Chongqing (Chinese: 重庆), formerly transliterated as Chungking, is a major city in southwest China. Administratively, it is one of China's four direct-controlled municipalities (the other three are Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin), and the only such municipality in China located far away from the coast.
The municipality was created on 14 March 1997 to help the Three Gorges Dam migration, succeeding the sub-provincial city administration that was part of Sichuan Province. Chongqing's population as of 2015 is just over 30 million with an urban population of 18.38 million. Of these, approximately 8.5 million people live in Chongqing city proper; Fuling District, Wanzhou District and Qianjiang District are in fact cities in their own right, and along with the city proper constitute a metropolitan area. According to the 2010 census, Chongqing is the most populous Chinese municipality, and also the largest and poorest direct-controlled municipality in China, and comprises 26 districts, 8 counties, and 4 autonomous counties.
The official abbreviation of the city, Yu (渝), was approved by the State Council on 18 April 1997. This abbreviation is derived from the old name of a part of the Jialing River that runs through Chongqing and feeds into the Yangtze River. Chongqing was also a Sichuan province municipality during the Republic of China (ROC) administration, serving as its wartime capital during the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945).
Chongqing has a significant history and culture and serves as the economic centre of the upstream Yangtze basin. It is a major manufacturing centre and transportation hub; a July 2012 report by the Economist Intelligence Unit described it as one of China's "30 emerging megacities".
Jiangzhou subsequently remained under Qin Shi Huang's rule during the Qin Dynasty, the successor of the Qin State, and under the control of Han Dynasty emperors. Jiangzhou was subsequently renamed during the Southern and Northern Dynasties to Chu Prefecture (楚州), then in 581 AD (Sui Dynasty) to Yu Prefecture (渝州), and later in 1102 during Northern Song to Gong Prefecture (恭州). The name Yu however survives to this day as an abbreviation for Chongqing, and the city centre where the old town stood is also called Yuzhong (Central Yu). It received its current name in 1189, after Prince Zhao Dun of the Southern Song Dynasty described his crowning as king and then Emperor Guangzong as a "double celebration" (simplified Chinese: 双重喜庆; traditional Chinese: 雙重喜慶; pinyin: shuāngchóng xǐqìng, or chongqing in short). In his honour, Yu Prefecture was therefore renamed Chongqing subprefecture marking the occasion of his enthronement.
In 1362, (Yuan Dynasty), Ming Yuzhen, a peasant rebelling leader, established the Daxia Kingdom (大夏) at Chongqing for a short time. In 1621 (Ming Dynasty), another short-lived kingdom of Daliang (大梁) was established by She Chongming (奢崇明) with Chongqing as its capital. In 1644, after the fall of the Ming Dynasty to rebel army, Chongqing, together with the rest of Sichuan, was captured by Zhang Xianzhong, who was said to have massacred a large number of people in Sichuan and depopulated the province with was also partially due to many people fleeing. The Manchus later conquered the province, and during the Qing Dynasty, immigration to Chongqing and Sichuan took place with the support of Qing emperor.
In 1890, the British Consulate General was opened in Chongqing. The following year, the city became the first inland commerce port open to foreigners. The French, German, US and Japanese consulates were opened in Chongqing in 1896–1904.
Chongqing is situated at the transitional area between the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and the plain on the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River in the sub-tropical climate zone often swept by moist monsoons. It often rains at night in late spring and early summer, and thus the city is famous for its "night rain in the Ba Mountains", as described by poems throughout Chinese history including the famous Written on a Rainy Night-A Letter to the North by Li Shangyin. The municipality reaches a maximum width of 470 kilometres (290 mi) from east to west, and a maximum length of 450 km (280 mi) from north to south. It borders the following provinces: Hubei in the east, Hunan in the southeast, Guizhou in the south, Sichuan in the west and northwest, and Shaanxi to the north in its northeast corner.
Chongqing covers a large area crisscrossed by rivers and mountains. The Daba Mountains stand in the north, the Wu Mountains in the east, the Wuling Mountains in the southeast, and the Dalou Mountains in the south. The whole area slopes down from north and south towards the Yangtze River valley, with sharp rises and falls. The area is featured by mountain and hills, with large sloping areas at different heights.Typical karst landscape is common in this area, and stone forests, numerous collections of peaks, limestone caves and valleys can be found in many places. The Yangtze River runs through the whole area from west to east, covering a course of 665 km (413 mi), cutting through the Wu Mountains at three places and forming the well-known Three Gorges: the Qutang, the Wuxia and the Xiling gorges. Coming from northwest and running through "the Jialing Lesser Three Gorges" of Libi, Wentang and Guanyin, the Jialing River joins the Yangtze in Chongqing.
The central urban area of Chongqing, or Chongqing proper, is a city of unique features. Built on mountains and partially surrounded by the Yangtze and Jialing rivers, it is known as a "mountain city" and a "city on rivers". The night scene of the city is very illuminated, with millions of lights and their reflection on the rivers. With its special topographical features, Chongqing has the unique scenery of mountains, rivers, forests, springs, waterfalls, gorges, and caves. Li Bai, a famous poet of the Tang Dynasty, was inspired by the natural scenery and wrote this epigram.
Specifically, the central urban area is located on a huge folding area (similar to the landscape of the Appalachian Mountains in the United States), and the Yuzhong District, Nan'an District, Shapingba District and Jiangbei District are located right on a big syncline. And the "Southern Mountain of Chongqing" (Tongluo Mountain), along with the Zhongliang Mountain are two anticlines next to the syncline of downtown.