History of Tianjin

Referred to as “Jin” for short in Chinese, Tianjin (meaning “port for the emperor”) is widely known as “Jin’gu”, “Jinmen”, etc.

The history of Tianjin dates back to the digging of the Grand Cannal in Sui Dynasty (581-618). The present Sancha Hekou near Jin’ gang Bridge used to be the confluence of the South Canal and the North Canal. And it is from this place that Tianjin has expanded and developed. After the middle period of Tang Dynasty (618-907), Tianjin developed into a ferry terminal for the transportation of grain and silk from the south to the north. In Jin Dynasty (1115-1234) and Yuan Dynasty (1206-1368), with the establishment of “Zhigu Zhai” and “Haijin Town”, Tianjin became a town of great military significance as well as a hub for the water transportation of grains.

Establishment of Tianjin City

In the second year of Jianwen Reign in Ming Dynasty (1400), Zhu Di led his army southward through Zhigu and across the river to seize power. In 1403, the designation of the imperial reign was changed into Yongle. As a town of great military significance, Tianjin was established as a city fortress (wei) in 1404, the second year of Yongle Reign. In 1405 and 1406, two more fortresses were established on the left and right wings of Tianjin. In 1652, the ninth year of Shunzhi Reign in Qing Dynasty, the three fortresses were joined into one, which is known as Tianjin City. Ever since the founding of the city fortress in 1404 until 2005, Tianjin has existed as a city for 601 years.

Tianjin in Modern Times

After Tianjin became a treaty port in 1860, many western powers rushed to establish their own concessions in Tianjin. For this reason, Tianjin was among the first few cities in North China to open up and it became a base for the Westernization Movement. Besides, Tianjin also took the lead in China in military modernization, the construction of railroads, telegraph, telephone, post, mining, modern education and legal systems. At that time, Tianjin was the second largest industrial and commercial city in China and largest financial and trade center in the north.

Tianjin since 1949

Since the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, as a municipality directly under the Central Government, Tianjin has undergone great development in economic construction and social undertakings. Thanks to the achievements, Tianjin has strengthened its position in China as a comprehensive industrial base and commercial and trade center. Since the adoption of the policy to reform and open to the outside world in 1978, Tianjin has demonstrated unique advantages as a coastal port city and furthered its contacts with foreign friends. Steps have also been quickened in the development of many fields. The tenth five-year plan period witnessed a boost in the economy and comprehensive strength of Tianjin, and an average growth of total output value by 13.9%. The great economic progress has led to an enhanced status of Tianjin as city. Binhai New Area of Tianjin has been involved in the overall development strategy of China, which offers a historic opportunity for Tianjin to seek further development. Tianjin, a glistening pearl by the Bohai Sea, will surely become even brighter.

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