Born in Xiangshan County, Guangdong Province. Also known as Sun Zhong-shan and Sun Wen. While promoting the Chinese revolution in Japan, he adopts the pseudonym Nakayama (Chinese: Zhong-shan), which has become the most commonly used name for him among the Chinese people.
Graduates from Hong Kong College of Medicine.
Founds the Xing-zhong Hui (Revive China Society) with the goal of reinvigorating China, and starts his revolutionary activities.
Reorganizes related organizations into the Tong-meng Hui (Revolutionary Alliance) and formulates the Three Principles of the People—nationalism, democracy, and social well-being—as the guidelines for building a modern China.
After ten futile attempts to topple the imperial Qing court, success finally comes on October 10, 1911, with the military uprising at Wuchang, known to history as the Xinhai Revolution (the Chinese Revolution of 1911). Elected as the provisional President of the Republic of China and sets January 1, 1912 as the first day of the First Year of the Republic. Thus, the Republic of China—Asia's first democracy—is formally established.
Upon assuming office, sets out to organize a provisional senate as the highest representative body of the nation. A provisional constitution of the Republic of China is enacted as the supreme law of the nation.
The last emperor of the Qing Dynasty, Pu Yi, abdicates. As a result of peace negotiations between the South and North, Sun submits his resignation to the senate and recommends Yuan Shi-kai for the presidency.
In spring, Yuan Shi-kai goes against the ideals of the republic. Sun therefore begins efforts to overthrow Yuan in Shanghai, but fails. The incident is the so-called Second Revolution.
Establishes a new party, the Zhong-hua Ge-ming Dang (China Revolutionary Party) in Tokyo, and assumes the post of Generalissimo of the revolutionary army to launch a punitive expedition to remove Yuan Shi-kai.
In the wake of Yuan Shi-kai’s death, Sun issues a manifesto demanding that President Li Yuan-hong, successor of Yuan, abide by the provisional constitution and continue the convocation of the parliament.
Completes his translation of “Parliamentary Law” into Chinese.
Provincial military governors revolt, and Zhang Xun restores Pu Yi to the imperial throne. The restoration fails, and President Li Yuan-hong disregards the provisional constitution. Sun travels to Guangzhou and calls upon the nation to rise in defense of the constitution.
Elected as the Generalissimo of the army and navy under the military government. Pledges to stem the rebellion and restore the provisional constitution. Nation becomes divided, north against south.
Publishes “Sun Wen Theory” and “International Development of China (Material Reconstruction),” which along with “Parliamentary Law” come to be known collectively as Sun Yat-sen’s “Plans for National Reconstruction.”
The China Revolutionary Party is reorganized into the Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomintang).
Assumes the presidency after the parliament resolves to disband the military government and establish the Government of the Republic of China.
Issues the Kuomintang Reform Declaration, which identifies the Three Principles of the People as the foundation of the nation, and the Five-Power Constitution as the basis of the governmental system.
Military clique including Feng Yu-xiang overthrows the Zhili Clique, the dominant faction in Beijing. Sun is invited to Beijing to discuss future reunification plans with them.
Upon traveling north, Sun issues a manifesto calling for the convocation of a National Convention and the abolition of unequal treaties with foreign powers.
Dies of liver cancer in Beijing.
Nationalist Government posthumously bestows the title “Founding Father of the Republic” upon Sun.