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Summary Article: Tianjin from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

City and special municipality in Hebei province, north China; municipality area 4,000 sq km/1,544 sq mi; city population (2010) 11,090,300; municipality 9,848,700. One of four municipalities administered directly from Beijing, it includes the city of Tianjin and the port of Tanggu. An industrial and commercial centre, its handmade silk and wool carpets are renowned. Dagang oilfield lies nearby. Tianjin was opened to foreign trade in 1860 and was occupied by the Japanese in 1937.

Location Tianjin is situated at the junction of the Hai He River with the Grand Canal, at the southern end of the Bohai Gulf, 120 km/75 mi southeast of Beijing. Originally on the coast, silting and the drainage of marshes has taken the sea 35 km/22 mi from the centre of the city.

Industries Until the 1980s textiles and food-processing were the principal industries; watches and bicycles were also produced. After being opened to foreign investment, petrochemical and chemical industries and the manufacture of vehicles, electronic equipment, and cameras have developed. Pharmaceutical and metallurgical industries, and the production of electrical and domestic appliances are also important. The city's port facilities at Xingang (New Harbour), at the mouth of the Hai He on the Bohai Gulf, serve as the port for Beijing and north China.

History First mentioned as a trading port under the Northern Song dynasty (960–1126), it was walled in 1404. The marshes on its seaward side were drained in the 18th century under the Qing dynasty, who also constructed forts at Tanggu, near the mouth of the river, to protect the harbour. The defences were unable to keep out the Anglo-French force in the Second Opium War (1856–60), which destroyed the Old Summer Place in Beijing, nor the allied expedition to protect the foreign legations in Beijing during the Boxer Rebellion in 1900.

Foreigners first settled in Tianjin when it was opened for foreign trade under the Treaty of Nanking (1860). There were eight separate foreign settlements, each with their own administration and distinguished by distinctive national styles of architecture. Tianjin became a modern city during this period, and in 1919 Nankai University was founded. The last emperor of China, Henry P'u-i, lived in Tianjin in the 1920s. The city was occupied by the Japanese from 1937 to 1945, after which the foreign settlements reverted to Chinese administration.

It was capital of Hebei province from 1958 to 1967 when it was raised to a provincial-level authority as a municipality directly under the central government.

© RM, 2016. All rights reserved.

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