Harbin has a history of distant origin and long development, and it has been a city with no wall all along. There were human activities as early as 22,000 years ago, during the late period of Paleolithic Age. About 5,000 years ago, Harbin area entered the Neolithic Period. About 3,000 years ago, during the late period of Shang Dynasty, Harbin entered the Bronze Age, when Harbin was the distribution area of Baijinbao Culture, the oldest ancient civilized country in Heilongjiang area.
Harbin is the birthplace of Jin and Qing dynasties. In 1115 AC, Jin Dynasty set up a capital in Shangjing (Acheng city of Harbin). At the end of the 19th century, there were over ten villages and about 30,000 people in Harbin, and the economic elements such as transportation, trade and population began to develop, which laid the foundation for formation and development of the city. From 1896 to 1903, along with the construction of Chinese Eastern Railway, the industry and commerce, as well as population began to gather around Harbin. When Chinese Eastern Railway was completed, Harbin has formed the embryo of a contemporary city, during the early period of the 20th century, Harbin became an international commercial port, where over 160,000 emigrants from 33 countries have gathered in succession, and 16 countries have set up consulates. At the same time, Chinese National capital also developed greatly, establishing the role of Harbin as the economic center of North Man and an international city at that time.
Harbin is a city where Marxism Thinking was propagated early and worker and student movements were active. In April, 1919, Zhou Enlai came to Harbin to engage in revolutionary publicity. Li Dazhao, Qu Qiubai, Lu Zhanglong and the other comrades also came to Harbin in succession to lead the anti-imperialism and patriotic struggle during the course of preparing to establish the Communist Party of China.
In 1923, the first organization of the Party in Northeastern China was founded. In 1927, the first congress of party representatives was held in Harbin, and the temporary provincial committee of Manchuria was founded in Harbin. In 1929, Liu Shaoqi, the secretary of the CPC Manchuria Provincial Committee at that time, and Chen Tanqiu came to Harbin to strengthen the leadership in the struggle of Chinese Eastern Railway workers. Harbin became the leading center where the Communist Party of China led the people in Northeastern China to wage revolutionary struggles and later wage war against Japanese invaders.
In 1932, Harbin sank into the control of Japanese -Puppet regime, and the people lived in an abyss of misery. Under the leadership of the Communist Party of China, the people of Harbin waged a hard struggle, during which, a lot of national heroes and revolutionary martyrs such as Zhao Shangzhi, Yang Jingyu, Li Zhaolin, Zhao Yiman, whose names will go down in history, came to the fore successively. In 1945, Harbin was liberated from the control of Japanese -Puppet regime, and then the population reached 700,000. On April 28th, 1946, the people’s regime of Harbin was established, and Harbin became the large city which was liberated earliest.
After the founding of the People’s Republic of China, Harbin rapidly restored and developed national economy. During the period of the First “Five-Year” Plan, Harbin was one of the key construction cities of China. 13 of the 156 key construction projects aided and built by the Former Soviet Union were established in Harbin, which became an important industrial base of China, and quickly changed from a consuming city into a new industrial city. From 1958 to 1965, Harbin experienced a tortuous development course including “Great Leap Forward” and economic adjustment. During the period of “the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution”, the national economy of Harbin suffered from serious setback so that the normal economic and social order was seriously disrupted.
Since the Chinese Reform and Opening, great changes have taken place in Harbin, where national economy and social service have obtained significant achievements. The Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth and Tenth “Five-Year” Plan have been overfulfilled. Among 40 trades of the country, Harbin has 38. The main products have reached more than 4,000, covering the whole country, and are exported to more than 100 countries and regions. Since 1990, Harbin has held 17 sessions of “China Harbin Fair for Trade and Economic Cooperation”, successively held the 3rd Asian winter games, and “Harbin International Conference for Northern Cities in 1998”. It also successively bid for 2009 World University Winter Games. The international reputation and influence of Harbin has been strengthened continuously, and the social course to construct harmonious society and build a well-off society in an all-round way has been improved continuously. Through the construction of several decades and the reform and opening of almost thirty years, Harbin is changing from a city with industry as the main into a comprehensive and multi-functional modern city.
In 1996, Songhua River Area and Harbin combined to form new Harbin under the approval of the State Council. Harbin had seven districts and twelve counties (cities) under its administration, with the administrative area of 53,000 km2, and the total population of 9,483,000 in the whole city.
On February 4th, 2004, the State Council approved the adjustment of some administrative divisions in Harbin. After the adjustment, There were eight districts including Daoli, Daowai, Dangang, Xiangfang, Dongli, Pingfang, Songbei and Hulan, seven counties including Binxian, Bayan, Yilan, Yanshou, Mulan, Tonghe and Fangzheng, as well as 4 county level cities including Wuchang, Shuangcheng, Acheng and Shangzhi under the administration of Harbin. The whole city covered an area of 53,068 km2, among which the urban area was 4,272km2. The population of the city was 9,748,400, among which the population of the urban area was 3,989,600.
On August 15th, 2006, the State Council approved the adjustment of some administrative divisions by that Harbin government, i.e. removing Dongli and Xiangfang districts to form new Xiangfang district, removing Acheng city to set up Acheng district, and dividing Yongyuan town and Juyuan town in Acheng city under the administration of Daowai district. After the adjustment, there are 8 districts including Daoli, Daowai, Nangang, Xiangfang, Pingfang, Songbei, Hulan and Acheng, 7 counties including Binxian, Bayan, Yilan, Yanshou, Mulan, Tonghe and Fangzheng and 3 county level cities including Wuchang, Shuangche and Shangzhi under the administration of Harbin. The whole city covers an area of 53,068 km2, among which the urban area is 7086km2. The population of the urban area is 4,642,400.