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This article is about the history of the state which currently governs Taiwan Area. For the history of the island of Taiwan, see History of Taiwan. For the history of Imperial China and People's Republic of China, see History of China and History of the People's Republic of China.

The History of the Republic of China begins after the Qing dynasty in 1912, when the formation of the Republic of China as a constitutional republic put an end to 4,000 years of Imperial rule. The Qing dynasty, (also known as the Manchu dynasty), ruled from 1644–1912. The Republic had experienced many trials and tribulations after its founding with including being dominated by elements as disparate as warlord generals and foreign powers.

In 1928, the Republic was nominally unified under the "Kuomintang" (KMT)—Chinese Nationalist Party—after the Northern Expedition, and was in the early stages of industrialization and modernization when it was caught in the conflicts among the Kuomintang government, the Communist Party of China, (founded 1921), which was converted into a nationalist party, local warlords and the Empire of Japan. Most nation-building efforts were stopped during the full-scale "Second Sino-Japanese War" / "War of Resistance" against Japan from 1937 to 1945, and later the widening gap between the Kuomintang and the Communist Party made a coalition government impossible, causing the resumption of the Chinese Civil War, in 1946, shortly after the Japanese surrender to the Americans and the Western Allies in September 1945.

A series of political, economic and military missteps led to the KMT's defeat and its retreat to Taiwan (formerly "Formosa") in 1949, where it established an authoritarian one-party state continuing under Generalissimo/President Chiang Kai-shek. This state considered itself to be the continuing sole legitimate ruler of all of China, referring to the communist government or "regime" as illegitimate, a so-called "Peoples' Republic of China" declared in Beijing (Peking) by Mao Tse Tung in 1949, as "mainland China", "Communist China, or "Red China". Although supported for many years, even decades by many nations especially with the support of the United States who established a 1954 Mutual Defense treaty, as the decades passed, since political liberalization began in the late 1960s, the PRC was able after a constant yearly campaign in the United Nations to finally get approval in 1971, to take the seat for "China" in the General Assembly, and more importantly, be seated as one of the five permanent members of the Security Council. After recovering from this shock of rejection by its former allies and liberalization in the late 1970s from the Nationalist authoritarian government and following the death of Chiang Kai-shek, the Republic of China has transformed itself into a multiparty, representative democracy on Taiwan and given more representation to those native Taiwanese, whose ancestors predate the 1949 mainland evacuation.

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