Hainan History

Last updated by fabiowzgogo at 2017/4/25

With a long history, Hainan was once connected with the southernmost part of Mainland China. During the Geologic Time (fourth century), the frequent crustal movement makes it to be separated from Mainland China and formed a strait of 20-40 kilometers wide from north to south, 80-100 kilometers long from east to west, and 100-140 meters deep, called Qiongzhou Strait. From then on, Hainan becomes the second largest island of China, next to Taiwan.

Human inhabitation in Hainan can date back to 6,000 years ago. The people are proved to be the ancestors of Li ethnic people. During Western Han Dynasty (206 BC to 8 AD), Hainan was subjected to the government, called Zhuya County. Since then, its name has changed several times, from Zhuya to Da’er, then to Qiongzhou during the following dynasties. Until October 1st, 1984, the government of Hainan Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China was officially formed, and Hainan province and Hainan Special Economic Zone was established at August 9th, 1988.

Li Ethnic Group is the main minority ethnic group of Hainan, with long history and marvelous culture. Their handcrafts have become popular since a long time ago, for example, Lijin (Brocade made by Li women) has become one of the top grade tributes since Han Dynasty. During Tang Dynasty, some other Li people’s handcrafts, such as pearl product and hawksbill carving were also tributes. Since Five Dynasties and Ten States (907 AD to 960 AD), many Li people’s handcrafts were transported and sold through mainland China.

Hainan is also the hometown and resident place of many historically famous people who leave a lot of historical sites in Hainan. There are Wugong Temple (Five Officials Temple), a group of ancient buildings built in honor of the 5 noted ministers (Li Yude of Tang Dynasty, Li Gang, Li Guang, Zhao Ding and Hu Jing of Song Dynasty); Hairui Tomb (Hairui, (1514-1587) was a uncorrupted minister in the Ming Dynasty); Qiongtai Academy (Legend tells that the academy was built during the reign of Kangxi Emperor of the Qing Dynasty (CE 1705), in order to worship Qiu Jun, the greatest scholar of the Ming Dynasty); and Ancient Yazhou City, which was established in Sanya for governance during Southern and Northern Dynasties (420 AD to 581 AD).


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