Bingzhou, or Bing Province, was a location in ancient China. According to legend, when Yu the Great (c. 2200 BC-2100 BC) tamed the flood, he divided the land of China into the Nine Provinces. Historical texts such as the Rites of Zhou, and "Treatise on Geography" section (volume 28) of the Book of Han, recorded that Bingzhou was one of the Nine Provinces. Bingzhou covered roughly the areas around present-day Baoding, Hebei, and Taiyuan and Datong in Shanxi.
Han dynasty and earlier
During the Western Han dynasty (206 BC-AD 9), Emperor Wu divided the Han Empire into thirteen administrative divisions, of which Bingzhou was one. Bingzhou covered most of present-day Shanxi and parts of Hebei and Inner Mongolia. During the Eastern Han dynasty (25-220) Bingzhou's capital was designated in Jinyang County (晉陽縣; present-day Jinyuan District, Taiyuan, Shanxi), and the regions under its jurisdiction included most of present-day Shanxi, northern Shaanxi and parts of Inner Mongolia. In 213 Bingzhou was absorbed into another administrative division, Jizhou (or Ji Province). Near the end of the Eastern Han dynasty, during a succession dispute among the heirs of the warlord Yuan Shao (d. 202), Bingzhou eventually came under the control of Yuan's rival, Cao Cao (155-220). Cao Cao moved Xiongnu herdsmen into Bingzhou and the adjacent Ordos Desert. By the 280s approximately 400,000 Xiongnu lived there, who later founded the states of Han Zhao (304-319) and Later Zhao (319–351).
Three Kingdoms period
Sixteen Kingdoms period
In 396 during the Sixteen Kingdoms period (304–439), Bingzhou's capital was in Puban County (蒲坂縣; southwest of present-day Yongji, Shanxi), and the areas it covered were mainly in present-day southwestern Shanxi. Bingzhou was abolished in 399.
During the Tang dynasty (618–907), the lands in Bingzhou covered only areas in present-day Shanxi, which included south of present-day Yangqu County, north of Wenshui County and east of midstream of the Fen River. In 723 Bingzhou was renamed to Taiyuan Prefecture (太原府).
In 979 during the Northern Song dynasty (960–1127), Bingzhou was restored and its capital set up in Yuci County (榆次縣; present-day Yuci District, Jinzhong, Shanxi). Three years later the capital was moved to Yangqu County (陽曲縣; present-day Yangqu County, Taiyuan, Shanxi). In 1059 it was integrated into Taiyuan Prefecture (太原府).