History of Tianjin
The land where Tianjin is located today was created in ancient times by sedimentation of various rivers entering the sea at Bohai Gulf, including the Yellow River, which entered the open sea in this area at one point. The opening of the Grand Canal during the Sui dynasty prompted the development of Tianjin into a trading center.
During the Qing dynasty (1644–1911) Tianjin was promoted to a prefecture or Zhou (州) in 1725 with Tianjin County established under the prefecture in 1731. Later it was upgraded to an urban prefecture or Fu (府) before becoming a relay station (驻地) under the command of the Viceroy of Zhili. 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 Taku forts near Tianjin in May 1858. At the end of the first part of the Second Opium War in June of the same year, the British and French prevailed, and the Treaty of Tientsin were signed, which opened Tianjin to foreign trade. The treaties were ratified by the Xianfeng Emperor in 1860, and Tianjin was formally opened to Great Britain and France, and thus to the outside world. Between 1895 and 1900, Britain and France were joined by Japan, Germany and Russia, and even by countries without 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. These nations left many architectural reminders of their rule, notably churches and thousands of villas.
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. In June 1870, the orphanage held by the Wanghailou Church (Church Our Lady’s Victories), in Tianjin, built by French Roman Catholic missionaries, was accused of the kidnapping and brainwashing of Chinese children. 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 protestors eventually burned down Wanghailou Church and the nearby French consulate and killed eighteen foreigners including ten French nuns, the French consul, and merchants. France and six other Western nations complained to the Qing government, which was forced to pay compensation for the incident.
In 1885 Li Hongzhang founded the Tianjin Military Academy for Chinese army officers, with German advisers, as part of his military reforms. The move was supported by Anhui Army commander Zhou Shengchuan.:267 The academy was to serve Anhui Army and Green Standard Army officers. Various practical military, mathematic and science subjects were taught at the academy. The instructors were German officers. Another program was started at the academy for five years in 1887 to train teenagers as new army officers. Mathematics, practical and technical subjects, sciences, foreign languages, Chinese Classics and history were taught at the school. Exams were administered to students. The instruction for Tianjin Military Academy was copied at the Weihaiwei and Shanhaiguan military schools.:268 The ‘maritime defense fund’ supplied the budget for the Tianjin Military Academy, which was shared with the Tianjin Naval Academy. The Tianjin Military Academy in 1886 adopted as part of its curriculum the Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Among its alumni were Wang Yingkai and 段祺瑞 Duan Qirui. Among its staff was Yinchang.
Peiyang University, established 1895
In June 1900, the Boxers were able to seize control of much of Tianjin. On June 26, European defense forces heading towards Beijing were stopped by Boxers at nearby Langfang, and were defeated and forced to turn back to Tianjin. The foreign concessions were also under siege for several weeks. In July 1900, the Eight-Nation Alliance recaptured Tianjin. This alliance 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). The city was governed by this council until August 15, 1902 when the city was returned to Qing control. Eminent Qing General Yuan Shikai led efforts to transform Tianjin into a modern city, establishing the first modern Chinese police force. In 1907, Yuan supervised China’s first modern democratic elections for a county council.
Western nations were permitted to garrison the area to ensure open access to Beijing. The British maintained a brigade of two battalions in Tianjin, and the Italians, French, Japanese, Germans, Russians, and Austro-Hungarians maintained under strength 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.
Because of the rapid development of industry, commerce and finance, Tientsin was established as a municipality of China in 1927. From 1930 to 1935, Tientsin was the provincial capital of Hopeh, after that re-established as a municipality.
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 unit from the Embassy Guard at Beijing.
Second Sino-Japanese War
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 Tientsin 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 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 by the Japanese to remain. When Italy signed an armistice with the Allies in September 1943, Japanese troops took the Italian concession following a battle with its garrison, and the Italian Social Republic formally ceded it to Wang Jingwei’s Japan-controlled puppet state. Japanese occupation of the city lasted until August 15, 1945, with the surrender of Japan marking the end of World War II.
Post World War II
In the Pingjin Campaign of the Chinese Civil War, the city was captured after 29 hours of fighting. Finally the Communists took over Tianjin on January 15, 1949.
