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The “Growth of the City” series looks at the history of important world cities, charting their growth and changing fortunes from earliest times through to today. Using contemporary maps, paintings, etchings, woodcuts, and photographs, the series provides a visual appreciation of each city’s growth. It also looks at the difficulties so many cities find in the way of prosperity – most often external forces in the form of military invasion or bombardment, but also the devastating natural killers: fire, flood, plague, or earthquake. Capital of China since the third Ming Emperor Yongle moved there from Nanjing in 1403, Beijing was probably the largest city in the world from 1425 to 1650. During this period the fabulous Forbidden City was constructed: it would remain the Chinese imperial palace and the ceremonial and political center of Chinese government for five centuries, until the collapse of the Qing dynasty in 1912 brought an end to over 2,000 years of imperial ruleover China.
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