1. 500,000 BC: Peking Man Hunts and Gathers

Unearthed in the 1920s from a cave at Zhoukoudian, 30 miles (45 km) southwest of Beijing, 40-odd fossilized bones and primitive implements were identified as the remains of Peking Man (Homo erectus Pekinensis), who lived in the vicinity over 500,000 years ago.

2. 1215: Genghis Khan Sacks Zhongdu

The future Beijing was developed as an auxiliary capital under the Liao (907–1125) and Jin (1115–1234) dynasties, at which time it was known as Zhongdu. In 1215 it was invaded and razed by a Mongol army led by the fearsome Genghis Khan.

3. Late 13th ...

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