History of Yanqing Throughout the Ages

  • offcial website of Beijing Expo 2019 2016-06-01 10:33:50

Historical Vicissitude of Establishment

There have been human activities in Yanqing, the ancient and magical land, from early on. Historical remains of primitive human activities and a large number of cultural relics as early as in the Paleolithic Age tens of thousands of years ago are kept in Heibai River Valley in the mountainous area of eastern Yanqing. Since then, Yanqing has experienced the great historical process from wildness to civilization, from tribal wars to national amalgamation. According to historical records, Battle of Banquan between the Yellow Emperor and Yandi Emperor took place in areas of Shangbanquan Villiage and Xiabanquan Village of Yanqing. In accordance with Shih Chi (Records of the Historian), and then, the Yellow Emperor defeated Yandi Emperor after battling for three rounds, achieving his ambition in Banquan. Fifteen li northwest of central Yanqing lies Mount Ban, with Ban Spring flowing underneath. In ancient China, “Places with mountains and waters by sides are of strategic importance”. Therefore, Yanqing has been a hotspot for tribes in the north of China to compete for and an important place for multi-ethnic settlement and activities, as early as 4000-5000 years ago.

Situations vary in Yanqing over the years, with constant dissension and complicated historical vicissitude of establishment.

Two feudal states of Yan and Ji were established in today’s Beijing by King Wu of Zhou following the collapse of the Shang Dynasty. Yanqing has gradually become an important part of Yan culture. In the 29th Year under the reign of King Zhao of Yan (283 BC), Shanggu Prefecture was established, with Yanqing as a part, which is also the first time in the history of Yanqing when it was included as an administrative institution. State Yan has been surrounded by the northern nationalities since the early enfeoffment of the Western Zhou Dynasty, once serving as the barrier in northeast of the Zhou Dynasty. As one of Seven Powers in the Warring State Period, State Yan enjoyed social and economic development, and gradually prosperous business.

From Qin and Han Dynasties to Sui and Tang Dynasties, Yanqing had been strategic passage and communications hub from North China to Shanxi and Inner Mongolia, with people of all ethnic groups coming and returning more frequently. After the unification of the six States by Qin, Juyong Couty and Shanglan County were established in today’s Yanqing, under the governance of Shanggu Prefecture. In early Han Dynasty when the System of Prefectures and Counties and the System of Enfeoffment coexisted, Yanqing was under the jurisdiction of Prince of Yan. In 127 BC, Emperor Wudi of Han Dynasty abolished State Yan, resuming the establishment of Shanggu Prefecture, with Juyong County and Yiyu County in today’s Yanqing. During the period under the rule of Wang Mang, Shanggu Prefecture was replaced by Shuodiao Prefecture. The establishment in West Han Dynasty was restored in the Eastern Han Dynasty. In 30 AD, Yiyu County was abolished, and Juyong County remained as a part of Shanggu Prefecture. During the period of two Han Dynasties, Shanggu Prefecture had gradually become the strategic buffer zone between the Central Plains and nomadic tribes such as Xiongnu and Wuhuan.

The area of Yanqing in the Kingdom of Wei and Western Jin Dynasties was still under the governance of Shanggu Prefecture, with the administrative center in Juyong County. During the period of the Sixteen States, Yanqing was successively under the rule of State Later Zhao, State Former Yan, and State Later Yan. When it came to the Northern Wei Dynasty, Shanggu Prefecture was established, still with the administrative center in Juyong County. In 525 AD under the reign of Emperor Xiaoming of Northern Wei, Du Luozhou in Rouxuan Town rose in arms in Shanggu Prefecture, abolishing the establishment of both prefecture and county. During the Eastern Wei Dynasty, Shanggu Prefecture and Juyong County were reestablished, until in 556 AD of the Northern Qi Dynasty. Juyong County had existed for more than 800 years.

