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Fuzhou History, China

Fuzhou is quite an old city and although there is no information available as to when the city was founded, there is proof that the city has been continuously inhabited since 202 BC. The first city-wall was erected in 202 BC. (Thereafter, new city walls were built again and again – the latest in 1371 AD). Details of Fuzhou history are available from 110 BC onwards.

Fuzhou History – 2nd Century BC to 19th Century AD

Fuzhou has more or less seen central rule rather than regional rule from 110 BC onwards. It was during this time that the city together with its adjoining regions (then known as Ye County) was annexed to the Han kingdom. The reign of the Hans was followed by that of the Jins and it is believed that some of the city’s artificial canals and lakes were built during their rule. The rule of the Jin Dynasty came to an end towards the beginning of 4th century AD. Ye city’s Hulian Temple, one of the China’s national heritage sites, belongs to this period of Fuzhou history – it was built either towards the end of the 4th century or towards the beginning of the 5th century.

Ye city was named Fuzhou for the first time during Tang Dynasty’s rule. As the Tang-kingdom was disintegrating towards the end of the 9th century, Fuzhou received waves of immigrants from the north and its population kept on increasing rapidly. The Tang-rule finally ended in 907 AD and the region saw a brief period of regional rule by the Wang Dynasty (from 909 AD to 945 AD). Under them Fuzhou was re-named Changle and was declared the capital of the Fujian (and it remains so even today).

This period was followed by the rule of the mighty Song Dynasty and Fuzhou is believed to have reached great heights under them – it became an important cultural and trading center. The Song Dynasty held power until about 1270s, when the region became a part of the Mongolian Yuan Empire. The great Italian/Venetian explorer, Marco Polo, is believed to have visited Fuzhou during the initial years of Yuan-rule. The Yuan Dynasty’s rule continued for almost a century, till 1368, when Fuzhou was annexed to the Ming Empire. The Ming Dynasty’s rule was followed by the Qing Dynasty’s rule.

By the first half of the 19th century, the British East India Company had started its colonialism endeavors and following the defeat of the Chinese Army in the First Anglo-Chinese War (also known as the First Opium War) and signing of the Treaty of Nanking (1842), Fuzhou was declared one of the treaty ports and was thrown open for foreign trade. Fuzhou immediately benefited from this and became the chief port for tea-trade. Fuzhou also reaped social benefits as a result of the arrival of different Protestant missionaries and agencies. Other important Fuzhou history events to have happened in the 19th century were the establishment of the Fuzhou Navy Yard in 1866 (following the disgraceful defeat of the Chinese in the Second Opium War) and the Battle of Fuzhou (1884) between the French Far East Fleet and the regional Fujian Fleet of the Qing Dynasty.

Fuzhou History – 20th Century to Present Times

Stepping into the 20th century, Fuzhou held on to its commercially successful status. Nevertheless, Fuzhou also played an important part in the events that ultimately led to the establishment of the Republic of China in 1912.

Fuzhou again became the center-stage of events during the 1933 Fujian Rebellion, when prominent leaders of National Revolutionary Army’s 19th Army formed their own government, the People's Revolutionary Government of the Republic of China, in the Fujian Province to topple the Kuomintang Government of the Republic of China. PRGRC’s rule lasted only for two months.

The Fuzhou-people had a tough-time during Japanese occupation, which lasted for five years (from 1940 to 1945) – the Japanese presence retarded trade and commerce. Following the end of WWII, the Republic of China’s control over Fuzhou (rather the entire Fujian province) was restored in 1946.

Of course, the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949 has been the most significant episode in Fuzhou history – the city has never looked back since then. Today Fuzhou not only boasts of its rich culture and history, but also matches steps with major Chinese cities like Beijing, Hong Kong, Xiamen in industrial, infrastructural and technological advancement, etc.

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