History of Zhouzhuang

history of zhouzhuang

Zhouzhuang, located in ancient China, has a rich history that spans many centuries. Here’s an overview of its historical development:

Ancient Times:

  • During the Spring and Autumn and Warring States periods, Zhouzhuang was part of the fiefdom of Prince Yao of Wu and King Yao of Yue.
  • In the 14th year of the Tang Dynasty’s Zhenguan era (640 AD), the region came under the jurisdiction of Jiangnan Dao in Suzhou Prefecture.
  • In the first year of the Wansui Tongtian era (696 AD), due to the population growth, agricultural and commercial prosperity, and increased taxes, a new county was established by splitting Suzhou Prefecture, and it was named Changzhou County.
  • In the first year of the Yuan You era of the Northern Song Dynasty (1086 AD), Zhou Di, a nobleman, established a settlement here and donated land to build the “Quanfu” temple, which led to the renaming of the area to “Zhouzhuang” as a gesture of gratitude for his benevolence. During the Jingkang Incident, many refugees settled here, and the population began to grow.
  • In the first year of the Yuan Zhiyuan era (1330 AD), a man named Shen You, along with his son Shen Wansan, moved to the eastern part of Zhouzhuang, where they engaged in farming and later became involved in trade, contributing to the growth of the market in the area.
  • During the Ming Dynasty, Zhouzhuang began to develop as a market town. During the Chenghua era, it was placed under the jurisdiction of Huating County in Songjiang Prefecture.
  • In the 21st year of the Jiajing era (1542 AD), part of Huating and Shanghai counties were merged to create Qingpu County, and Zhouzhuang became part of Qingpu County. During this period, Zhouzhuang established a township office to promote Confucian teachings, making it one of the earliest official institutions in its history.
  • During the Qing Dynasty, Zhouzhuang was again incorporated into Changzhou County.
  • In the first year of the Kangxi era (1662), a city defense camp was established in Zhouzhuang, responsible for defending the waterways in Changzhou and Kunshan.
  • In the 13th year of the Kangxi era, the city defense camp was restructured as Zhouzhuang Fort, overseeing 15 waterways outside Fumon Gate in Suzhou.
  • In the second year of the Yongzheng era (1724), Yuanhe County was established by splitting Changzhou County. The town of Zhouzhuang was divided into two parts, with the majority on the left bank belonging to Yuanhe County’s Suzhaidun Township, and a smaller part on the right bank belonging to Wujiang County’s Jiuyong Township’s Tongxiu Village.

Modern Era:

  • In the third year of the Xuantong era (1911), township autonomy was implemented.
  • In the first year of the Republic of China (1912), Changzhou and Yuanhe counties were abolished, and Zhouzhuang became part of Wuxian County, establishing a township public office.
  • In the sixth year of the Republic of China (1917), Zhouzhuang Town Public Office was established.
  • In the sixteenth year of the Republic of China (1927), the Wu County Zhouzhuang Township Preparatory Committee was established.
  • In the seventeenth year of the Republic of China (1928), the Kuomintang Wu County Party Headquarters established the Seventh District Branch in Zhouzhuang.
  • In the eighteenth year of the Republic of China (1929), Wu County established the Eleventh District in Zhouzhuang, overseeing 45 surrounding townships.
  • In the twenty-fourth year of the Republic of China (1935), these 45 townships were consolidated into eight townships: Xianbei, Dianbei, Hudu, Huxi, Chennan, Chenbei, Xiudang, and Xiapu.
  • In the twenty-sixth year of the Republic of China (1937), during the Japanese invasion, Zhouzhuang established a maintenance association.
  • In the twenty-seventh year of the Republic of China (1938), in October, the Japanese canceled the maintenance association established by Chen Yaozong, the commander of the 735th Regiment of the 45th Brigade of the independent army, and established the Zhouzhuang Town Public Office.
  • In the thirtieth year of the Republic of China (1941), in July, Wu County re-established the Eleventh District in Chenmu, overseeing the Zhouzhuang and Chenmu areas.
  • In the thirty-first year of the Republic of China (1942), in May, the Japanese puppet regime established a district office in Zhouzhuang called the Twelfth District. In June of the same year, the district office was renamed the Qingxiang Special District Office.
  • In the thirty-fourth year of the Republic of China (1945), in June, the Qingxiang Special District Office moved to Chenmu. On December 9th of the same year, Zhouzhuang established a local self-help association.
  • In the thirty-fifth year of the Republic of China (1946), in March, Zhouzhuang Town was renamed Chucun Town, but it was renamed Zhouzhuang Town again two years later.
  • In the thirty-sixth year of the Republic of China (1947), Huxi Township was merged into Dianbei Township and renamed Dianban Township.

Modern Times:

  • On May 8, 1949, Zhouzhuang was liberated and became Zhouzhuang Town. In November, Xianbei Township was renamed Taishi Township, Dianbei Township became Shuanghu Township, and Hudu Township became Banghu Township. These townships and the town were placed under the jurisdiction of the Songnan District of Wuxian County.
  • In September 1952, the town and three townships were transferred to Kunshan County, under the jurisdiction of the Dianxi District.
  • In March 1956, Taishi Township was split, with parts incorporated into Banghu and Shuanghu townships. In August of the same year, Banghu and Shuanghu townships merged to form Zhouzhuang Township.
  • In 1998, the National Tourism Administration awarded Zhouzhuang Ancient Town Scenic Area the title of “Famous Scenic Spot in China.”
  • In 2003, Zhouzhuang Town was awarded the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Conservation Award.
  • In 2006, Zhouzhuang Town was once again included in the “Tentative List of World Cultural Heritage Sites in China” by the National Cultural Heritage Administration.
  • In 2007, Zhouzhuang Town was designated as one of the “First Batch of AAAAA-Level Tourist Attractions” by the National Tourism Administration.
  • In 2008, the Ministry of Culture officially named Zhouzhuang as the “Hometown of Chinese Folk Culture and Art (Water Town Folk Customs).”
  • In 2010, Zhouzhuang Town was awarded the title of “National Special Landscape Tourism Town” by the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development and the National Tourism Administration.
  • In 2011, Zhouzhuang was designated as a “National Low-Carbon Tourism Experimental Zone” by the China Association for Promoting Environmental Protection and the Tourism Scenic Spots Committee of the China Tourism Association.
  • In 2012, Zhouzhuang Ancient Town was selected as a tourist attraction in the Low-Carbon Tourism Demonstration Zone.
  • In 2014, Zhouzhuang Town was awarded the title of “Jiangsu Province Smart Tourism Demonstration Base” by the Jiangsu Provincial Tourism Bureau.

Facts about Zhouzhuang:

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