Perhaps no other statesman in recent history has affected the direction of modern politics, education and leadership in China than Sun Zhongshan (Sun Yat-sen as pronounced according to Cantonese dialect). Born in Guangdong Province and educated abroad, Sun Yat-sen was a doctor, a writer, a revolutionary and then finally a politician. The final step was the first president of the Republic of China putting an end to thousands of years of imperial rule and laying the foundations for a modern China.
The name Zhongshan can be found on buildings, streets and parks all over China as a testament to his legacy. However, on January 1st, 1912, Nanjing was where his newly formed government re-established the capital of China. The presidential palace where Sun Zhongshan served out his presidency was built over the remains of a residence of a former Ming leader. The life of Sun Zhongshan has left an indelible mark on the city of Nanjing.
Zhongshan's passing away in 1925 would not only set in motion changes to the political landscape but also to the physical landscape of Nanjing. He passed away in Beijing and rested there until his mausoleum could be completed and he returned to his final resting place on June 1st, 1929. The site was actually chosen by Zhongshan when he commented to friends while vacationing in the area that he wished to be laid to rest on this site.