Beijing History

Beijing is one of the four ancient cities of China (together with Xi'an, Luoyang, Nanjing), the best preserved, and famous around the world. The city is also known as a cradle of humanity. As early as 700,000 years ago, Peking Man lived in Zhoukoudian area of this city.

Beijing City was established over 3,000 years ago and was called Jin City in the Western Zhou Dynasty (11th century BC - 771 BC). Ever since Emperor Qin united China in 221 BC, Beijing has played an important role in north China. It was the capital city in the Liao (916-1125), Jin (1115-1234), Yuan (1271-1368), Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties. During these 800 years, 34 emperors lived and ruled here. The world renowned Forbidden City was built during this period.

At the end of the Qing Dynasty, World War I broke out. Beijing became the focus of the war, which disrupted the society. Many residences of royal families were robbed and burned down. After that, the whole country was reduced to the status of semi-colonial and semi-feudal society. It wasn't until October 1st 1949 that the People's Republic of China was founded. Beijing is known as the capital city of the prosperous new country which has flared into importance in Asia.

Forbidden City
Forbidden City
Old Summer Palace
Old Summer Palace

Here is a snapshot of the major events in the history of the city:

Time Used Name Event
1045BC (Western Zhou) Jin City Pioneer city of China
226BC (Qin Dynasty) Jin City Emperor Qin attacked Jin successfully
581-618 (Sui Dynasty) Zhuo Shire Population over 130,000
618-907 (Tang Dynasty) Youzhou Military center and business center
916-1125 (Liao Dynasty) Nanjing As accompanying capital (now in Xicheng District)
1153 (Jin Dynasty) Zhongdu Occupied by a minority group in northeast China
1215 (Yuan Dynasty) Yanjing Occupied by Mongolia leader Genghis khan
1272 (Yuan Dynasty) Dadu As capital city of a united country for the first time
1368 (Ming Dynasty) Beiping Ming Dynasty established
1403 (Ming Dynasty) Beijing Emperor Yongle changed the name to Beijing
1406 (Ming Dynasty) Began to built Forbidden City
1421 (Ming Dynasty) Move to new site (now in City center)
1564 (Ming Dynasty) Central part of the city now has formed
1644 (Qing Dynasty) Qing Dynasty established
1860 (Qing Dynasty) Old Summer Palace (Yuanmingyuan) was burnt down by invaders
1900 (Qing Dynasty) Eight-nation Allied Forces occupied this city
1912 (Qing Dynasty) Last emperor Puyi was forced to abdicate the crown
1937 War of Resistance against Japan broke out
1945 Beiping Civil war between two fictions broke out
1949 Beijing The People's Republic of China was founded

 2008 Olympic Games
- Last updated on Aug. 20, 2019 -
Questions & Answers on History of Beijing
Asked by Jia Hwang Zhi Wei from CANADA | Feb. 26, 2018 13:16Reply
What geographical features of Beijing made it appealing for it to become the capital?
Answers (1)
Answered by Luke from SWITZERLAND | Feb. 26, 2018 21:05

As I can see, it’s in a plain near the sea and surrounded by the two mountains, which provides great deal of natural resource. Besides, it’s a key position linking the Northeast China and the South Parts.
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