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Archaeologists have found neolithic settlements throughout the municipality, including in Wangfujing, located in downtown Beijing.The first walled city in Beijing was Ji, a city from the 11th to 7th century BC.As a city combining both modern and traditional architecture, Beijing is a megacity rich in history, exemplified in its global influence in politics, economy, education, history, culture, and technology.
It is home to the headquarters of most of China's largest state-owned companies and is a major hub for the national highway, expressway, railway, and high-speed rail networks.
The Beijing Capital International Airport has been the second busiest in the world by passenger traffic since 2010,, the city's subway network is the busiest and second longest in the world, after Shanghai's subway system. As the last of the Four Great Ancient Capitals of China, Beijing has been the political center of the country for much of the past eight centuries.
The English spelling is based on the pinyin romanization of the two characters as they are pronounced in Standard Mandarin.
An older English spelling, Peking, is the postal romanization of the same two characters as they are pronounced in Chinese dialects spoken in the southern port towns first visited by European traders and missionaries.
Homo erectus fossils from the caves date to 230,000 to 250,000 years ago.
Paleolithic Homo sapiens also lived there more recently, about 27,000 years ago.
Although Peking is no longer the common name for the city, some of the city's older locations and facilities, such as Beijing Capital International Airport, with IATA Code PEK, and Peking University, still use the former romanization.
The single Chinese character abbreviation for Beijing is 京, which appears on automobile license plates in the city.
Within modern Beijing, Ji was located around the present Guang'anmen area in the south of Xicheng District.
During the Three Kingdoms period, it was held by Gongsun Zan and Yuan Shao before falling to Cao Cao's Wei Kingdom.
After China was reunified during the Sui dynasty, Beijing, known as Zhuojun, became the northern terminus of the Grand Canal.