Relationship established 1988
Changsha is the capital of Hunan, a province of south-central China, located on the lower reaches of Xiangjiang River, a branch of the Yangtze River. It covers an area of 11,819 square kilometers.
The earliest settlement was probably founded in the first millennium BC. By 202 BC it was already a fortified city. During the Han Dynasty it was also the capital of Changsha kingdom.
The celebrated Mawangdui Tombs of the Han Dynasty were constructed between 186 and 165 BC. The earliest tomb, when excavated in the 1970s, had preserved the corpse of Lady Xin-Zhui in a surprisingly good condition. Also found in the tomb were the earliest versions of Dao De Jing, the main text of Taoism, among many other historical documents.
During the Three Kingdoms period, Changsha was a much-fought-over territory.
During the Sui Dynasty, Changsha was a county.
Yuelu Academy was founded in 976 AD (Song Dynasty), destroyed by war in 1127, and rebuilt in 1165 (Southern Song Dynasty). The celebrated philosopher Zhu Xi taught in at the Academy in 1165. It was destroyed by the Mongols but was restored in the late-fifteenth century (Ming Dynasty). In 1903, it became Hunan High School. The modern day Hunan University is a descendant of the academy. The architecture of some of the buildings was restored from 1981–1986, presumably according to the Song design.
The 1903 Treaty of Shanghai between China and Japan opened the city to foreign trade. Consequently, factories, churches, and schools were built. A college was started by Yale University bachelors and later became a medical center named Xiangya and a secondary school named the Yali School.
Mao Zedong, founder of the People's Republic of China began his political career in Changsha. He was a student at the Hunan Number One Teachers' Training School from 1913 to 1918. He later returned as a teacher and principal from 1920 to 1922. The school was destroyed during the civil war but has since been restored. The Former Office of the Hunan Communist Party Central Committee where Mao Zedong once lived is now a museum that includes Mao's living quarters, photographs, and other historical items from the 1920s.
During the Second Sino-Japanese War, the strategic location of Changsha made it the focus of four campaigns by the Japanese: First Changsha, Second Changsha, Third Changsha, and Fourth Changsha.
With fine industrial economic foundation and rational industrial structure, Changsha is one of the places with the greatest potential of industrial economic development in the central southern area. In the aspect of agriculture, with fine natural ecological environment, as the head of the “national four rice pockets” in history, Changsha is one of the most important sales grain production bases and agricultural science and research bases. As to the tertiary industry, Changsha has been considered as one of the most prosperous commercial centers in southern China. For its profound tradition, first-rate facilities and prosperous market, it always has been the most important commercial and trade center in central-south China and one of the outstanding tourist cities in China firstly granted by the State Council.
Sister City Structure/History
St. Paul’s affiliation with Changsha is a program of the US – China Peoples Friendship Association – Minnesota Chapter. The affiliation began in 1987, when several Changsha officials made a courtesy visit to St. Paul. The next year, Changsha Mayor Wang Keying led a delegation that visited Saint Paul, and Saint Paul Mayor George Latimer led a group of St. Paulites to Changsha, solidifying the Sister City relationship.
Since then, a Changsha delegation has visited St. Paul once or twice a year. Highlight visits include:
- In 1998, Changsha delegates and thirty-eight students ages seven to thirteen visited St. Paul.
- In 2006, students from Changjun High School visited St. Paul for twenty days, staying with local students’ families.
- In the beginning of April, 2007, Sibley High School visited Changsha.
The local Changsha Sister City Committee is run by:
- Larry Coleman
- Jennie Hsiao
- J.C. Wang
- J. Mike Xiong
In 2008, the St. Paul/Changsha Sister City relationship will mark its twentieth anniversary.
Orange Island Pagoda
Hunan Provincial Museum
View of Changsha