List of current and former capitals of subdivisions of China

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This is a list of the current and former capitals of country subdivisions of China. The history of China and its administrative divisions is long and convoluted; hence, this chart will cover only capitals after the completion of the Mongol conquest of China in 1279, because the modern province (sheng 省) was first created during the Mongol Yuan Dynasty. A selection of country subdivisions and their capitals before 1279 can be found in the article History of the political divisions of China. Years may not line up perfectly during periods of turmoil (e.g. at the end of each dynasty).

The list includes current and former provinces, as well as other first-level units that have been used over the course of China's recent history, such as autonomous regions, military command zones during the Qing Dynasty, and so forth. Unless otherwise specified, a given administrative unit can be assumed to be a province with its present name. Historical names of provinces and entities that are not provinces will be specified as they arise.

Excluded from the list:

Many of the capitals given in this chart have had multiple historical names during different dynasties. In some cases, different names were used concurrently for the same city. This chart gives only the modern names for the sake of simplicity.

For the sake of simplicity, the chart will not attempt to be exhaustive in its descriptions of border changes.

National entities since 1279:

Government When
Yuan Dynasty 1271—1368
Ming Dynasty 1368—1644
Qing Dynasty 1616—1912
Republic of China 1912—present
People's Republic of China 1949—present
Province (or equivalent) Capital When Remarks
Anhui During the Yuan Dynasty, modern Anhui was split between the Secretariat (中書省) of the central government, the province of Jianghuai, and (from 1291) the province of Henanjiangbei.
N/A 1366—1644 As part of Zhili up to 1421; as part of Nanzhili after 1421. Administered directly by the central government, instead of a province.
N/A 1645—1661 Part of Jiangnan Province, formed out of former Nanzhili in 1645. Split into Jiangsu and Anhui in 1661.
Nanjing 1661—1760 Nanjing is now the capital of neighbouring Jiangsu Province.
Anqing 1760—1853
Hefei 1853—1862 During the Taiping Rebellion.
Anqing 1862—1946
Hefei 1946—1949
Hefei (north) 1949—1952 As North Anhui and South Anhui administrative regions.
Wuhu (south)
Hefei 1952—present
Fujian Fuzhou, Quanzhou 1278—1299 Between 1278 and 1299, separate provinces in the Fujian area were repeatedly split out and remerged back into Jiangzhe Province.
N/A 1299—1356 Part of Jiangzhe Province until Fujian Province was split out of it.
Fuzhou 1356—present
Gansu Zhangye 1286—1368
N/A 1368—1667 Part of Shaanxi Province.
Lanzhou 1667—present Gansu was called Gongchang 1667—1670.
Guangdong Before 1369, modern Guangdong was split between the provinces of Jiangxi, Huguang, and (from 1364) Guangxi.
Guangzhou 1369—present
Guangxi Mostly found within Huguang Province before 1364.
Guilin 1364—1912 Included parts of modern Guangdong until 1369.
Nanning 1912—1936
Guilin 1936—1950
Nanning 1950—present Guangxi Province became Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in 1958.
Guizhou Mostly found within the provinces of Huguang, Sichuan, and Yunnan before 1413.
Guiyang 1413—present
Hainan Part of Guangxi before 1369; part of Guangdong after 1369.
Haikou 1949—1950 As Hainan Special Administrative Region.
N/A 1950—1988 Part of Guangdong Province.
Haikou 1988—present
Hebei Administered by the Secretariat (中書省) of the central government before 1368. Briefly split between Henan and Shandong provinces, 1368—1369.
Beiping 1369—1421 As Beiping Province.
N/A 1421—1669 As Beizhili up to 1645; as Zhili after 1645. Administered directly by the central government, instead of a province.
Baoding 1669—1902 As Zhili province.
Tianjin 1902—1928
Beiping 1928—1930
Tianjin 1930—1935
Baoding 1935—1958
Tianjin 1958—1968
Shijiazhuang 1968—present
Heilongjiang N/A 1264—1368 Part of Liaoyang Province. "Liaoyang" was the final name of the province after several changes between 1264—1287.
Mongols, Manchus, and Ming China military garrisons in the area during the Ming Dynasty.
Aigun 1683—1690 Area of control of the General of Heilongjiang. Became Heilongjiang Province in 1907.
Nenjiang 1690—1699
Qiqihar 1699—1907
Qiqihar 1907—1931
N/A 1931—1945 Part of Manchukuo.
Bei'an 1945—1949 As Heilongjiang Province (northwestern part of modern Heilongjiang)
