As one of the famous historical and cultural cities promulgated by the State Council, Jinan is located to the south of Jishui (the old river course is occupied by today’s Yellow River), one of the four major rivers in ancient times, thus its Chinese name Jinan (Nan means south). According to archaeological data, there were people living and multiplying there in the early Neolithic Age some 9,000 years ago. The “Longshan Culture” characteristic of polished black pottery which dates back to 4,000 to 4,500 years ago gets the name because it was first discovered in Longshan Township in the eastern suburbs of Jinan in 1928. In the Xia Dynasty (2070 BC-1600 BC), there was a relatively large town in Chengziya area of today’s Longshan Township. In the Shang (1600 BC-1046 BC) and Western Zhou (1046 BC-771 BC) Dynasties, Jinan was the ancient Tan State (Fang State in the eastern region, with the capital situated in today’s Chengziya and Pinglingcheng areas). In the Eastern Zhou Dynasty (770 BC-256 BC), Jinan was called “Luo”, “An” and “Lixia”, a town of strategic importance in the southwestern border area of Qi State. In the Qin Dynasty (221 BC-206 BC), it was under the jurisdiction of Jibei Prefecture (with the prefectural seat in Boyan, the present-day Tai’an).
The Western Han Dynasty (206 BC-25 AD) established Jinan Prefecture, with the prefectural seat in Eastern Pingling (today’s Pinglingcheng in Zhangqiu of Jinan City). In the 16th year (164 BC) during the reign of the Han Emperor Wendi, Jinan State was set up, with Eastern Pingling as its capital. In 154 BC, Jinan State was abolished to reestablish Jinan Prefecture. During the reign of Han Emperor Wudi, Jinan Prefecture had 14 counties including Eastern Pingling and Licheng, subject to the administration of Qingzhou Governor. In the 17th year (41 AD) of Jianwu Period of the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220), Jinan Prefecture was renamed as Jinan State, exercising jurisdiction over 14 counties and later 10 counties.
From the Wei (220-265), Jin (265-420) to the Northern and Southern Dynasties (386-589), the dynasties were replaced time and again. Jinan was successively put as a prefecture or state under the jurisdiction of Wei, Western Jin, Later Zhao, Former Yan, Former Qin, Later Yan, Southern Yan, Eastern Jin, Liu Song, Northern Wei, Eastern Wei, Northern Qi and Northern Zhou. The prefectural seat of Jinan was moved from Pingling (Eastern Pingling) to Licheng in the last year (313 AD) of Yongjia Period of the Western Jin Dynasty. From then on, the urban area of present-day Jinan City has become the administrative center of the prefectures and states established there. In the 9th year (432 AD) of the Yuanjia Period of Liu Song Dynasty, emigrant Jizhou Prefecture (called Zhou in Chinese) was founded in Jinan Prefecture (called Jun in Chinese), making Jinan the seat of two administrations. In the third year (469 AD) of the Huangxing Period of the Northern Wei Dynasty, the emigrant Jizhou Prefecture was changed into Qizhou Prefecture, governing six prefectures (Jun) including Jinan, Dongwei and Taiyuan, and 35 counties.
In the third year (583) of the Kaihuang Period of the Sui Dynasty (581-618), the prefectures (Jun) were cancelled and incorporated into counties and Qizhou Prefecture still had its prefectural seat in Jinan. In the third year (607) of the Daye Period, Qizhou was renamed Qijun. After the founding of the Tang Dynasty (618-907), Qizhou was resumed, having six counties under its jurisdiction including Licheng, Zhangqiu and Changqing. During the Tianbao Period in mid-Tang Dynasty (618-907), Qizhou was once renamed Linzi Prefecture (Jun) and Jinan Prefecture (Jun). In the Five Dynasties (907-960), Qizhou was restored, under the jurisdiction of Liang, Tang, Jin, Han and Zhou Dynasties in succession.
In the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127), Qizhou was subject to Jingdong Region and Jingdong Eastern Region successively. In the sixth year (1116) of the Zhenghe Period, Qizhou was promoted to Jinan Fu (meaning prefecture above the county), administering five counties including Licheng, Zhangqiu and Changqing. After the second year (1128) of the Jianyan Period, it was occupied by the Jin Dynasty (1115-1234), and remained Jinan Fu subject to Shandong Eastern Region, governing seven counties. It was once subject to the puppet Qi regime established by Liu Yu, former prefect of Jinan. In the early Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368), it was changed into Jinan Region directly under the Central Secretariat. In the second year (1265) of the Zhiyuan Period, it governed Dizhou and Binzhou Prefectures and 11 counties including Licheng, Zhangqiu, Jiyang and Shanghe. Jinan was successively the seat of the Judicial Commission of Shandong Eastern and Western Regions of the Jin Dynasty and the Supervisory Committee of Shandong Eastern and Western Regions of the Yuan Dynasty, acting as the Supervision Center of Shandong.
