Historic Sites in China

Historic Sites in China

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1. Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China is an iconic structure and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Originally made up of several different defensive walls, it was during the reign of the first Emperor Qin Shi Huang in 221 BC that the Great Wall of China was amalgamated into the single structure we know today.

At its peak, the Great Wall of China stretched for approximately 5,500 miles from Shanhaiguan in east China to Lop Nur in the west.

Today, the Great Wall is the country’s most famous tourist attraction and one can find sections of the wall in various places. The most popular, and therefore most touristy, of these are in Bādálǐng and the neighbouring Juyongguan, around 70km from Beijing. This part of the wall was built during the Ming Dynasty and, whilst much of it has been has been overhauled by modern restoration, it remains the most frequently visited section of the Great Wall.

10 Must-see Landmarks in China

Taking out the title of the world’s 4th largest country, it really comes as no surprise that China is home to some truly amazing landmarks. From incredible examples of natural beauty through to structures that hold great historical, spiritual and cultural importance, there are so many unforgettable attractions that are just waiting to be discovered. Check out the 10 landmarks that earned a spot on our must-see list!

Holding onto the top spot in our landmarks of China list has to be The Great Wall of China. Let’s be honest it’s one of the world’s most recognisable landmarks.

This China landmark is just so massive it’s hard to comprehend. The wall just goes on and on, and we were lucky to spend a couple of days exploring different sections of it, including the unrestored Gubeikou, the beautiful Jinshangling and Simitai, next to the water town of Gubei.

Spending all day long walking the wall was one of the most amazing experiences we’ve ever had. And we only managed to cover about 16km of it… whereas the entire length of the wall is 21,000km. That’s over half the circumference of the earth! And if you wanted to walk it all, at 20km a day, every day, you’d spend almost 3 years walking – and probably get through a fair few pairs of shoes.

What’s even more impressive, is that the wall was started over 2,000 years ago! The mind just boggles when you try and work out how this huge structure was completed all the way back then. And unsurprisingly it’s estimated that over 1,000,000 workers were involved in the project.

Fun fact: It’s actually an urban myth that the Great Wall of China can be seen from space.

Get to know these 5 historical landmarks in Cebu’s Chinatown

With numerous Chinese communities across the world, Chinatowns have been serving as a home and trading center for the Chinese and the locals for many centuries. The presence of the Chinese culture in Chinatowns are still prevalent today, especially in the Philippines. The rich history between the Chinese and Filipinos manifests in how there are actually five different Chinatowns in different major cities of the country: Manila , Quezon City, Iloilo City, Davao City, and Cebu City .

After 44 years since the Battle of Mactan, The Treaty of Cebu was signed between Miguel López de Legazpi and Rajah Tupas on June 4, 1565. Cebu was officially the first colony under Spain. When the Galleon Trade was imposed during the Spanish rule, many Chinese migrants from Fujian, Guangdong, and other southern provinces in China saw the opportunity to participate in the Galleon Trade. In the 1590s, a Chinese Parian in Cebu was established and was inhabited by Chinese migrants who were mostly traders and artisans for centuries. This has led to a rich Chinese-Filipino history as Chinese-Cebuanos live alongside together, creating and sharing a unique blend of the Chinese and Filipino cultures.

It is known that there is actually no official Chinatown in Cebu, but Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña claims, “Cebu has no Chinatown because Cebu is Chinatown!” Tomas stated how the Chinese are considered Chinese-Cebuanos because of how Cebu is the center of trade in the Visayas. With the rich culture shared between the Chinoys and Filipinos in Cebu, Tomas stated that they have “integrated themselves into the community” and are now “an inseparable part of our culture.”

Dr. Lorelei de Viana, curator and consultant of Sugbu Chinese Heritage Museum, has backed Osmeña’s claim. “If you want to look for Chinatown in Cebu, you have to look everywhere,” she said. In a webinar series ‘Chinatown Portals‘ that was organized by the Chinatown Museum and Bahay Tsinoy on October 3, 2020, Dr. de Viana shared historical facts about the significant places of Cebu’s Chinatown.

Here are 5 historical landmarks in Cebu’s Chinatown with their notable history that you need to know!

