The Chinese Revolution of 1911, also known as the Xinhai Revolution, ended the Qing Dynasty, formed the Republic of China and sparked a lengthy period of ideological and political struggle. Sun Yat-sen, the revolution's leader, was pronounced the first provisional president of the new republic on December 29, 1911 and a new flag, referred to as the Five Races Under One Union flag, was adopted as the emblem of the nation. The last Chinese Emperor, Xuantong Puyi, officially abdicated on February 12, 1912, signaling the beginning of the Chinese Republican Era and the end of 4,000 years of Imperial rule.Continue Reading
The Chinese Revolution did not bring about a major restructuring of society in the manner of many Western revolutions. No significant changes to the standard of living took place and many of those who held regional power in the new republic were part of the "old school" ruling elite such as military leaders and bureaucrats. The revolution did, however, dismantle the preexisting feudal system, but there were also two unsuccessful attempts to bring it back.
By early 1913, a power struggle had begun and, by the end of the year, the first provincial president of the new republic, Sun Yat-sen, was forced to flee to Japan to avoid arrest. The new president, Yuan Shikai, attempted to reinstate a monarchy. This set-off a series of uprisings collectively referred to as the "second revolution." By February 1923, Sun Yat-sen was back in power, but this time, at the head of a military government based on the Soviet model. After Sun Yat-sen's death in 1925, Chiang Kai-sheck and the Nationalists took power, but were defeated and ousted in a civil war won by Mao Zedong and the Communists in 1949.Learn more about Modern Asia