Guangxi has officially been a part of China since 214 BC when it was claimed by the Qin dynasty. The name literally means “Expansive – West,” and is a counterpart to “Expansive-East,” or Guangdong province.
Guangxi’s history is generally free from turbulence or large-scale events, though some notable occurrences include the Jintian uprising in 1851 and the Battle of Band Bo along the Vietnam border during the Sino-French war in 1885, during which, the Chinese successfully drove the French back over the border.
After the founding of the Republic of China in the early 20th Century, Guangxi served as a base for the “Old Guangxi Clique,” a group of powerful warlords led by Lu Jung T’ing. They took control of Hunan and Guangdong. The group disintegrated in the 1920’s but was replaced by the “New Guangxi Clique.” The region also saw a communist uprising in 1929 led by future leader Deng Xiaoping, this was successfully defended by Kuomintang forces.
During World War II the Japanese, who viewed the Hunan-Guangxi railroad as a strategic link to French Indochina, successfully invaded Guangxi. During this time, most cities came under Japanese occupation until the end of the war.
In 1952, a small part of Guangdong’s coast was given to Guangxi, though this was reversed in 1955 and not reinstated until 1965. This was important for having sea access, a necessity for large-scale trade.
Under the People’s Republic of China, Guangxi was largely ignored by industrialization and development, though it was and remains a popular tourism destination.