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  • Sunday, November 12, 2006

    History of the Fu and Nan Rivers

    In my desk I found an old set of postcards with the following interesting history note written by Chen Wei on its back cover.
    The Fu and Nan River have a history as long as that of the City Chengdu itself. In 316 BC the Chin Empire destroyed Kaiming Dynasty in Sichuan, established the Shu Prefecture and began to appoint governors. The third governor Li Bing built the world-famous Dujiangyan Irrigation Works. However, few know that the Fu and Nan rivers running under the city walls of Chengdu for more than 2200 years are also works of this outstanding governor.
    The opening of these two canals is a great event in the history of the City of Chengdu. Since then junks loaded with rich products and resplendent Shu brocades of the Land of Abundance could sail from Chengdu, through the Fu River to the Min River, then along the Changjiang River, and finally arrived at the East Sea. The navigation connection together with the political unity helped Chengdu, a remote city in the southwest corner of the country, join in the great formation of the Chinese history and establish its historical position as a metropolis in southwest China.
    Originally the two rivers cut by Libing ran separately. The one near the City was called the Inner River, while the other at the south was named the Outer River. In the extension project of the City carried out by Gaopian the Governor of West Sichuan in Tang Dynasty, the Inner River took a new course along the northern city wall and then to the east, and finally joined the Outer river in the south suburb of the City. From then on the pattern of a city safeguarded by two surrounding rivers has never changed. What is now called the Fu River is just the Inner River in the changed course, and the Nan River is the original Outer River. Today, when this thousand-year-old city has entered the twentieth century in the bosoms of these two rivers, the wharves once bustling in bygone days become quiet and even the aged citizens can hardly remember the silhouette of the last junk sailing off-shore. By the end of 1995 the old Fu and Nan Rivers finally took off their timeworn historical garments and stepped into the modern era.


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