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Tengchong History

Early history

Tengchong is one of the earliest developed regions in Southwest China. During the Western Han dynasty (206 BC - AD 24), it belonged to Yizhoujun Prefecture. In the Sui (581-618) and Tang (618-907) dynasties, a contemporary prefecture governed by a local chieftain was set up. In the Yuan dynasty (1271–1368), Tengyue Prefecture was instituted. In the following dynasties, different administrative offices were set up. In 1913, Tengchong was made a county. Historically, it occupied an important position on the Southwestern Silk Route. The Sichuan cloth andbamboo sticks available at the markets in Bactria (including Afghanistan and parts of India) were brought there from the ancient Bonan Route through Tengchong. From the Ming dynasty onwards, large numbers of Tengchong people went abroad to trade and seek a livelihood. The city grew wealthy from trade with Burma and South East Asia due to its proximity to Mandalay across the Burmese border.

The British

In 1868, during a visit to Tengyue, British Army Major Sladen procured a woodblock printed edition of the Chinese history of the town, which was to be brought back to England and deposited at the British Museum. In the West the town is best known as the site of the murder of British diplomat Augustus Margary on February 21, 1875, an event which led to the Chefoo Convention. It was also the base of the China Inland Mission missionary James Fraser during the majority of his time working with the Lisu people. At one point British forces in British-occupied Burma established a trading post in the town with hopes of generating wealth through trade with China. In the early 20th century, a thriving cross-border trade between British-controlled Burma and China was centered around Tengchong. In 1921, construction work began on the British consulate in Tengchong, with completion 10 years later.

World War II

During World War II, the area around Tengchong was the scene of fierce battles between the Japanese, invading from occupied Burma, and the combined Chinese forces of nationalists and communists aided by American fighter squadrons. After the Chinese government relocated to Sichuan after the fall of Nanjing, there were grave concerns that if Yunnan fell, Japanese access to Sichuan would become relatively easy, forcing a new and cumbersome relocation, hence large forces were deployed to stop the Japanese army.

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