There has been a settlement in Yinchuan for over four thousand years, but the establishment of a city here can be traced back well over 2 thousand years, to Emperor Hanchengdi's reign in the Han Dynasty when Beidiannong City was established in the east suburb of present day Yinchuan. Later, Li Yuanhao, leader of the Dangxiang ethnic group, established the Western Xia Dynasty (1038-1227), and made Yinchuan its capital. The Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region was established in 1958 when Yinchuan became the capital city. Aside from being the capital, it serves as the political, economic and cultural center for the region.
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