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Beijing History


Beijing is one of China’s seven ancient capitals (Xian, Luoyang, Kaifeng, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Beijing, Anyang), is also the world-famous capital under the well-preserved protection. Especially after the 2008 Olympic Games, Beijing becomes more internationalized and welcomed. Beijing, serving as the nationwide political center, has more than 700 years of history. However, as an ancient city and a local kingdom center in China, Beijing, at least, has more than 3,000 years of history. According to the recorded history, Beijing exactly has 3,040 years history. Anciently called Ji, which was a town in Zhou Dynasty. In Tang dynasty, it was called Youzhou in standard. In Yuan dynasty, it was the capital of China. In Ming and Qing Dynasties, it was formally called Beijing until the collapse of Chinese feudalistic period.

Beijing before Yuan Dynasty (Before 1271)

Before the Yuan Dynasty, Beijing was anciently called Ji Town (currently, there is a small-sized city called Ji near to Beijing), a famous town in the Zhou Dynasty(1046BC – 256BC). Beijing at the time before Qin Dynasty (221BC – 207BC), Beijing served as the capital of Yan Kingdom. Hence, Beijing is also called Yanjing today. During the time of the Qin Dynasty, Beijing was in the administrative area of Guangyang. In the Tang Dynasty (618 – 907), Beijing was named Youzhou. In 938, Beijing was raised to be the southern capital, serving as the second capital of the Liao Dynasty (907 – 1125), historically, it was called Yanjing and Nanjing. Why the authorities of the Liao Dynasty established their second capital here just for southward invasion from this center and strengthening the control and plunder to the southern area.

Beijing in Yuan Dynasty (1271 – 1368)

Mongolian, a minority in China, established the Yuan Dynasty in 1271, and in 1279, Mongolian military occupied the Southern Song dynasty and then selected Beijing as the national capital. Perhaps Yuan dynasty is one of the greatest and powerful dynasty in ancient China next to Qin and Tang Dynasties. At its peak time, the territory of Yuan dynasty northward faced the Arctic Ocean, southeastward faced ocean, Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau and Qinghai-Tibet Plateau in the southwest side. Beijing acted as the center of Mongolian Imperial Power, naturally also became the center for Asia-European business and diplomatic relations. It was also the peak time for Sino-foreign cultural and economic exchange. Beihai (North Sea) at that time was the wit art area of Beijing. Beijing at that time was an important city in the world because of its large scale and elaborate layout. Macro Polo once highly depicted Beijing in his travel diary.

Beijing in Ming and Qing Dynasties (1368 – 1912)

In 1370, Zhu Di, the fourth son of Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang, was throned to Yan King to safeguard the north area against the invasion from the remainders of Mongolian military. In 1398, Zhu Di became the emperor of the Ming Dynasty. In order to eliminate the risk from the remainders of Mongolian, he moved the capital to Beijing from Nanjing (Jiangsu Province, southern area of China). The Forbidden City and Beijing city were established from 1406 to 1420. The duration for Beijing Downtown establishment is 15 years. In the Qing Dynasty (1636 – 1912), as the last feudalistic dynasty of ancient China, absolutely inherited Beijing City without any change, even in the Forbidden City, there was just some partial alteration, additional building and restoration. During the 200 reign of Qing dynasty, the large-scale garden scenic area in the northwest suburb of Beijing was largely exploited. There are large temporary palace architectural complexes outside of the Forbidden City. Generally there are three mountains and five gardens in the northwest suburb of Beijing, that is, Yuquanshan Mountain, Xiangshan Mountain and Longevity Mountain as well as Jingming Garden, Jingyi Garden, Qingyi Garden (Summer Palace), Changchun Garden and Yuanming Garden. The emperors of the Qing Dynasty operated the national affairs and visited the mountains and waters. This suburb area is another “forbidden city”.

Beijing Modern History (1912 – 1949)

In 1912, China University (private university of law and politics) was established. In Feb, Pu Yi, the last emperor of the Qing Dynasty, was abdicated officially. Dr. Sun Yat-sen ordered to organize the temporary republic government and in March, Yuan Shikai became the temporary president of China, and then the reign of Beiyang Warlord begun. In May, Jingshi Academy (Imperial University) was renamed officially Peking university. In August, Jingshi Library officially opened.

In 1915, Yuan Shikai became the emperor. In 1916, under the nationwide objection, Yuan Shikai was forced to abolish the imperial feudalistic system and in June, Yuan Shikai died. In Dec, Cai Yuanpei acted as the president of Peking University. In 1925, Dr. Sun Yat-sen passed away and in Oct. Palace museum held the opening ceremony. In 1929, the brain box fossil of Peking ape-man was unearthed in Longgu Mountain of Zhoukoudian. In 1937, on July 7, the Double-Seven Incident or July-7th Incident happened as the Japanese army bombed Wanping town and Lugou Bridge. In 1945, Hu Shi was appointed to the president of Peking University. In 1946, Peking University and Qinghua University both were moved back to Beijing from Kunming. In 1949, Beijing was liberated in peaceful way.

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