During the Spring and Autumn Period more than two thousand years ago, it was the territory of the Jin State. Therefore, it is called Jin for short. At the beginning of the Warring States Period, the Jin State was carved up by the states of Han, Zhao and Wei, which was called “three Jin” in the history. Hence, it became another name of Shanxi in the history.
Shanxi is one of the birthplaces of the Chinese nationality. There were human being living and multiplying in this vast land. The legendary “Capital of Emperor Yao, Pingyang”, “Capital of Emperor Shun, Puban” and “Capital of Emperor Yu, Anyi”, namely, the present-day Linfen, Yongji and Xiaxian, are located in the south of Shanxi. During the Zhou Dynasty, Shanxi is the territory of the Tang State. Later Xiefu, the son of Tang Shuyu, changed the national name into Jin as the Tang State was close to the Jin River. During the Spring and Autumn Period, Shanxi was the land of the Jin State, one of the five hegemonies. During the Warring States Period, the states of Han, Zhao and Wei, which carved up the Jin State, ranked with the states of Qin, Chu, Qi and Yan as the Seven Warring States. After Emperor Qin unified China, the five shires of Taiyuan, Shangdang, Hedong, Yanmen and Daijun were established in Shanxi. During the Sui Dynasty, Taiyuan was the third largest city along the Yellow River Basin, only second to Chang’an and Luoyang. At the end of the Sui Dynasty, Li Yuan and his sons rose in revolt in Taiyuan, established the capital in Chang’an and regarded Taiyuan as “Beijing”, which meant “another capital”. During the Five Dynasties, the Later Tang, Later Jin, Later Han and North Han all grew and throve based in Shanxi. During the period of Chinese feudal society, Shanxi enjoyed a vital position and played an especially important role in troubled times. Those who occupied Shanxi could rule the country. Therefore, Gu Zuyu, a man of the Qing Dynasty, pointed out in the Essentials of Historical Geography: to change the situation of the world, one must seize Shanxi. During the Ming Dynasty, the Shanxi Administrative Province was established in Taiyuan and later was renamed Administration Commission, ruling five prefectures and three cantons of Shanxi. During the Qing Dynasty, it was officially called Shanxi.