The history of Shanghai plays an important role in understanding the development of modern China. Around 5,000 years ago during the period of the Songze Culture, Shanghai started to take its shape of a plain in the Yangtze River Delta.
Shanghai was founded in the 10th century. The city is located in a swampy area east of Suzhou which was only recently irrigated, although other parts of the Yangtze valley saw irrigation as much as 1,500 years ago. During the Spring-Autumn Period (770 BC), Shanghai belonged to the Wu State. Shanghai first belonged to Yue State, later to the Chu State. King Lie of Chu State appointed Huang Xie as his prime minister and bestowed him the title of Lord Chunshen. Shanghai was part of his feoff. The old name of Shanghai "Shen" was derived from this. Shanghai did have another name, namely; "Hu". The name Hu originated from "Hu Du". Ancient fishermen in Shanghai invented a bamboo fishing device called "Hu". ("Du" in Chinese means "creek"). This area was therefore called "Hu Du" before it became know as Shanghai. The actual name of Shanghai " originated from the Song Dynasty (960-1276), when Shanghai was by that time becoming a new rising trade port. The mother river Huangpu River, floating across Shanghai into the Yangtze River , has 18 creeks. One of these creeks was called "Shanghai Creek" (close to nowadays the Bund. Therefore the town nearby was called Shanghai Town, and later on this whole area was named " Shanghai ". During the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), Shanghai Town had greatly developed and the city set up a shipping administration. After a while, the town was promoted to a county, which consisted of today's urban areas, and three other counties of Shanghai; Qingpi, Nanhui, and Chuansha.
Shanghai reached an economic peak in the early 19th century. At the 24th year of the Qing Emperor Kangxi's reign (1685), the Qing Government set up a Customs Department in Shanghai. Qing Dynasty had little government control, so native place associations used their provincial networks to control the city and competed with each other. After that, during the reigns of Qing Emperor Qianlong and Qing Emperor Jiaqing, Shanghai gradually became China 's major trading port and water transportation center for gains.
During the First Opium War in the early-19th century, British forces temporarily held Shanghai. In 1843, after the Opium War, Shanghai was forced to become an open port by its colonialists. The industrialization in Great Britain and the cotton production in the United States essentially destroyed the cotton industry of Shanghai. The backwardness of pre-1842 Shanghai only ended with an increase in trade thanks to the Western powers. The Treaty of the Bogue signed in 1843, and the Sino-American Treaty of Wangsia signed in 1844 together saw foreign nations achieve extraterritoriality on Chinese soil, which officially lasted until 1943 but was functionally defunct by the late 1930s. In the following 100 years after 1843, Shanghai had become an important port for foreign colonialists to dump their goods, raw materials and money. Shanghai was thus known as "A paradise of the Adventurers".
On July 7, 1927, Shanghai was proclaimed as a special municipality. The major government controlled companies in Shanghai of KMT-China had gone corrupt after moving to inland China in 1937. In 1945, after the victory over the Japanese, the concessions were reclaimed. On May 27 1949, Shanghai was really liberated the era of Mao was awaiting the whole of China then. Through the continual and long-term reform and construction by the successive municipal governments and the people, Shanghai has become an important industrial and commercial base in new China. Today, Shanghai has been developing to be the center of economy, finance, science and technology, information and culture, an international modernized metropolis, a popular tourist city in China.