Administrative division of this area in history initiated during the Western Han Dynasty (206BC-24AD), when the emperor launched the exploitation of southwestern border area. Kingdoms set up by local ethnic minorities were conquered and replaced by counties and shires newly established by the court.
Due to a lack of arable land and remoteness, this is area that has never been densely populated. It is generally thought to have been originally inhabited by Miao peoples, who migrated into Wenshanzhou from what is now Guizhou province. During to the Western Han Dynasty (206BC-24AD), kingdoms established by local ethnic groups were dismantled by invading forces and the area was assimilated.
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