Historical capitals of China

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There are traditionally four historical capitals of China, collectively referred to as the "Four Great Ancient Capitals of China" (中国四大古都; 中國四大古都; Zhōngguó Sì Dà Gǔ Dū). The four are Beijing, Nanjing, Luoyang and Xi'an (Chang'an). As more new archaeological evidence began to be uncovered since the 1930s, other historical capitals have been included in the list. The phrase "Seven Ancient Capitals of China" now includes – in addition to the earlier four – Kaifeng (added in the 1920s), Hangzhou (added in the 1930s), and Anyang (added after 1988). In 2004, the China Ancient Capital Society officially included Zhengzhou as the eighth historical capital in light of new archaeological findings dating from the early Shang dynasty.

List of historical capitals of China[edit]

Historical capitals of China before the 20th century
Historical capitals of China from the 20th century onwards
Sorted in alphabetical order
  • Acheng District of the city of Harbin was the capital of the Jin dynasty from 1115 to 1153. It was called Shangjing (上京; Shàngjīng; "Upper Capital") or Huining Prefecture at the time. It was destroyed in 1157 and reestablished as a secondary capital in 1173.
  • Anyang was the capital of the Shang dynasty roughly from 1600 BC until 1046 BC. It was called Yin (; Yīn).
  • Beijing (also romanised Peking), literally meaning "Northern Capital", previously also known as Beiping, was the capital of various dynasties and governments, including:
  • The state of Yan (11th century BC – 222 BC) in the Spring and Autumn period, when it was called Ji (; ; ).
  • The Liao dynasty (907–1125), when it was a secondary capital called Yanjing (燕京; Yānjīng; "Capital of Yan").
  • The Jin dynasty, from the 1160s to 1215, when it was called Zhongdu ("Central Capital").
  • The Yuan dynasty (1271–1368), when it was called Dadu (大都; Dàdū; "Great Capital") in Chinese,[1] Daidu (direct translation from Chinese) in Mongolian, and Khanbaliq ("city of the Khan") in the Turkic languages. Marco Polo called it Cambuluc.
  • The Ming dynasty, from 1403 to 1644, when it was called Shuntian Prefecture (顺天府; 順天府; Shùntiān Fǔ) and then later simply as Jingshi (京师; 京師; Jīngshī; "Capital").
  • The Qing dynasty, from 1644 to 1912.
  • The Beiyang government of the Republic of China, from 1912 to 1927.
  • The capital of the People's Republic of China since 1949.
  • Hangzhou (also romanised Hangchou or Hangchow) was the capital of:
  • Luoyang was the capital of various dynasties, including:
  • Nanjing (also romanised Nanking), literally meaning "Southern Capital", was the capital of various dynasties and governments, including:
  • All the Six Dynasties from AD 220 to 589, when it was called Jianye (建業; Jiànyè) or Jiankang (建康; Jiànkāng). The Six Dynasties were:

Chronology[edit]

