History of Yunnan

From historical point of view Yunnan has always been an unclear territory of the Chinese Empire. The location at the south-west corner of China and the strong identified minorities living there always created a certain feeling of becoming an independent region. Yunnan therefore has also been subject belonging to Burma.

Han Dynasty

In 109 BC The Emperor Wu gave order to General Guo Chang to go to the south and establish Yizhou province and 24 regions. The capital should be in the Dianchi region, today’s Jinning, another region was called Yunnan.     
To expand the trading with Burma and India, Emperor Wu also sent Tang Meng, to maintain and expand the “Five Foot Way”, renamed in “Southwest Barbarian Way”.
During this period Yunnan agriculture had improved much. The Yunnan-inhabitants used tools of bronze, kept a diverse livestock. These people are related to nowadays known as the Tai-people.

In 109 AD, the Han-court established the county of Yunnan as commandant. The Han called the county Yunnan, because of it location south of Mount Yun. These days Yunnan County was already, home to many independent kingdoms and different minorities.

Yuan Dynasty

The Yuan Dynasty was the first regime in China to establish Yunnan under a strict administrative control. In 1253 Kublai Khan’s Mongol forced with advance in to Yunnan province and many native regimes, including the controlling Dali Kingdom, had to abdicate from their thrones. Yunnan became a province of Kublai Khan Empire, but the Yuan provincial authorities still made use of the former native chieftains, only they were obliged to pay high-taxes. After the fall of the Yuan Dynasty, Yunnan province was thrown into chaos and anarchy.

Ming Dynasty

The successors of the Yuan, the Ming Dynasty, didn’t pay interest in Yunnan province until 1381. The government allowed General Mu Ying, foster son of Zhu Yuanzhang, to set up a hereditary feudatory system in the province. With help of the Ming Dynasty, the Mu family gained great influence in Yunnan Province.

From the end of the 15th century the Toungoo Dynasty of Burma began to pay interest in Yunnan’s territory. In the 16th century the governor of Yunnan, Chen Yongbin’s army, resisted an invasion of Burma’s army. After the war Chen Yongbin built 8 passes along the border of Tengye to mark the boarders of the territories.

Qing Dynasty

After the fall of the Ming Dynasty in northern-China, Yunnan was the last Ming regime headed by Zhu Youlang. With help of rebels and loyalist Zhu Youlang fought the Qing, even after they captured Kunming-City in 1659. Zhu Youlang and his army fled from Yunnan into Burma, seeking for refuge. Unfortunately they were taken as prisoners. Zhu Youlang’s followers destroyed the north of Burma in an attempt to save him. General Wu Sangui invaded Burma in 1662, with his army to demand Zhu Youlang’s surrender. Although King Pye first refused, he decided to hand over Zhu Youlang.

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