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Historical Description[]

Despite its attractive location at the mouth of the Yangtze River, early Shanghai remained a tiny fishing village due to its marshy terrain. It developed into a naval and shipping center during the Song Dynasty and more land was eventually cleared through drainage projects. After Qing forces were routed in the First Opium War, the 1842 Treaty of Nanking opened the port and granted extraterritorial concessions to the British. The Americans and French followed close on their heels, with the Japanese setting up shop as well by the end of the century.

The influx of foreign wealth transformed Shanghai into a commercial and financial powerhouse. By the 1920s, the cosmopolitan ‘Paris of the East‘ was world-famous for its culture, opulence, and glamorous nightlife. It was also a notorious den of vice supported by underpaid labor and run by gangsters and corrupt police. The city suffered under Japanese occupation during World War II, and repressive Communist policies stifled its recovery. Shanghai has endured to become China’s economic center as well as the world’s busiest container port and arguably largest city.

History[]

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