Updated:
Original:
Year
1912

Last emperor of China abdicates

On February 12, 1912, Hsian-T’ung, the last emperor of China, is forced to abdicate following Sun Yat-sen’s republican revolution. A provisional government was established in his place, ending 267 years of Manchu rule in China and 2,000 years of imperial rule. The former emperor, only six years old, was allowed to keep up his residence in Beijing’s Forbidden City, and he took the name of Henry Pu Yi.

Pu Yi was enthroned as emperor in 1908 after his uncle, the Kuang-hsu emperor, died. He reigned under a regency and underwent training to prepare him for his coming rule. However, in October 1911, his dynasty fell to Sun Yat-sen’s revolution, and four months later he abdicated. The new Chinese government granted him a large government pension and permitted him to live in the imperial palace until 1924, when he was forced into exile.

After 1925, he lived in Japanese-occupied Tianjin, and in 1932 Japan created the puppet state of Manchukuo in Manchuria under his rule. In 1934, Henry Pu Yi was enthroned as K’ang Te, emperor of Manchukuo. Despite guerrilla resistance against his puppet regime, he held the emperor’s title until 1945, when he was captured by Soviet troops.

In 1946, Pu Yi testified before the Tokyo war crimes tribunal that he had been an unwilling tool of the Japanese and not, as they claimed, an instrument of Manchurian self-determination. Manchuria and the Rehe province were returned to China, and in 1950 Pu Yi was handed over to the Chinese communists. He was imprisoned at Shenyang until 1959, when Chinese leader Mao Zedong granted him amnesty. After his release, he worked in a mechanical repair shop in Peking.

Tags
terms:
China

FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us!

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Congress enacts first fugitive slave law

On this day, Congress passes the first fugitive slave law, requiring all states, including those that forbid slavery, to forcibly return slaves who have escaped from other states to their original owners. The laws stated that “no person held to service of labor in one state, ...read more

Rommel in Africa

On this day, German General Erwin Rommel arrives in Tripoli, Libya, with the newly formed Afrika Korps, to reinforce the beleaguered Italians’ position. In January 1941, Adolf Hitler established the Afrika Korps for the explicit purpose of helping his Italian Axis partner ...read more

Release of U.S. POWs begins

The release of U.S. POWs begins in Hanoi as part of the Paris peace settlement. The return of U.S. POWs began when North Vietnam released 142 of 591 U.S. prisoners at Hanoi’s Gia Lam Airport. Part of what was called Operation Homecoming, the first 20 POWs arrived to a hero’s ...read more

Abraham Lincoln is born

On this day in 1809, Abraham Lincoln is born in Hodgenville, Kentucky. Lincoln, one of America’s most admired presidents, grew up a member of a poor family in Kentucky and Indiana. He attended school for only one year, but thereafter read on his own in a continual effort to ...read more

Actor Sal Mineo is killed in Hollywood

Actor Sal Mineo is stabbed to death in Hollywood, California. Mineo was parking his car behind his apartment when neighbors heard his cries for help. Some described a white man with brown hair fleeing the scene. By the time they reached Mineo, he was almost dead from a deep wound ...read more

Ethan Allen dies

On this day in 1789, Vermont Patriot Ethan Allen dies of a stroke at age 52 on his Winooski River homestead. Allen is best remembered as the patriotic leader of the Green Mountain Boys, who took the British fort at Ticonderoga with Benedict Arnold in May 1775. He also had a ...read more