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Ningbo History

According to some archeological findings, Ningbo's history can be traced back to 7,000 years before present, it is the relic site of the "Neolithic Hemudu Culture". The area is one of the first places of rice cultivation in the world. In the Xia Dynasty about 2000 BC Ningbo was called as Yin, and it was the territory of the Chu State in the Warring State Period (476 BC - 221 BC). After unifying China, the Qin forces captured the Yangtze Delta and stabilized the political situation, they established three counties in Ningbo in 222 BC. Xu Fu, a necromancer of this period led a fleet from Ningbo. This event was the first commercial exchanges with foreign countries of China.

In the late 5th Century, Korean ships saw Ningbo was the most convenient port for contacts with the southern capital at Nanjing and trading with China, thus Ningbo became famous in Southeast Asia. During the Tang Dynasty (618 AD - 907 AD), trade activities flourished with Japan and Korea.

Although it had a long history then, the formal construction activities in Ningbo began in 821 AD. A small city has been built, its architecture is the main foundation of Ningbo's development for the next centuries. Ningbo has its importance grown in the 11th Century with the development of coastal trade and the establishment of the Southern Song Dynasty's capital at Hangzhou. Still in the Yuan Dynasty, Ningbo was the major town in the East China coast.

Ningbo's economy suffered a gradual decline in the early period of the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644), because overseas trade was officially banned and the building of oceangoing ships strictly prohibited. The coastal town was sometimes attacked by Japanese pirates during this era, so it became a military defensive area. The situation was gradually changed during the mid 16th Century, when the merchants from the Western countries came to trade with China. Ningbo was opened to foreign trade as a treaty port in 1843, but the business declined later and the port's place was taken by Shanghai.

Ningbo was officially granted a city status in May 1949 and in 1980s the city became a main sea port in China's east coast. In 1988, the State Council entitled Ningbo "a larger city" which can formulate local laws and regulations. Today's Ningbo is a commercially prosperous city loved by foreigners.


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