Yuan Shikai (Chinese: 袁世凱; pinyin: Yuán Shìkǎi; 16 September 1859 – 6 June 1916) was a Chinese military and government official who rose to power during the late Qing dynasty and eventually ended the Qing dynasty rule of China in 1912, later becoming the Emperor of China. He first tried to save the dynasty with a number of modernization projects including bureaucratic, fiscal, judicial, educational, and other reforms, despite playing a key part in the failure of the Hundred Days' Reform. He established the first modern army and a more efficient provincial government in North China during the last years of the Qing dynasty before forcing the abdication of the Xuantong Emperor, the last monarch of the Qing dynasty in 1912.
Through negotiation, he became the first President of the Republic of China in 1912. This army and bureaucratic control were the foundation of his autocratic rule.
In 1915 he attempted to restore the hereditary monarchy in China, with himself as the Hongxian Emperor (Chinese: 洪憲皇帝). His death in 1916 shortly after his abdication led to the fragmentation of the Chinese political system and the end of the Beiyang government as China's central authority.