Beijing has been the capital of the People’s Republic of China since it was founded back in 1949. Before this, however, it had also served as the capital through several dynasties during Imperial rule but its name did vary from dynasty to dynasty. During the Liao Dynasty it was known as Yanjing while during the Jin Dynasty it became Zhongdu. Throughout the rule of the next two dynasties, Ming and Quing it was known as Jinghshi and many of you probably remember it being referred to as Peking too. Now, however, it appears the name is here to stay for a while and while Beijing did lose its position as capital between 1911 and 1949, it appears that it is going to remain as capital for quite some time too.
Prior to its becoming the capital as far back as the middle of the fourth century, however, various civilisations had been making this remarkable city their home for a very long time. It was in Beijing in 1929 that the ‘Peking Man’ was discovered, providing evidence that the city had been settled for over 700,000 years .You can actually visit the site where the remains were found while you are in Beijing but the bones of the ‘Peking Man’ himself, however, disappeared during WWII. There are other remains including equipment and bones on display in a museum at the site.
As well as having a long history, Beijing has also had an extremely turbulent one and it was its position as the nation’s capital which was largely responsible for a lot of the conflict which took place in the city throughout the centuries. Nevertheless, Beijing and its residents have emerged from numerous battles including a bitter civil war in the 30’s and a communist dictatorship with their heads held high. Since the collapse of communism, Beijing has gone from strength to strength and the locals are very keen to prove to the rest of the world that they have not been held back by any obstacles which might have been imposed upon them and their ancestors.