Jiamusi As Hejiang Province (northeastern part of modern Heilongjiang)
Qiqihar As Nenjiang Province (southwestern part of modern Heilongjiang)
Mudanjiang As Songjiang Province (southeastern part of modern Heilongjiang)
Qiqihar 1949—1954 As Heilongjiang Province (western part of modern Heilongjiang)
Harbin As Songjiang Province (eastern part of modern Heilongjiang)
Harbin 1954—present New Heilongjiang formed from Songjiang + old Heilongjiang in 1954
Henan Administered by the Secretariat (中書省) of the central government for the most part before 1291.
Kaifeng 1291—1954 Initially as Henanjiangbei Province, which included parts of modern Jiangsu, Anhui, Hubei provinces. Given approximately modern borders and modern name in 1368.
Zhengzhou 1954—present
Hubei N/A 1277—1664 Part of Huguang Province.
Wuchang 1664—1927
Wuhan 1927—present Wuhan is the amalgamation of Wuchang, Hankou and Hanyang.
Hunan N/A 1277—1664 Part of Huguang Province.
Changsha 1664—present
Inner Mongolia See the history section of Inner Mongolia for the administrative entities of that region before 1947.
Ulaanhot 1947—1950 As Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.
Hohhot 1950—present
Jiangsu Before 1356, modern Jiangsu was split between the Secretariat (中書省) of the central government, the province of Jianghuai, (from 1291) the province of Henanjiangbei, and (from 1354) the province of Huainanjiangbei.
N/A 1366—1644 As part of Zhili up to 1421; as part of Nanzhili after 1421. Administered directly by the central government, instead of a province.
N/A 1645—1661 Part of Jiangnan Province, formed out of former Nanzhili in 1645. Split into Jiangsu and Anhui in 1661.
Suzhou 1661—1912?
Nanjing 1912?—1928
Zhenjiang 1928—1949
Yangzhou (north) 1949—1952 As North Jiangsu and South Jiangsu administrative regions.
Wuxi (south)
Nanjing 1952—present
Jiangxi Nanchang 1277—present Included parts of modern Guangdong until 1369.
Jilin N/A 1264—1368 Part of Liaoyang Province. "Liaoyang" was the final name of the province after several changes between 1264—1287.
Mongols, Manchus, and Ming China military garrisons in the area during the Ming Dynasty.
Ningguta 1662—1757 Area of control of the General of Ningguta (up to 1757) or the General of Jilin (from 1757). Became Jilin Province in 1907.
Jilin City 1757—1907
Jilin City 1907—1931
N/A 1931—1945 Part of Manchukuo.
Jilin City 1945—1954
Changchun 1954—present
Liaoning N/A 1264—1368 Part of Liaoyang Province. "Liaoyang" was the final name of the province after several changes between 1264—1287.
Partially under Shandong province during the Ming Dynasty, until Manchu conquest circa 1618.
Shenyang 1662—1907 Area of control of the General of Shengjing. Became Fengtian Province in 1907.
Shenyang 1907—1931 Fengtian Province from 1907 to 1929; Liaoning Province from 1929 onwards.
N/A 1931—1945 Part of Manchukuo.
Shenyang 1945—1949 As Liaoning Province (central part of modern Liaoning)
Tonghua As Andong Province (eastern part of modern Liaoning; southern part of modern Jilin)
Liaoyuan As Liaobei Province (northern part of modern Liaoning; western part of modern Jilin)
Jinzhou 1949—1954 As Liaoxi Province (western part of modern Liaoning)
Dandong As Liaodong Province (eastern part of modern Liaoning; southern part of modern Jilin). Dandong was then known as "Andong"
Shenyang 1954—present
Ningxia Mostly part of Gansu Province (up to circa 1370); part of Shaanxi Province (up to 1667); part of Gansu Province (1667 onwards)
Yinchuan 1928—1954 Ningxia Province split out of Gansu in 1928.
N/A 1954—1958 Part of Gansu Province.
Yinchuan 1958—present Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region split out of Gansu in 1958.
Qinghai Historically Oyirad Mongols in the north, Amdo and Kham Tibetans in the south. Overseen by commissioner stationed at Xining (then part of Gansu Province) during Qing Dynasty, early Republic of China (up to 1928).
Xining 1928—present
Shaanxi Xi'an 1286—present From 1260 to 1286, Shaanxi Province (and in some cases, a combined Shaanxi-Sichuan Province) was established and disbanded several times.
Shandong Administered by the Secretariat (中書省) of the central government before circa 1357.
Qingzhou 1357?—1377?
Jinan 1377?—present
Shanxi Administered by the Secretariat (中書省) of the central government before 1368.
Taiyuan 1369—present
Sichuan Chengdu 1286—1287 From 1260 to 1286, Sichuan Province (and in some cases, a combined Shaanxi-Sichuan Province) was established and disbanded several times.
Chongqing 1287—1289
Chengdu 1289—1949
