As a result of being defeated during the opium war in 1842, the Qing government was forced to agree and sign the Chinese-English “Nanjing Treaty”, since when Guangzhou became a trading port.
Guangzhou is the cradle of China’s modern revolution. The revolution led by Sun Yat-sen took place in Guangzhou in the autumn of 1911, which fired the first shot against the Qing feudal imperial regime, overthrowing the 270-year-old rule of the Qing dynasty and establishing the Republic of China. The old revolutionaries, He Ziyuan and Qiu Fengjia established a number of new-style schools in Guangzhou by breaking through the shackles of the old conventions, which not only fostered a batch of social elites who had progressive ideas and innovative spirit, but it led to the emergence of Ling Nan Painting School, bringing vigor to prosperity of Lingnan Culture as well as the Chinese culture, and it’s also a highlights of Guangzhou travel now.
Sun Yat-sen launched the Constitution Protection Movement and established the Republic of China government in Guangzhou on 10 Nov. 1917, who was chosen as Da Yuan Shuai (generalissimo) later with Guangzhou as headquarter then. Guanghzou municipal public place was set up in 1918, followed by the establishment of Guangzhou gild-hall with Sun Ke as the first mayor.
Sun Yat-sen united all forces available and cast out Chen Jiongming, the traitor of revolution, in 1923, and he returned to Guangzhou and rebuilt Da Yuan Shuai Office, who established Republic of China government in Guangzhou, and with Guangzhou gild-hall served as Guangzhou Municipal Government Office in July of 1925.
The Japanese invaders seized Guangzhou on 21st Oct. 1938 and controlled it as long as 7 years, and it was not until 16th Sep. 1945 that Guangzhou was recovered from Japanese army. Guangzhou was among the 8 special cities in Republic of China along with Nanjing, Shanghai, Beiping (present Beijing), Tianjin, Qingdao, Hankou and Chongqing.
Guangzhou was liberated by the PLA on 14 Oct. 1949, and it still serves as an economic, political, cultural and military center in South China, which has a great influence on the Southeast countries in many aspects as well. In addition, Guangzhou is also known to the world as a tourist city, which is a must-see place during your Guangzhou travel.
With a history of over 2,200 years, Guangzhou has long been an economic, political and cultural center in South China since the Qin dynasty, which seceded administratively from Jiao’zhou under the order of Sun Quan in 226, hence its present name, and it served as capital for three dynasties in the Chinese history.
The thirteen-hongs (professional firms dealing with foreign trades) was set up in Guangzhou in Qing dynasty, earning Guangzhou a reputation of “the Thousand-Year Commercial City”. The Shipbuilding Site of Qin Dynasty and the Imperial Palace Site of Nanyue Kingdom have been successively discovered in Guangzhou, of which the latter is considered as among “China’s Top 10 New Discoveries on Archaeology”.
Initially known as Xuancheng in 214 B.C., Guangzhou was called Nanyue and Baiyue during the Shang and the Zhou dynasties respectively, when the locals had a close relation with the people from the lower reaches of the Yangtze River, and they collaborated to build the Chu Courtyard. Visitors can know this phrase of history by visiting the stone archway inscribed with inscriptions on it on Yuexiu Mountain, which reads “This is the very site of the ancient Chu Courtyard.”
After putting down rebellion in Nanyue, Qin Shi Huang established Nanhai Prefecture in present Guangzhou with Panyu as capital in the Qin dynasty, which covered 140,000 square kilometers and stretched to Guangpingshi in the north, Zhangpu of present Fujian in the east and Zhanjiang in the west. Nanhai procurator Zhao Tuo annexed Guilin Prefecture and Xiang Prefecture in 204 B.C. during turmoil in the later times of Qin Empire, establishing Nanyue Kingdom with Panyu as capital; Lv Jia, prime minister (ancient term for secretary of state) of Nanyue Kingdom rebelled against the Han Empire and diademed Zhao De king in 113 B.C., followed by over 100,000 soldiers sent by Emperor Wu attacking Zhao De in the following year.
