Cai E (Chinese: 蔡锷), a celebrated general in modern Chinese revolutionary history, was born on December 18, 1882 in Shaoyang, Hunan Province. He entered Yuelu Academy and studied under Liang Qichao and Tan Sitong, two leading reformists in China’s Hundred Days' Reform in 1898.
He was part of the failed uprising of the Self-Support Army (Zilijun) in 1900 that also attempted to undermine Qing rule. More than a decade later he joined the Revolution of 1911 that resulted in the overthrow of Emperor Puyi and ended 4,000 years of monarchy. He became commander in chief of the military government of Yunnan Province, and when Yuan Shikai declared himself emperor of a new Empire of China, Cai launched the Republic-Protection Campaign. His provincial army defeated Yuan’s army in Sichuan, and with support from other provincial governments, forced Yuan to abandon monarchism.
Cai died in Japan in 1916.