Guilin Travel Guide

Author:GuilinPublish:Sep 22, 2015 6:36:58 PM

Brief Prehistorical Background

An archeological find near Guilin, more specifically, the Zengpiyan Cave site, originally excavated in 1965 but re-excavated twice since, has revealed the presence of early human habitations in the Guilin area belonging to the so-called Pengtoushan Culture (other finds across present-day Guangxi corroborate this). The artifacts unearthed at the site (the remains of 30 humans, as well as those of a number of animals - ranging from mammals to fishes to birds to reptiles - were also unearthed) indicate that the settlements in the area belong to the Pleistocene to Holocene geological period, or around BCE 8000, which marks the end of the Neolithic Period in China.*

The pottery remnants and the simple stone implements that were unearthed suggest that the early aboriginal inhabitants of the area - forefathers, no doubt, of the present-day Zhuang people of the region - were mainly hunter-gatherers, and did not engage in agriculture at this early stage, although they may have collected and eaten wild rice. Some scholars have advanced the hypothesis that these early aboriginals may have kept semi-domesticated pigs, while others doubt this interpretation of the archeological evidence. However, since the Pengtoushan Culture is the earliest documented human culture in China, it means that the area around Guilin was one of the first areas in China to be settled by prehistoric man.


Brief Historical Background

In more recent times, a small village was founded in BCE 314 (which corresponds to the Warring States (BCE 475-221) Period of the Eastern Zhou (BCE 770-221) Dynasty, though the centralized power of China had not yet reached the area of Guilin) on the banks of the Li River, corresponding to the site of the present-day city of Guilin. During the subsequent Qin (BCE 221-207) Dynasty, the Han Chinese people extended their rule over the area, which would continue thereafter. During the Yuanding Reign (BCE 116-111) of Emperor Wu Di of the Han (BCE 206 - CE 220) Dynasty, the village was large enough that its status was upgraded, and it became Shi An County (in Chinese terms, a county generally corresponds to a smaller city/ larger town). In CE 507, during the Southern Dynasties (CE 420-588) Period of the Southern and Northern Dynasties (CE 386-588) Period, the city was renamed Guizhou.