A country of eastern Asia. Its civilization, founded by the Han people and traditionally dating to the third millennium bc , gave rise to a series of imperial dynasties and a flourishing culture whose influence extended throughout East Asia. Mongol invaders established a new dynasty that lasted from ad 1271 until 1368, when Han rule was reestablished. The last imperial dynasty, founded by a Manchu clan in 1644, was overthrown in 1912 and a republic was declared. After a bitter civil war (1946–1949), a Communist state led by Mao Zedong was established on the mainland, and the supporters of the former ruling party, the Nationalists, fled to Taiwan. Beijing is the capital and Shanghai the largest city.