Guangxi History

Last updated by peggie at 2014-4-22

Establishment and Evolution

During the time of the Warring States, Lingnan was known as the land of Baiyue and Guangxi was a part of Baiyue. In 214 BC, the Qin Emperor unified Baiyue and established Guilin county, Nanhai county and Xiang county, of which Guilin county and Xiang county included most areas of Guangxi. Therefore Guangxi acquired the name of "Gui". At the beginning of the Song Dynasty, most areas of Guangxi belonged to the West Guangnan Road, which was later called Guangxi Road for short. That is the origin of the name of "Guangxi". During the Yuan Dynasty, "Field Secretariats" (Xing Zhongshusheng) was established. This is the rudiment of the establishment of Guangxi Province. During the Ming Dynasty, as one of the 13 administrative commissioner's offices in our country, Guangxi was called Chengxuan administrative commissioner's office of Guangxi at that time. Since then, the name of Guangxi had been fixed down. During Qing Dynasty, the province of Guangxi was established. Guilin has been retained as the capital of Guangxi since the establishment of Guangxi Province till the era of Republic of China. Merely from 1912 to 1936, the capital was once moved to Nanning. On December 11th, 1949, the whole area of Guangxi was liberated. In the primary period after Liberation, the Province of Guangxi was established and the capital was set in Nanning. On March 5th, 1958, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region was established. Thereafter, the administrative division of Guangxi experienced some changes, whereas the establishment of autonomous regions at the first level was not changed. Since1978, the date of December 11th (the very day when the Soviet of the Youjiang River and the Seventh Red Army was established) has become the anniversary of the founding of the autonomous region.

CNN‘s Most Beautiful River, Li River in Guilin

Ancient Culture

Guangxi enjoys a long history. Since the late Paleolithic Age forty or fifty thousand years ago, there had been "Liujiang people" and "Qilin Mountain people" laboring and living here. After the Qin Emperor Shihuang unified the land of Lingnan, he excavated Ling Canal to connect the Yangtze River and the Pearl River, which therefore largely promoted the economic and cultural exchange between Guangxi and the central plains. The long history forms the splendid and unique national culture of Guangxi, the distinctive feature of which during Spring and Autumn and Warring States periods could be well understood from the cliff paintings and calligraphies created by early people of Guangxi along Zuojiang River bank, the big bronze drum made before the Han Dynasty, and the simple and elegant railing buildings which can prevent from the corrosion of moist heat and the inroads of snakes and beasts. The Zhenwu Pavilion of the Ming Dynasty and the Chengyang Shelter Bridge of Dong Nationality in Sanjiang has extremely high scientific and artistic values. Guangxi has the reputation of "sea of songs", mainly including the March 3rd (lunar calendar)Folk Song Festival of Zhuang nationality, Danu Festival (to commemorate ancient battles) of Yao nationality, Caihuashan (picking flowers at the mountains) and Lusheng (a reed-pipe wind instrument used by the Miao, Yao and Dong nationalities) Festivals of Miao nationality, Zoupo Festival (the youth festival for young people to build love) of Mulam nationality, Huapao Festival (scrambling for the fireworks) of Dong nationality and Tasty Oil Tea, etc, of which the most solemn one is the traditional Folk Song Festival on March 3rd (lunar calendar). The local forms of Opera (folk expressive forms including story telling, comic dialogues, clapper talks, cross talks, etc.) in Guangxi are composed of Gui Opera, Zhuang Opera, Caidiao Opera, Yue Opera, Yong Opera, Fish Drum and Bronze Drum Music of Guangxi, etc.

Historical Events

Construction of Ling Canal by the Qin Empire

In 221BC, the Emperor in Chinese history, called Qin Shihuang annexed the six rival principalities of Qi, Chu, Yan, Han, Zhao and Wei, and established a feudal society with centralized power. After the Qin Empire unified the central plains, in order to conquer all parts of Baiyue in the south, in the 26th year of Qin dynasty or Shihuang reign period, a general called Tu Xiong was appointed to lead a 500-thousand-army to move towards south from five different branches. Later One branch army in the Yuecheng Mountains encountered the pertinacious resistance of Yue people. What's worse, owing to the danger and difficulty of climbing mountains and crossing obstructed waterways, the combat food was out of supply. As a result, the Qin army was thrown into a dilemma. In the 27th year of Emperor Shihuang's reign, Shilu was appointed to preside over the construction of the Ling Canal in the land of Xing'an County in Guangxi. The total length of the Ling Canal is 34 kilometers. It was exquisitely designed. Digging the canal was a Herculean task, which directed waters of Xiang River into Li River and connected the Yangtze River and the Pearl River. The canal not only removed the difficulty of the Qin army transporting military supplies, but also played an important role in the unification of Lingnan by Qin dynasty. After the Qin Empire unified the land of Baiyue in Lingnan, it established Nanhai County, Guilin County and Xiang County in Lingnan in 214BC. Since then the land of Guangxi had began to be incorporated into the domain of the Qin Dynasty. Ling Canal served water transportation of grain to the capital, and irrigation over all the dynasties. Finally it became the most convenient passage from the central plains to Lingnan in ancient times.

The Taiping Rebellion

After the Opium War in 1840, China was gradually reduced to a semi-colonial and semi-feudal society, when the conflicts between tenant farmers and landowners in the feudal society were further intensified. In 1843, Hong Xiuquan set up God-worship Religion in Hua County of Guangdong Province. On January 1st, 1851, Hong Xiuquan united the Taiping Uprising in Jintian Village of Guiping, Guangxi, which took China and foreign countries by storm. The Taiping Uprising, which lasted for 20 years and covered 18 provinces, hit the peak in the development of peasants' war for independence in the history of China.

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