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Guangzhou, also known as Kwangchow. It is a sub-provincial city and the capital of Guangdong Province in the southern part of China. It is a port on the Pearl River, navigable to the South China Sea, and is located about 120 km northwest of Hong Kong. With a population of 9,754,600 at the end of 2006, Guangzhou is the third largest city in China, behind only Beijing and Shanghai. There sites for tourists are Chen Clan Academy, Sun Yat-sen Memorial HallWestern Han Nanyue King's Tomb Museum, Yuexiu Park, Former Site of Huangpu Military Academy, Baiyun (White Cloud) Mountain Scenic Area, Lotus Hill Scenic Area, Chimelong Holiday Resort, Nanhai God Temple, Temple of the Six Banyan Trees. Cantonese cuisine, Cantonese opera, Guangdong music are typical enjoyment of the local culture.

1888 German map of Hong Kong, Macau, and GuangzhouGuangzhou's monopoly on English trade ended with the Treaty of Nanking, signed in 1842 to end the First Opium War between Britain and China. The treaty opened four new treaty ports, allowing British merchants to trade in Fuzhou, Xiamen, Ningbo, and Shanghai in addition to Guangzhou. The first known city built at the site of Guangzhou was Panyu founded in 214 BC. The city has been continuously occupied since that time. Panyu was expanded when it became the capital of the Nanyue Kingdom (南越) in 206 BC.

The Han Dynasty annexed Nanyue in 111 BC, and Panyu became a provincial capital and remains so today. In 226 AD, the city however became the seat of the Guang Prefecture. Therefore, "Guangzhou" was the name of the prefecture, not of the city. However, people grew accustomed to calling the city Guangzhou, instead of Panyu.

Although the Chinese name Guangzhou replaced Panyu as the name of the walled city, Panyu was still the name of the area surrounding the walled city until the end of Qing era. Today, Panyun generally refers to the region to the south of Haizhu District, which is separated by the Pearl River.

Arab and Persian pirates sacked Guangzhou (known to them as Sin-Kalan) in AD 758, ² according to a local Guangzhou government report on October 30 758, which corresponded to the day of Guisi of the ninth lunar month in the first year of the Qianyuan era of Emperor Suzong of the Tang Dynasty. The Arab historian Abu Zayd Hasan of Siraf reports that in 878 followers of the Chinese rebel leader Huang Chao besieged the city and killed a large number of foreign merchants resident there.

During the Northern Song Dynasty, the celebrated poet Su Shi (Shisu) visited Guangzhou's Baozhuangyan Temple and wrote the inscription "Liu Rong" (Six Banyan Trees) because of the six banyan trees he saw there. It has since been called the Temple of the 6 Banyan Trees.

The Portuguese were the first Europeans to arrive in Guangzhou by sea, establishing a monopoly on the external trade out of its harbor by 1511. They were later expelled from their settlements in Guangzhou, but instead granted use of Macau as a trade base with the city in 1557. They would keep a near monopoly on foreign trade in the region until the arrival of the Dutch in the early seventeenth century.

After China gained control of Taiwan in 1683, the Qing government became more open to foreign trade. Guangzhou quickly emerged as one of the most suitable ports for international trade and before long ships arrived from all over the world.

The Portuguese in Macau, the Spanish in Manila, Armenians, and Muslims from India were already actively trading in the port by the 1690s, when the French and English began frequenting the port through the Canton System.

Other companies were soon to follow: the Ostend General India company in 1717; Dutch East India Company in 1729; the first Danish ship in 1731, which was followed by a Danish Asiatic Company ship in 1734; the Swedish East India Company in 1732; followed by an occasional Prussian and Trieste Company ship; the Americans in 1784; and the first ships from Australia in 1788.

By the middle of the 18th century, Guangzhou had emerged as one of the world's great trading ports under the Thirteen Factories, which was a distinction it maintained until the outbreak of the Opium Wars in 1839 and the opening of other ports in China in 1842. The privilege during this period made Guangzhou one of the top 3 cities in the world.

In 1918, the city's urban council was established and "Guangzhou" became the official name of the city.[citation needed] Panyu became a county's name to the southern side of Guangzhou.

In both 1930 and 1953, Guangzhou was promoted to the status of a Municipality, but each time promotion was rescinded within a year.

Japanese troops occupied Guangzhou from October 12, 1938 to September 16, 1945, after violent bombings. In the city, the Imperial Japanese Army conducted bacteriological research unit 8604, a section of unit 731, where Japanese doctors experimented on human prisoners.

After the fall of the capital Nanjing in April 1949, the Nationalist government under the acting president Li Zongren relocated to Guangzhou.

Communist forces entered the city on October 14, 1949. This led the nationalists to blow up the Haizhu bridge as the major link across the Pearl River and to the acting president's leaving for New York, whereas Chiang Kai-shek set up a the capital for the Nationalist government in Chongqing again. Their urban renewal projects of the new communist government improved the lives of some residents. New housing on the shores of the Pearl River provided homes for the poor boat people. Reforms by Deng Xiaoping, who came to power in the late 1970s, led to rapid economic growth due to the city's close proximity to Hong Kong and access to the Pearl River.

As labor costs increased in Hong Kong, manufacturers opened new plants in the cities of Guangdong including Guangzhou. As the largest city in one of China's wealthiest provinces, Guangzhou attracts farmers from the countryside looking for factory work. Cantonese links to overseas Chinese and beneficial tax reforms of the 1990s have aided the city's rapid growth.

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