History of Tianjin
The land where Tianjin lies today was created in historical times by sedimentation of various rivers entering the sea at Bohai Gulf (渤海灣), including the Yellow River, which entered the sea in this area at one point.
The opening of the Grand Canal of China during the Sui Dynasty prompted the development of Tianjin into a trading centre. Until 1404, Tianjin was called Zhigu (直沽), or "Straight Port". In that year, the Yongle Emperor renamed the city Tianjin, literally means "the Heavenly Ford", to indicate that the Emperor (son of heaven) forded the river at that point. This is because he had indeed forded the river in Tianjin while on a campaign to scramble for the throne from his nephew. Later on, a fort was established in Tianjin, known as "Tianjin Wei" (天津卫 Tiānjīnwèi), the Fort of Tianjin.
Tianjin was promoted to a prefecture in 1725. Tianjin County was established under the prefecture in 1731.
In 1856, Chinese soldiers boarded The Arrow, a Chinese-owned ship registered in Hong Kong flying the British flag and suspected of piracy, smuggling and of being engaged in the opium trade. They captured 12 men and imprisoned them. In response, the British and French sent gunboats under the command of Admiral Sir Michael Seymour to capture the Dagu forts (大沽砲臺) near Tianjin in May 1858. At the end of the first part of the Second Opium War in June of the same year, the Treaties of Tianjin were signed, which opened Tianjin to foreign trade. The treaties were ratified by the Emperor of China in 1860, and Tianjin was formally opened to the outside world. Between 1895 and 1900, Britain and France were joined by Japan, Germany and Russia, and even by countries without other Chinese concessions such as Austria-Hungary, Italy and Belgium, in establishing self-contained concessions in Tianjin, each with its own prisons, schools, barracks and hospitals.
The presence of foreign influence in Tianjin was not always peaceful; one of the most serious violent incidents to take place was the Tianjin Church Incident (天津教案). In June 1870, Wanghailou Church (望海楼教堂) in Tianjin, built by French Roman Catholic missionaries, was accused of the kidnapping and brainwash of Chinese children. The rumour was that nuns were preserving children's eyes (it seems that the confusion came from the jars of pickle with small onions in the kitchen). On June 21, the magistrate of Tianjin County initiated a showdown at the church that developed into violent clashes between the church's Christian supporters and non-Christian Tianjin residents. The furious protesters eventually burned down Wanghailou Church and the nearby French consulate. France and six other Western nations complained to the Qing government, which was forced to pay compensation for the incident.
In June 1900, the Boxers were able to seize control of much of Tianjin. On June 26, belligerent European forces heading towards Beijing were stopped by Boxers at nearby Langfang, and were defeated and forced to turn back to Tianjin. The foreign concessions also came under siege for several weeks.
In July 1900, the Eight Nation United Army attacked and occupied Tianjin. They soon established the Tianjin Provisional Government, composed of representatives from each of the occupying forces (Russian, British, Japanese, German, French, American, Austro-Hungarian, and Italian). Tianjin was governed by this council until August 15, 1902 when the city was returned to Qing control. Eminent Qing General Yuan Shikai headed efforts to remake Tianjin into a modern city, establishing the first modern Chinese police force here.
Tianjin was established as a municipality of China (直轄市) in 1927.
Western nations were permitted to garrison the area to ensure open access to Peking. The British maintained a brigade of two battalions there, and the Italians, French, Japanese, Germans, Russians, and Austro-Hungarians maintained understrength regiments; the United States did not initially participate. During World War I, the German and Austro-Hungarian garrisons were captured and held as Prisoners of War by Allied Forces while the Bolshevik government withdrew the Russian garrison in 1918. In 1920, the remaining participating nations asked the United States to join them, and the US then sent the 15th Infantry Regiment, less one battalion, to Tianjin from the Philippines.
Garrison duty was highly regarded by the troops. General George C Marshall, the "architect of victory" in World War II when he was the United States Army Chief of Staff, served at Tianjin in the 1920s as Executive Officer of the 15th Infantry. The US withdrew this unit in 1938 and a US presence was maintained only by the dispatch of a small US Marine Corps contingent from the Embassy Guard at Peking.
On July 30, 1937, Tianjin fell to Japan, as part of the Second Sino-Japanese War, but was not entirely occupied, as the Japanese for the most part respected foreign concessions until 1941, when the American and British concessions were occupied. In the summer of 1939, there occurred a major crisis in Anglo-Japanese relations with the Tianjin Incident. On June 14, 1939, the Imperial Japanese Army surrounded and blockaded the British concession over the refusal of the British authorities to hand over to the Japanese six Chinese who had assassinated a locally prominent Japanese collaborator, and had taken refuge in the British concession. For a time, the 1939 crisis appeared likely to cause an Anglo-Japanese war, especially when reports of the maltreatment by the Japanese Army of British subjects wishing to leave or enter the concession appeared in the British press. The crisis ended when the British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain was advised by the Royal Navy and the Foreign Office that the only way to force the Japanese to lift the blockade was to send the main British battle fleet to Far Eastern waters, and that given the current crisis in Europe that it would be inappropriate to send the British fleet out of European waters, thus leading the British to finally turn over the six Chinese, who were then executed by the Japanese. During the Japanese occupation, Tianjin was ruled by the North China Executive Committee, a puppet state based in Beijing.
On August 9, 1940, all of the British troops in Tianjin were ordered to withdraw. On November 14, 1941 the American Marine unit stationed in Tianjin was ordered to leave, but before this could be accomplished, the Japanese attacked the United States. The small 47 man American Marine detachment surrendered to the Japanese on December 8, 1941. Only the Italian and French concessions (the local French officials were loyal to Vichy) were allowed to continue by the Japanese. Japanese occupation lasted until August 15, 1945, the surrender of Japan marking the end of World War II.
After 1945, Tianjin became base to American forces.
Communist forces took Tianjin on January 15, 1949, following a 29-hour long battle. After the communist takeover, Tianjin remained a municipality of China, except between 1958 and 1967, when it became part of Hebei province and its capital. The Tangshan earthquake of 1976 killed 23,938 people in Tianjin and wrought heavy damage on the city.
After China began to open up in the late 1970s, Tianjin has seen rapid development, though it is now lagging behind other important cities like Shanghai, Beijing, and Guangzhou. Tianjin is now home to the Binhai New Area, a special economic zone that is supposed to balance out Shanghai's obvious commercial superiority.
Industry of Tianjin
The nominal GDP for Tianjin was 635.4 billion yuan (US$90 billion) in 2008, a year-on-year increase of 16.5%.
In 2008, per capita GDP was 55,473 yuan. The manufacturing sector was the largest (60.1%) and fastest-growing (18.2%) sector of Tianjin's economy. Urban disposable income per capita was 19,423 yuan, a real increase of 18.7% from the previous year. Rural pure income per capita was 9,670 yuan, a real increase of 10.5% from the previous year.
Farmland takes up about 40% of Tianjin Municipality's total area. Wheat, rice, and maize are the most important crops. Fishing is important along the coast. Tianjin is also an important industrial base. Major industries include petrochemical industries, textiles, car manufacturing, mechanical industries, and metalworking.
Tianjin Municipality also has deposits of about 1 billion tonnes of petroleum, with Dagang District containing important oilfields. Salt production is also important, with Changlu Yanqu being one of China's most important salt production areas. Geothermal energy is another resource of Tianjin. Deposits of manganese and boron under Tianjin were the first to be found in China.
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