Nanjing, also Nan-ching, both, and Nanking, China, the capital of Jiangsu province. It lies on the Yangtze River in east-central China, about 560 miles (900 km) southeast of Beijing, the national capital. At various times Nanjing has been the capital of China. Nanjing means "southern capital;" Beijing, "northern capital."
Industry has been developed vigorously by the Chinese Communists, and Nanjing, is now an important manufacturing center. Products include cement, fertilizers, petroleum, chemicals, electronic equipment, iron and steel, trucks, and machine tools. The city is also a transportation center. A double-decked railway and highway bridge across the Yangtze, opened in 1968, is a key link in the Beijing-Shanghai route. Nanjing is also a major river port and has an airport.
Most of the old city walls and gates, built during the Ming dynasty (1368-1644), still stand. Other landmarks include the mausoleum of Sun Yat-sen, the tomb of the first Ming emperor, an astronomical observatory, a provincial museum, and a large lake, which is the site of varied recreational and cultural facilities. Nanjing University is the most prominent of the city's many institutions of higher learning.
Nanjing was probably founded around the 5th century B.C. From the 3rd to the beginning of the 15th century, it was the capital city of eight different dynasties. Nanjing was captured by the British in 1842, during the Opium War, and a treaty was signed here opening China to Western trade. From 1853 until 1864, during the Taiping Rebellion, Nanjing was the headquarters of the rebel forces. The city served briefly as capital of the first Chinese republic in 1912.
In 1928 Nanjing became the seat of the Nationalist government under Chiang Kai-shek. In 1937 the city fell to the Japanese, who massacred about 250,000 civilians in what came to be called "the rape of Nanking." The city once again served as capital of Nationalist China from 1946 until 1949, when the city was taken by the Communists.