Changsha City (east longitude111°53'～114°15', north latitude 27°51'～28°41'), is the capital city of Hunan Province. It is the political, economic, scientific, educational, cultural and business center of the province. It is located in the western margin of the Chang-Liu Basin and downstream of the Xiangjiang River.
To the east, Changsha's neighbors are Yichun City and Pingxiang City of Jiangxi Province. To its south sit Zhuzhou City and Xiangtan City, with Loudi City and Yiyang City in the west and Yueyang City and Yiyang City in the north. The length of the city from east to west is about 230 km, and the width from south to north is about 88 km. It covers an area of 11,819.5 square kilometers, of which the urban area occupies 948.23 square kilometers. The downtown area comprises 242.78 square kilometers.
Six districts (Furong, Tianxin, Yuelu, Kaifu, Yuhua and Wancheng), two counties (Changsha County and Ningxiang County) and Liuyang city all fall under its jurisdiction.Among its districts and counties, there are 84 towns, 30 townships and 53 streets. In the rural areas there are 1,243 villages and 568 communities.
With a long history stretching back more than 2,000 years Changsha has a reputation as "Home of Quyuan and Jiayi" and "City of Chu-Han." It is one of the "Famous Cities of History and Culture" evaluated by the State Council and one of the first tourist cities in China to open to the outside world. As early as the Spring and Autumn Period, Changsha was one of the key strategic locations for the Chu state to occupy the south. After the establishment of the Han Dynasty by Liu Bang, it was renamed Linjiang in 206 B.C. The surrounding region is rich in resource and there is a highly developed economy and transportation system. Celebrities and scholars have emerged from Changsha in large numbers since ancient times. Local culture and art is extremely prosperous and enjoys high status in China's literary history.
Humans have lived in Changsha for about 150,000-200,000 years. The New Stone Age entered into its Longshan Culture Stage in about 2,500 B.C. It is said that the primogenitors called Yan emperor and Yellow emperor once came to Changsha.
Changsha was ruled by an ancient country named Sanmiao in the Xia Dynasty. Then Sanmiao disappeared in Zhou Dynasty. However, the descendants of Sanmiao still lived on this land when it was called "Yangyue" (another name was "Jingman"). In the "Leisure of Zhou Dynasty," written by Wang Hui, it says that at the beginning of the Zhou Dynasty when the city Luo hA.D. been built up, the seigneurs from everywhere came to celebrate, and there was one kind of "Changsha turtle" in the tribute. This is the first recorded mention of the name Changsha. At the end of the Spring and Autumn periods of China, Chu forces (Jingchu) entered into Changsha. In the middle of the Warring States period (Zhanguo or Chan-Kuo, referring roughly to the period between 475 B.C. and 221 B.C.), the Chu state carried out political reform. It was very powerful and led extensive military actions to its south. Eventually the entirety of Hunan Province was absorbed into the Chu state. Changsha became an important military state in the southern part of the Chu territories.
Later, Qin forces completely destroyed the Chu state and set up "Changsha Shire" in the southern part of what was once the Chu territories. Thus Changsha was one of 36 shires in the Qin Dynasty. At this time, Changsha began to play a role in the unification of China. In 202 B.C., Wu Rui, the founding father of the Western Han Dynasty, was given the title of king of Changsha. He built the country of Changsha around the Qin-era Changsha Shire and changed the name "Xiang town" to "Lin Xiang town." This became the capital of the Changsha state and symbolized the fact that Changsha was the first-ever seigneur country in Hunan. Accordingly, Changsha became the capital of the Western Han Dynasty.
In 8 A.D., Wangmang usurped the throne and set up his "New Dynasty." He changed the name of Changsha to "Tianman Shire" and changed the capital's name from "Lin Xiang town" to "Wu Mo town." In 26 A.D. (the second year of Jian Wu), Liu Xing, the son of the Western Han Dynasty's final king of Changsha, was named king of Changsha by emperor Liu Xiu of the Eastern Han Dynasty. Liu Xiu rebuilt Changsha country in order to control the situation south of Dongting. In the periods of Three Kingdoms, Sun Quan captured Changsha in 219 A.D. and built the Wu state. In 219 A.D., West Jin destroyed Wu completely when Changsha belonged to the political field of Sun Wu. In 257 A.D., the east of Changsha was called Heng Dong Shire (the town of Zi Suofan, now named Heng Yan). In 265 A.D., "An Cheng shire" was made up of the town of An Cheng (now in Jiangxi province) of Changsha shire and several towns of Yu Zhang shire and Lu Ling shire. At that time, the land under the jurisdiction of Changsha shire was smaller. In 280 A.D., the tenth year of Tai Kang, the emperor Wudi of the Jin dynasty granted his 6th son, Si Ma, the title of king of Changsha.
