Bao'an County

Bao'an County, formerly named Xin'an County, was a historical county in South China. It roughly follows the administrative boundaries of modern-day Hong Kong and the city of Shenzhen. For most of its history, the administrative center of the county was in Nantou.

Bao'an County
寶安縣, 宝安县
County of China
• Established
• Disestablished
Succeeded by
British Hong Kong
Today part ofPeople's Republic of China (Mainland) Hong Kong
Bao'an County
Traditional Chinese寶安縣
Simplified Chinese宝安县
PostalPoon County
Xin'an County
Traditional Chinese新安縣
Simplified Chinese新安县
PostalSunon County
Literal meaningNew peace


During the Three Kingdoms, the later Bao'an County, along with Dongguan and Boluo counties, formed a single large district with the name Boluo (博羅; 博罗).[1]

In 331, the Eastern Jin Dynasty established Bao'an County, one of six counties under Dōngguān (東官; 东官) Prefecture. This prefecture's area included modern Shenzhen and Dongguan.[2] In the second year of the Zhide of Suzong under the Tang Dynasty (757 AD), Dōngguān was renamed to Dōngguǎn (東莞; 东莞).

Map of San-On District, drawn from the observations made by the Italian missionary Simeone Volonteri, and published in 1866.

In the 27th year of Hongwu Emperor's (1368–1399, founder of the Ming dynasty) reign, Hongwu appointed an officer with the title Shou-yu-suo (Chinese: 守御所; lit. 'Protector of the region') to protect the local population from robbers and vagabonds which increasingly infested the district.[1]

In 1573, the first year of the reign of Wanli of the Ming Dynasty, Xin'an County (sometimes referred to as district) was established as a separate administrative division of Guangzhou Prefecture. The area was then separated from the old Dongguan County due to military reasons.[3]

Convention for the Extension of Hong Kong Territory, an unequal treaty signed between Qing China and the United Kingdom in 1898, shows that south of the Sham Chun River of Xin'an County was leased out to British government.

Under the Qing Dynasty, Xin'an County was one of the fourteen districts under the department of Guangdong. During the Great Clearance (1661–1669), most of Xin'an County was affected by the coastal evacuation. However Xin'an ceased to be a separate administrative county by the 5th year of Kangxi (1666), and the areas not affected by the evacuation were temporarily absorbed into the adjoining Dongguan County until the lift of the ban in 1669.[3] From 1842 to 1898, 1055.61 km2 out of 3076 km2 of Xin'an County was ceded to the United Kingdom to form Hong Kong.[2]


According to the 1819 edition of the Gazetteer of Xin'an County, the population of Xin'an County was about 18,000 people in 1642, just prior to the collapse of the Ming dynasty, and the total population was about 4,000 by 1672, three years after the reoccupation of the area at the end of the Great Clearance.[4]

Cession of Hong KongEdit

The area commonly referred to as Hong Kong was successively ceded or leased from the county to Britain in 1842, 1860 and 1898 under the Treaty of Nanking (Hong Kong Island), Convention of Peking (Kowloon), and Convention for the Extension of Hong Kong Territory (New Territories).

Republic of China eraEdit

After the founding of the Republic of China in 1913, the name of Xin'an was changed back to Bao'an.[2]

People's Republic of China eraEdit

In 1953, Shenzhen replaced Nantou as the administrative centre, due to the increasing prominence of the town as the southern terminus of the Chinese section of the Kowloon–Canton Railway.[5]

In 1979, Bao'an County was renamed Shenzhen City after the name of its county town since 1953, and the southern part of Shenzhen became a Special Economic Zone a year later. A diminished Bao'an County remained in the new city of Shenzhen outside the SEZ until 1992, when it was replaced by the Bao'an and the Longgang districts.

See alsoEdit



  1. ^ a b Krone 1859.
  2. ^ a b c Brief History of Shenzhen Archived April 16, 2008, at the Wayback Machine, Shenzhen Government official website.
  3. ^ a b Hayes, James (1974). "The Hong Kong Region: its place in Traditional Chinese Historiography and Principal Events since the Establishment of Hsin-an County in 1573" (PDF). Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society Hong Kong Branch. 14: 108–135. ISSN 1991-7295.
  4. ^ Ng, Peter Y. L. (1983). New Peace County. A Chinese Gazetteer of the Hong Kong Region. Hong Kong University Press. p. 28. ISBN 9789622090439.
  5. ^ 昔日边陲小镇深圳的历史渊源.


Further readingEdit