BEIJING’S EARLY HISTORY The area of China where Beijing now stands became important because
Invaders from the north In the 10th century bce , northern China was invaded by the Khitan . They took over the city, made it their second capital, and called it Yanjing. In the 12th century the Khitan were defeated by another tribe from the north, the Jurchen . They made the city their capital and renamed it Zhongdu. In 1215 Zhongdu was burned to the ground by the Mongols , led by the mighty Genghis Khan .
it was a meeting place for traders. The first city grew up there about 2,500 years ago. It was destroyed in the 3rd century bce, and a new city was built. For centuries afterwards the Chinese fought northern nomads for control of the area, and the city changed hands, and names, several times.
Khubilai Khan was Emperor of China from 1279 until 1294. He died in 1295 and his body was taken back to Mongolia. No one knows where he was buried.
Mongol rule In 1266 Khubilai Khan, grandson of Genghis, began to build a new city just north of where Zhongdu had stood. It became the capital of the Mongol Empire. The city had two names—Dadu, Chinese for “Great Capital”; and Khanbalik, Mongolian for “City of the Khan.” Its Imperial Palace and other grand buildings made it a splendid sight. The Italian traveller Marco Polo carried reports of its magnificence back to Europe. Khubilai Khan also founded the Yuan dynasty , which ruled China from 1279 to 1368.
⌂ This painting on silk shows the Forbidden City’s magnificent palaces and courtyards. They were built by 200,000 workers.
Major World Cities
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