Yuan Shikay

Yuan Shikay

First President of the Republic of China
Date of Birth: 16.09.1859
Country: China

Biography of Yuan Shikai

Yuan Shikai was the first President of the Republic of China. He held high administrative and military positions under Emperor Guangxu and served in Korea and the province of Zhili (now Hebei). However, in 1898, he sided with Empress Dowager Cixi, who had seized power. After this, Yuan was appointed as the imperial viceroy with extensive powers. In 1901, he became the governor-general of the province of Zhili. From 1901 to 1907, he reorganized the army, established educational institutions, and modernized the industry in Northern China. In 1907, Yuan became the Minister of Foreign Affairs of China.

After the death of Empress Dowager in 1909, Yuan Shikai was forced to go to his native province of Henan. However, with the start of the Xinhai Revolution in 1911, he was appointed as the commander-in-chief of the imperial army and the prime minister. The abdication of the last emperor of the Qing Dynasty in 1912 marked the end of monarchy in China. Following a series of complex political maneuvers, Yuan was elected as the President of the Republic of China. Yuan was able to secure foreign loans, which he used to strengthen the army and increase his political influence. In 1914, Yuan dissolved the parliament and established a regime of personal dictatorship. His plans to restore monarchy and proclaim himself emperor led to a rebellion by the military in the province of Yunnan in 1915, which spread throughout central and southern China. The rebellion did not subside, and with Yuan's death on June 6, 1916, China was plunged into a long civil war.