At the beginning of the Western Jin dynasty, Changsha shire still belonged to Jingzhou. In 589 (the 3rd year of Chen Zhenming and the first month of the ninth lunar year of the Sui Dynasty), the Sui army crossed the Yangtze River and captured Jiangkan. The Yangdi emperor of the Sui dynasty changed the name "Tanzhou shire" into "Changsha shire" once again. In 621, the Tang dynasty set up Tanzhou Main Government Office in Changsha, in 624, the "Main Government Office" was renamed "Military Governor Office." In the periods of the Five Dynasties with ten countries, a Country named Chu was built by Ma Yan in the area of Hu Xiang. In 963, the Song Dynasty occupied Changsha. At the beginning of the Southern Song Dynasty (the first month of the fourth lunar year of Jianyan), the Jin army captured Changsha, massacred all the residents and then abandoned the city. In the mid and end of the Southern Song Dynasty, the situation was relatively stable in Changsha. Many high-ranking officials and great generals, such as Liu Gao, Zhang Xiaoxiang, Xin Qiji, Zhou Bida, Zhen Dexiu, Wei Liaowen, Xiang Shibi, Wang Lixin, Wen Tianxiang, and Li Fu held posts in Changsha.
In the Ming Dynasty, the general named He Tengjiao was in charge of the military affairs in Huguang (Hunan province and Hubei province), Sichuan and Yungui (Yunan Province and Guizhou Province). He sent officials to be stationed in Changsha so that he could use the army of Hunan to beat the Qing Dynasty army, which was then moving toward the south. But the army of He Tengjiao was captured, and he refused to haul down his colors. He fasted for seven days in protest and finally was killed by the Qing. Changsha was not incorporated into the Qing state until the 4th year of the Qing Emperor Shunzhi. Then the Changsha military officials Li Jing and Li Laiheng led their army to Sichuan to go on fighting against the Qing Dynasty.
In the second year of the emperor Xian Feng (1852), the leaders of the Peace army such as Hong Xiuquan, Yang Xiuqing, Xiao Chaogui and Shi Dakai led the army to attack Changsha. The rampart of Changsha was so high and thick that it could not be captured. In the 29th year of Emperor Guang Xu (1903), the government of the Qing Dynasty opened Changsha as a trading port, according to the tenth stipulation of "the Trading and Shipping Renewals of China and Japan." On February 21, 1898, the political association called "South Studying Association" of the Reform Group was established by Tan Sitong, Pi Xirui, Tang Caichang and others. Tan Sitong and Pi Xirui were the chairmen of this association, they set up headquarters in Changsha and branches in every town. The group disappeared after the Reform Movement of 1898. In October 1897, the School of Current Affairs was established by Tan Sitong. The curriculum included Confucian classic, works from the pre-Qin times through the early years of the Han Dynasty, and western politics and law. The school was renamed the Seeking after Truth College after the Reform Movement of 1898.
Republic-era Changsha continued to be one of the Chinese government’s revolutionary centers. In 1915, Cai E, who had studied at the School of Current Affairs, started the Protectorate Movement. In 1919, a large group of May Fourth Movement youth were sent from Changsha to France for work-study. Many of the first communist groups were also established in Changsha.
Changsha became known as the heart of the revolution, as one of the founders of the People’s Republic of China, Mao Zedong, had studied there in his early years and later returned to take part in revolutionary activities. Many of the early leaders of the Chinese Communist Party, such as Mao Zedong, He Shuheng, Ren Bishi, Cai Heshen, and Xiang Jingyu, had either studied in Changsha or taken part in political activities there. Mao Zedong started the Autumn Harvest Uprising in 1927 and tried to attack Changsha. After a direct invasion failed, he reverted to a strategy of first taking over the surrounding villages. The Communist Party officially took power in Changsha on August 5, 1949, and after the formal establishment of the People’s Republic of China, Changsha began to rebuild and further develop.
The 1980s marked the beginning of the implementation of reform and the opening-up policy. During this time Changsha’s economy began to fall behind the coastal cities. However, in the late 1990s, Changsha entered a period of rapid development and became an important and central city in the Midwest of China. At the end of 2007, Changsha, Xiangtan and Zhuzhou were appointed as the national comprehensive supportive reform pilot area for "Two-Oriented" Society construction by the State Council, which became an important engine in the national strategy to raise the status of central China.