1. Fort San Pedro

Address: A. Pigafetta Street, Cebu City

Photo courtesy of Kevin Tocino

Fort San Pedro was established by Miguel Lopez de Legazpi in 1565, which was first named Villa San Miguel. It was utilized as a Spanish base for the first 4 years, but was transferred to Panay in 1569 due to food shortage. After a year, Legazpi came back to Fort San Pedro to settle 50 Spanish married couples as ordered by King Philip II of Spain. He renamed the settlement to Villa del Santisimo Nombre de Jesus by Legazpi in 1570 through the orders of the king to possess Cebu under his (the king) name. Cebu was then named “Ciudad del Santisimo Nombre de Jesus” in 1594.

The fort was originally made out of wood but it was later concretized for defense against Muslim raiders in the early 1600s. In 1738, there were further renovations for the stability of the fort. With its preservation, it still looks the same today after the renovations. The Chinese Parian was born in the 1590s, after Legazpi had implemented a policy of ethnic segregation in 1565. Cebu was divided and the port area Poblacion de Naturales became the town of San Nicolas. Poblacion de Naturales eventually was renamed Ciudad de Cebu.

2. Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House

Address: Mabini St, Cebu City, Cebu

Photo courtesy of Benjie Layug

The ancestral two-story house Yap-Sandiego with Spanish and Chinese influences was built between 1675 and 1700 during the Spanish colonial period. The Balat nga Bata ug Kahoy (House of Wood and Stones) is claimed to be the oldest existing house in Cebu, which proves the existence of the Parian district. Chinese merchant Don Juan Yap and his wife Doña Maria Florido originally owned this house, which was passed down to the 10th generation son Val Mancao San Diego and his wife Ofelia Zozobrado-San Diego. Val Mancao San Diego, an art collector, restored the ancestral home and converted it into a private museum to preserve the history and heritage of Cebu.

3. 1730 Jesuit House

Address: 26 Zulueta St, Cebu City

Photo courtesy of Adrian from Airpaz Blog

The Jesuit House or Museo de Parian sa Sugbo has been a home of the second-highest official of the Jesuit society in the Philippines. In the past, Jesuits looked after the souls of Chinese migrants, their families, and loved ones during the abolition and expulsion of the Chinese population done by the Spanish in the 1770s. Based on an archeological study, the house is dated to be older than 1730. Despite it being a well-preserved Jesuit house, its Chinese influence is prevalent from the pagoda-like designs and carvings that Chinese artisans potentially crafted.

4. Casa Gorodo Museum

Address: 35 Eduardo Aboitiz St, Cebu City

Photo courtesy of Cebu City Tour

In 1778, Chinese migrants were allowed back in the Parian and they were Cebu’s first returnees after the expulsion. This led to a rise of Chinese-Cebuanos because the Spanish government granted freedom of occupation and residence to Chinese mestizos in 1839. The Chinese were also accommodated after Governor General Claveria issued a decree to adopt Filipino names and surnames in 1849. Other Chinese people were able to retain their names as well.

The 19th century Parian was not a Chinese settlement anymore because there were many mestizos who settled there. It is known that the affluent people who lived in the Parian gained wealth from commerce and trade.

Among the rich settlers in the Parian was the first bishop of Cebu, Monsenior Juan Gorodo. He came from a rich background as his father was a tax collector of the Spanish government. The two-story house was built by Alejandro Reynes y Rosales. Spanish merchant Juan Isidro de Gorordo bought and settled there with his mestiza wife in 1865. From 1863 to 1979, the four generations of the Gorodo family settled in this Spanish historic house.

5. Sugbu Chinese Heritage Museum

Address: 731 M. J. Cuenco Ave, Cebu City

Photo courtesy of Paulo Lim

During the American period in the 1990s, the Chinese-Cebuano community gained influence and status in both business and political sectors. This sense of Chinese local community has emerged into the consciousness of the Cebuano-Chinese in Cebu. Even in the contemporary period, there is an emergence of diverse businesses from Chinese-Cebuano taipans. The Chinese-Cebuano plays a key role in the economy of Cebu with the trading, shopping, and commerce-related industries that boosted Cebu.

