The Long March began in October 1934 when Mao Tse-tung (1893–1976) led Chinese Communist forces (the Red Army of China), numbering 100,000 men and women, on an epic walk across China. With the nationalist army in pursuit, the Communist marchers crossed 18 mountain chains and 24 rivers to cover 6,000 miles. Almost all women and children died along the way. In 1935, 20,000 to 30,000 people finally reached Shaanxi (Shensi) Province in the north, where the Red Army established a stronghold. It was there that Mao, one of the earliest members of the Chinese Communist Party, formulated his own philosophy that came to be known as Maoism. He had adapted Marxism to the Chinese conditions—replacing German politician and socialist Karl Marx’s (1818–1883) urban working class with the peasant farmers as the force behind revolution. The Red Army went on to defeat the nationalists in 1949; Mao was named chairman of the People’s Republic of China, a Communist state, that same year.