History of Guilin

The history of Guilin can be dated back to the first century B.C. when the city was established on the banks of the Kuei River. Rarely do people think about its history, Guilin City can boasts a history that stretches all the way back to at least 10,000 years. It was the home of the Zengpiyan People, who were in the matriarchal clan society.

In Xia Shang and Zhou dynasties, the 'Hundred Yue', as this diverse group of peoples was often called, settled in Guilin.

Guilin was not brought into the official prefecture until 214 B.C. when the first Emperor of the Qin Dynasty (221 B.C.-206 B.C.) set up the Guilin Shire in this region. The city is located near the junction of two waterways connecting South and Central China. Due to the construction of the Ling Canal and its unique strategic location, this place became one of the gateways and an important historical city between the Central Plains and the Lingnan Region (current Guangdong, Guangxi and part Hunan, Jiangxi).

Later, in 111 BC, during the reign of Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty, Shian County was established in Guilin, which could be regarded as the beginning of the city.

From then on, Shian (Guilin) was considered to be an important strategic spot for many ambitious schemers. During the tumultuous Three Kingdom Period (220-280), Shian was governed by the Shu State and the Wu State successively. Of course, Shian was gradually developed to be a political center.

In the Tang Dynasty (618-907), Shian was renamed Lingui County and built up to be an impressive southern prefecture.

Fast forward to the Song Dynasty (960-1127), the territory of this region has now extended to the current Hainan Island. Guilin was the capital of Guangnanxilu which administrated today’s Guangxi and Hainan Provinces. For a long time, Guilin served as the capital city of Guangxi Province until the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949 when it was replaced by Nanning.

As for the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties, the important position of the Guilin region both in economy and politics was unshakable.

In 1921, Guilin became one of the headquarters of the Northern Expeditionary Army led by Dr. Sun Yat-sen.

In 1940, the city acquired its present name.

In 1981, Guilin was listed by the State Council as one of the four cities (the other three being Beijing, Hangzhou and Suzhou) where the protection of historical and cultural heritage, as well as natural scenery, should be treated as a priority project.

In March 2013, Guilin was designated as special tourism region by the State Council of China.


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