Beijing - A Concise History (Routledge Studies in the Modern History of Asia)
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Stephen Haw sets out the history of the city of Beijing, charting the course of its development from its early roots before 2000 BC to its contemporary position as capital of the People’s Republic of China.
Haw, a well-established author on China, outlines the establishment of the earliest cities in the years before 1000 BC, its status as regional capital during most of the long Zhou dynasty, and its emergence as capital of the whole of China after the conquest of the Mongol invaders under Chenghiz Khan and his successors. He considers the city’s assumption of its modern name ‘Beijing’ under the Ming dynasty, conquest by the Manchus and the turbulent years of civil war that followed the collapse of the Qing dynasty in 1911, culminating in the communist revolution and Beijing’s resumption of the role of capital of China in 1949.
Overall, Haw gives an impressive account of the long and fascinating history of a city that is growing in prominence as an urban centre of global significance.
Palaeo-Siberian group, or even of a completely unknown extinct language family. Major groups of people who interacted with the Chinese in the Beijing area will be discussed separately below. The Mountain Rong There were several groups of people living in north China during early historic times who were considered different by the Chinese. They were culturally distinct and seem to have spoken languages that the Chinese could not understand. According to historical records, the Chinese needed
themselves and some kind of order was restored during 784. Central imperial power was further weakened, however. For the next century and more, the Tang dynasty struggled to remain in existence in the face of disobedient generals and rebellious subjects. The north-east, including the Beijing area, was effectively controlled by a series of warlords who were strong enough to defy imperial authority with impunity whenever they wished. The Five Dynasties In the last years of the Tang dynasty, a
appeared. In the past, popular rebellions had attacked the government, often with the ultimate aim of replacing the Manchus with a Chinese dynasty. Now there was another target, the foreigners in China. The anti-foreign nature of many of the uprisings of this period is scarcely surprising. The Chinese had many causes to hold grievances against the foreigners, particularly in Shandong, where the Germans had seized the port of Qingdao in 1897 and forced the Qing government to lease it to them for
Xueliang, who (with the Japanese) held control. The Nationalists abolished the Beijing government, retaining Nanjing as their capital. On 20 June 1928, the old northern capital was renamed, becoming Beiping (‘Northern Peace’, or ‘the North Pacified’). The name was, of course, wildly optimistic. The alliances which had been formed between the Nationalists and warlords were shaky, for the warlords generally resented being given orders by Nanjing. There were still tensions within the Nationalist
Forbidden City. Despite the arrival of modern international fast food, famous old Beijing restaurants serving the local specialities, such as Peking Duck, still flourish. Beijing is a vibrant, fast-developing, modern city, but it still has its own individual character. Government and control of the Beijing area BCE c. 2000–1050 Xia and Shang dynasties The Beijing area, Yan, was almost certainly not part of the Xia state but may have been tributary to the Shang kings c. 1050–771