<p>The Republic of China (Zhōnghuá Mínguó) was founded in 1912 and its government was located on mainland China until 1949. As an era of Chinese history, the republic was preceded by the Qing Dynasty and followed by the People's Republic of China. Sun Yat-sen served briefly as its first president. Sun's Kuomintang (KMT, or “Nationalist Party”), then led by Song Jiaoren, won a parliamentary election held in December 1912. However, army leaders of the Beiyang clique, led by President Yuan Shikai, retained control of the central government. After Yuan's death in 1916, various local military leaders, or warlords, asserted autonomy.
In 1925, the KMT established a rival government, referred to as Nationalist China, in the southern city of Canton, now Guangzhou. The economy of the North, overtaxed to support warlord adventurism, collapsed in 1927-1928. In 1928, Chiang Kai-shek, who became KMT leader after Sun's death, defeated the warlord armies in the Northern Expedition. Chiang's National Revolutionary Army was armed by the Soviet Union and was advised by Mikhail Borodin. The Beiyang army was backed by Japan. Once Chiang established a unified central government in Nanjing, he cut his ties</p>