Nanjing

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Nanjing

Nanjing (nän´jĬng´) or Nanking (năn´kĬng´) [southern capital], city (1994 est. pop. 2,224,200), capital of Jiangsu prov., E central China, in a bend of the Chang (Yangtze) River. It has served at times in the past as capital of China. The second largest city in the region (after Shanghai), Nanjing is at the intersection of three major railroad lines. Industry, which once centered around "nankeen" cloth (unbleached cotton goods), was vigorously developed under the Communist government. The city now has an integrated iron-steel complex, an oil refinery, food-processing establishments, and hundreds of plants making chemicals, textiles, cement, fertilizers, machinery, weapons, electronic equipment, optical instruments, photographic equipment, and trucks. Nanjing has long been celebrated as a literary and political center. It was the capital of China from the 3d to 6th cent. AD and again from 1368 to 1421. The Treaty of Nanjing, signed in 1842 at the end of the Opium War, opened China to foreign trade. During the Taiping Rebellion insurgents held the city from 1853 to 1864. It was captured by the revolutionists in 1911, and in 1912 it became the capital of China's first president, Sun Yat-sen. When in 1927 the city fell to the Communists, the foreign residents fled to the protection of British and American warships on the Chang River. The Kuomintang under Chiang Kai-shek retook the city, and it became (1928) the regular Nationalist capital. In 1932, when the Japanese were threatening to attack the city, the government was temporarily removed to Luoyang, and on Nov. 21, 1937, just before Nanjing fell to the Japanese, it was moved to Chongqing. The Japanese entry into the city, accompanied by widespread killing and brutality, became known as the "rape of Nanking." The Japanese established (1938) their puppet regime in Nanjing. Chinese forces reoccupied the city Sept. 5, 1945, and the capitulation of the Japanese armies in China was signed there on Sept. 9. Nanjing again fell to the Communists in Apr., 1949, and from 1950 until 1952, when it became the provincial capital, Nanjing was administered as part of an autonomous region. The city has many institutions of higher learning, notably Nanjing Univ. and Nanjing Institute of Technology. The Nanjing Military Academy is there. The city is also noted for its library, and its astronomical observatory and botanical gardens are among China's largest. The original city wall (70 ft/21 m high), most of which still stands, dates from the Ming dynasty and encircles most of the modern city. The tomb of the first Ming emperor is approached by an avenue lined with colossal images of men and animals. Also of interest are the tomb of Sun Yat-sen, a memorial to China's war dead (a steel pagoda), the Taiping museum, and the 89-story Zifeng Tower (2010). A 4-mi (6.4 km), two-level railway and road bridge was completed across the Chang in 1968.

See I. Chang, The Rape of Nanking (1997).

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