Monarchy of China

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Approximate territories ruled by the Chinese monarchy throughout history.
History of China
History of China
Neolithic c. 8500 – c. 2070 BC
Xia c. 2070 – c. 1600 BC
Shang c. 1600 – c. 1046 BC
Zhou c. 1046 – 256 BC
 Western Zhou
 Eastern Zhou
   Spring and Autumn
   Warring States
Qin 221–207 BC
Han 202 BC – 220 AD
  Western Han
  Eastern Han
Three Kingdoms 220–280
  Wei, Shu and Wu
Jin 266–420
  Western Jin
  Eastern Jin Sixteen Kingdoms
Northern and Southern dynasties
Sui 581–618
Tang 618–907
  (Wu Zhou 690–705)
Five Dynasties and
Ten Kingdoms

Liao 916–1125
Song 960–1279
  Northern Song Western Xia
  Southern Song Jin
Yuan 1271–1368
Ming 1368–1644
Qing 1636–1912
Republic of China on mainland 1912–1949
People's Republic of China 1949–present
Republic of China on Taiwan 1949–present

China was a monarchy since ancient times up to 1912 CE when the Xinhai Revolution overthrew the Qing dynasty in favor of the Republic of China.[1] The succession of mythological monarchs of China were non-hereditary. Dynastic rule began in circa 2070 BCE when Yu the Great established the Xia dynasty, and lasted until 1912 CE when dynastic rule collapsed together with the monarchical system.[1][2]

The defunct monarchy of China took the form of absolute monarchy, even though the actual power of the ruler was dependent upon his/her ability to consolidate the rule.[3] During periods of political disunity, China was under the rule of competing dynasties, each ruling a part of China; in such cases, more than one Chinese monarchy existed simultaneously. Throughout history, the Chinese monarchy came to be ruled by dynasties of both ethnic Han and non-Han origins.

Monarchism in China[edit]

After the success of the Xinhai Revolution, there were various attempts at re-establishing the Chinese monarchy.

Empire of China[edit]

In 1915 CE, Yuan Shikai proclaimed the Empire of China.[4] It soon sparked the National Protection War and the empire was abolished after three months.

Manchu Restoration[edit]

In 1917 CE, the Qing loyalist Zhang Xun reinstalled Puyi to the Chinese throne.[5] This attempt at restoring the Qing dynasty, known as the Manchu Restoration, lasted only 12 days.


The Japanese puppet state Manchukuo was established in Northeast China in 1932 CE.[6] This regime subsequently became a monarchy with Puyi as the emperor in 1934 CE. Manchukuo collapsed in 1945 CE following the unconditional surrender of Japan.

Domains of the Chinese monarchy[edit]

While the Chinese monarchy was originally established along the Yellow River and Yangtze River in China proper, various Chinese dynasties expanded beyond the region to encompass other domains.

At various points in time, the Chinese monarchy exercised control over China proper (including Hainan, Macau, and Hong Kong),[7][8][9] Taiwan,[10] Manchuria (both Inner Manchuria and Outer Manchuria),[11][12] Sakhalin,[13][14] Mongolia (both Inner Mongolia and Outer Mongolia),[12][15] Vietnam,[12][16] Tibet,[11] Xinjiang,[17] as well as parts of Central Asia,[13] the Korean Peninsula,[12][18] and Siberia.[12]

Apart from exerting direct control over the Chinese realm, the Chinese monarchy also maintained hegemony through the Chinese tributary system.[19]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Moody, Alys; Ross, Stephen (2020). Global Modernists on Modernism: An Anthology. p. 282.
  2. ^ Ebrey, Patricia; Liu, Kwang-Ching (2010). The Cambridge Illustrated History of China. p. 10.
  3. ^ Felton, Mark (2013). China Station: The British Military in the Middle Kingdom, 1839–1997.
  4. ^ Schillinger, Nicholas (2016). The Body and Military Masculinity in Late Qing and Early Republican China: The Art of Governing Soldiers. p. 176.
  5. ^ Hao, Shiyuan (2019). China's Solution to Its Ethno-national Issues. p. 51.
  6. ^ Wells, Anne (2009). The A to Z of World War II: The War Against Japan. p. 167.
  7. ^ Brødsgaard, Kjeld (2008). Hainan – State, Society, and Business in a Chinese Province. p. 11.
  8. ^ Wong, Koon-kwai (2009). Hong Kong, Macau and the Pearl River Delta: A Geographical Survey. pp. 241–242.
  9. ^ Zhang, Wei Bin (2006). Hong Kong: The Pearl Made of British Mastery and Chinese Docile-diligence. p. 3.
  10. ^ Hughes, Christopher (2013). Taiwan and Chinese Nationalism: National Identity and Status in International Society. p. 21.
  11. ^ a b Hsu, Cho-yun (2012). China: A New Cultural History. p. 421.
  12. ^ a b c d e Lockard, Craig (2020). Societies, Networks, and Transitions: A Global History. p. 260.
  13. ^ a b Gan, Chunsong (2019). A Concise Reader of Chinese Culture. p. 24.
  14. ^ Westad, Odd (2012). Restless Empire: China and the World Since 1750. Basic Books. p. 11. qing dynasty sakhalin.
  15. ^ Sanders, Alan (2003). Historical Dictionary of Mongolia. p. v.
  16. ^ Paige, Jeffrey (1978). Agrarian Revolution. p. 278.
  17. ^ Clarke, Michael (2011). Xinjiang and China's Rise in Central Asia - A History. p. 16.
  18. ^ Kshetry, Gopal (2008). Foreigners in Japan: A Historical Perspective. p. 25.
  19. ^ Kavalski, Emilian (2014). Asian Thought on China's Changing International Relations. pp. 56–57.