History of Tianjin
The land where Tianjin lies today was created in historical times by sedimentation of various rivers entering the sea at Bohai Bay, including the Yellow River, which entered the sea in this area at one point.
The opening of the Grand Canal of China during the Sui Dynasty prompted the development of Tianjin. It has been a major transportation and trading centre since the Yuan dynasty in the 13th century.
Until 1404 Tianjin was called "Zhigu" or "Straight Port". In that year, the Emperor Yongle renamed the city "Tianjin", literally "Heaven Ford", to mean that the emperor (son of heaven) forded the river at that point. This is because he had indeed forded the river at Tianjin while on a campaign to wrest the throne from his nephew. A fort was established at Tianjin, known as "Tianjin Wei", meaning "Fort Tianjin".
Strategically located on the overland route to Manchuria, Tianjin has been a frequent military objective since its rise to importance in the late 18th cent. The British and French occupied it during the Second Opium War (1856 – 60); a treaty signed there in 1858 opened 11 Chinese ports to foreign trade; A treaty signed in Beijing in 1860 opened Tianjin as a trading port. After that, it developed rapidly.
Tianjin was the scene of heavy fighting during the Boxer Rebellion ,after which it was placed under an international commission. Britain and France were joined by the empires of Japan, Germany and Russia, and even by countries without other Chinese concessions such as Austria-Hungary, Italy and Belgium, in establishing self-contained concessions in Tianjin, each with its own prisons, schools, barracks and hospitals.
On July 30, 1937, Tianjin fell to Japan, as part of the Second Sino-Japanese War. During the occupation, Tianjin was ruled by the North China Executive Committee, a puppet state based in Beijing. Japanese occupation lasted until August 15, 1945, the surrender of Japan marking the end of World War II.
The Chinese People’s Liberation Army took Tianjin on January 15, 1949, following a 29-hour long battle. After that, Tianjin remained a municipality of China, except between 1958 and 1967, when it was reduced to be a part of and the capital of Hebei province.
After China began to open up in the late 1970s, Tianjin has seen rapid development, though it is now lagging behind other important cities like Shanghai, Beijing, and Guangzhou.
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