Brill’s Encyclopedia of China

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Warlord Era
(1,024 words)

The Warlord period, usually dated from 1916 to 1927, refers to a time of political disunity in China when competing military commanders dominated society and government by virtue of their command of military force. The Warlord period was foreshadowed in the late 19th century by the rise to political influence of regional army commanders who assisted the Qing dynasty in the defeat of the Taiping Rebellion and other major rebellions. Unlike the near political autonomy of 20th century warlords, though, these commanders remained subordinate to the central state. …

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McCord, Edward A., “Warlord Era”, in: Brill’s Encyclopedia of China, Managing Editor English Edition: Daniel Leese. Consulted online on 27 September 2023 <>
First published online: 2008
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004168633, 20121018

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