On February 4, 1912, P'u Yi, the last emperor of China, abdicated the throne with these words: "Today the people of the whole empire have their minds bent on a republic, the southern Provinces having begun the movement, and the northern generals having subsequently supported it. The will of providence is clear and the people's wishes are plain. How could I, for the glory and honor of one family, oppose the wishes of teeming millions? Wherefore I, the Emperor, decide that the form of government in China shall be a Constitutional Republic."
With the advent of a constitutional republic in China, Westerners for the first time had access (albeit limited) to China's extraordinary treasures. The ''National Geographic Magazine'' devoted its entire October 1912 issue to China -- its canal infrastructure, the Forbidden City, and its artistic, cultural, and architectural treasures. This map, which was included with that issue as a special supplement, was based on the cartography of the British firm, J.G. Bartholomew.