The powerful Kangxi Emperor, one of the most respected rulers in Chinese history, was born on this day in 1654. He reigned for 61 years, longer than any other Chinese emperor. Furthermore, he expanded the borders of China, so that they included Tibet, Mongolia, Taiwan, and even Korea as a protectorate. The Kangxi Emperor even defeated the Russian Empire’s attempts to spread eastward at the time of Peter the Great.
The Kangxi Emperor was probably the most powerful ruler in the world at the time, and the competition wasn’t negligible. Other rulers in his time included the powerful Louis XIV (“The Sun King”), the mentioned Emperor Peter the Great, and Emperor Aurangzeb (the son of Shah Jahan, who built the Taj Mahal). Then, China had more inhabitants than Europe or India.
Interestingly, the Kangxi Emperor had quite intensive contacts with the Europeans. At the time, Jesuits were acting as missionaries in China. The Chinese rulers actually quite appreciated the Jesuits as probably the most educated people in the world at that time, not only in terms of theology, but also natural sciences. The Jesuits had knowledge of physics and astronomy, and impressed the Chinese people.
Kangxi is still famous as a very intelligent emperor. He owned a library, and left his written thoughts to his posterity. Kangxi had about 64 wives, and about 56 children. He died in Peking (Beijing), aged 68.