Tianjin History

Tianjin is one of the four municipalities directly under the control of China's central government. It came into being due to the digging of the Grand Canal during the Sui Dynasty. At that time, Tianjin was only a small village, located at the intersection of the South Grand Canal and the North Grand Canal. The spot was the birthplace of today’s Tianjin. By the middle of the Tang Dynasty, Tianjin had become a significant water and land port for transferring food and silk from Southern China into Northern China. During the Jin and Yuan Dynasties, it was also a town of military importance and a food grain transportation center. In 1404, the second year of the Yongle Emperor’s rule during the Ming Dynasty, Tianjin was formally built as a city. It now has a history of over 600 years as a city.

Origin of Tianjin
Tianjin, abbreviated in Chinese as Jin, means "a port for the emperor." The name Tianjin first appeared in 1403, the first year of the Yongle Emperor's reign in the Ming Dynasty. In Yongle’s second year, it became a walled garrison.


Tianjin in Modern History
In 1860, Tianjin was opened as a trading port. After that, the Western superpowers set up concessions one after another. So Tianjin became a spearhead for opening up and the base of the Westernization movement in modern China. Until the 1930s it served as the largest industrial and commercial city and economic center of Northern China.


Tianjin in the New China
After the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, the city of Tianjin became one of the four municipalities that have provincial-level status, reporting directly to the central government.  Since the late 1970s, as China began to open up, it has developed rapidly. Now Tianjin ranks as one of the four most important cites in China along with Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou. It is also an international harbor and the economic center of Northern China.

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