From 1949 to February 1958, Tianjin was a municipality directly under the Central Government. In October 1952, Tanggu New Port officially opened its doors, and the first 10,000-tonne ferry arrived at Newport Pier. In February 1958, due to the “Great Leap Forward” and Tianjin’s good industrial foundation, Tianjin was incorporated into Hebei Province and Hebei Province was relocated to Tianjin for eight years. During the period, under the coordination of the State Council, the city of Tianjin implemented a separate policy for central planning, which was independent of Hebei Province. However, a large number of factories and colleges in Tianjin moved to Hebei, adversely affecting Tianjin’s economic development. In January 1967, due to “preparation, preparation for disasters,” and concerns that Tianjin would become a battlefield, Hebei Province repatriated the provincial capital to Baoding, and the CPC Central Committee decided that Tianjin should be restored to the central municipality and remain so far. In April 1970, in the event that the Central Government had applied for funding for the construction of the subway, the Tianjin Municipal Government decided to raise funds on its own to establish the project on the basis of the name of the channel, and build it on the basis of the old walled river. In July 1973, five counties including Jixian, Baodi, Wuqing, Jinghai, and Ninghe were formally placed under the jurisdiction of Tianjin.
On July 28, 1976, in the 7.8-strong earthquake that occurred in Tangshan, Tianjin was affected by the earthquake waves and suffered heavy losses. In the city, 24,345 people died and 21,497 were seriously injured. Sixty percent of the city’s buildings were destroyed by the earthquake. Nearly 700,000 people were left homeless. More than 30% of the enterprises and Peking Port Reservoir and Yuqiao Reservoir were seriously damaged. On October 10 of the same year, the Tianjin Underground Railway was opened to traffic. In 1981, Miyun Reservoir, built on the upper reaches of the Haihe River for the use of water for the use of water from Tianjin, used water for the purpose of protecting Beijing and stopped supplying water to Tianjin, resulting in difficulty in the use of water in Tianjin. In the same year, the State Council of the People’s Republic of China decided to initiate the project to attract talents to Tianjin to solve the problem of water use in Tianjin.
In 1984, at the beginning of reform and opening up, Tianjin was listed as one of the 14 coastal open cities by the State Council and the economy began to develop rapidly, especially as a symbol of Tianjin Development Zone. However, the overall development speed of Tianjin is still slower than that of special economic zones and other southeast coastal areas. In 1994, Tianjin began its strategic industrial shift to the east and developed the Binhai New Area with the development zone and Tianjin Port as the core. In October 2005, the Fifth Plenary Session of the 16th CPC Central Committee was convened. The meeting decided to incorporate the development and opening up of the Binhai New Area into the “Eleventh Five-Year Plan” and the national development strategy. In March 2006, the State Council executive meeting positioned Tianjin as an “international port city, a northern economic center, and an ecological city”. Since then, the dispute between the Beijing-Tianjin economic center at the policy level has come to an end. In May of the same year, the State Council approved the Binhai New Area as a national integrated reform pilot area. In June of the same year, the “State Council’s Opinions on Promoting the Development and Opening of the Tianjin Binhai New Area” was announced and clearly stated: “In financial enterprises, financial services, financial markets, and finance Major reforms such as opening up can, in principle, be scheduled to precede the Tianjin Binhai New Area.
In August 2008, China’s first high-speed railway, the Beijing-Tianjin Intercity Railway, with a speed of 350 kilometers per hour was opened. In the same year, as the co-host city of the 29th Olympic Games, Tianjin hosted some football events. In the same year, the Annual Meeting of the New Champions of World Economic Forum (also called Summer Davos) began to be established in Tianjin and held every two years. In October 2010, the UN Climate Change Conference convened in Tianjin. In 2012, the Tianjin Metro Lines 2, 3, and 9 were completed and open to traffic, and Tianjin Rail Transit was formally networked.
In October 2013, Tianjin hosted the East Asian Games, which was the first time Tianjin hosted an international comprehensive event. In 2014, the coordinated development of Beijing, Tianjin, and Hebei was officially incorporated into the national strategy. Tianjin was positioned as “National Advanced Manufacturing R&D Base, Northern International Shipping Core Area, Financial Innovation Operation Demonstration Area, and Reform and Opening-up Preceding Area”. In the same year, the first phase of the South-to-North Water Diversion Project passed water, and the water use in Tianjin improved. On February 26, 2015, the Tianjin National Independent Innovation Demonstration Zone was formally established. On April 21, the China (Tianjin) Free Trade Pilot Zone was formally established. On April 27, Tianjin Jincheng Bank, the first private bank in northern China, officially opened its doors. On August 12, a major fire and explosion accident occurred in a dangerous chemical warehouse in Tianjin Port, causing serious casualties and property losses.