Wei Zhongxian
Wei Zhongxian (1568 – October 19, 1627) is considered by most historians as the most powerful and notorious eunuch in Chinese history. Originally a hoodlum and gambler, his initial name was Wei Si (魏四, literally, Wei Fourth). He took the step of becoming a eunuch and entering palace service to escape from his creditors, taking the name Li Jinzhong (李进忠). After entering the palace, he got into the service of Madam Ke
Madam Ke
Madame Ke was the nanny of the young Tianqi Emperor , who was Emperor of China from 1620 to 1627. As he was 15 when he became Emperor, and also illiterate, he delegated all duties to Wei Zhongxian, giving the actual power to him and Madame Ke...

 (客氏), the wet-nurse of the future Ming
Ming Dynasty
The Ming Dynasty, also Empire of the Great Ming, was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644, following the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty. The Ming, "one of the greatest eras of orderly government and social stability in human history", was the last dynasty in China ruled by ethnic...

 emperor. The couple began manipulating the Tianqi Emperor
Tianqi Emperor
The Tianqi Emperor was the 15th emperor of the Ming dynasty from 1620 to 1627. Born Zhu Youxiao, he was the Taichang Emperor's eldest son. His era name means "Heavenly opening".-Biography:...

, who renamed him Wei Zhongxian. The emperor's favour later gave Wei absolute power over the court.

Wei persecuted anyone who opposed his decisions, resulting in the death and imprisonment of many officials. He later proclaimed himself to be Nine-Thousand Years (九千歲) which meant that he was symbolically the second most important person in the country, just after the emperor, who is called the Ten-Thousand Years (萬歲). Wei also built many shrines (生祠) and erected god-like statues of himself in them. In 1627, his control of the court ended with the death of the Tianqi Emperor, whose brother and successor
Chongzhen Emperor
The Chongzhen Emperor was the 16th and last emperor of the Ming Dynasty in China. He reigned from 1627 to 1644, under an era name that means "honorable and auspicious".- Early years :...

 promptly eliminated him. He was forced to commit suicide (some sources say executed by strangulation) and his corpse was disembowelled.
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