Dynasty / Government Capital Period Notes
Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors Nüwa
Youchao
Suiren
Zhurong
Fuxi Chen
c. 2852–2737 BC
Shennong / Yan Emperor Lu
c. 2737–2699 BC
Yellow Emperor Xuanyuan
軒轅
c. 2699–2588 BC
Taihao Wanqiu
宛丘
Shaohao Qiongsang
窮桑
c. 2587–2491 BC
Gonggong
Zhuanxu Gaoyang
高陽
c. 2490 BC – 25th century BC
Diqiu
帝丘
c. 25th century BC – 2413 BC
Ku Diqiu
帝丘
c. 2412 BC – 24th century BC
Bo
c. 24th century BC – 2343 BC
Zhi Qinghua
清化
c. 2343–2333 BC
Yao Pingyang
平陽
c. 2333–2234 BC
Shun Puban
蒲坂
c. 2233–2184 BC
Xia dynasty Daxia
大夏
Gun
Song
Yangcheng
陽城
Yu[2]
Yangzhai
陽翟
Yu, Qi, Taikang
Chu
Yi
Qiongshi
窮石
Yi, Hanzhuo
Zhen
Taikang, Zhongkang
Diqiu
帝丘
Xiang, Shaokang
Yuan
Zhu
Laoqiu
老丘
Zhu to Jiong
Xihe
西河
Jin to Fa
Zhen
Jie
Henan
河南
Jie[3]
Shang dynasty Bo
Tang[3]
Fan
Xie
Dishi
砥石
Zhaoming
Shang
Zhaoming
Shangqiu
商邱
Xiangtu
Foot of Mount Tai
泰山麓
Xiangtu
Shangqiu
商邱
Xiangtu
Yin
Shanghou
Shangqiu
商邱
Yinhou
Bo
"西"亳
Tang
Xiao
Zhongding
Xiang
Hedanjia
Xing
Zuyi
Bi
Zuyi
Yan
Nangeng
Yin
Pangeng
Zhou dynasty Western Zhou dynasty Zongzhou
宗周
1046 BC – 771 BC Western capital
Chengzhou
成周
1046 BC – 771 BC Eastern capital
Eastern Zhou dynasty Chengzhou
成周
770 BC – 367 BC
Henan
河南
367 BC – 256 BC capital of the Western Zhou dynasty
Gong
367 BC – 249 BC capital of the Eastern Zhou dynasty
Qin dynasty Xiquanqiu
西犬丘
Pingyang
平陽
– 677 BC
Yong
677 BC –
Jingyang
涇陽
– 383 BC
Yueyang
櫟陽
383 BC – 250 BC
Xianyang
咸陽
350 BC – 207 BC
Han dynasty Western Han dynasty Luoyang
雒陽
202 BC
Yueyang
櫟陽
202 BC – 200 BC
Chang'an
長安
200 BC – 8 BC
Xin dynasty Chang'an
長安
AD 8–23
Han dynasty Eastern Han dynasty Luoyang
雒陽
AD 25–190
Chang'an
長安
191–195
Xu
196–220
Three Kingdoms period Cao Wei Luoyang
洛陽
220–265
Shu Han Chengdu
成都
221–263
Eastern Wu Jianye
建業
227–279
Jin dynasty Western Jin dynasty Luoyang
洛陽
265–313
Chang'an
長安
313–316
Eastern Jin dynasty Jiankang
建康
317–420
Northern dynasties Northern Wei Pingcheng
平城
386–493
Luoyang
洛陽
493–534
Ye
534–550 capital of Eastern Wei
Chang'an
長安
535–557 capital of Western Wei
Northern Qi Ye
550–577
Northern Zhou Chang'an
長安
557–581
Southern dynasties Liu Song dynasty Jiankang
建康
420–479
Southern Qi Jiankang
建康
479–502
Liang dynasty Jiankang
建康
502–557
Chen dynasty Jiankang
建康
557–589
Sui dynasty Dongdu
東都
581–618
Daxing
大興
581–618 auxiliary capital
Tang dynasty Chang'an
長安
618–690
Luoyang
洛陽
657–690 auxiliary capital
Wu Zetian's Zhou dynasty Luoyang
洛陽
690–705
Tang dynasty Chang'an
長安
705–904
Luoyang
洛陽
705–736 auxiliary capital
Luoyang
洛陽
904–907
Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period Later Liang Dongdu
東都
907–923
Later Tang Dongdu
東都
923–936
Later Jin Dongjing
東京
936–947
Later Han Dongjing
東京
947–950
Later Zhou Dongjing
東京
951–960
Song dynasty Northern Song dynasty Dongjing
東京
960–1127
Southern Song dynasty Nanjing
南京
1127–1129 After the fall of Dongjing, Zhao Gou declares himself Emperor Gaozong in Henan
Yangzhou
楊州
1129–1130 Flight of Emperor Gaozong during the Jin invasion of the Yangtze Delta in 1129–1130.
Zhenjiang
鎮江
Lin'an
臨安
Yuezhou
越州
Mingzhou
明州
Dinghai
定海
Off the coast Taizhou, Wenzhou
"海上朝廷"
Zhang'an
章安
Yuezhou
越州
Lin'an
臨安
1130–1276 Song court settles in Lin'an for 146 years
Fuzhou
福州
1276–1277 Flight of Emperor Duanzong along the southeast coast following the fall of Lin'an in 1276.
