Kunming’s history goes back over 2,000 years to 279 BC, when a general of the
Kunming in the Revolution. Although the completion of the French Indochina Rail Line into Kunming in 1910 stimulated the city’s commercial development, major changes and sizable growth did not occur until the Japanese invasion of China and the onset of World War II. When the Nationalists moved their capital to Chongqing, refugees from East China poured westward, with many reaching Kunming. Moreover, thousands of Yunnanese peasants from the countryside migrated to work in the numerous factories that were established. During the Second World War, the US Air Force’s “Flying Tigers” were based in Kunming. In fact, the foundation and basic design of Kunming’s present airport is a legacy of US military forces. Inevitably the impact of the 1937-45 period eroded the city’s parochialism and brought a gradual turn toward more progressive and more modern attitudes.
Today, urban Kunming resembles other major Chinese cities. Industrial and commercial districts have been established, new, wide streets and modern office buildings have been built, and roads and railroads now connect the city with the surrounding region and other parts of China.
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