Suzhou History

With a recorded history of about 4,000 years, Suzhou is located in the southeast of Jiangsu Province, and it is praised as “Heaven on Earth”, “Silk City”, and “City of Garden”. As a modern city, Suzhou is the center of economy, foreign trade, industry and commerce and logistics, and is the important center of culture, art, education and transportation in Jiangsu Province. Besides, it is a world-famous tourism city known for beautiful gardens and exquisite silk products.

Origin of the Name

Suzhou has two names: “Wu” and “Su”.

“Wu”: it was said that in Shang Dynasty (1600-1046 B.C.), there was a king with three sons, and he liked the third son very much, but he must give place to his first son according to general rule. His first and second sons respected their father’s willing and dodged the throne to stay in Jiangdong. Jiangdong people had a custom that was shouting while running and the King’s first son invented a word “Wu” in the name of them. When he was hailed a leader, he made the title as “Gouwu”. “Gou” meant nothing but a mimetic word. So Wu was handed down.

“Su”: there was a known emperor's counselor called Xu. He was conferred Jiangdong as his fiefdom because of the contribution to control flood, so Jiangdong got a name of “Guxu”. “Gu” meant nothing but a mimetic word. As “Xu” was not a word used so common, it was changed as “Su”. Until to Sui Dynasty (581-618), a lot of Jun lifted to Zhou (Jun and Zhou were ancient administrative regions). The Wu Jun where Suzhou located was originally meant to lift to “Wu Zhou”, but this name was used by other place, therefore, there was no idea but “Suzhou”.

Most Ancient City Existed in China

Ancient Building in SuzhouSuzhou ancient city was first built by Kingdom Wu in 514 B.C. and its name was changed as “Suzhou” in 589 of Sui Dynasty. Suzhou has a recorded history of about 4,000 years, and the civilized history was traced back to 6,000-7,000 years ago. Suzhou is worthy of the name ancient city, and it once were capital cities of Kingdom Wu and Kingdom Yue in the Warring States Period (475-221 B.C.), Kingdom Wu (222-280) in Three Kingdom Period and Zhangwu in the late Yuan Dynasty and so on. It is the most ancient city existed in China and is the cradle land of Wu culture. Suzhou City preserves basically the original double-checker-board pattern of water and land in parallel and river next to street. It sits still on the original site, which is rare at home and abroad.

Organizational Structure in History

Wu (Gusu) was built in 514B.C. and the original location was followed until now;
In 248 B.C. as the fiefdom of Chun Shenjun (autonym Huang Xie, a famous politician in Kingdom Chu) in the Warring States Period (475-221 B.C.);
In 222 B.C. Wu County in Huiqi Jun under the rule of Qin Dynasty, which was followed in Western Han (202 B.C.-9 A.D.)
Wu County under Wu Jun from Eastern Han (25.-220) to 587 in South Dynasty;
In 589, Suzhou got the name;
In 758, it belonged to Zhejiangxi Dao in late Tang Dynasty;
In 907, Kingdom Wuyue under Five Dynasty and Ten Kingdoms;
It was the capital of Jiangsu Province from 1667 to 1911;
It was set as Suzhou City in 1928, cancelled in 1930 and recovered in 1949;
It was as prefecture-level city in 1983.

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