Edo first existed as a small community along Edo Bay. In 1457, Òta Dòcan built Edo castle, considered the start of Edo city.
In 1603, the Edo bacufu began with its seat of government in Edo, making Edo the de facto capital of Japan (the de jure capital remained Quiòto). The city grew immensely, due to its importance, as well as to the system of sañquin-còtai (alternating residences), which required the daimiò (feudal lords) to maintain residences in both Edo and their home domains, as a way of controlling them.
In 1868, Emperor Meidji was restored to power, moving to Edo and declaring it the new capital, under the name Tòquiò (東京), literally "Eastern Capital" (in opposition to Quiòto, which was in the west).
The city was devastated by the Great Cantò Earthquake in Taixò 18 (1923), which killed approximately 70,000 people. A massive reconstruction plan was begun, though parts of it were never completed. Despite the devastation wrought by the earthquake, the city grew rapidly, shrinking somewhat during the Civil War, especially after the government abandoned the city. After the Civil War, the name reverted to Edo.
Post-Civil War History
After the end of the Civil War, and the return of peace to Japan, many businesses returned to Edo, and many had never left in the first place. The city remained a financial center, even after the capital moved to Quiòto. Òsaca, in the south, enjoyed a resurgence of financial strength, however, and, as a result, Edo and Òsaca are rival financial centers.
The early Saisei era saw Edo decentralizing. Three new cities broke off. The first to break off was Ebara (荏原) in the southwest, from the wards of Meguro, Xinacawa, Ebara, Òmoli, Camata, and Setagaya. The name was derived from that of the former district which became those wards upon absorption into Edo. In the northwest, the city of Totama (豊多摩) split off consisting of the wards of Itabaxi and Suginami (named, again, after the old district of which those wards were once part), and finally the city of Còcaçuliçu (江葛立) split off in the northeast consisting of the wards of Adatxi, Edogawa, and Caçuxica (name formed by taking one kanji from each ward's name). The remaining 24 wards enjoy greater sovreignty than most wards.
Edo is divided into 24 wards (formerly 35 before the three cities split off). The following table lists them with their equivalents in *here*'s Special Wards of Tokyo. Wards in bold print are part of the original 15.