Republic of China (1912–1949)

Republic of China

Chunghwa Minkuo

Flag anthem
"National Flag Anthem of the Republic of China"
Location and maximum extent of territory claimed by the Republic of China (1945)
Location and maximum extent of territory claimed by the Republic of China (1945)
CapitalPeking (1912–1928)
Nanking (1927–1949)
Chungking[a] (1937–1946)
Largest cityShanghai
Official languagesStandard Chinese
Recognised national languagesTibetan
and other languages
Official script
see Religion in China
GovernmentFederal semi-presidential republic under Beiyang rule (1912–1928)
Unitary one-party state under a military dictatorship (1928–1946)
Unitary parliamentary constitutional republic (1946–1949)
• 1912
Sun Yat-sen (first, provisional)
• 1949–1950
Li Zongren (last in Chinese mainland, acting)
• 1912
Tang Shaoyi (first)
• 1949
He Yingqin (last in Chinese mainland)
National Assembly
Legislative Yuan
Historical era20th century
10 October 1911[b]–12 February 1912[c]
1 January 1912
• Beiyang government in Peking
• Nationalist government in Nanking
7 July 1937[e]–2 September 1945[f]
1 October 1949
7 December 1949
191211,077,380 km2 (4,277,000 sq mi)
19469,676,204 km2 (3,736,003 sq mi)
• 1912
• 1920
• 1930
• 1946
• 1949
Time zoneUTC+5:30 to +8:30 (Kunlun to Changpai Standard Times)
Driving sideright
ISO 3166 codeCN
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Qing dynasty
People's Republic of China
Republic of China
Mongolian People's Republic
Today part of

The Republic of China (ROC) was a sovereign country that existed between 1912 and 1949 based in Mainland China, which is now controlled by the People's Republic of China. It was established in January 1912 after the Xinhai Revolution, which overthrew the Qing dynasty, the last imperial dynasty of China. The Republic's first president, Sun Yat-sen, served only briefly before handing over the position to Yuan Shikai, the leader of the Beiyang Army. Sun's party, the Kuomintang (KMT), then led by Song Jiaoren, won the parliamentary election held in December 1912. However, Song was assassinated on Yuan's orders shortly after; and the Beiyang Army, led by Yuan, maintained full control of the Beiyang government. Between late 1915 and early 1916, Yuan proclaimed himself Emperor of China before abdicating not long after due to popular unrest. After Yuan's death in 1916, the authority of the Beiyang government was further weakened by a brief restoration of the Qing dynasty. Cliques in the Beiyang Army claimed individual autonomy and clashed with each other during the ensuing Warlord Era.

In 1921, the KMT established a rival government in Canton, supported by the fledgling Communist Party of China (CPC). The economy of northern China, overtaxed to support warlord adventurism, collapsed between 1927 and 1928. General Chiang Kai-shek, who became the KMT leader after Sun's death, started the Northern Expedition in 1926 to overthrow the Beiyang government, which was accomplished in 1928. In April 1927, Chiang established a nationalist government in Nanking, and massacred Communists in Shanghai. The latter event forced the CPC into armed rebellion, marking the beginning of the Chinese Civil War.

China experienced industrialization and modernization but suffered conflicts between the Nationalist government in Nanking, the CPC, remaining warlords, and the Empire of Japan. Nation-building efforts yielded to fight the Second Sino-Japanese War, when the Imperial Japanese Army launched an offensive against China in 1937 which turned into a full-scale invasion. In 1946, after the surrender of Japan at the end of World War II in 1945, the Chinese Civil War between the KMT and CPC resumed, leading to the 1946 Constitution of the Republic of China replacing the 1928 Organic Law as the Republic's fundamental law. In 1949, nearing the end of the civil war, the CPC established the People's Republic of China, overthrowing the nationalist government on the Chinese mainland, with the nationalists moving their capital from Nanking to Taipei and controlling only the Taiwan area after 1949.


Republic of China
ROC (Chinese characters).svg
"Republic of China" in Traditional (top) and Simplified (bottom) Chinese characters
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese中華民國
Simplified Chinese中华民国
PostalChunghwa Minkuo
Traditional Chinese中國
Simplified Chinese中国
Literal meaningMiddle or Central State[2]
Tibetan name
Zhuang name
ZhuangCunghvaz Minzgoz
Mongolian name
Mongolian CyrillicДундад иргэн улс
Mongolian scriptᠳᠤᠮᠳᠠᠳᠤ
Uyghur name
Uyghurجۇڭخۇا مىنگو
Manchu name
Manchu scriptᡩᡠᠯᡳᠮᠪᠠᡳ
RomanizationDulimbai irgen' gurun

The official name of the state on the mainland was the "Republic of China", but it has been known under various names throughout its existence. Shortly after the ROC's establishment in 1912, the government used the short form "China" (Zhōngguó (中國)) to refer to itself, "China" being derived from zhōng ("central" or "middle") and guó ("state, nation-state"),[g] a term that developed under the Zhou dynasty in reference to its royal demesne,[h] and the name was then applied to the area around Luoyi (present-day Luoyang) during the Eastern Zhou and then to China's Central Plain before being used as an occasional synonym for the state during the Qing era.[4]

The ROC also used "Republican China" and "Republican Era" to refer to itself,[6][7] as well as "Beiyang government" (from 1912 to 1928), and "Nationalist government" (from 1928 to 1947).

Other Languages
客家語/Hak-kâ-ngî: Chûng-fà Mìn-koet (1912–1949)