Emperor Zhezong of Song

Emperor Zhezong (January 4, 1076 – February 23, 1100) was the seventh emperor of the song dynasty of China. His personal name was Zhao4 Xu1. He reigned from 1085 to 1100.

Zhezong was the son of Emperor Shenzong. He ascended the throne at age 9 under the supervision of Empress Dowager Gao. Under Empress Gao's regency, she appointed conservatives such as Sima Guang as Chancellor and Sima Guang immediately halted socio-economic improvements set forth by Wang Anshi. Zhezong was powerless and it was not until Empress Dowager Gao's death in 1093 that Zhezong was able to reinstate Wang Anshi's reform and remove Sima Guang.

Zhezong lowered taxes, stopped all negotiations with the Tangut Empire and resumed armed conflict which eventually forced the Xixia to enter a more peaceful stance with the Song. Overall, Zhezong's reign gave the song dynasty a breath of fresh air but Zhezong was not able stop fighting between conservative members in his government and the more liberal members catering to Wang Anshi's reforms. This eventually led to the northern song dynasty's demise in the 12th century.

Zhezong died in 1100 in Kaifeng and was succeeded by his younger brother. He was only 24. His temple name means "Wise Ancestor".

Last update 20-06-2012

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