The Gotiaco Building, the first modern commercial site in Cebu, was built in 1914 by Manuel Gotianuy. The four-story building was named after his father Don Pedro Gotiaco or Go Bun Tiao of Fujian who migrated to the Philippines during 1875. Since he was 16 years old, Don Pedro Gotiaco is seen as an inspiration as he was able to build his wealth and made an economic impact in Cebu through hard work and diligence. In 2013, Museums of the Philippines and the Sugbu Chinese Heritage Museum Foundation, Inc. aimed to preserve the house and convert it into the Sugbu Chinese Heritage Museum for commemorating and promoting Cebuano-Chinese history and heritage with exhibitions and collections.

Historic Sites in China - History

Peking University (PKU) was founded in 1898. Back then it was called the Imperial University of Peking (IUP). It was the first comprehensive national university in modern Chinese history.

IUP was born amidst the ill-fated Reform Movement from June 11 to September 22 in 1898. In 1894, the Qing (1636-1912) court was forced to sign the humiliating Treaty of Shimonoseki in the wake of its defeat in the Sino-Japanese War, which shocked the entire country. China was a pigeon caught up in a pack of very hungry cats—the western powers. Kang Youwei, Liang Qichao, Yan Fu and other advanced intellectuals vehemently called for self-strengthening to save their homeland from danger by setting in motion a reform campaign. “The orientation of this reform is talent training, which in turn rests with inauguration of schools.” In due course, reforming the old education system and establishing new schools became their top priority. In June 1896, Deputy Minister of Crimes and Penalties Li Duanfen submitted a bill titled Request for School Promotion to the throne, proposing the establishment of a university in the capital. On June 11, 1898, Emperor Guangxu promulgated the decree of Clear Instructions for Important Affairs of State and formally announced the launch of reform. According to the decree, “priority should be given to establishment of the Imperial University of Peking, because it will be an example for all provinces.” On July 3, Emperor Guangxu approved the Prime Minister's bill Preparations for the Imperial University of Peking and Draft Charter for Its Operation according to Your Majesty’s Instructions. Drafted by Liang Qichao, the charter encapsulated the educational reform ideal of the reformists, stipulating that “all provincial schools shall be under the jurisdiction of the Imperial University.” It also defined the aim of the university as “training outstanding talents” and proposed a syllabus with “equal emphasis on Chinese and Western learning.” It was the first charter of IUP, as well as the earliest outline of school system in modern Chinese higher education. Emperor Guangxu approved the charter, and placed Sun Jianai, minister of officials, in charge of its implementation. The first comprehensive university under direct sponsorship of the central government in modern China was formally established. Back then, it shouldered dual functions as both the highest institute of learning in China and the highest educational authority. On September 21, the conservatives headed by the Empress Dowager Cixi staged the victorious “Coup of 1898,” after which almost all of the reform measures were abolished. The university was retained “as the venue for cultivating talents,” but with considerable compromise in the original policy and scale of the school. On December 31, the university was inaugurated. However, only 160 students were enrolled, in comparison to the planned 500. They were divided into the Official School for successful candidates of the imperial examinations at state and provincials and the Elementary and Middle School. The curriculum included Book of Songs, Book of History, Book of Changes and Book of Rites for the former and Spring and Autumn Annals for the latter. In the second year, the university would enroll over 200 students and offer courses in Western disciplines as well as the Chinese ones. Aside from Chinese classics and history, general courses in mathematics, physics, chemistry, English, German, French, Russian and Japanese were offered, together with special lectures on history, geography and politics. The inauguration of the university marked the dawn of national university education in modern China.

The newborn university was presently plunged into calamity, when the Boxer Movement reached its climax in May 1900 and the university was involved. In August, when the Eight-Power Allied Forces invaded Beijing, the university was seized by Russian and German troops who seriously damaged the campus. The university was forced to suspend regular operations. In January 1902, the Qing court ordered a reinstatement and appointed Zhang Baixi, the minister of officials, as its president. Zhang devoted himself to the undertaking and made outstanding achievements in its restoration and development. On December 17, 1902, a grand opening ceremony was held at its Normal School and Officials School under the Fast-Track Department. In the same year, the book-keeping building was established, which is the earliest university library in modern China. Zhang presided over the development of a series of school charters from elementary school to university. In August 1902, they were enacted for all provinces under the name of Authoritative Constitutions for Schools. It was the first school system officially promulgated by the government in the history of modern China. Among them, the Authoritative Constitutions for the Imperial University was the second school charter of IUP. It clearly stipulated that the purpose of the university was “to stimulate loyalty and patriotism, reveal wisdom, and pursue industrial revitalization,” “rectify directions and train generalists.” In January 1904, the Qing court promulgated the School Charters as per Memorials to the Throne. Among them, Constitutions for the Imperial University was the third school charter in the history of IUP. At the same time, the Qing government appointed a minister of schooling affairs who would manage the educational affairs throughout the country. Zhang Hengjia was appointed general supervisor of IUP and became the first to hold the office. In December 1905, the Qing court established an Imperial Education Ministry as the central administration on education. And IUP was placed under its jurisdiction.

