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1913: Who Recognized the New China?

Which major nation in 1913 was first to recognize China’s new republic — and why?

December 7, 2013

Provisional President Sun Yat-sen in front of a Chinese republican unity flag, 1912.

1. At the end of 1911, a series of major uprisings began across China.

2. In early 1912, China overthrew its emperor, whose forebears under various dynasties had ruled for 4,000 years.

3. In the space of four months, China established a modern constitutional government.

4. In 1913, the United States became the first of the major powers formally to recognize the Republic of China.

5. The United States hoped this recognition would lead to new trade opportunities, which had previously been reserved to the European powers under the emperor.

From Book Review: 1913 (Emmerson’s “1913: In Search of the World Before the Great War” via Wall Street Journal’s Mark Archer)



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After 4000 years of imperial rule, China established a constitutional government in four months.

The U.S. was the first major power to recognize the Chinese Republic, hoping to win lucrative trade deals.