Huai'an (Chinese: 淮安; pinyin: Huái'ān), formerly called Huaiyin (simplified Chinese: 淮阴; traditional Chinese: 淮陰; pinyin: Huáiyīn) until 2001, is a prefecture-level city in central Jiangsu province of Eastern China. It borders Lianyungang, Suqian to the north, Yancheng to the northeast, Yangzhou to the southeast, and Chuzhou (Anhui) to the southwest.
The area of Huai'an spans an ancient canal of the Huai River, and the name of Huai'an expresses the residents' hope for a lastingly peaceful Huai River.
Chinese mythology recounts that Yu the Great, the Chinese leader with a legendary ability for flood control techniques, was constantly taming the Huai River here in the Huai'an area.
Traces of the activities of ancient Chinese living about 5000 to 6000 years ago have been found in the area. The most famous of these is the Qingliangang Hill Civilization (zh:青莲岗文化).
Xia, Shang and Zhou Dynasty
The borough area had been properly developed, and led China in convenience of transportation and irrigation. The Gangou Drain (the section of the Grand Canal of China between Huaiyin and Yangzhou) connected the Yangtze River and the Huai River delta region. The Qian Road and Shan Road that traversed the region reached Southern and Northern China. Thus, Huaiyin was a critical area for several strong states in the Spring and Autumn period. The region was occupied by the Wu, Yue and Chu states, one after another.
Qin and Han Dynasty
After the Qin Dynasty consolidated all states in China, the County System was promoted throughout China. Huaiyin County (Matou Town of Huaiyin District today), Xuyi County (Northern town of Xuyi County today), and Dongyang (Maba of Xuyi County today) were built in the region.
In a movement of rebelling farmers during the later years of the Qin Dynasty, the people of Huai'an supported the rebel forces, including the famous militia leader Han Xin, who was highly honored for his bravery and meritorious deeds.
In the epoch of the West Han Dynasty, Huaipu County (Western Lianshui County today), Sheyang County (Southeast of Huai'an District today) and Fulin County (under the water of Hongze Lake today) were built.
During the Qin and Han Dynasties, great improvements, especially in irrigation, were made to agriculture and manufacturing. In the later years of the East Han Dynasty, the Governor of Guanglin, Cheng Deng, built the Gaojiayang Levees (Hongze Lake Levees today). These 30 miles of levees kept out flood waters and protected farmlands. He also built the Pofu Pool for farm irrigation. Iron-made apparatus and bull-farming were widespread. Although a few wars and battles took place, agriculture, transportation and logistics made fair progress. The highway built by the first Qin Emperor went through the region, and the West Way of Gaogou Drain, built by Cheng Deng, improved traffic between the Yangtze and the Huai River area.
Handicrafts and business also developed during this period, while culture and the arts were at high levels, as well. Home-teaching and private schools flourished during the Han Dynasty, and many famous artists appeared: for example, the Han-text composers Mei Chen and Mei Gao, and Chen Lin, one of the Seven Scholars of Jian'an.
Most part of Huai'an lies in Jianghuai Plain, which gives it a flat landscape. There are a few hills inside Xuyi. The highest altitude in Huai'an is 200m. Huai'an also has a large number of lakes and rivers. The most famous include The Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal and Huai River. Hongze Lake, the fourth largest freshwater lake in China is in the south of Huai'an. On the south, it also has several smaller lakes.