The Oldest City in China

About Wuhan China

Wuhan is the capital of Hubei province, People's Republic of China, and is the most populous city in central China. It lies at the east of Jianghan Plain, and the intersection of the middle reaches of the Yangtze and Han River. Arising out of the conglomeration of three boroughs, Wuchang, Hankou, and Hanyang, Wuhan is known as the "thoroughfare of nine provinces"; it is a major transportation hub, with dozens of railways, roads and expressways passing through the city. The city of Wuhan, first termed as such in 1927, has a population of approximately 9,100,000 people (2006), with about 6,100,000 residents in its urban area. In the 1920s, Wuhan was the capital of a leftist Kuomintang (KMT) government led by Wang Jingwei in opposition to Chiang Kai-shek, now Wuhan is recognized as the political, economic, financial, cultural, educational and transportation center of central China.

The area was first settled more than 3,000 years ago. During the Han Dynasty, Hanyang became a fairly busy port. In the 3rd century AD one of the most famous battles in Chinese history and a central event in the Romance of the Three Kingdoms—the Battle of Red Cliffs—took place in the vicinity of the cliffs near Wuhan. Around that time, walls were built to protect Hanyang (AD 206) and Wuchang (AD 223).

The latter event marks the foundation of Wuhan. In AD 223, the Yellow Crane Tower (黄鹤楼) was constructed on the Wuchang side of the Yangtze River. Cui Hao, a celebrated poet of Tang Dynasty, visited the building in the early 8th century; his poem made the building the most celebrated building in southern China. The city has long been renowned as a center for the arts (especially poetry) and for intellectual studies. Under the Mongol rulers (Yuan Dynasty), Wuchang was promoted to the status of provincial capital. By approximately 300 years ago, Hankou had become one of the country's top four trading towns. Wuhan Custom House, opened in 1862 In the late 1800s railroads were extended on a north-south axis through this city, which then became an important transshipment point between rail and river traffic. At this time foreign powers extracted mercantile concessions, with the riverfront of Hankou being divided up into various foreign controlled merchant districts.

These districts contained trading firm offices, warehouses, and docking facilities. In 1911, Sun Yat-sen's followers launched the Wuchang Uprising that led to the collapse of the Qing Dynasty and the establishment of the Republic of China. Wuhan was the capital of a leftist Kuomintang government led by Wang Jingwei, in opposition to Chiang Kai-shek during the 1920s. In 1938, Wuhan and its proximities became the battlefield of the Battle of Wuhan, a major conflict in the Second Sino-Japanese War. After being taken by the Japanese in 1938, Wuhan became a major Japanese logistics center for operations in southern China. In December 1944, the city was largely destroyed by U.S. firebombing raids conducted by the Fourteenth Air Force. In 1967, civil strife struck the city in the Wuhan Incident as a result of tension brought by the Cultural Revolution. The city has been subject to numerous devastating floods, which are supposed to be controlled by the ambitious Three Gorges Dam. That project is set to be completed in 2011.