After historical vicissitude for thousands of years, Yanqing area had gradually developed into an important military region and the transportation hub for supplies exchange in Sui and Tang Dynasties. The jurisdiction transferred from Yanzhou in early Sui Dynasty to Huairong County of Zhuo Prefecture. In early Tang Dynasty, Beiyanzhou was set up under the governance of the old Huairong County, renamed as Guizhou in 634 AD under the reign of Emperor Taizong, and Guichuan Prefecture in 742 AD under the reign of Emperor Xuanzong. After An Shi Zhi Luan (the rebellion of An Lushan and Shi Siming) of Tang Dynasty, Yanqing was included in Youzhou. During the later reign of Emperor Xuanzong, Guichuan County (now in the northwest Yanqing) was established, separating from Huairong County. Later on, Jinshan County was established in the east of Guichuan County.

During the period of Liao, Jin and Yuan Dynasties, Yanqing, as a key pass of the capital city and its environs and a transportation hub, brought out the distinctive local history and culture, with the fusion of the grassland culture in nationalities such as Khitan, Jurchens and Mongolian and the Central Plains culture.

In 938 AD of Liao Dynasty, Shi Jingtang, Emperor Gaozu of Later Jin, ceded Sixteen Divisions including Youzhou and Yunzhou to the khitans. Later on, the status of Yanjing was elevated as Nanjing, with the establishment of Ruzhou and Jinshan County, as well as Jinyang Army in Yanqing. In 1141 AD under the reign of Emperor Xizong in Jin Dynasty, Ruzhou was abolished while Jinshan County remained. Jinshan County was elevated in status as Zhenzhou in 1212, which was abolished in the next year after the army of Genghis Khan broke the barrier of Juyong Pass.

Jinshan County was resumed in early Yuan Dynasty. Emperor Renzong, born in Xiangshui Garden of Yanqing, elevate the status of Jinshan County to Longqingzhou in 1316.

In later Ming Dynasty, Yanqing served as the forward position against forces of Mongolia, for the defense of the Capital. In order to counter the harassing attacks from the north, the Ming Great Wall was built against Mountain Yan as strategic pass, stationed by armies composed of officials, soldiers and their families from Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces. Therefore, the complex and mixed Great Wall defensive system was formed, also as an important area for economic and trade exchanges between the north and the capital. In 1370 under the reign of Emperor Hongwu in Ming Dynasty, Longqingzhou was abolished with residents moving inside Shanhaiguan Pass. In 1402 under the reign of Emperor Jianwen, Thousand Households’ Unit was replaced by Longqingwei. In 1414 when Emperor Chengzu, Zhu Di, inspected north, with Mount Tuan as stopover, Guichuan was regarded in his eyes as a place endowed with fertile soil and surrounded mountains, and thus Longqingzhou was reestablished. As the defense of Ming to the northern military attacks was increasingly strengthened, there were Longqingwei, Longqingzhou, Longqing Zuowei, Yongning County, Yongningwei in coexistence in later reign of Emperor Jiajing, with military forces and civil forces mixed together inside Yanqing. In 1567, considering the avoidance of the disrespect of using the same characters Longqing as the then reign title Longqing, Longqing was renamed as Yanqing.

In Qing Dynasty when Manchu, Han and Mongolian nationalities were unified, the culture system of multicultural coexistence eventually formed in Yanqing after hundreds of years of integration and development, with everlasting impact till today. The establishment of Yanqingzhou remained in Qing Dynasty, with Yongningwei, Jing’an Fortress, Zhousigou and Sihaiye included in 1693 under the reign of Emperor Kangxi.

After historical vicissitudes of one hundred years, as Zhou was replaced by County in 1913, the second year of the republic of China, Yanqing County began to be called, as the start of the one-hundred-year history of establishment as a county, embracing the further magnificent changes. Then Chahar Province was established in 1928, and Yanqing County became one part of it.

After the founding of new China, Chahar Province was abolished and included into Zhangjiakou, Hebei Province in 1952, and later on, was incorporated into Beijing in October 1958, serving as the northwest portal for the Capital.

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