Nanchong (north) 1949—1952 As North Sichuan, South Sichuan, East Sichuan and West Jiangsu administrative regions.
Luzhou (south)
Chongqing (east)
Chengdu (west)
Chengdu 1952—present
Taiwan N/A 1683—1887 Part of Fujian Province.
Tainan 1887—1895
Tibet Part of Yuan Dynasty up to fourteenth century; struggle between Sakyapa, Kagyüpa, later Gelukpa schools of Tibetan Buddhism up to seventeenth century, when Gelukpa becomes dominant.
Lhasa (1720's)—present The Dalai Lamas (Gelukpa school) ruled over Ü-Tsang (or more) from Lhasa from 1642 onwards. Qing China began to assert control over Tibet in the 1720s until its fall in 1912; from 1912 to 1951 Tibet was self-ruling but recognized internationally as a part of China. Planning Committee for Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) from 1955 to 1965; TAR established in 1965.
Xinjiang Ruled by Chagatai Khanate from thirteenth to fifteenth century; fragmented until eighteenth century when Qing China conquered the region. See History section of Xinjiang.
Yining 1762—1888 General of Ili, based in Yining, held administrative powers until 1888; central control lapsed during Yakub Beg's revolt from 1865, until his forces were defeated in 1881.
Urumqi 1884—present Xinjiang Province until 1955; Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region from 1955.
Yunnan Kunming 1275—present
Zhejiang N/A 1289—1367 Part of Jiangzhe Province.
Hangzhou 1367—present
Chahar See Inner Mongolia for history before 1914.
Zhangjiakou 1914—1937 Chahar Special Administrative Region until 1928; province from 1928.
N/A 1937—1945 Part of Mengjiang.
Zhangjiakou 1945—1952 Disbanded in 1952, distributed into Hebei Province, Shanxi Province.
Huainanjiangbei Tianchang 1354—1364? Established out of Henanjiangbei; disappeared with end of Yuan Dynasty (circa 1368). Found mainly in modern Jiangsu province.
Huguang Changsha 1277—1281
Wuchang 1281—1664 Split into Hubei and Hunan provinces in 1664
Jiangnan Nanjing 1645—1661 Converted from the directly-administered Nanzhili region in 1645; split into Jiangsu and Anhui provinces in 1661. See also remarks at Jiangsu, Anhui entries.
Jiangzhe Hangzhou 1289—1367? A province was established in the region in 1276; its seat was moved around and it was renamed several times, until settling upon Jiangzhe Province with seat at Hangzhou in 1289. Split into Zhejiang, Fujian Provinces by Ming Dynasty.
Jiaodong Laiyang 1364—1368? Established in the Shandong Peninsula; does not appear to have outlasted the end of the Yuan Dynasty.
Liaoyang Liaoyang 1264—1368? "Liaoyang" was the final name of the province after several changes between 1264—1287. Lasted until the end of Yuan Dynasty (circa 1368); found today mostly in Liaoning, Jilin, Heilongjiang.
Pingyuan Xinxiang 1949—1952 Split out of Hebei, Shandong, Henan provinces in 1949; distributed into Henan, Shandong provinces in 1952.
Rehe See Inner Mongolia for history before 1914.
Chengde 1914—1933 Rehe Special Administrative Region until 1928; province from 1928.
N/A 1933—1945 Part of Manchukuo.
Chengde 1945—1955 Disbanded in 1955, distributed into Hebei Province, Liaoning Province, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.
Suiyuan See Inner Mongolia for history before 1914.
Hohhot 1914—1937 Suiyuan Special Administrative Region until 1928; province from 1928.
N/A 1937—1945 Part of Mengjiang.
Hohhot 1945—1954 Merged into Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region in 1954.
Xikang Kangding 1914—1950 Chuanbian Special Region created in 1914, from western Sichuan and territory formerly ruled from Lhasa; it is roughly equivalent to southern Kham and southern Amdo. Converted into Xikang Province established in 1939; merged into Sichuan province in 1955. See also remarks at entries for Tibet, Sichuan.
Ya'an 1950—1955
Xing'an Hailar 1945—1947? After the end of Manchukuo at the end of World War II, Xing'an Province was created from the northwestern part of Manchuria, which was administered by Heilongjiang province before the war. The region was superseded by Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.
Zhili; Beizhili; Nanzhili Regions directly administered by the central government, not part of any province. "Zhili" (modern Jiangsu and Anhui) from 1366 to 1421; "Beizhili" (modern Hebei) and "Nanzhili" (modern Jiangsu, Anhui) from 1421 to 1645; "Zhili" (modern Hebei) from 1645 to 1669. Name kept for "Zhili Province" (modern Hebei) from 1669 to 1927. See also remarks at Hebei, Jiangsu, Anhui entries.

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