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The history of Beijing dates back nearly 500,000 years, during which time lived Peking man. Evidence of the stone tools he used and the use of fire are the oldest Chinese relics of history.
The first name of the city currently known as Beijing was Ji. During the warrior state period (475 - 221BCE), the leader of the Yan state made Ji its capital. The warrior state period ended when the leader of the Qin state defeated the other seven states and for the first time in history unified China.
During the following 1000 years, Ji served as a capital, or a strategic regional trading, and military center. Afterwards, during the Tang Dynasty (618 – 906CE), Beijing was no different than any other city in China. But when the dynasty collapsed, Qidans moved in and made it their second capital, renaming it Yanjing. During this time, many palaces were built in the area.
In 1153 during the Jin Dynasty (1115 – 1234), Yanjing was made the capital and once again renamed as Zhongdu. By this time, the city was rebuilt and had a population of nearly one million.
In 1215CE, Genghis Kahn took control of Yanjing and decreased the city’s status from the capital to provincial status. Because of fires during Kahn’s invasion, years later Kublai Kahn chose to rebuild the city on a grander scale. It was afterwards renamed as Dadu.
In the 14th century Ming troops seized Dadu. The city was renamed Beiping and once again made a provincial state. Then, in the beginning of the 15th century, during the construction time of the Great Wall of China, the city was again made the capital and finally given its present name of Beijing.
For the next four centuries the Ming Dynasty ruled over the area until it finally collapsed in 1911. Afterwards the Republic of China was established.