As the capital of Shanxi Province, Taiyuan was referred to as Jinyang during ancient times or Bing for short. The ancient city's history dates back over 2500 years with its emergence during the Spring and Autumn Period.
In terms of Chinese history, the city has played many roles including a capital city during the Warring States Period, a prefecture during the Qin Period, and a state during the Western Han. During the Sixteen Kingdoms and Northern Southern Dynasties, the city served as a capital for the self-governed state.
During the Sui Dynasty, Jinyang (ancient Taiyuan) was the third largest city in all of Imperial China. During the Five Dynasties, Taiyuan was the capital of Later Tang, Later Jin, Later Han and Northern Han. However, the city experienced its pivotal change during the Qing Dynasty when Taiyuan developed as a key commercial and handicraft center. In the 20th century, the city became the producer of much of the coal that supported the rapid industrial growth that the country experienced; hence, Taiyuan became an industrial capital of northeastern China.
With over 2000 years of history, the city has enjoyed a reputation as a military fortress of Northern China because of the mountains and rivers that shielded the area. In addition, the ancient city was always referred to as the 'Dragon City' because it was the birthplace of many emperors.
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