Empress Zhang (Cao Fang)

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Empress Zhang
Simplified Chinese 张皇后
Traditional Chinese 張皇后

Empress Zhang, personal name unknown, was an empress of Cao Wei during the Three Kingdoms period of Chinese history. She was the second wife of Cao Fang, the third ruler of Cao Wei.

Not much is known about her, other than her grandfather Zhang Jì (張既) was a governor of Liang Province (modern Gansu) and that her father Zhang Jí (張緝, note different tone) was a commandery governor. She was created empress in 252; at that time, her grandfather was already deceased, while her father was promoted to senior minister. (It is unclear whether she was an imperial consort before she was created empress.)

In 254, the powerful Sima Shi, after killing Cao Fang's confidant, the official Li Feng, a friend of Zhang Ji's, falsely accused Li, Zhang, and their friend Xiahou Xuan of treason, and had all of them and their clans executed. One month later, Cao Fang was forced to depose Empress Zhang. It is not known what her fate was, although it would appear likely that she was put under house arrest for the rest of her life but not executed along with the rest of her family.

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Chinese royalty
Preceded by
Empress Zhen
Empress of Cao Wei
252–254
Succeeded by
Empress Wang