Ningbo has a history dating back to 4,800 BC, when a Neolithic group was based here known as the Hemudu Culture. The people left evidence of their progression from a nomadic to an agricultural community, which was unearthed in the 1970s, and is now on display at the Hemudu Culture Relics site.
Korea began to use the city as a port for its exports to China's southern capital Nanjing during the 5th century. The city grew further when Hangzhou became the capital of the Southern Song Dynasty, and retained its significance through the Song and Yuan Dynasties.
The international trade was not to last: in the Ming Dynasty, shipbuilding was severely restricted and the flow of trade through the port in Ningbo was stemmed. Some trade continued with Korea, and the port became the target of Japanese pirates, necessitating the fortification of the city and its role change into a defensive port. As the financial injections into the city slowed, the city's economy stalled, until the 15th century when the rural land lying behind the port began to pick up.
European traders began illegally trading goods with Ningbo in the 16th century. Portuguese, Dutch and British ships flooded in and goods moved from the city up into the rest of China, Taiwan and the Philippines. Trading was eventually legalized, and Ningbo became the region's economic centre, linked by canal to Shaoxing and the Qiantang River.
In the late 19th Century, Ningbo was one of the cities opened up to foreign trade, but lost out to Shanghai. Ningbo's port was again opened up after the Opium Wars, becoming one of the major trading ports in China.
Here’s our pick of Ningbo’s most popular expat hangouts. New to the city or fancy trying something different? Check out our list of Ningbo’s most popular Western restaurants.
Cirque du Soleil is coming to Ningbo over the October holiday with their critically acclaimed show, Le Noir.
In the 1960’s, European martial arts experts combined the classic fighting styles of various countries to create a free form, ultra intense fighting style.
Buyi rock band, currently on tour to promote their new album Departure, will be performing at the CMK Music House in Ningbo on January 3, 2014.
The Zhujiajian Donghai Music Festival will be held in Zhoushan City near Ningbo from August 30 to September1.
Zhejiang Province is set to see its first IKEA open in Ningbo on July 17, making it the 12th branch of the furniture superstore in China.
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