After the reinstatement of the university, a series of academic halls were established for various disciplines, which laid the foundation for discipline-based ramification in modern Chinese higher education. The Normal School opened in 1902 was the earliest training institute for teachers in China. It was changed to Higher Teacher's Department in 1904, then to Higher Teacher’s School in 1908. The Officials School opened in 1902 was intended for “cultivating talents for public offices.” In the following year, the Qing court set up a Jinshi (literally “a successful candidate of the imperial examinations”) School, and admitted over 100 jinshis. In 1904, the Officials School was incorporated into the Jinshi School. When the imperial examinations were abolished in 1905, Jinshi School lost its standing ground and was changed to the Law School in 1907. In 1902, the School of Combined Learning was incorporated into the university, and turned into the School of Translation the following year. Linguistic majors were offered in English, French, Russian, German and Japanese for the training of translators and diplomats. The school was suspended in 1911. In 1903, the School of Medical Practice was established, and two years later renamed the School of Medicine. The school was structured in two sections—medical science and medical treatment. It was renamed again in 1906 to the Specialized Medical School of the Capital. The Preparatory Department set up in 1904 enrolled students for the future disciplines of the university. In 1907, the Department of Natural Practicum was set up with three majors—specimen preparation, modeling and painting. From 1905 to 1907, IUP held three sessions of sports events, which showed an emphasis on physical education that would be followed by modern higher education institutions. In 1903, 47 students were selected from the university to study in Japan, Europe and the United States. Those were the first international students dispatched by IUP. On March 31, 1910, the opening ceremony was held for a discipline-based IUP. A total of seven departments were established for economics, law and politics, liberal arts, physics, agriculture, engineering, and business. A modern comprehensive university began to take shape.

IUP was established against the historical background of an unprecedented crisis for the Chinese nation. It has been closely related to the destiny of the country and its people from birth. On April 30, 1903, the IUP students organized an assembly to protest against the Russian occupation of northeastern China, condemn the appeasement policy on the part of the Qing court, and demand renunciation of the treaty and resist Russia. After the assembly, the Letter in Condemnation of Russia and Petition for Vying with Russia were drafted. The anti-Russian movement constituted the first anti-imperialist patriotic student movement by institutes of higher learning in modern China.

The outbreak of the 1911 Revolution overthrew the rule of the Qing Dynasty and ended the feudal autocracy system of more than 2,000 years. On January 1, 1912, the Republic of China was founded. On May 3, the government of the Republic of China issued an order that renamed IUP to Government University of Peking and its “general supervisor” to “president.” Yan Fu, a renowned scholar, was appointed the first president of the new university. Yan made a conscious effort to rectify the curriculum in accordance with the modern academic system and popular models of the world's higher education, and merged “Department of Economics” into “Department of Liberal Arts,” changed “Department of Physics” to “Department of Sciences,” actively increased courses to introduce new western branches and launched a re-employment program for the faculty, stipulating that all faculty members must be full-time teachers. Just as the university began to assume signs of recovery, the Ministry of Education proposed to suspend the university on the ground of insufficient funding in July. Yan wrote two petitions—Argument against Suspending Peking University and Measures for Improving Discipline-based Universities—to the Ministry of Education. In stating his reasons against the suspension of the university, he emphasized that the university was entrusted with “preservation of all noble academics for carrying forward national culture” and was thus supposed “to be tolerant and inclusive so as to be worthy of its mission.” In the face of vehement opposition from the faculty and students as well as all walks of life, the authorities eventually dropped the idea. In October of that year, Yan resigned from his position as president of PKU (then known as Government University of Peking). Later, Zhang Shizhao (who did not take office and was temporarily replaced by Ma Liang), He Yushi, and Hu Renyuan were successively assigned to the post. In September 1913, the Ministry of Education ordered the merge of PKU with Tianjin Beiyang University. Then president He Yushi submitted an objection. The PKU Alumni Association also wrote a letter of complaint to the president of Republic of China. Eventually, the authorities were forced to rescind the order.

