Around 5,000 years ago during the period of the Songze Culture, nowadays Shanghai started to take its shape of a plain in the Yangtse River Delta.
During the Spring-Autumn Period (770 BC), Shanghai belonged to the Wu State. Shanghai first belonged to Yue State , later to the Chu State . King Lie of Chu State appointed Huang Xie as his prime minister and bestowed him the title of Lord Chunshen. Shanghai was part of his feoff. The old name of Shanghai “Shen” was derived from this.
Shanghai did have another name, namely; “Hu”. The name Hu originated from “Hu Du”. Ancient fishermen in Shanghai invented a bamboo fishing device called “Hu”. (“Du” in Chinese means “creek”). This area was therefore called “Hu Du” before it became know as Shanghai .
The actual name of ” Shanghai ” originated from the Song Dynasty (960-1276), when Shanghai was by that time becoming a new rising trade port. The mother river Huangpu River , floating across Shanghai into the Yangtse River , has 18 creeks. One of these creeks was called “Shanghai Creek” (close to nowadays “The Bund”). Therefore the town nearby was called Shanghai Town , and later on this whole area was named ” Shanghai “.
During the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), Shanghai Town had greatly developed and the city set up a shipping administration. After a while, the town was promoted to a county, which consisted of today’s urban areas, and three other counties of Shanghai ; Qingpi, Nanhui, and Chuansha.
During the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), Shanghai was to become China ‘s largest textile center. Shanghai ‘s business was sharply on the rise! At the 24th year of the Qing Emperor Kangxi’s reign (1685), the Qing Government set up a Customs Department in Shanghai . After that, during the reigns of Qing Emperor Qianlong and Qing Emperor Jiaqing, Shanghai gradually became China ‘s major trading port and water transportation center for gains.
In 1843, after the Opium War, Shanghai was forced to become an open port by its colonialists. In 1845, Britain first set up its concession in Shanghai . In 1848, the United State set up its concession, followed by France in 1849. In 1863, the British and American concessions amalgamated into the International Settlement. Shanghai was actually partitioned into a Chinese Section, the International Settlement and the French Concession. In the following 100 years after 1843, Shanghai had become an important port for foreign colonialists to dump their goods, raw materials and money. Shanghai was thus known as “A paradise of the Adventurers”.
On July 7, 1927 , Shanghai was proclaimed as a special municipality. In 1945, after the victory over the Japanese, the concessions were reclaimed. On May 27 1949 , Shanghai was really liberated…the era of Mao was awaiting the whole of China then.
Through the continual and long-term reform and construction by the successive municipal governments and the people, Shanghai has become an important industrial and commercial base in new China . Today, Shanghai has been developing to be the center of economy, finance, science and technology, information and culture, an international modernized metropolis in China.