Guangzhou (Chinese: 广州; Mandarin pronunciation: [kwɑ̀ŋʈʂóʊ̯]), known historically as Canton or Kwangchow, is the capital and largest city of the Guangdong province in the People's Republic of China. Located in southern China on the Pearl River, about 120 km (75 mi) north-northwest of Hong Kong, Guangzhou is a key national transportation hub and trading port. One of the five National Central Cities, it holds sub-provincial administrative status.
Guangzhou is the third largest city in China and southern China's largest city. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 12.78 million. Some estimates place the population of the entire Pearl River Delta Mega City built up area as high as 40 million including Shenzhen (10.36 million), Dongguan (8.22 million) and most parts of Foshan (7.19 million), Jiangmen (4.45 million), Zhongshan (3.12 million) and a small part of Huizhou adjoining Dongguan and Shenzhen, with an area of about 20,000 square kilometres (7,700 sq mi) (about the size of US state of New Jersey). In 2008 Guangzhou was identified as a Beta World City by the global city index produced by GaWC.
Guangzhou's earliest recorded name is Panyu (Chinese: 番禺; Jyutping: Pun1 Jyu4), a name borrowed from two nearby mountains anciently called Pan and Yu. Its recorded history begins with China's conquering of the area during the Qin Dynasty. Panyu expanded when it became capital of the Nanyue Kingdom (南越) in 206 BC, the territory of the Nanyue Kingdom included what is now Vietnam.
The Han Dynasty annexed the Nanyue Kingdom in 111 BC and Panyu became a provincial capital and remains so today. In 226 AD, Panyu became the seat of Guang Prefecture (廣州; Guangzhou). While originally referring to prefecture only, local citizens gradually adopted the custom of using the same name for their city.
Although Guangzhou replaced Panyu as the name of the walled city, Panyu was still the name of the area surrounding the walled city until the end of Qing Dynasty.. Today, Panyu is a district of Guangzhou south of Haizhu District separated from the rest of the city by the Pearl River.
Arab and Persian pirates sacked Guangzhou (known to them as Sin-Kalan) in AD 758, according to a local Guangzhou government report on October 30, 758, which corresponded to the day of Guisi (癸巳) of the ninth lunar month in the first year of the Qianyuan era of Emperor Suzong of the Tang Dynasty. The Arab historian Abu Zayd Hasan of Siraf reports that in 878 followers of the Chinese rebel leader Huang Chao besieged the city and massacred a large number of foreign merchants resident there.
From the tenth to twelfth century, Persian women were to be found in Guangzhou. Multiple women originating from the Persian Gulf lived in Guangzhou's foreign quarter. Some scholars did not differentiate between Persian and Arab, and some say that the Chinese called all women coming from the Persian Gulf "Persian Women".
During the Northern Song Dynasty, the celebrated poet Su Shi (Shisu) visited Guangzhou's Baozhuangyan Temple and wrote the inscription "Liu Rong" (Six Banyan Trees) because of the six banyan trees he saw there. It has since been called the Temple of the 6 Banyan Trees.
The Portuguese were the first Europeans to arrive in Guangzhou by sea in 1514, establishing a monopoly on the external trade out of its harbour by 1517. They were later expelled from their settlements in Guangzhou (Cantão in Portuguese), but instead granted use of Macau as a trade base with the city in 1557. They would keep a near monopoly on foreign trade in the region until the arrival of the Dutch in the early 17th century.
It is believed that the romanisation "Canton" originated from the Portuguese Cantão, which was transcribed from Guangdong. Nevertheless, because at the time of the Portuguese arrival, the capital city had no specific appellation other than Shaang2 Sheng4(省 城, lit. the provincial capital) by its people, the province name was adopted for the walled city by the Europeans. The etymology of Canton, as well as the similar pronunciation with the province name Guangdong might have partly contributed to the recent confusion of Canton and Guangdong by certain English speakers. However, definitive English lexica, such as Merriam–Webster's Dictionary, American Heritage Dictionary and Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English do not list 'Guangdong' as a synonym (or variant) under 'Canton'.
After China gained control of Taiwan in 1683, the Qing government became more open to foreign trade. Guangzhou quickly emerged as one of the most suitable ports for international trade and before long ships arrived from all over the world.
The Portuguese in Macau, the Spanish in Manila, Arabs from the Middle East and Muslims from India were already actively trading in the port by the 1690s, when the French and English began frequenting the port through the Canton System.
Other companies were soon to follow: the Ostend General India company in 1717; Dutch East India Company in 1729; the first Danish ship in 1731, which was followed by a Danish Asiatic Company ship in 1734; the Swedish East India Company in 1732; followed by an occasional Prussian and Trieste Company ship; the Americans in 1784; and the first ships from Australia in 1788.
and so on and so on as describe in ... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guangzhou
AirAsia flight to Guangzhou or Canton, departs early in the morning,,and because of that I have to buy the inflight meal. Quite a tasty nasi lemak, enjoyed at high above the sky.
Flight arrived safely and finding the exit gate is quite easy and fast.
An off we go, in a taxi , heading towards the town.
Our friendly taxi driver, that cannot talk in english too much!