Tianjin was first put on the map as Zhigu (Straight Port) during the Sui Dynasty, when the Grand Canal was constructed. It was named Tianjin (Heavenly Ford) in 1404. By this time the city officials had added city walls to protect it from pirates. It was established as a prefecture in 1725 during the Qing Dynasty, and as a county six years later. When in 1858 the Treaty of Tianjin was signed after the Opium Wars, the city was divided up and conceded to a number of foreign powers. During the Second Sino-Japanese War, Tianjin fell to the Japanese and was ruled by the puppet state of Manchukuo. It was later turned into an American base, but was finally returned to Chinese hands in 1947. Since the beginning of Reform and Opening Up in the 1970s, the city has experienced rapid economic development. Today, with the construction of the Tianjin Binhai New Area the city's economic momentum is swinging upwards.
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