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HISTORY OF CHONGQING


  In the fourth century BC, Chongqing (then called Yuzhou) was the capital of the State of Ba, whose men were renowned for their prowess in battle and their military successes. In the Southern Song dynasty (l127--l279) the city's name was changed to Chongqing--meaningYangtze River 'double celebration'--to mark the princedom and en-thronement of Emperor Zhaodun in l l89. He was himself a native of the city.

  Chongqing had always been an important port, bustling with junks from Sichuan's hinterlands and neighbouring provinces, and acting as the collection point for the abundant produce of the region, including hides and furs from Tibet, hemp, salt, silk, rhubarb, copper and iron. Under the Qifu Agreement of l890, Chongqing was opened to foreign trade. This marked the beginning of the exciting history of steamboat navigation from Yichang through the treacherous gorges to Chongqing, a development aimed at opening up the riches of Sichuan to trade with the outside
world. By the early part of this century, a massive trade in opium grown in southwest China had sprung up, abetted by warlord factionalism and greed.

  Visitors to the city in the 1920s and '30s commented on its 30-metre (l00-foot) high city wall and the rough steps from the river up to the city gates 'dripping with slime from the endless procession of water carriers'. At that time, Chongqing, with a population of over 600,000, had Yangtze Cruiseno other water supply. Between l0,000 and 20,000 coolies carried water daily to shops and houses through the steep and narrow lanes of the city. All porterage was done by coolies as there were no wheeled vehicles in the city, only sedan chairs. The staircase streets are still there, but all that remains of the city wall today is the odd outcrop of masonry that props up a house here, or abuts a path there.

  In 1939, during the Sino-Japanese War, the Nationalist Guomindang government of China moved the capital from Nanjing to Chongqing, and on the south bank of the Yangtze foreign delegations built substantial quarters, which can be seen from the river. The airstrip used then can still be seen on the Penghu Sandbar as one crosses the Yangtze River Bridge. The Guomindang government headquarters is now the People's City Government Offices (only the gateway is left of that period), situated just opposite the Renmin Hotel.
During the Sino-Japanese War (l937--45), Chongqing's notorious foggy weather conditions probably saved the city from complete devastation, for only on clear days could the Japanese bombers, which flew over in 20-minute waves, succeed in accurately dropping their thousands of bombs.

ChongQing Introduction

• History Of ChongQing

What TO See In ChongQing

Sights Arourd ChongQing

The Bombing of ChongQing