Shanghai’s History & Culture

For centuries, Shanghai was a fishing village. It didn’t grow into a town until the 13th century during the Southern Song Dynasty (1260 – 1274), when it became an important port and commercial center.

During the Ming Dynasty (1364 – 1644), Shanghai slowly became a national textile and handicraft center.

After the Opium War in 1840, Shanghai was “forced” by the British and French to serve as a major trading port and became an international colony with foreign concessions.

The British built their concession in 1842—the same year an American neighborhood called the  International Settlement was opened.  The  French arrived in 1847.  Source: Facts and Details

The Russians and Germans arrived later and a Japanese enclave was established in 1895.

The video provides a quick overview of Shanghai’s history and culture.

Today, Shanghai’s population is about 21 million making it one of the largest  metropolitan areas in the world.

Shanghai has developed into a leading international center of business, culture and design with an abundant and diverse offering for dining, shopping and nightlife.

Geographically, the Huangpu River divides the city into two areas—Pushi and Pudong. Pushi is the older part of Shanghai.

Twenty years ago, Pudong was rural and green and had little to offer in housing and shopping.  Much has changed since the sleepy fishing village of the 12th century.


Shanghai Huxinting Teahouse

Shanghai Huangpu River Tour

Eating Gourmet in Shanghai

Chinese Pavilion, Shanghai World Expo


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. 

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