HISTORY: KEY DATES
In its transformation from fishing village to bustling trading port
and now China's leading city, Shanghai has survived wars, foreign
takeovers and 20th-century turmoil.
4000 BC Prehistoric hunter-gatherers settle in the Yangtze Delta.
1000 BC A tiny farming and fishing village is established on the banks of the Huangpu River.
AD 500-1300 Shanghai grows in size and importance, and it develops a trading culture during
the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279).
1400s The Huangpu is dredged several times, setting the stage for commercial success.
1554 Shanghai builds a wall to protect itself from Japanese pirates; the circular edges of the
wall still define the borders of the Old Town.
1685 The Qing Dynasty opens a customs office, and Shanghai grows in commercial import-
ance, with cotton, silk and tea the key exports.
1760 The Qianlong emperor restricts all foreign trade to Canton.
1839-45 The British Army invades China and proceeds to take China's coastal cities by force.
In 1842, the Qing government is forced to sign the Treaty of Nanjing, which gives Britain a for-
eign concession in Shanghai.