When Beijing became the imperial capital in 1421, the city took the name Nanjing, meaning Southern Capital.
Nanjing was founded in the 8th century BC. Under various names, it was the national capital from the 3rd to the 6th century AD and for parts of the 10th, 14th, and 15th centuries. Nanjing was renamed Chiang-ning during the Qing (Ch'ing) dynasty (1644-1911) and reverted to Nanjing in 1912.
Principal manufactures include cement, fertilizer, chemicals, electronic equipment, iron and steel, motor vehicles, and machine tools. Nanjing University, Nanjing Union Theological Seminary (1952), and a noted astronomical observatory are here. Landmarks include a bridge (1968) over the Yangtze, the tomb (built 1925-29) of Sun Yat-sen, and remnants of a 14th-century Ming emperor's tomb.
In 1912 Nanjing was made the provisional capital of the new republic of China. It fell to Communist control in 1927, and, when retaken by Nationalists under Chiang Kai-shek in 1928, it became the official capital. Japanese forces seized Nanjing in 1937 and held it until 1945; the capture of the city was accompanied by such atrocities that it became known as the "rape of Nanjing."
Following World War II, the city served (1945-49) as capital of the republic of China. After 1949, when Beijing became capital of the newly established People's Republic of China, Nanjing was developed as a center for heavy industry.
It became provincial capital in 1952. Population (1990) 2,090,204.
The city was heavily damaged (1853-64) during the Taiping Rebellion.
Major cities near Nanjing:
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