Nanjing (About this sound listen), formerly romanized as Nanking and Nankin, is a city situated in the heartland of the lower Yangtze River region in China, which has long been a major centre of culture, education, research, politics, economy, transport networks and tourism. It is the capital city of Jiangsu province of the People's Republic of China and the second largest city in East China region,[b] with an area of 6,600 km2 (2,500 sq mi) and a total population of 10,230,000. The inner area of Nanjing enclosed by the city wall is Nanjing City (南京城), with an area of 55 km2, while the Nanjing Metropolitan Region includes surrounding cities and areas, covering over 60 thousand square kilometres, with a population of over 30 million.
Nanjing has a prominent place in Chinese history and culture, having served as the capital of various Chinese dynasties, kingdoms and republican governments dating from the 3rd century CE to 1949. The city has a number of other names, and some historical names are now used as names of districts of the city; among them there is the name Jiangning or Kiangning (江寧, literally "Yangtze's Peace"), whose former character Jiang (江, River) is the former part of the name Jiangsu and latter character Ning (寧, simplified form 宁, Peace) is the short name of Nanjing. When it was the capital of a state, for instance during the ROC, Jing (京, Capital) was adopted as the abbreviation of Nanjing. It first became a Chinese national capital as early as the Jin dynasty, and the name Nanjing was officially designated for the city during the Ming dynasty, about a thousand years later.[c] Nanjing is particularly known as Jinling or Ginling (金陵, literally "Gold Mausoleum") and the old name has been used since the Warring States period in the Zhou Dynasty.
The Xinhai Revolution led to the founding of the Republic of China in January 1912 with Sun Yat-sen as the first provisional president and Nanking was selected as its new capital. However, the Qing Empire controlled large regions to the north, so revolutionaries asked Yuan Shikai to replace Sun as president in exchange for the abdication of Puyi, the Last Emperor. Yuan demanded the capital be Beijing (closer to his power base).
The headquarters of the National Government of the Republic of China in Nanjing, 1927
In 1927, the Kuomintang (KMT; Nationalist Party) under Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek again established Nanjing as the capital of the Republic of China, and this became internationally recognized once KMT forces took Beijing in 1928. The following decade is known as the Nanking decade.
In 1937, the Empire of Japan started a full-scale invasion of China after invading Manchuria in 1931, beginning the Second Sino-Japanese War (often considered a theatre of World War II). Their troops occupied Nanjing in December and carried out the systematic and brutal Nanking Massacre (the "Rape of Nanking"). Even children, the elderly, and nuns are reported to have suffered at the hands of the Imperial Japanese Army. The total death toll, including estimates made by the International Military Tribunal for the Far East and the Nanjing War Crimes Tribunal after the atomic bombings, was between 300,000 and 350,000. The city itself was also severely damaged during the massacre. The Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall was built in 1985 to commemorate this event.
Nanjing, with a total land area of 6,598 square kilometres (2,548 sq mi), is situated in the heartland of the drainage area of the lower reaches of the Yangtze River, and in the Yangtze River Delta, one of the largest economic zones of China. The Yangtze River flows past the west side and then the north side of Nanjing City, while the Ningzheng Ridge surrounds the north, east and south sides of the city. The city is 650 kilometres (400 mi) southeast of Luoyang, 1,200 kilometres (750 mi) south-southeast of Beijing, 300 kilometres (190 mi) west-northwest of Shanghai, and 1,400 kilometres (870 mi) east-northeast of Chongqing. The Yangtze River flows downstream from Jiujiang, Jiangxi, through Anhui and Jiangsu to the East China Sea. The northern part of the lower Yangtze drainage basin is the Huai River basin and the southern part is the Zhe River basin; they are connected by the Grand Canal east of Nanjing. The area around Nanjing is called Hsiajiang (下江, Downstream River) region, with Jianghuai dominant in the northern part and Jiangzhe dominant in the southern part.[d] The region is also well known as Dongnan (東南, South East, the Southeast) and Jiangnan (江南, and River South, South of Yangtze).
Nanjing borders Yangzhou to the northeast (one town downstream when following the north bank of the Yangtze); Zhenjiang to the east (one town downstream when following the south bank of the Yangtze); and Changzhou to the southeast. On its western boundary is Anhui province, where Nanjing borders five prefecture-level cities: Chuzhou to the northwest, Wuhu, Chaohu and Maanshan to the west and Xuancheng to the southwest.
Nanjing is at the intersection of the Yangtze River, an east-west water transport artery, and the Nanjing–Beijing railway, a north-south land transport artery, hence the name “door of the east and west, throat of the south and north”. Furthermore, the west part of the Ningzhen range is in Nanjing; the Loong-like Zhong Mountain curls round the east side of the city, while the tiger-like Stone Mountain crouches in the west of the city, hence the name “the Zhong Mountain, a dragon curling, and the Stone Mountain, a tiger crouching”.