(lit. "Rivergate"). Old name for the city of Tokyo, in use from 1180 to 1868. Situated on Edo Bay (now Tokyo Bay), Edo commanded the water and land transportation routes across much of central and northeastern Japan. In the early 17th century, following its selection as the seat of the Tokugawa Shogunate (1603-1867), Edo developed into the premiere city of Japan. By the 18th century, its population had exceeded one million people, making it the largest city in the world. When the imperial court moved from Kyoto to Edo after the Meiji Restoration of 1868, Edo became symbolically as well as administratively preeminent and was renamed Tokyo ("Eastern Capital"). Historians later adopted the term "Edo Period" to designate the years 1600 to 1868. (adapted from Japan: An Illustrated Encyclopedia. Tokyo: Kodansha, 1993)
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