Beijing Early Origins & Beijing China History

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Beijing History & Overview

Beijing, China’s capital city, is on China northern plain. To the north and west of the city there are mountains. Part of the Great wall of China can be found between the city and the mountains. The Beijing area has been settled in for at least 3,000 years and has been the home of several Chinese dynasties. The city has numerous architectural examples of the power and splendour of the Ming and Qing dynasties who ruled China between the 14th and 20th centuries.

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China History

There is some archaeological evidence indicating that land within China was occupied between 225,000 & 250,00 BC. Close to present day Beijing at Zhoukoudian there is also fossil evidence of human life which has been dated between 300,000 & 500,000BC .Website

Some scientists believe that that a cranium found in Liujang County (Guangxi) is the first record of human life in contemporary terms. It has been dated 65,000BC but some experts believe it to be more recent. However a skeleton found in Okinawa Japan which has been dated to between 14,500 & 16,250 BC is thought to indicate that humans must have been in China before this time.

Though there is archaeological evidence of Bronze age life in the Henan province which confirm later Chinese references to the Xia Dynasty, the first recorded settlement was made by the Shang (Yin) Dynasty between the 18th and 12th centuries BC along the banks of the Yellow River. They were overrun by the Zhou’s who dominated the area for the following seven centuries after which their authority largely diminished.

In 221 BC the first state of China was set up by the QIN Dynasty. The position of ‘Emperor’ was established and the Chinese language was defined. The Dynasty collapsed after 15 years after its people rebelled against its authoritarian style. It was succeeded by the Han Dynasty which ruled for over 400 years – during which time it increased China’s territory into neighbouring countries including Korea, Mongolia and Vietnam. It also traded with Roman empire. When the Dynasty collapsed in 220AD the China fractured into three Kingdoms until it was reunited under the Sui Dynasty in 580. The Sui Dynasty reign lasted to 614 when it disintegrated as a result its war with Goguryeo.

For the next seven centuries China was ruled by the Tang and Song dynasties. It became one of the most forward civilisations of the world in art literature and technology. The power of the Song Dynasty faded and was gradually replaced in 1271 by the Mongol led Yuan Dynasty who ruled until 1368 when a peasant Zhu Yuanzchang evicted the Mongols and established the Ming Dynasty. The Ming Dynasty survived until 1644 before being defeated by China’s last dynasty the Qing Dynasty which ruled until 1912. This dynasty tried to suppress the long – standing Han Chinese culture and though hostile to the Imperialistic attitudes of European countries it increased Chinese territory in Central Asia.

In 1894 the Chinese State of Korea declared its independence from China leading to war with Japan and the additional loss of Taiwan. In 1898 the then Emperor Guangxu had proposed that the the country adopt a constitutional monarchy – but his plan was rejected by Empress Dowager Cixi who placed him under house arrest. In November 1908 the Emperor (still under house arrest) died a day before the ailing Empress.

In this first decade of the 20th century civil unrest had spread across China and the people constantly demanded for the end of the Emperor /Dynasty rule which has dominated China for 2,000 years.

The Emperor’s two year old nephew, Puyi, who had been nominated by the Empress before her death as the heir to the throne became China’s new and last Emperor. . Guangxu former consort became Empress Dowager Longyu until she abdicated in 1912.

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Republic of China

The Republic of China was established on New Years Day 1912 by the Kuomintang (Nationalist Party) and it leader Sun Yat-Sen was declared as the country’s first President on a provisional basis. He was ousted by Yuan Shikai a former General for the Qing Dynasty who had supported the call for revolution. He declared himself the countrys new President before trying to determine himself as an Emperor of a new dynasty – but died shortly afterwards without consolidating his power base.

For several years China was internationally recognised as a independent state- but its power base was limited to Beijing. whilst individual leaders in the rural areas ruled their own refions. In the latter part pf the 1920s, the Kuomintang, led by Chiang Kai-shek, succeeded in reuniting the country on the basis that though it was the sole governing authority it would become a modern democratic state as had been the intention of its first president.

From 1937, until the end of WW2, the ruling Communists and the Nationalists united to fight the Japanese. This unity ceased and the parties became involved in the Chinese Civil War which was won in 1947 by the Communists.

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Two Chinese Republics – Peoples Republic Of China & The Republic Of China.

On October 1st 1949 the Communist Party of China, under Chairman Mao Zedong, established the People’s Republic of China which its forces controlled. The defeated Nationalist Government fled with its military supporters to the Island of Taiwan and declared the Island as the seat of the Republic of China.

The Communist Authorities on the mainland tried unsuccessfully to capture Taiwan for nearly a year but stopped in 1950. However as no peace agreement has ever been made theoretically the two countries remain at war until this day.

Following the death of Chairman Mao in 1976 and the reforms undertaken in the late 70s the Chinese Communist Party has becoming increasingly aware of it role on the world stage

 

 

 

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