travelgrove Travel Guides

Shanghai History, China

Shanghai's Remarkable Journey to Progress

In China, Beijing and Xi'an hold the country's long-standing saga as two of the Four Great Ancient Capitals that make the Republic's culture richer and worldly significant. Shanghai, the most populated with over 20 million, may not match the two cities formerly mentioned in terms of their resplendent contribution to China's grand history, but Shanghai has created a buzz with how shortly it took her to grow bigger and bigger as a center for commerce from its humble beginning as a fishing village and textile town.

What's in Shanghai's name?

Situated at the mouth of the longest river in China the Yangtze, Shanghai got its name from 'Hu' and 'Shen.' There are several versions of the etymology of these Chinese names. One says that Hu was derived from Hu Du which was the ancient name of Suzhou Creek one of the rivers that pass through the area. Hu Du became the name of the town when the fishermen occupants invented the fishing device made of bamboo that they called Hu. Du is the Chinese term for creek.

Shen on the other hand was part of a name of a person who lived during that time. Some say he was a governor in the 4th - to 5th-century during  Jin Dynasty while others say he was a nobleman and local hero who lived in the 3rd century BC during  Chu Kingdom. The common thing about these two versions is that the name of the man is Chun Shen.

Old Shanghai's roots

Trading in Old Shanghai started during the 11th century with its being a very ideal port location. Fishing was a major industry as well as cotton manufacturing. Cotton became a very strong backbone of Shanghai until the 19th century.

When the Opium War ended, Shanghai became the center hub for trading and served as a gateway to China. Foreign invaders came to build settlements - British, Americans, French and Dutch. The influx of these foreigners contributed a lot to the western influences of the present Shanghai city. This made Shanghai an even more important port in Asia as it continued to become the most modern city with its building and infrastructure put up. When the Communist Party took over in 1949, the foreigners were all forced to leave their businesses while some resettled in Hongkong.

Shanghai's continued progress

The Chinese Communist took control of businesses and adopted a lot of reforms in policies. This form of government that lasted until 1980 made drastic changes, which were initially focused on counter-revolutionary tactics.

This slowed down Shanghai as an industrial center as the Communists controlled and crippled the previously established business and infrastructures.

The economy started to rebound in the early nineties with the shift in political powers that encouraged foreign and domestic investments to come in again through tax reforms. Shanghai has then become unstoppable as it rose again to claim its old post as a major player in trading.

The present Shanghai is a picture of steady progress as it perseveres to make a huge stamp on world economic history. Its cosmopolitan appeal as a city has captured the attention of all with its bustling economic pursuits. It is awesome how it has stood up from the struggles and challenges of olden days, but it is not surprising.

Ask our travel experts a question about Shanghai

Things about Shanghai you may be interested in


Read our members' reviews about Shanghai

No reviews have been added yet for this category. Be the first to add a new one.

Read our members' travel tips about Shanghai

  • kachou_nJingan Temple
    travel tip by kachou_n posted more then 30 days ago
    In Shanghai, ancient temples nestled between high-rise buildings are not an uncommon sight. Jingan Temple, a Buddhist temple built in the 3rd century is practically dwarfed by the sky-scrapers that surround it. It is a small-ish temple,...
  • lizzy_aJade Buddha Temple
    travel tip by lizzy_a posted more then 30 days ago
    There is no shortage of temples in Shanghai, and many of them are simply amazing. However, none of them can compare to the Jade Buddha Temple, dating back to the 19th century. The temple was founded when two jade Buddha statues were...
  • andra88Shanghai Museum
    travel tip by andra88 posted more then 30 days ago
    If you are interested in Chinese history, art and culture (or if you simply want a flash course in it), there is one place that you absolutely must not miss: the Shanghai Museum. You will need quite a bit of time to see all of it, so...
view all


Members Who Have Been to Shanghai

Community Galleries About Shanghai

Browse our members' Shanghai galleries to get a better impression of the place
show alladd gallery
the best travel deals provided by TravelZoo...
  •$471Multiple Airlines flightMultiple Airlines
    San Francisco, CA (SFO)  Shanghai, CN (PVG)
    11/16/2016 07:00 am
    Shanghai, CN (PVG)  San Francisco, CA (SFO)
    11/30/2016 01:15 pm
  •$472Hainan Airlines flightHainan Airlines
    San Jose, CA (SJC)  Shanghai, CN (SHA)
    11/16/2016 12:30 pm
    Shanghai, CN (SHA)  San Jose, CA (SJC)
    11/30/2016 08:20 am
  •$472Hainan Airlines flightHainan Airlines
    San Jose, CA (SJC)  Shanghai, CN (PVG)
    11/16/2016 12:30 pm
    Shanghai, CN (PVG)  San Jose, CA (SJC)
    11/30/2016 10:55 am

Shanghai City Ratings

  • Ratingunrated
    City Rankunrated
  • History & Culture: not rated
  • Night Life & Entertainment: not rated
  • Family & Fun: not rated
  • Outdoors Activities: not rated
  • Food: not rated
  • Sightseeing: not rated
  • Shopping: not rated
  • Public Transportation: not rated
  • Must visit this place: not rated
ToolsBookmark and Share

Popular destinations

   Welcome to Travelgrove  register tell a friend bookmark it