History of Beijing
Beijing, a metropolis in northern China, with an area of 6,500 sq mi (16,800 sq km).is the capital of the People’s Republic of China. It was formerly known in English as Peking. Beijing is also one of the four municipalities of the PRC, which are equivalent to provinces in China’s administrative structure.
Beijing Municipality borders Hebei Province to the north, west, south, and for a small section in the east, and Tianjin Municipality to the southeast. Beijing is recognized as the political, educational, and cultural center of the PRC, while Shanghai and Hong Kong predominate in economic fields.
There were cities in the vicinities of Beijing by the 1st millennium BC, and the capital of the State of Yan, one of the powers of the Warring States Period (473-221 BC), Ji, was established in present-day Beijing.
After the fall of the Yan, the subsequent Qin, Han, and Jin dynasties set-up local prefectures in the area. In Tang Dynasty it became the headquarter for Fanyang jiedushi, the virtual military governor of current northern Hebei area. In 936, the Later Jin Dynasty (936-947) of northern China ceded a large part of its northern frontier, including modern Beijing, to the Khitan Liao Dynasty. In 938, the Liao Dynasty set up a secondary capital in what is now Beijing, and called it Nanjing (the "Southern Capital"). In 1125, the Jurchen Jin Dynasty annexed Liao, and in 1153 moved its capital to Liao’s Nanjing, calling it Zhongdu (中都), "the central capital.”
Mongol forces burned Zhongdu to the ground in 1215 and rebuilt it to the north of the Jin capital in 1267. In preparation for the conquest of all of China, Yuan (Mongol) Dynasty founder Kublai Khan made this his capital as Dadu , Daidu to the Mongols means Khanbaliq. The decision of the Khan greatly enhanced the status of a city that had been situated on the northern fringe of China proper.
After the fall of the Yuan Dynasty in 1368, the city was later rebuilt by the Ming Dynasty and Shuntian prefecture(順天府) was established in the area around the city. In 1403, the third Ming Emperor Yongle moved the Ming capital from Nanjing to the renamed Beijing, the "northern capital", situated in the north. The capital was also known as Jingshi, simply meaning capital. During the Ming Dynasty, Beijing took its current shape, and the Ming-era city wall served as the Beijing city wall until modern times, when it was pulled down and the 2nd Ring Road was built in its place.
It is believed that Beijing was the largest city in the world from 1425 to 1650 and from 1710 to 1825.
After the Manchus overthrew the Ming Dynasty and established the Qing Dynasty in its place, Beijing remained China’s capital throughout the Qing period.
Following the success of the Nationalist Party’s Northern Expedition which pacified the warlords of the north, Nanjing was officially made the capital of the Republic of China in 1928, and Beijing was renamed Beiping .
During the Second Sino-Japanese War, Beiping fell to Japan on 29 July 1937. During the occupation, the city was reverted to its former name, Beijing, and made the seat of the Provisional Government of the Republic of China, a puppet state that ruled the ethnic Chinese portions of Japanese-occupied North China. It was later merged into the larger Wang Jingwei Government based in Nanjing. With Japan’s surrender in World War II, on 15 August 1945, however, Beijing’s name was changed back to Beiping.
On October 1, 1949, Mao Zedong announced in Tiananmen the creation of the People’s Republic of China in Beijing. Just a few days earlier, the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference had decided that Beiping would be the capital of the new government, and that its name would be changed back to Beijing.