A major trade conduit for ancient China's maritime silk trade, Guangzhou has a two-thousand-year-old history marked by significant cultural upheavals across its timeline. The Qin, Han and Song dynasties are amongst many that have controlled this valuable location. The old Lingnan region was conquered by the Qin dynasty in 221 B.C., and out of one of the shires established, emerged Guangzhou as a capital.
Over the next few centuries, the city grew under different rulers, establishing themselves as the region's trade behemoth. The 16th and 17th century are marked by the arrival of and trade with the Europeans, with Britain slowly establishing its presence that is still visible to this day in the city's older architecture. During the Second World War, Guangzhou was occupied by the Japanese, a sombre and defining chapter of the city's history. The post-war decades are characterised by the city's role in the overall direction of the Chinese nation and to this day Guangzhou exhibits the multicultural and different historical influences that have given it its identity.