Guangzhou was also known as Nanhai Prefecture in the Jin dynasty and Guangzhou Metropolis in the Tang dynasty, which covered 42,000 square kilometers with Bao’an to the south, Qingyuan to the north and Sihui to the west. Nanhan Kingdom was established by Liu Yan in 917 with Wangfu (present Guangzhou) as capital, and Zhu Lidi established his capital in Guangzhou in 1680. The one-port trade policy was carried by the Qin government in 22nd year (1757) of Emperor Qianlong’s reign, when Guangzhou became the only one trading port in China, resulting in the formation of the Thirteen-hongs.
Xian and Xianyang are the nearest ancient capitals in Chinese history, which are 17 km away from each other, and Xianyang has been incorporated into Xian since September of 2006.
Qin Shi Huang chose Xianyang as capital during the Qin dynasty, while the terracotta warriors and the Mausoleum of Qin Shi Huang situated in Xian along with most part of Epang Palace. The ancestral temples of the Qin Empire stand in the south of Wei River, Xianyang, where Jing Ke unsuccessfully assassinating Qin Shi Huang, Lin Xiangru coercing Qin Shi Huang took place.
Both Dong Zhuo and Li Que made Chang’an (present Xian) as capital after usurping the power in the Han dynasty, which was built on the basis of Xianyang, the capital of Qin Empire. The Book of History by Sima Qian records “Chang’an of the Han dynasty is the very site of Xianyang of the Qin dynasty.” West Capital Essay by Zhang Heng records that Changan (Xian) is modeled on Xianyang.
Xianyang had been continually enlarged and expanded since the reign of Qin-Emperor Hui, followed by a number of palaces successively built along the Wei River, which included Zhangtai, Xingle Palace, Ganquan Palace and Epang Palace. Liu Bang (later Emperor Gaozu of the Han dynasty) made Chang’an (Xian) as capital under the advice of Zhang Liang after his victory over Xiang Yu, and he changed the name of Xingle Palace to Changle Palace and ordered to build Weiyang Palace on the basis of Zhangtai. The Mausoleums of Emperors Wu, Wen and Jing are located in Xianyang.
The imperial city of the Tang dynasty is in Xian, when most mausoleums of the emperors, such as Mausoleum of Zhao and Mausoleum of Qian, were built in Xianyang.
Xian and Xianyang functioned as a city during 1966 and 1971, while Xian served as a provincial-level city and Xianyang served as a prefectural-level city after 1971, and they are one now.
Covering 9,983 square kilometers, Xian locates at Guanzhong Basin, on the middle reaches of Yellow River of northwest China with Loess Plateau to the north, Qinling Mountain Ranges to the south, Taibai Mountain to the west and Ling River to the east, and Qinling Mountain Ranges (with an altitude of 2,000-2,800 m above the sea level) serve as a geographical dividing line of North China and South China.
Wanna know China in recent 20 years? Please visit Shenzhen; in recent 100 years? Shanghai; in recent 1,000 years? Beijing; in recent 5,000 years? Xian.
Xian is among the four ancient capitals in the world along with Athens, Rome and Cairo, and it’s served as capital intermittently for 13 dynasties from the 11th Century B.C. to 10th Century A.D., namely, Western Zhou dynasty, Qin dynasty, Western Han dynasty, Xin dynasty, Eastern Han dynasty, Western Jin dynasty, Former Zhao dynasty, Former Qin dynasty, Later Qin dynasty, Western Wei dynasty, Northern Zhou dynasty, Sui Dynasty and Tang dynasty. Xian was listed as a historic city in the world by the UNESCO in 1981.
The imperial court of the Han Dynasty sent Zhang Qian to the Western Regions as an envoy during the 2nd century B.C. to forge alliances with western-region states, which would stop raids by the Huns on the dynasty’s borders, and Zhang Qian opened up the world-famous Silk-Road. The 7,000-km long Silk-Road starts with Chang’an (Xian), which runs across Xinjiang via Hexi Corridor and leads to Europe, greatly promoting the economic and cultural exchange between the Han Empire and the world.
As a tourist hub of China, Xian is rich in cultural heritages of various kinds, where over 16 key cultural relics units under China’s state protection, 68 ones under provincial-level government’s protection, 203 ones under county-level government’s protection are available, highlighted Terracotta warriors, Mausoleum of Qin Shi Huang and Xian Ancient City Wall.
The archaeological excavation shows that Xian is one of the most important cradles of the Chinese civilization, where the Lantian tribes lived and the Banpo culture was created, and it’s one of the prehistoric-culture centers in China.