The story of Beijing dates back long before the recorded history.
The fragments of the bones of "Peking Man", dated to a period
about 300,000 - 500,000 years ago, were discovered in a village
to the southwest of the present-day city. In the same area, the
fossils of the "Upper Cave Man"dating back 18,000 years were also
found. In the last 1,000 years, it has been China's political
and cultural center. Beijing was established as the secondary
capital of the Liao Kingdom (916-1125) in 938. In the Jin Kingdom
(1115-1234) in 1151, Beijing began to serve as the central capital.
After the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) was founded, Beijing was made
by Kublai Khan in 1263 the winter capital and a grand metropolitan
city which became the center of international cultural exchanges
in the Orient. The foundation of the layout of present Beijing
was laid in 1404, when the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) decided to
move the capital from Nanjing to Beijing and started a large-scale
construction. Many of the ancient palace buildings, temple structures
and gardens that are still visible today can be traced back to
this period or later.
Weak Ming rulers and corrupt bureaucrats finally doomed the Ming
Dynasty. The last Ming emperor hanged himself behind the Imperial
Palace and the Qing succeeded the Ming and ruled China in Beijing
from 1644 to 1910.
Following the 1911 revolution that overthrew the Qing Dynasty,
Beijing became the arena of important political events, such as
the May Fourth Movement. On October 1, 1949, Beijing became the
capital of the New China. Today's Beijing is mingled with tradition
and modernity. While seeking for industrialization, the Government
is also carrying out a conservation program to protect the traditional
houses in the downtown area to partly maintain Beijing's original