Beijing – A Concise History
Routledge – 2007 – 212 pages
Stephen Haw sets out the history of the city of Beijing, charting the course of its development from its early roots before 2000 BC to its contemporary position as capital of the People’s Republic of China.
Stephen Haw, a well-established author on China, outlines the establishment of the earliest cities in the years before 1000 BC, its status as regional capital during most of the long Zhou dynasty, and its emergence as capital of the whole of China after the conquest of the Mongol invaders under Chenghiz Khan and his successors. He considers the city’s assumption of its modern name ‘Beijing’ under the Ming dynasty, conquest by the Manchus and the turbulent years of civil war that followed the collapse of the Qing dynasty in 1911, culminating in the communist revolution and Beijing’s resumption of the role of capital of China in 1949.
Overall, Stephen Haw gives an impressive account of the long and fascinating history of a city that is growing in prominence as an urban centre of global significance.
Introduction: The Northern Capital 1. At the Edge of the North China Plain: The Location and Prehistory of the Beijing Area 2. Chinese or Barbarian?: c. 2000 BC to AD 581 3. Regained and Lost: The Sui, Tang, Liao and Jin Dynasties, AD 581 to 1215 4. Destroyed and Rebuilt: The Mongol Conquest and the New City of Dadu, 1215 to 1368 5. Chinese Capital: The Ming Dynasty, 1368 to 1644 6. Change of Mandate: The Manchu Conquest, 1644 to 1860 7. Besieged: The Late Qing Dynasty, 1860 to 1911 8. Northern Peace?: The Republic, the Warlords and Communist Revolution, 1911 to 1949 9. Pride Restored: The People’s Republic of China, 1949 to 1976 10. The Modern City: 1976 to the Present. Appendix A: Government and Control of the Beijing Area. Appendix B: Chronology of Major Events. Appendix C: Tian’anmen Square. Appendix D: The Forbidden City. Appendix E: The Summer Palaces and Imperial Parks. Appendix F: The Temple of Heaven and the Altars of the Earth, Sun and Moon. Appendix G: Other Temples and Religious Sites in Beijing. Appendix H: Museums in Beijing. Appendix I: The Great Wall. Appendix J: Imperial Tombs. Appendix K: Other Sites Outside Beijing City. Appendix L: Food in Beijing. Appendix M: The ‘Northern Barbarians’ and Beijing. Appendix N: Further Reading
Stephen G Haw read Chinese at the University of Oxford and has an MA degree from the University of London. He first visited China in 1980 and lived in the country for two years as a student and teacher at the University of Shandong. He has since travelled extensively around the country. He is the author of numerous articles and several books.