In the spring of 1913, PKU admitted the first 200-odd preparatory students after the founding of the Republic of China. In November, 226 students graduated from the original discipline-based schools. Those were the first batch of graduates in the history of the university. In 1914, President Hu Renyuan formulated a Planning of Peking University and proposed measures such as enrolling more students, improving teaching methods, developing teaching materials and outlines, purchasing teaching equipment, and sorting through the books. The scale of the university expanded and a group of well-known professors took their talent there. Professors of liberal arts were represented by Chen Fuchen, Huang Kan, Zhu Xizu, Chen Hanzhang, Gu Hongming, Lin Qinnan, Ma Xulun, Qian Xuantong, Shen Yinmo and Ma Yuzao. Those of sciences were represented by Xia Yuanli and Hu Junji those of law by Tao Lügong and Zhang Yaozeng those of engineering by Wen Zongyu and Sun Ruilin. Feng Zuxun, He Yujie, Yu Tongkui and other PKU students that had been dispatched overseas returned to their alma mater for teaching. They established courses in modern mathematics, physics and chemistry, and became the founders of those new disciplines. In order to meet the needs of development, PKU launched the construction of a new building in 1916 with loans. The building was completed in August 1918 and became known as the famous “Red Building” of PKU.

Chinese Historic Sites in BC

Chinese immigrants to British Columbia have contributed to the development of the province since 1788. Heritage BC has compiled a map of more than 40 Chinese historic sites—downtown Chinatowns, as well as other lesser-known histories and memorials scattered throughout BC. Here are a few, and for the full list check out this Heritage BC map.

Quesnel Forks

Located 60 km (37.5 mi) southeast of the city of Quesnel, the town of Quesnel Forks sprang into being because of the Cariboo Gold Rush. It was founded in 1859 and by the 1870s it had become the third-largest Chinese community in the province. It’s a ghost town now, little more than restored pioneer buildings and cemetery.

Heritage building, Quesnel Forks ghost town. Photo: @magnell_photography via Instagram

Commando Bay

On Okanagan Lake between Kelowna and Penticton, Commando Bay is located in the 11,000 ha (27,000 ac) of Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park. Although there is little to indicate its historical significance, in 1944-45 it was the site of guerrilla warfare training for a group of Chinese-Canadians who became known as Force 136. Commando Bay now offers wilderness camping and is accessible only by foot, horseback, bicycle or by boat.

Britannia Shipyards National Historic Site

Built as a cannery in Richmond in the late 1880s, Britannia features a 185-sq-m (2,000-sq-ft) barn-like structure that served as a bunkhouse for Chinese Canadian workers. The last surviving Chinese bunkhouse on the west coast, it housed up to 100 people. The original atmosphere has been recreated, and the upstairs floor features exhibits depicting the lives and plight of the Chinese workers.

Britannia Shipyards main house. Richmond, BC. Photo: @joaange via Instagram

Vancouver’s Chinatown

By 1890 there were more than 1,000 Chinese residents in the downtown enclave. A vibrant community today, Vancouver’s Chinatown offers up abundant historical richness. The Century’s Winds of Change mural at 11 West Pender depicts Chinese history in the city since 1858. And the beautiful Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden is a must-see. The garden is the first Ming Dynasty Scholars Garden built outside of China. It offers various perspectives on culture, architecture and horticulture during the Ming Dynasty.

Sun Yat-Sen garden, a tranquil oasis in Vancouver’s Chinatown. Photo: @TammyGagne via Instagram

Victoria’s Chinatown

Victoria’s historic Chinatown encompasses three downtown blocks in BC’s capital city. Early in the 20th century, the area—featuring hidden courtyards, flared temple-style roofs and the intriguing Fan Tan Alley—was the largest centre of Chinese population in Canada.

