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1 October 2008

On this day in history: Declaration of the People`s Republic of China, 1949

From 1927 Mao Zedong had endeavoured to establish communism in a China ravaged by nearly a century of foreign domination and internal strife. His army of workers and peasants fought against the nationalist government, which secured control of the country following the collapse of the last monarchical dynasty and against the Imperial Japanese who invaded in the early 1930s alongside the nationalists. In the Huahai campaign of 1948/9, the communist People's Liberation Army defeated the National Revolutionary Army spelling the end of the eleven year civil war.

Since the the nationalist forces were no longer a threat, the road was now clear for the victorious communists to take control of the country. On 1st October 1949, Mao proclaimed the creation of the People's Republic of China (PRC) in front of a crowd of 300,000 people gathered in Beijing's Tiananmen Square. The Communist Party of China had appointed Mao its leader in 1945, in 1954 he became Chairman of the PRC, a position that he held until his death in 1976.