Guangzhou
廣州
1277–1278
Guanfuchang
官富場
1278
Gangzhou
碙州
Emperor Bingzong succeeds Duanzong on Lantau Island in modern Hong Kong
Yashan
涯山
1278–1279 Song court makes last stand off the coast of Yashan
Liao dynasty Shangjing
上京
907–1120
Nanjing
南京
1122–1123
Tokmok
虎思斡耳朵
1134–1218
Jin dynasty Shangjing
上京
1115–1153
Zhongdu
中都
1153–1214
Nanjing
南京
1214–1234
Western Xia Xingqing
興慶
1038–1227
Yuan dynasty
Shangdu
上都
May 1264 – 1267
Dadu
大都
1267[4] – August 1368
Shangdu
上都
August 1368 – 1369
Ming dynasty Nanjing
南京
23 January 1368 – 2 February 1421
Beijing
北京
2 February 1421 – 25 April 1644
Nanjing
南京
1644 – 1645
Fuzhou
福州
1645 – 1646
Zhaoqing
肇慶
1646 – 25 April 1662
Later Jin Feiala
費阿拉
1587–1603
Hetuala
赫圖阿拉
1603–1619
Jiefan
界凡
1619 – September 1620
Sarhu
薩爾滸
September 1620 – April 1621
Dongjing
東京
April 1621 – 11 April 1625
Shengjing
盛京
11 April 1625 – 1636
Qing dynasty Shengjing
盛京
1636 – 30 October 1644
Beijing
北京
30 October 1644[5] – 12 February 1912[6]
Republic of China Nanjing
南京
1 January 1912 – 2 April 1912 Provisional Government
Beijing
北京
2 April 1912 – 30 May 1928 Beiyang government[6]
Fengtian
奉天
30 May 1928 – 29 December 1928 Beiyang government
Guangzhou
廣州
1 July 1925 – 21 February 1927 Guangzhou Nationalist Government
Wuhan
武漢
21 February 1927 – 19 August 1927 Wuhan Nationalist Government[7]
Nanjing
南京
18 April 1927 – 20 November 1937 the Nanjing decade[6]
Luoyang
洛陽
29 Jan 1932 – 1 December 1932
Beijing
北平
9 September 1930 – 23 September 1930 Beiping Nationalist Government
Taiyuan
太原
23 September 1930 – 4 November 1930 Beiping Nationalist Government
Guangzhou
廣州
28 May 1931 – 22 December 1931 Guangzhou Nationalist Government
Chongqing
重慶
21 November 1937 – 5 May 1946 during the Second Sino-Japanese War[6]
Nanjing
南京
30 March 1940 – 10 August 1945 Wang Jingwei Government
Nanjing
南京
5 May 1946 – Present (de jure) (de facto until 23 April 1949)[6]
Guangzhou
廣州
23 April 1949 – 14 October 1949 during the Chinese Civil War
Chongqing
重慶
14 October 1949 – 30 November 1949 during the Chinese Civil War
Chengdu
成都
30 November 1949 – 27 December 1949 during the Chinese Civil War
Xichang
西昌
27 December 1949 – 27 March 1950 during the Chinese Civil War
Taipei
台北
10 December 1949 – Present (de facto)
People's Republic of China Beijing
北京
1 October 1949 – Present

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Denis Twitchett, Herbert Franke, John K. Fairbank, in The Cambridge History of China: Volume 6, Alien Regimes and Border States (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994), p 454.
  2. ^ 李玉潔. [2003] (2003). 中國早期國家性質. 知書房出版集團. ISBN 986-7938-17-8, ISBN 978-986-7938-17-6.
  3. ^ a b Bamboo annals Xia chapter on Xia Jie under the name Gui (癸).
  4. ^ Kenneth Pletcher (2010) ”The History of China”, page 173 ISBN 1615301097
  5. ^ William T. Rowe (2009) ”China's Last Empire: The Great Qing”, page 19 ISBN 0674036123
  6. ^ a b c d e Esherick, Joseph. [2000] (2000). Remaking the Chinese City: Modernity and National Identity, 1900-1950. University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 0-8248-2518-7.
  7. ^ Clark, Anne Biller. Clark, Anne Bolling. Klein, Donald. Klein, Donald Walker. [1971] (1971). Harvard Univ. Biographic Dictionary of Chinese communism. Original from the University of Michigan v.1. Digitized Dec 21, 2006. p 134.