The narrowest street in Canada? Fan Tan Alley in Victoria. Photo: Reuben Krabbe

Cumberland Chinatown and Chinese Cemetery

The small village of Cumberland honours its past, including the many contributions made by its thriving Chinese population. By the end of WWI, Cumberland was home to one of Canada’s largest Chinese communities. Brought to work in the coal mines and on the railroad, the immigrants constructed a Chinatown starting in 1888 that eventually included everything from housing to commercial enterprises – including a restaurant that could seat 100 and served 10-course meals. In the town’s heyday there were 1,500 Chinese residents. In 1943, a fire destroyed 43 buildings, and by the 1960s much of what remained was dilapidated. In its place now is Coal Creek Historic Park, with a picnic pavilion and markers that include photos and the history of the buildings that stood on each site.

An overgrown path leads to the picnic gazebo at Cumberland’s old Chinatown site.

Cumberland’s Chinese cemetery is at the other end of town, on Union Road. There is little left to see as most burial plots were marked by cedar posts that have since returned to the earth.

One of the few remaining cedar-post markers at the Cumberland Chinese cemetery

9 Auspicious Dates that Shaped China’s History

PBS takes your family on a Summer of Adventure with eight new programs that explore topics as diverse as Yellowstone’s wildlife emerging from deep winter to the awakenings of spring to a walking tour of Havana. Throughout the summer, meet rare animals, travel to the wild coasts of Ireland and see Alaska’s amazing natural spectacle close-up in PBS’ second live natural history event &mdash Wild Alaska, Live!

The adventure begins with The Story of China. Historian and host Michael Wood suggests that to truly understand China today, we must look back at its 4,000-year history. Wood focuses on some of the earliest rulers of China and takes us through to the last Chinese empire, the birth of the People’s Republic, to today’s China a global economic powerhouse.

Nine is an auspicious number for the Chinese, representing long life and power. Here, Wood chooses nine key dates from Chinese history.

1046 BC: The Mandate of Heaven. Among the earliest rulers of China, the Zhou established the idea of the Mandate of Heaven, in which a just ruler must maintain harmony between heaven and Earth.

221 BC: The First Emperor. A Qin emperor, whose tomb is guarded today by the Terracotta Army near Xi’an, created China’s first centralized, unified state.

635 AD: The Glory of the Tang. The Tang dynasty (618-907) introduced an age of expansiveness, welcoming Christianity to Xi’an. The same year, a Chinese Buddhist pilgrim arrived in India, initiating one of the great cultural exchanges in history.

1088: The Age of Invention. During the Song Dynasty (960-1279), the Chinese invented printing, paper money, soccer, gunpowder and the magnetic compass the “Leonardo da Vinci of China” invented the astronomical clock.

1405: The Great Ming Voyages. The Ming dynasty (1368-1644) is known for cobalt-blue porcelain, the Forbidden City, the Great Wall and, under emperor Yongle, voyages to India, Africa and the Persian Gulf.

1705: The Greatest Emperor. The declining Ming fell to the Manchus, who became China’s last dynasty, the Qing (1644-1911), and doubled the size of China.

1841: The British & the Opium War. The British dominated in the First Opium War and China entered its “century of humiliation.”

1911: The End of the Empire. New world philosophers, socialists, feminists and constitutional monarchists all argued over China’s future. Terminally rocked by the Boxer Rebellion, the Qing empire fell in 1911 and China became a republic.

1949: The Communist Revolution. In 1949, the People’s Republic began with optimism and held power for decades. After Mao’s death, steps toward political reform were put on hold after the Tiananmen Square crisis in 1989. Today, China flexes its muscles as a global economic powerhouse.

Tune in to The Story of China Tuesdays through July 11. Check your local listings for show times.

Michael Wood is well known to television viewers as the writer and presenter of many critically acclaimed series. Born and educated in Manchester, Michael did postgraduate research at Oxford in Anglo-Saxon history. He had ambitions for a career as a medieval historian but says he was `drawn away by television’ and by the possibilities of popularizing history, which has always been his great passion.

7. Rise of the Mongols

Song Taizu, who ruled from 960 AD to 976 AD was one of the greatest rulers in ancient China. In the golden age of his reign, he established a political framework which ensured the longevity and success of the Song dynasty, conquered many of the 10 kingdoms, and almost reunited China a feat that no one could have imagined.

