Zhengzhou is one of the oldest cities in China, with a history stretching back over 3500 years. It was founded in the Shang Dynasty, and as such can claim to be one of the seats of Chinese civilization.
Long before the city was founded, the Yellow Emperor (the first Chinese Emperor) is said to have been born in Xuanyuan Hill, which is now a part of the Zhengzhou Municipality. He is a legendary figure of Chinese history, and is said to be the father of the Han people and is now revered as one of the chief deities of Taoism. During the Xia dynasty, Yangcheng was the capital city of the region, but after being founded in the Shang Dynasty, Zhengzhou became the capital city for the Shang Dynasty, the States of Guan, Zheng and Han. It was also an important prefecture during eight dynasties: Sui, Tang, Five Dynasties, Song, Jin, Yuan, Ming and Qing.
During the time the Zheng and Han Dynasties had their capitals established in the region, the city's wealth grew considerably. The city finally got its current name during the Sui Dynasty, becoming the economic and political centre of the area. It was during the Sui Dynasty too that the waterways of Zhengzhou became an important transport hub in the region. The Grand Canal and Tongli Channel were built during the reign of Emperor Yang, ensuring that the waterways became as important as the roads in transporting goods around the region.
More recently, Zhengzhou has become known as the site of the February 7 Great Strike of 1923, which was a crucial time in the development and growth of the Chinese Worker Movement. In 1948, the city was officially established in its modern form, and became the provincial capital of Henan six years later.
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