THE BREIF HISTORY OF YUNNAN
In the Mesozoic Era, gigantic dinosaurs could be found strolling among the tropical and sub-tropical plants in marshlands and forests. One day in the Cretaceous Period, all of these herbivores disappeared mysteriously. Tens of thousands of years later, people found their fossils under the stratum of Lufeng County in central Yunnan. In Jinning, beside Dianchi Lake, there are also 200 dinosaurs footprints left in the Jurassic Period.
Yunnan is one of the birth places of mankind. Between 10 and 15 million years ago, a kind of apeman came down from the trees to the ground, leaving traces from Yuanmou in central Yunnan to Kaiyuan in southern Yunnan. Between 1956 to 1957, fossils of "Lama Ape Man" were discovered in the coal layers at Xiaolongtan, Kaiyuan. They are the earliest example of man in the Chinese geologic age. Later, scientists found a fossil of "Yuanmou Xiaohe Ancient Ape", which has more characteristics of modern man.In May 1965, paleoanthropologists discovered the fossil of "Yuanmou Ape Man", the ancestor of the Chinese people, who lived more than 1.7 million years ago. During the long Paleolithic Age, Yunnan became more prosperous. Early Homo Sapiens lived in Zhaotong, and in later stages they lived in Lijiang, Kunming, Xichou, Pupiao and Yaoguan. With the coming of the Neolithic Age, many nationalities and tribes lived together on this vast land stretching from northeastern Yunnan to the Lancang River Valley, from the middle and upper reaches of the Jinsha River to the Erhai and Dianchi lakes. They created diversified folk traditions and strong inter-relationships. Yunnan is also an important passage for migration between different tribes. People could move freely and seek their ideal place to live. They travelled far greater distances and shared cultural exchanges far more widely than we can imagine. In this ancient corridor there lived many different peoples, including the Baipu, Baiyue, Miao, Yao, Di and Qiang ethnic tribes. They pushed forward human civilization along the ancient rivers.
THE DIAN KINGDOM
The first recorded Chinese invasion was in 339BC, when a prince of the Yangzi River valley sent his general over the mountains to conquer the "southwest barbarians' .The campaign lasted ten years ,during which his return to China was cut by the prince's rivals . When the general found himself isolated he set himself up as the king of Dian in capital near present-day Kunming. For two centuries his descendants ruled the kingdom , completed cut off from China ,and intermarried with the Dian people .
THE HAN DYNASTY
The great Dynasty ruled China from 206BC to AD 220 and struck up an important silk trade with Europe . Citizens of the Roman Empire quickly developed a taste for silk togas . One branch of the transcontinental trade , know as the Southwest Silk Road , ran through to India . The Han emperor , wishing to control the entire trade route , launched the second Chinese invasion of Yunnan . The King of Dian welcomed the invaders , hoping his new allies would help him to subdue neighbouring tribes , He thereupon received an imperial seal recognizing Dian as a tributary state . But the Chinese army could not get past Yunnan's formidable western mountains and eventually withdrew . Dian's tribal chiefs ruled in the name of the emperor and when the Han Dynasty finally collapsed , Yunnan continued on its own course as before . in time , the Dian kingdom weakened ands tribes from south seized power .
THE NAN ZHAO KINGDOM
In the eight century ,six princes ruled the southwest . One of them is said to have traveled north to China , which was enjoying a golden age under the tang Dynasty(618-907). When asked where he came from , the prince replied that his home was south of Sichuan's rainy weather at which is disputed by some historians , who claim that the Han emperor chose the name many centuries earlier
in 732, the most ambitious prince treacherously invited the other five to a banquet hall , killing them all . The triumphan prince seized their lands and named himself Nanzhao , Prince of the south . For five centuries , the Nanzhao Kingdom and it's successor , the Kingdom of Dali , remained strong and independent , on a par with Tibet , its warring neighbours . Its capital was Dali , on Erhai lake in western Yunnan.
THE COMING OF KUBALA KHAM
The Kingdom came to an end in 1253 at the hands of Kubalai Khan , the famous Mongol , grandson of Chenghis Khan , Kubalai , the famous Mongol , grandson of Genghis Khan , Kubala's efforts in the southwest were part of a greast strategy by the Mongols to subdue the Song Dynasty m first taking Yunnan ,then pressing attack from both the north and west and south , leaving an empty land , Kubalai Khan's successes were in part due to the help of tough Muslim mercenaries from persia and Central Asia ; he sent these troops to Yunnan , partly to keep them out of mischief , far from the northern capital , but also to repulated the southwest, The Muslim settlers also to repopulate the southwest . The Muslim settlers also served as the emperor's watchdog s against any movement for independence .
THE MING DYNASTY AND QUING DYNASTY
For centuries , the Ming Dynasty and the Qing(Manchu) Dynasty that followed it , ruled Yunnan as a colony rather than as a true province of China . It served China as a kind of Siberia ,a place of exile for criminal , dissidents and officals who fell out of favour with the emperor . The actual number of progressive thinkers and intellectuals banished there was relatively small but they brought with them the language , architecture and customs of north China . One lasting sign of their influence is the style of roofs in many centural Yunnanese towns , reminiscent of the imperial splendour in Beijing .
THE MUSLIM REBELLION
In 1855 , a dispute between Muslim and Chinese miners escalated into a full scale Muslim rebellion against Chinese rule . It raged on for almost 20 years . Muslims ranscaked Kunming's old temples , burned its monasteries ,destroyed Buddhist monuments and levelled most public buildings and large private homes . They set up their own capital in Dali. Chinese troops finally crushed the rebellion with great cruelty in 1873, slaughtering Muslim men , women and children in Dali and sweeping on to massacre thousands more in smaller towns, killing many of the survivors . Yunnan was nearly depopulated for the second time in its history.