Beijing, which means “northern capital,” has been the capital of China for several centuries. Its history can be traced back to over 3,000 years ago when it was a small city-state called Ji.
During the Zhou Dynasty (1046-256 BC), Ji was a vassal state under the control of the Zhou kings. In 221 BC, the state of Qin conquered Ji and made it a county under the name of Yan. It remained under various dynasties’ control for several centuries.
In 938 AD, the Liao Dynasty established a secondary capital in Yanjing, which later became Beijing. The city became an important trade center during the Jin Dynasty (1115-1234), which used it as its capital.
The Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) was a significant period in Beijing’s history. It was founded by Kublai Khan, who made Beijing the capital of his empire. He built a new city called Dadu, which was centered on the Imperial Palace, which later became known as the Forbidden City.
During the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), Beijing was renamed Beiping and became a provincial capital. The famous Ming Tombs, where several Ming emperors were buried, are located just outside of Beijing.
In 1644, the Manchu Qing Dynasty captured Beijing and made it the capital of their empire. They built the Temple of Heaven and the Summer Palace, among other important buildings.
During the 19th and early 20th centuries, Beijing became a focal point of foreign interest, with European powers establishing concessions in the city. The Boxer Rebellion (1899-1901) occurred in Beijing and resulted in the deaths of several foreign diplomats and Chinese Christians. This led to the Eight-Nation Alliance invading Beijing and suppressing the rebellion.
After the establishment of the Republic of China in 1912, Beijing became the capital again. During the Japanese occupation in World War II, Beijing suffered significant damage. However, after the war, it was rebuilt and became the capital of the People’s Republic of China in 1949.
In modern times, Beijing has continued to grow and develop into a global city. It has hosted several important events, including the 2008 Summer Olympics and the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in 2017. Today, Beijing is home to several important landmarks, including the Great Wall of China, the Forbidden City, and Tiananmen Square.