However, in 1125 AD, the unthinkable happened. The Jurchen tribes rebelled and captured the Song capital, Kaifeng. In 1211 AD, at the Battle of Yehuling, 500,000 Jurchen-led Jin troops were defeated by the Mongols, effectively crippling the Jin fighting force. This defeat led to the assassination of the Jin emperor and the decline of the Jin dynasty.

A few years later, the infamous Mongke Khan leader of the Mongols was murdered in a skirmish at the Diaoyu Fortress, leading to the immediate withdrawal of Mongol troops and the reinstating of the Song administration for a further 10 years. But then, peace was lost. In 1276 AD, Lin’an, the Song capital, fell to the Mongols and three years later, the Song dynasty was completely crushed.

Mongol leader Kublai Khan then established the Yuan dynasty which survived for a century. In 1368 AD, the Yuan royal family fled north over the Great Wall following an attack by Zhu Yuanzhang marking the end of Mongol rule in China, and the formation of the Ming dynasty.

Qin Dynasty Construction

Though the beginning of the Great Wall of China can be traced to the fifth century B.C., many of the fortifications included in the wall date from hundreds of years earlier, when China was divided into a number of individual kingdoms during the so-called Warring States Period.

Around 220 B.C., Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of a unified China under the Qin Dynasty, ordered that earlier fortifications between states be removed and a number of existing walls along the northern border be joined into a single system that would extend for more than 10,000 li (a li is about one-third of a mile) and protect China against attacks from the north.

Construction of the “Wan Li Chang Cheng,” or 10,000-Li-Long Wall, was one of the most ambitious building projects ever undertaken by any civilization. The famous Chinese general Meng Tian initially directed the project, and was said to have used a massive army of soldiers, convicts and commoners as workers.

Made mostly of earth and stone, the wall stretched from the China Sea port of Shanhaiguan over 3,000 miles west into Gansu province. In some strategic areas, sections of the wall overlapped for maximum security (including the Badaling stretch, north of Beijing, that was later restored during the Ming Dynasty).

From a base of 15 to 50 feet, the Great Wall rose some 15-30 feet high and was topped by ramparts 12 feet or higher guard towers were distributed at intervals along it.

Did you know? When Emperor Qin Shi Huang ordered construction of the Great Wall around 221 B.C., the labor force that built the wall was made up largely of soldiers and convicts. It is said that as many as 400,000 people died during the wall&aposs construction many of these workers were buried within the wall itself.

Lasting Legacies of British Imperialism

British/Hong Kong Passport prior to 1997

The following website is a part of the Hoover Archives that covers 19th century European Imperialism in Asia. Since it is a “.gov” page, it somewhat represents the political memory of that period. This source represents a politically American point of view on events such as the Opium Wars and the Boxer Rebellion. This website is worth investigating because it deals with the political memory of imperialism from the angle of a nation that participated but mostly remained on the sidelines. It depicts this period of imperialism in retrospect and could be contrasted with the various primary sources to gain a more stronger understanding of the era.

The following source covers the history of Hong Kong from its colonization in 1839 to its return to China in 1997. This book explains the strategic economic position of Hong Kong in relation to imperial global commerce. It also focuses on the social adaptations of ethnic Hong Kong citizens. This source serve as a comprehensive analysis on the political, economic and social development of this island with respect to global changes in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Tsang, Steve. A Modern History of Hong Kong. London. I. B. Tauris. 2007

Because the island of Hong Kong have been under British political and cultural influence for over a century, its return to China faces a dilemma of culture. This book explains the complexities of such conflicts. First, the most obvious cultural conflict was communication. For the last century, Hong Kong have been using a bilingual system. The citizens mostly spoke Cantonese, but the official written language was English. This creates an internal language barrier because the official language of Chinese is mandarin. Another cultural conflict is the nature of the justice system. Hong Kong have adopted the Western system of trial by jury, but the Communist government tries criminals without a jury. This book discusses the negotiations of these dilemmas between Hong Kong and China. Due the such issues, the Communist government is currently implementing a policy for Hong Kong to politically function as it did under British control for 50 more years.

Abbas, Ackbar. Hong Kong: Culture and Politics of Disappearance. Minneapolis. University of Minnesota Press. 1998

Watch the video: 10 Best Places to Visit in China - Travel Video (May 2022).