The town was established in 1271 by two brothers carrying their father's bowls. They were fleeing south from the Mongols on a bamboo raft when a violent storm shipwrecked them and broke all the bowls. The brothers settled down there and the position of the wreck is commemorated by a shrine. This area was named Broken Bowls Point. 15 February 1921 eastern part of Nanhai County was ceded to the newly established City of Guangzhou which became part of what is now western part of Liwan. On 26 June 1951 Foshan Town (present Chancheng) was ceded to the newly established City of Foshan. Nanhai County was upgraded into a county-level city on 2 September 1992 until 8 December 2002 Nanhai was consolidated as a district of Foshan.
^shi, Guo wu yuan ren kou pu cha ban gong; council, Guo jia tong ji ju ren kou he jiu ye tong ji si bian = Tabulation on the 2010 population census of the people's republic of China by township / compiled by Population census office under the state; population, Department of; statistics, employment statistics national bureau of (2012). Zhongguo 2010 nian ren kou pu cha fen xiang, zhen, jie dao zi liao (Di 1 ban. ed.). Beijing Shi: Zhongguo tong ji chu ban she. ISBN978-7-5037-6660-2.