Historical capitals of China
The Chinese phrase Four Great Ancient Capitals of China (simplified Chinese: 中国四大古都; traditional Chinese: 中國四大古都; pinyin: Zhōngguó Sì Dà Gǔdū) traditionally refers to Beijing (the current capital), Nanjing, Luoyang, and Chang'an (Xi'an).
Due to additional evidence discovered since the 1930s, other historical capitals have been included in the list. The later phrase Seven Ancient Capitals of China includes Kaifeng (added in the 1920s as the fifth ancient capital), Hangzhou (the sixth, added in the 1930s), and Anyang (a proposal by numerous archaeologists in 1988, after which it finally became the seventh ancient capital). In 2004, the China Ancient Capital Society officially added Zhengzhou as an eighth due to archaeological finds from the early Shang dynasty there.
List of historical capitals of China
In alphabetical order:
- A'cheng (now a district of the city of Harbin), was the capital during the Jin Dynasty (1115-1234) from 1115 until 1153, called Shangjing Huining Fu. Destroyed in 1157 and re-established as a secondary capital of the empire in 1173.
- Anyang was the capital during the Yin period of the Shang Dynasty (estimated between 1600 BC and 1046 BC): called Yin (殷, pinyin: Yīn).
- Beijing (previously romanized as Peking in postal romanization; briefly known as Peip'ing in Wade-Giles (WG) or Běipíng in pinyin (py)), the Northern Capital, was and has been the capital of various Chinese governments including (sorted chronologically):
- Qing Dynasty from the fall of the Ming in 1644 to the end of the dynasty in 1912.
- The current capital of the People's Republic of China.
- Chengdu (WG: Ch'eng-tu) was the capital of the Shu Kingdom during the period of the Three Kingdoms. It was briefly the seat of Chiang's ROC government during the Chinese civil war with the Communist Party of China.
- Chongqing (CPMR: Chungking) was the provisional capital of the government of Chiang Kai-shek during World War II (Second Chinese-Japanese War), and was briefly the seat of Chiang's ROC government during the Chinese civil war with the Communist Party of China.
- Guangzhou (formerly Romanized Canton from CPMR)
- Hangzhou (also Hangchou or Hangchow) was the capital of:
- China during the Southern Song Dynasty: called Lin'an (臨安 Lín'ān).
- Kaifeng was the capital of various Chinese governments including (sorted chronologically):
- Northern Song Dynasty: called Dongjing (東京 Dōngjīng).
- Luoyang was the capital of various Chinese governments including (sorted chronologically):
- Eastern Han Dynasty from 25 to 220
- Western Jin Dynasty
- Northern Wei Dynasty since 493, moved its capital from Datong.
- Zhou Dynasty from 690 to 705
- Nanjing (formerly Romanized Nanking (CPMR) or Nanching in WG), the Southern Capital was the capital of various Chinese governments including (sorted chronologically):
- Taiping Tianguo (Heavenly Kingdom of Great Peace and Prosperity) during the Taiping Rebellion. Known as Tianjing (天京，literally 'Heavenly Capital') between 1853 and its fall in 1864.
- Taipei has been the de facto capital of the Republic of China since 1949 when the government relocated to Taiwan.
- Wuhan was the capital of a leftist Kuomintang government led by Wang Jingwei in opposition to Chiang Kaishek during the 1920s.
- Xi'an (WG: Hsi'an; called Chang'an in ancient times) was the capital of various Chinese governments including (sorted chronologically):
- Western Han Dynasty from 206 BC to AD 9
- Xin Dynasty from 8 to 23
- Sui Dynasty from 581 to 618
- Tang Dynasty from 618 to 907
|Shang||Bo||亳||Tang of Shang|
|Foot of Mount Tai||"泰山麓"||Xiangtu|
|Zhou||Western||Zongzhou||宗周||1046 BC—771 BC||Western capital|
|Chengzhou||成周||1046 BC—771 BC||Eastern capital|
|Eastern||Chengzhou||成周||770 BC—367 BC|
|"Henan"||河南||367 BC—256 BC||capital of the Western Zhou State|
|Gong||鞏||367 BC—249 BC||capital of the Eastern Zhou State|
|Yueyang||櫟陽||383 BC—250 BC|
|Xianyang||咸陽||350 BC—207 BC|
|Yueyang||櫟陽||202 BC—200 BC|
|Chang'an||長安||200 BC—8 BC|
|Xin||Chang'an||長安||8 AD—23 AD|
|Ye||鄴||534—550||capital of the Eastern Wei State|
|Chang'an||長安||535—557||capital of the Western Wei State|
|Southern||Nanjing||南京||1127—1129||After the fall of Dongjing, Zhao Gou declares himself Emperor Gaozong in Henan|
|Yangzhou||杨州||1129—1130||Flight of Emperor Gaozong during the Jin invasion of the Yangtze Delta in 1129—1130.|
|Off the coast Taizhou, Wenzhou||"海上朝廷"|
|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.|
|Gangzhou||碙州||Emperor Bingzong succeeds Duanzong on Lantau Island in modern Hong Kong|
|Yashan||厓山||1278—1279||Song court makes last stand off the coast of Yashan|
Empire of the Khitan
|Shangdu||上都||May 1264 — 1267|
|Dadu||大都||1267 — August 1368|
|Shangdu||上都||August 1368 — 1369|
|Ming||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||Shengjing||盛京||1636 — 30 October 1644|
|Peking||北京||30 October 1644 — 12 February 1912|
|Republic of China||Nanking||南京||1 January 1912 — 2 April 1912||Provisional Government|
|Beijing||北京||2 April 1912 — 30 May 1928||Beiyang Government|
|Shenyang||奉天||30 May 1928 — 29 December 1928||Beiyang Government|
|Guangzhou||广州||1 July 1925 — 21 February 1927||Guangzhou Nationalist Government|
|Wuhan||武漢||21 February 1927 — 19 August 1927||Wuhan Nationalist Government|
|Nanking||南京||18 April 1927 — 20 November 1937||the Nanjing decade|
|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|
|Nanking||南京||30 March 1940 — 10 August 1945||Wang Jingwei Government|
|Nanking||南京||5 May 1946 — 23 April 1949|
|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|
|Sichang||西昌||27 December 1949 — 27 March 1950||during the Chinese Civil War|
|Taipei||臺北||10 December 1949 — Present|
|People's Republic of China||Beijing||北京||1 October 1949 — Present|
- 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.
- 李玉潔.  (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.
- Bamboo annals Xia chapter on Xia Jie under the name Gui (癸).
- Kenneth Pletcher (2010) ”The History of China”, page 173 ISBN 1615301097
- William T. Rowe (2009) ”China's Last Empire: The Great Qing”, page 19 ISBN 0674036123
- Esherick, Joseph.  (2000). Remaking the Chinese City: Modernity and National Identity, 1900-1950. University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 0-8248-2518-7.
- Clark, Anne Biller. Clark, Anne Bolling. Klein, Donald. Klein, Donald Walker.  (1971). Harvard Univ. Biographic Dictionary of Chinese communism. Original from the University of Michigan v.1. Digitized Dec 21, 2006. p 134.