Confirmed by “The Declaration of the Chinese Ancient Capital Association Annual Conference 2013”, as early as 4000 years ago, Kaifeng was one of the major areas where tribes began living activities and an important birthplace of Chinese civilization, which had made an important contribution to the early civilization of Chinese nation. According to historical records, after the construction of the Xia Dynasty, from the 21st century BC to the reign of the seventh emperor Zhu, the emperors always made the capital in the central part of the central plains, Laoqiu (Kaifeng). Located in Laoqiu, the Xia Dynasty lasted more than 200 years, which played an important role to promote the development of the central plains and the thriving of the Xia Dynasty. In the Warring States Period, Daliang was the capital of Wei, which was the second capital in Kaifeng’s capital history. After the Sui and Tang Dynasties, in the Five Dynasties Period, the dynasties of Later Liang, Later Jin, Later Han and Later Zhou made Kaifeng the capital. In the Northern Song Dynasty Period, Dongjing (Kaifeng) was the capital. The Northern Song Dynasty lasted 168years and nine emperors, which not only made Kaifeng become the political, economic and cultural center but also made Kaifeng the international metropolis with the largest population, the most developed economy, the most advanced culture and the perfect urban functions. Under the rule of the Jin Dynasty, at first Kaifeng was the secondary capital, then the capital, which maintained the northern center position in the field of politics, economy and culture.
The above facts show that in the history of Kaifeng, from the first hereditary dynasty Xia Dynasty, to Wei in the Warring States Period, then to the Later Liang, Later Jin, Later Han and Later Zhou in the Five Dynasties Period, Kaifeng is always a leading city. It is worthy of the name of “Ancient Capital of Eight Dynasties” and “Chinese Famous City”. Its important historical position should be fully affirmation.
Part One: Nourishing Chinese Civilization (the First Hereditary Dynasty, the Xia Dynasty’s Capital)
According to historical records, from 2071BC, the first hereditary dynasty , the Xia Dynasty made Kaifeng (Chenliu County) the capital for 232years, known to the history as “Laoqiu”. In the Spring and Autumn Period (in the 8th century BC), Duke Zhuang of Zheng built a granary storage city near the town of Zhuxian where was today’s Kaifeng. Then Duke Zhuang of Zheng named the city “Qifeng”. In the early years of the Han Dynasty, “Qifeng” was renamed as “Kaifeng” in order to avoid the name of Liuqi, the Emperor Jing of the Han Dynasty.
Part Two: Powerful Wei and the Han Dynasty ( Daliang in the Warring States Period)
In 361BC, Emperor Hui of Wei moved the capital from Anyi, Shanxi Province (near today’s Xia County and Anyi County, Shanxi Province) to Yiyi and renamed Yiyi as Daliang. This was the earliest historical record about Kaifeng being the capital. After Emperor Hui of Wei moved the capital to Daliang, he created canals and drew water from the Putian to the Huai River. After the water conservancy was finished , the capital got a great development in agriculture and commerce. The capital was booming day by day. Then Emperor Hui of Wei built walls and allied governors. The Wei had strong national strength and dominated other feudatory states. Daliang, Yingdu of the Chu and Xianyang of the Qin were the most developed cities. Located in Daliang, the Wei lasted six emperors and 136years. Some famous historical events happened here such as “Mencius travelling Daliang” “stealing Commander's Seal to help Zhao” and the events about Sun Bin and Pang Juan. After the Qin unified the other six states and implemented the system of prefectures and counties, Kaifeng was downgraded as Xunyi County under the jurisdiction of Sanchuan County. Xunyi was used for more than eight hundred years.
Part Three: The Development of Confucianism and Buddhism in the Southern and Northern Dynasties( the Integration between Confucianism and Buddhism in Bianzhou)
In 534 AD, the Emperor Xiaojing of the Eastern Wei Dynasty made Chenliu, Kaifeng(Liangzhou) and Yangxia counties under the jurisdiction of Liangzhou. In 576AD, Emperor Wu of the Northern Zhou Dynasty renamed Liangzhou as Bianzhou, changed the county jurisdiction into district government, which made Kaifeng recover from the past lost gradually. Kaifeng was one of the eight warehouses in the water transport against external aggression. Emperor Wenxuan of the Northern Qi Dynasty built Jianguo Temple( Xiangguo Temple) in 555AD and Duju Temple in 559AD( near today’s Iron Tower). The development of Buddhism made the preparatory work for the prosperity of later Dongjing Culture. In the Sui Dynasty, Emperor Yang created canals( more than 2000 kilo-meters). The middle part was Bian River which connected the Yellow River with the Huai River. Kaifeng(Bianzhou) played an important role in Bian River and it was also a pivotal gateway for Luoyang. The timing and place provided Kaifeng(Bianzhou) with rapid development opportunities
Part Four: The Charming Tang Dynasty (Located in Central Plain as Land-water Terminal)
In the Northern Zhou Period, Kaifeng was called Bianzhou. In 742AD, Kaifeng was called Chenliu County and recovered the name of Bianzhou in 758AD. In 907AD, Kaifeng rose to “Kaifeng Capital”. Then Kaifeng was degraded as secondary capital to Luoyang, but it still kept the capital name. In 923AD, Kaifeng Capital was degraded as Bianzhou. In 938AD, Kaifeng recovered the name of Kaifeng Capital. From then on, Kaifeng always kept the name. In 712AD, Xunyi and Kaifeng County were under the rule of Kaifeng.
