Cai E (simplified Chinese: 蔡锷; traditional Chinese: 蔡鍔;
pinyin: Cài È; Wade–Giles: Ts'ai4 E4; 18 December 1882 – 8
November 1916) was a Chinese revolutionary leader and warlord. He was
born Cai Genyin (Chinese: 蔡艮寅; pinyin: Cài Gěnyín) in
Shaoyang, Hunan, and his courtesy name was Songpo (Chinese: 松坡;
pinyin: Sōngpō). Cai eventually became an influential warlord in
Yunnan, and is best known for his role in challenging the imperial
ambitions of Yuan Shikai.
Cai's name has also been romanised as Tsai Ao.
1.1 Early career
1.2 Opposition to Yuan Shikai
3 Depiction in popular culture
The Memorial Cottage of Cai E, located in Yuelu Mountain, Changsha,
Cai studied at the prestigious and progressive Shiwu Xuetang (School
of Current Affairs), where he was taught by
Liang Qichao and Tang
Caichang, and went to
Japan to study in 1899. Cai returned to
1900, when he was only 18, and attempted to take part in an uprising
Qing Dynasty as part of the Self-Support Army, a
revolutionary militia led by Tang Caichang. When the rebellion failed,
Cai returned to Japan. During this second sojourn in
Japan he received
military training at the Tokyo Shimbu Gakko, followed by the Imperial
Japanese Army Academy.
He returned to
Guangxi Province, where he held several military posts
and established a military training academy from 1904-10. While in
Guangxi he joined the Tongmenghui, a Chinese revolutionary
organization dedicated to the overthrow of the Qing dynasty. In 1910
he was transferred to
Yunnan Province to command the 37th Brigade of
New Army and teach at the
Yunnan Military Academy in Kunming. One
of his pupils at the school was Zhu De, who began studying there in
1909 and graduated in 1912.
Shortly after the
Xinhai Revolution began on 10 October 1911, Cai,
leading the 37th Brigade, successfully occupied Yunnan. After the
revolution he served as Commander-in-Chief of the Military Government
Cai E was Governor of
Yunnan from 1911-13. After the revolution Cai
gained a reputation as a strong supporter of democracy and of
Kuomintang politician Song Jiaoren. Following Song's assassination by
Yuan Shikai, and Yuan's subsequent assumption of the presidency of the
Republic of China, Yuan had Cai removed from office and eventually
held under house arrest in Beijing.
Tang Jiyao replaced
Cai E as
Military Governor of
Yunnan in 1913.
Opposition to Yuan Shikai
Yuan Shikai announced his plans to dissolve the Republic and
proclaim himself the emperor of a new dynasty. After hearing of his
intentions, Cai escaped detention on 11 November, first returning to
Japan and then to Yunnan. After returning to Yunnan, Cai
established the local National Protection Army to resist Yuan and
defend the Republic.
On 12 December Yuan formally "accepted" a petition to become emperor,
and protests spread throughout China. On 23 December Cai sent a
Beijing threatening to declare independence if Yuan did
not cancel his plans within two days. When Yuan did not respond
favorably, Cai declared independence on 25 December and made plans to
invade Sichuan. The governor of
Guizhou joined Cai in rebellion,
declaring independence on 27 December. Yuan had himself inaugurated as
emperor on 1 January 1916, and Cai successfully occupied
The Tomb of Cai E, located in Yuelu Mountain, Changsha, Hunan, China.
Yuan sent two leading military commanders from northern
attack Cai, but although the forces sent by Yuan outnumbered Cai's
army, Yuan's commanders were either unwilling or unable to defeat him.
When it became clear that Cai's rebellion would be successful, many
other provinces joined him in resisting Yuan.
Guangxi and Shandong
declared independence in March, Guangdong and Zhejiang in April and
Hunan in May. With several provinces behind them,
the revolutionaries successfully forced Yuan to abandon monarchism on
20 March 1916.
After Yuan died on 6 June 1916, Cai held the positions of
Governor-General and Governor of Sichuan. He left for
medical treatment at
Kyushu Imperial University
Kyushu Imperial University in
tuberculosis later in 1916, but died shortly after his arrival. He was
accorded a state funeral in
Yuelu Mountain in
Hunan on 12
Many of the warlords who served under
Yuan Shikai did not support his
ambition to revive the monarchy, and
Cai E was one of the leading
figures who successfully forced Yuan to step down. He served as an
inspiration for the young Zhu De, who later became one of the most
successful military leaders of the Chinese Red Army, the forerunner to
the People's Liberation Army.
Depiction in popular culture
In October 2009,
TVB broadcast a series about the story of
Cai E and
Yuan Shikai: In the Chamber of Bliss.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Cai E.
Cai E - Chinese Revolutionary Leader and Warlord CCTV News - CNTV
English". english.cntv.cn. Retrieved 26 February 2018.
^ Yuelu Academy
^ a b c Schemmel
^ J. C.S. Hall (1976). The
Yunnan Provincial Faction, 1927-1937. Dept.
of Far Eastern History, Australian National University :
distributed by Australian National University Press, 1976. p. 69.
ISBN 0-909524-12-2. Retrieved 2010-06-28.
^ Сергей Леонидович Тихвинский (1983).
Модерн хисторий оф Чина. Progress Publishers.
p. 624. Retrieved 2010-06-28.
^ a b c Beck "Yuan Shikai's Presidency 1912-16"
Beck, Sanderson. "Republican
China in Turmoil 1912-1926". EAST ASIA
1800-1949. 2007. Retrieved 14 October 2011.
陈贤庆(Chen Xianqing), 民国军阀派系谈 (The Republic of China
warlord cliques discussed), 2007 revised edition
Schemmel, B. "Cai E". Rulers.org. 2011. Retrieved 14 October 2011.
""Cai E"". Archived from the original on 26 May 2007. Retrieved
2011-10-17. CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link) .
Yuelu Academy. 28 September 2011. Retrieve