Some half a million years ago，Beijing man lived in Zhoukoudian，in the southwestern suburbs of Beijing. The climate of that time was warmer and more humid than it is today. Forests and lakes in the area supported large numbers of living creatures. The fossil remains of Beijing man，his stone tools and evidence of use of fire，as well as later tools of 18 000 years ago，bone needles and article of adornment from the age of Upper Cave Man are the earliest cultural relics on record in China today.
A city plan was first laid out in the Yuan Dynasty. Yet only after extensive reconstruction during the Ming and Qing，did the city emerge as an architectural masterpiece fit to serve as the capital of the Chinese empire. A north-south axis bisects the city with the Imperial Palace was known as Danei(The Great within).
In the Ming Dynasty，it was renamed the Forbidden City(Zijincheng)，and more recently it has come to be called the Palace Museum(Gugong Bowuyuan).Designed with thousands of halls and gates arranged symmetrically around a north-south axis，its dimensions and luxuriance are a fitting symbol of the power and greatness of traditional China.
After the collapse of the Qing Dynasty in 1911，China fell prey to the Northern Warlords and Kuomintang，Beijing suffered the same fate as the rest of China，hobbling along like an old camel without a sense of direction. The Chinese People's Liberation Army formally entered Beijing on January 31 1949，opening a new chapter in the long history of the city. It was in Tian'anmen Square on October 1st，1949，that Chairman Mao Zedong proclaimed the establishment of the People's Republic of China，with Beijing as its capital.