regnant Chi'éng-t'un han

The Kingdom of Eastern Jin
325-28 Regent Dowager Empress Yu Wenjun
Joint regent with two others for Sima Yan (321-25-42) of the Eastern Dong (Jin), in a period which saw a severe fragmentation of central authority, as northern barbarians succeeded in laying waste to much of China, and establishing their own states in turn.

343-357, 364-365 and 373-76 Regent Empress Chu Suanzi
When her husband, Sima Yue, died after one year as emperor Kang, her 1 year old son Mu succeeded with her as regent. Buring the next years many of Later Zhao's southern provinces switched their allegiance to Jin, but not firmly so and a number of military campains followed. In 357, as Emperor Mu turned 14 and she officially stripped herself of her role as regent, and moved to Chongde Palace, which would be her residence for the rest of her life. But 4 years later, her son died without heirs, and she named cousin Prince Sima Pi of Langye as Emperor Ai. In 364 he was poisoned by pills given by magicians he was taking trying to seek immortality and could not handle matters of state. She again served as regent. After he died sonless in 365, she ordered that his younger brother Sima Yi succeed him (as Emperor Fei). After some years he was deposed and replaced by Emperor Jianwen, who died in 372, and when he was succeeded by his son Emperor Xiaowu, she was persuaded to become regent again until he turned 14 in In 376. For the rest of her life, she was again referred to as Empress Dowager Chongde. She lived (324-384).

The Kingdom of Later Zhao

349 Regent Empress Dowager Liu
After her father, the last Han Zhao emperor, Liu Yao, was captured by Later Zhao's founding emperor Shi Le in 329, she fled together with her brothers Crown Prince Liu Xi and Prince Liu Yin of Nanyang from the capital Chang'an to Shanggui. Soon after her brothers were defeated and killed and she was captured by Zhang Chai. In 348 Emperor Shi Hu picked their son as his Heir and she was named Empress. When the Emperor grew ill the following year, he appointed his two sons as joint regents for her son, Shi Shi, but when he died she took over as regent for her son, holding power jointly with her husband. She tried to placate the sons of the later Emperor giving them high posts, but instead they marched on the capital. She then tried to placate them by offering them the office of regent and the nine bestowments, but instead he executed her husband, and then forged her to sign an edict deposing her son. She was given the title of Princess Dowager of Qiao, but soon both she and her son were executed. She lived (318-349).

Northern Qi

556-78 Political Influential Lu Lingxuan
She was the nurse of Emperor Gao Wei (556-78), the fifth and last ruler of Northern Qi. He was only 12 when his father died and his political survival in the years between his father’s death and the fall of the dynasty was in many ways due to her assistance and support. She was promoted to the post of Female Attendant of the Palace which gave her – a grade equivalent to that of a second class official in the outer bureaucracy. Her relatives were all given official positions. The emperor's confidence in her was almost absolute and she was careful not to damage the relationship by antagonizing the Empress Dowager who was afraid of her son. For a short while she was also promoted to the post of Empress of the Left but later stripped of the title. She died by her own hand when she heard that her son had defected to Northern Chou on the eve of Northern Qi’s defeat. Emperor Gao Wei (Houzhu) and Empress Mu were both executed by the Chou in 578; the Empress Dowager was captured and survived into the Sui era. She (d.578)

Kindom of North China Dynasty

926 Regent Dowager Queen Shulü Hatun of Quidan

982-1003 Regent Dowager Queen Ziao Shi of Quidan

1031-33 Regent Dowager Queen Xiaohaojin of Quidan  

1122 Queen Regnant De of Quidan

1133 Regent Dowager Queen De of Quidan

Kingdom of Northern Wei/Touba Wei

465-71 and 476-90 Regent Dowager Queen Feng Shi
She dominated politics in Northern Wei for twenty five years as regent during the reigns of two emperors: Xianwen (Toba Hong) (465-76) whom she had poisoned in 476, then her grandson, Xiaowen (476-99). Xiaowen is known for his sinicization zeal, as flamboyantly demonstrated by moving the capital from Datong to Luoyang, forbidding Xianbei clothes and language, legislating Han names, and encouraging intermarriage and Chinese law. The Xianbei aristocracy was against full-scale sinicization and even though the opposition was contained by Xiaowen, the dissent later split the Northern Wei into Eastern and Western Wei. She was Han - a member of the Northern Yan imperial family who entered the Northern Wei court as a concubine after Wei conquered Northern Yan. In the south, a series of ethnically Chinese dynasties managed to endure on the lower Yangtze. She lived (441-90).

528 "Reigning Queen" of Northern Wei
When her son Suzong was killed after having asked Er-zhu Rong, the Xiongnu leader in Shansi, to free him from her Chinese advisors, she she placed her infant grand-child on the throne, but it was a girl and this turned out to be unacceptable and the infant was replaced by Gaozu’s two-year-old grandson by the Xiongnu and Xianbei leaders, who had brought their troops to the capital.

The Qaganris (In Mongolia and Yuan)  

1241-48 Dowager Grand Khanum Törägänä
Of a Mongol tribe in Chinese Turkestan

1248-51 Dowager Grand Khanum Hatum Ogul Glamis

Kingdom of Qidan

926 Regent Dowager Queen Shulü  Hatun

982-1003 Queen Regnant Xiao Shi

1031-33 Queen Regnant Xiaonaojin

The South China Dynasty

1276-78 Queen Regnant Xie

1276-78 Queen Regnant Yang

Tanguter (Dangxiang)

1086-94 Regent Dowager Queen
For Li Qianshum  

Yuan Dynasty

1307 Dowager Khanum Regnant Bulugan

1332-33 Regent Dowager Khanum Ptashali

1366-71 Regent Khanum Beng Shi
For the pretender Ming Sheng

The Khanate of the Eastern Turkiut (Xinjiang) 

1252-61 Regent Dowager Khanum Organa Hatum
She was head of the Ghafa Sid Horde and also ruler of Qara Khitai (or Qura Hytai/ Chagataiid Horde), which cowered China, Mongolia, Tibet, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan (Turkestan). Her name also spelled as Orqina Khatum

Kingdom of Wu

190-203 Politically Influential Lady Wu
She was the chief consort of Emperor Ling of Han Dynasty China. Along with A master swordsman, she was the advisor of her oldest son, Sun Ce, and helped in directing military and state affairs. When Sun Ce died in 200, she asked the ministers to support her second son, Sun Quan and since he was still young, she assisted in administering the army and state. He ruled 200-222 as Wu Wang (King of Wu) and 222-252 as Emperor of the Wu Dynasty, and when he was proclaimed emperor, he conferred the posthumous title of Empress Wulie on her and the title of of Emperor Wulie Huangdi on his father. Mother of 5 sons and 1 daughter. (d. 203).

 Warlord China

1934-40 Head of the Pacification Army in Manchukuo (Manzhuguo) Commander Jin Bihui
She was born as Princess Xianzi of Su and was the 14th. daughter of Wang Chai Chi, Prince and Head of the House Su (1910-22), who had 21 sons and 17 daughters with his 4 wifes. Commander Jin was also known by the alias Dongzhen. She lived (1907-48)



Last update 12.02.08