Nanjing was one of the earliest established cities in what is now China, and has a prominent place in Chinese history and culture, having been the capital on several occasions.
In 1937, Japan invaded China, beginning the Second Sino-Japanese War (often considered a theater of World War II). Their troops occupied Nanjing in December and carried out the systematic and brutal Nanjing massacre. Over a six-week period, hundreds of thousands of Chinese civilians and disarmed soldiers were murdered by soldiers of the Imperial Japanese Army. Widespread rape and looting occurred. Historians and witnesses have estimated that 300,000 to 350,000 people were killed.
The event remains a contentious political issue, as various aspects of it have been disputed by some historical revisionists and Japanese nationalists, who have claimed that massacre has been either exaggerated or wholly fabricated for propaganda purposes. As a result of the nationalist efforts to deny or rationalize the war crimes, the controversy surrounding the massacre remains a stumbling block in Sino-Japanese relations, as well as Japanese relations with other Asia-Pacific nations such as South Korea and the Philippines.
The capital of Jiangsu province, Nanjing has an urban population of 6,852,984.