In early Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), it was renamed Jinan Fu, governing Tai’an, Dezhou, Wuding and Binzhou Prefectures and 26 counties, including Licheng, Zhangqiu, Changqing, Jiyang and Shanghe. In the ninth year (1376) of the Hongwu Period, the highest administrative organ of Shandong—“Cheng Xuan Administration Commission” was moved from Qingzhou to Jinan, making Jinan provincial capital of Shandong, the political, military, economic and cultural center of the province and one of the central cities of the whole country. The Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) followed the administrative establishment of the Ming Dynasty. In the second year (1724) and 12th year (1734) of the Yongzheng Period, the administrative division was adjusted, putting Dezhou Prefecture and 15 counties including Licheng, Zhangqiu, Changqing and Jiyang under the jurisdiction of Jinan Fu.
In the early period of the Republic of China (1912-1949), Jinan Fu was cancelled and Daibei Dao established, governing 27 counties. In 1914, Daibei Dao was renamed Jinan Dao, still governing those counties. In 1925, it was designated to govern ten counties including Licheng, Zhangqiu, Changqing and Jiyang. In July 1929, the urban area and suburbs of Licheng County were formally demarcated to establish Jinan City. At that time, the city had an area of 175 square km and a population of over 400,000. In September 1948, the East China Field Army of the Chinese People's Liberation Army liberated Jinan and set up Jinan Special City, which was renamed Jinan City in May 1949.
After the founding of the People’s Republic of China, Jinan, having gone through the long primitive, slave and feudal society, entered the new era of socialism. In 1958, Licheng County was put under the jurisdiction of Jinan City. Subsequently, these counties were incorporated into Jinan City, including Zhangqiu and Changqing in 1978, Pingyin in 1985 and Jiyang and Shanghe in 1990. In February 1994, Jinan was formally identified as a sub-provincial city. It now exercises jurisdiction over six districts and four counties (cities).
With a long history, Jinan has given birth to talented people from generation to generation. Historical celebrities from present-day Jinan mainly include: Bian Que (real name Qin Yueren), an outstanding representative of Chinese traditional medicine and a miracle-working doctor of the Warring States Period (475 BC-221 BC); Zou Yan, initiator of the concepts of Yin-Yang and the Five Elements and thinker of the Warring States Period; Fu Sheng, a scholar of the Han Dynasty dictating 28 articles of The Book of History; Zhong Jun, a diplomat of the Han Dynasty, requesting to be sent to South Vietnam and making contributions to the cause of reunification of the country; Du Fuwei and Fu Gongshi, leaders of the insurrectionary army of farmers in the late Sui Dynasty; Fang Xuanling, a founding hero and famous prime minister of the Tang Dynasty; Qin Qiong, a famous general of the Tang Dynasty; Yijing (secular name Zhang Wenming) of Tang Dynasty, one of the three major eminent monks in ancient China; two famous Ci writers of the Song Dynasty: Li Qingzhao, representative of the “subtle and concise school”, and Xin Qiji, representative of the “powerful and free school”; Sanqu writers of the Jin and Yuan Dynasties: Zhang Yanghao and Du Renjie; Zhang Qiyan, editor-in-chief of three official history books of the Song, Liao and Jin Dynasties; Bian Gong, one of the former “Seven Masters”, and Li Panlong, one of the seven latter “Seven Masters” in the Ming Dynasty; Li Kaixian, dramatist of the Ming Dynasty and author of The Legend of the Precious Sword and other dramas; Yu Shenxing, senior grand secretary of Cabinet, leading the literary circle in the Wanli Period of the Ming Dynasty; Zhang Erqi, a classicist of the Qing Dynasty; Zhou Yongnian, chief compiler of Complete Library in the Four Branches of Literature and bibliophile of the Qing Dynasty; Ma Guohan, a philologist of the Qing Dynasty and compiler of Books Compiled in Yuhanshanfang House; and Meng Luochuan, a national industrialist in modern times and representative of the businesses of the “Xiang” brand, etc.