Beijing is the capital of the People's Republic of China with the area of 16,410.54 square kilometres. Mountainous areas occupy 10,417.5 square kilometres, accounting for 62 percent of the city's landmass. The remaining 6,390.3 square kilometres or 38 percent of the total is flatland. The municipality governs 16 urban districts and two rural counties.
Beijing belongs to the warm temperate zone and has a semi-humid climate. It has four distinctive seasons, with a short spring and autumn and longer summers and winters. January is the coldest month and July is the hottest.
Beijing Cave Man
Yanjing, the Most Important City of the Yan
During the tumultuous Spring and Autumn period (771-476 BC) and much of the Warring States period (475-221 BC) conflicts resulted in Yan expanding its empire, swallowing up much of the surrounding lands and installing the City of Ji as its new capital. Its emergence as a power of the age was short-lived after a failed assassination attempt on the rival king of Qin. In 226 BC, Qin forces conquered Yan; five years later, all the Warring States had been defeated, establishing the first unification of China under its namesake, the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC). The city of Ji was chosen as the administrative centre of Guangyang Prefecture, one of 36 prefectures in China's first feudal empire.
Conflict and Change
In 1215 the Mongols, led by Genghis Khan, invaded the city, but it was left to Genghis’s grandson, Kublai Khan, to finally conquer the whole of China, establishing the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) with Beijing as its capital. The city, known as Dadu (Great Capital), was meticulously planned around a grid plan that still characterizes the city today. As the capital city of the Yuan Dynasty, Dadu enjoyed worldwide fame in the 13th century. Envoys and traders from Europe, Asia and Africa who paid visits to China were astounded by the splendor and magnificence of the city.
After the fall of the Mongol empire in 1368, the early Ming emperors settled in Nanjing temporarily, renaming the old Yuan capital Beiping (Northern Peace). However, after usurping the throne from his nephew in 1403, Zhu Di, also known as the Yongle Emperor, started building the grand Forbidden City. Finally, in 1421, he relocated to what is now known as Beijing (Northern Capital). The layout of what remains in today's modern Beijing finds its roots in this period. The Forbidden City was constructed from 1407 to 1420, followed by the Temple of Heaven (1420), and numerous other construction projects.
After a lengthy rule, the Ming Dynasty fell into decline. A peasant uprising took the city in April 1644. By June a federation of Manchurian tribes from the north, after being given free passage through the Great Wall by a disaffected general, finally conquered the city and established the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). The Forbidden City was then enlarged, and communications with other countries were enhanced.
On January 31, 1949, the People's Liberation Army peacefully entered and liberated Beijing. The People's Republic of China was born on October 1, 1949, when Chairman Mao Zedong uttered the words "The People's Republic of China has been founded; from this time, the Chinese people have stood up while addressing the Chinese people via radio from the rostrum on Tiananmen Square.