From 755AD，regional chiefs and the station troops from Henan, Huaixi, Yongping and Xuanwu army guraded here one after another. Then Bianzhou became an important military city. At the end of 783 AD, rebel military chief Li Xilie and rebel forces lost in Bianzhou. In the first month of the following year, he made Bianzhou the Daliang Capital and proclaimed himself Emperor Chu. In the Late Tang Dynasty, the regional chief of Xuanwu army Zhu Wen made Bianzhou his base and took forcible possession of Central Plains. Then he usurped the throne, proclaimed emperor and made Kaifeng the capital. From then to Five Dynasties, Bianzhou was always the capital and the political center of the Central Plains.
第五部分：洗礼五代 （后梁、后晋、后汉、后周的都城 ）
Part Five: Baptism of the Five Dynasties (the capital of Later Liang, Later Jin, Later Han and Later Zhou)
In the Five Dynasties Period, Later Liang, Later Jin, Later Han and Later Zhou all made Kaifeng the capital. Kaifeng was called Dongdu or Dongjing. Dongjing in the period of the Five Dynasties took place of Luoyang and became the political, economical, cultural and military center. Later Liang made Dongjing the capital for 17years. In this period, the rent was little which was helpful for the people to recuperate and build up strength. At the same time, it played an important role to make the political center move from the west area to the east plains. In 923AD, Later Liang died. Then the Tang made Luoyang the capital. Xuanwu Army still stayed in Dongjing. In 936AD, Shi Jingtang destroyed Tang, built Later Jin and moved capital from Luoyang to Dongjing. In 947AD, Later Jin died. Later Han still made Dongjing the capital. In 951AD, Guo Wei led the Tanzhou (today’s Puyang) Military Mutiny, destroyed Later Han and built Later Zhou. Guo Wei worried about people's life and the state affairs all day. The political reform made Later Zhou booming. In 954AD, Emperor Shizong of Later Zhou, Chairong ascended the throne. On the basis of Guo Wei,Chairong improved and rectified the rules and regulations and reformed the system, which made a progress in internal affairs and military affairs. It promoted the economical development of Kaifeng. From then on, Kaifeng (Dongjing) was the road-water terminal and political center for a long time.
第六部分：辉煌大宋 （世界名都 北宋都城）
Part Six: The Glorious Song Dynasty (World’s Famous City, the Capital of the Northern Song )
In 960AD, Zhao Kuangyin led “Chenqiao Military Mutiny” in Chenqiao Station which was 20 kilometers from the north area of Kaifeng(today’s Fengqiu County of Xinxiang City). He built the Northern Song and made the military governorship, splittism and the chaos of war come to an end. In the Northern Song Period, Dongjing was developed in economy and advanced in culture. It was the most glorious time in the history of Kaifeng. It was not only the national political, economical and cultural center, but also one of the world’s most prosperous cities. According to the historical records, Kaifeng was one of the most flourishing cities in the world at that time. In the picture of Along the River during the Qing Ming Festival, Zhang Zeduan described the scene of prosperity of Kaifeng faithfully.
Part Seven: The Shining Jin Dynasty (the Capital and Secondary Capital of the Jin Dynasty)
In 1127AD, the Jin destroyed the Northern Song and renamed Kaifeng as Bianjing. In 1153AD, Emperor Hailing of Jin, Wan Yanliang moved the capital to Daxing capital of Zhongdu and renamed Bianjing as “Kaifeng Capital of Nanjing” which was the secondary capital of the Jin. In 1155AD, Bianjing imperial palace was ruined by the flood. In 1161AD, Wan Yanliang invaded the Song and made “Kaifeng Capital of Nanjing” the domination center. In 1214AD, Emperor Xuanzong of Jin moved the capital in order to avoid Mongolian army. In 1233, Emperor Aizong of Jin trapped by Mongolian army, escaped from Kaifeng and moved the capital to Defu (today’s Shangqiu).
Part Eight: The Flourishing Yuan Dynasty (the Political and Economical Center)
After the Yuan destroyed the Jin, it set up Jiangbeihang central secretariat in Kaifeng, Henan Province. In the late period of the Yuan Dynasty, Han Lin’er led Hongjin insurrectionary army and established “Longfeng” peasant government in Kaifeng. In the Yuan Dynasty, Bianliang was still a prosperous city. In The Travels of Marco Polo, he described Kaifeng as a flourishing city faithfully. According to the historical records, the population of Bianliang was more than 200 thousand in the late period of the Yuan Dynasty. The Yuan Dynasty made Beijing (Dadu) the capital, which took the place of Bianliang. From then on, Kaifeng(Bianliang) became a local administrative center.
Part Nine: The Shining Ming Dynasty (the Top City of the Central Plains in the Ming Dynasty)
In 1368AD, Zhu Yuanzhang renamed Bianliang as Beijing Kaifeng Capital, made Yingtian the capital and implemented two-capital system. In 1379AD, the capital was moved from Beijing to Nanjing. The fifth son of Zhuan Yuanzhang, Zhu Su proclaimed himself Emperor Zhou in Kaifeng. According to Ru Meng Lu, it described Kaifeng as prosperous as the two capitals. Emperor Zhou was wise and Kaifeng was an important political city, which made Kaifeng become the first city of Central Plains, behind Beijing and Nanjing.