Known as the father of modern China, Sun Yat-sen worked to achieve his lofty goals for modern China. These included the overthrow of the Manchu Dynasty, the unification of China, and the establishment of a republic. Sun Yat-sen was born on Nov. 12, 1866, in Guangdong Province and attended several schools, including one in Honolulu, Hawaii, before transferring to a college of medicine in Hong Kong.
Graduating in 1892, Sun almost immediately abandoned medicine for politics. His role in an unsuccessful uprising in Canton in 1895 prompted Sun to begin an exile that lasted for 16 years. Sun used this time to travel widely in Japan, Europe, and the United States, enlisting sympathy and raising money for his republican cause.
Sun returned to China in 1911 after a successful rebellion in Wuhan inspired uprisings in other provinces. As leader of the Kuomintang, or Nationalist party, Sun was elected provisional president of the newly declared republic but was forced to resign in 1912.
In 1913 his disagreements with government policies led Sun to organize a second revolution. Failing to regain power, Sun left once again for Japan, where he organized a separate government.
Sun returned to China and attempted to set up a new government in 1917 and 1921 before successfully installing himself as generalissimo of a new regime in 1923. Sun increasingly relied on aid from the Soviet Union, and in 1924 he reorganized the Kuomintang on the model of the Soviet Communist party.
Sun also founded the Whampoa Military Academy and appointed Chiang Kai-shek as its president. Sun summarized his policies in the Three Principles of the People--nationalism, democracy, and socialism. He died of cancer in Peking on March 12, 1925. Sun's tomb in Nanking is now a national shrine.