Ningbo is one of China's oldest cities, with a history dating to the Hemudu culture in 4800 BC.Ningbo was known as a trade city on the silk road at least two thousand years ago, and then as a major port, along with Yangzhou and Guangzhou in the Tang Dynasty; thereafter, the major ports for foreign trade in the Song Dynasty.The British repulsed a Chinese attempt to retake the city in the Battle of Ningpo on March 10, 1842.In 1864, the forces of the Taiping Rebellion held the town for six months.Since the Tang dynasty Ningbo has been an important commercial port.Arab traders lived in Ningbo during the Song dynasty when it was known as Mingzhou, as the ocean-going trade passages took precedence over land trade during this time.
During the late Qing dynasty, in the 1800s, the Ningbo authorities contracted Cantonese pirates to exterminate and massacre Portuguese pirates who raided Cantonese shipping around Ningbo. He wrote Christian publications in the Ningbo dialect.For the mid-16th-century Portuguese, the nearby promontory, which they called the cape of Liampó, after the nearby "illustrious city" was the easternmost known point of the mainland Asia.The Portuguese began trading in Ningbo around 1522.Ningbo was one of the five Chinese treaty ports opened by the Treaty of Nanjing (signed in 1842) at the end of the First Opium War between Britain and China.During the war, British forces took possession of the walled city of Ningbo briefly after storming the fortified town of Zhenhai at the mouth of the Yong River on October 10, 1841.Ningbo ranges in latitude from 28° 51' to 30° 33' N and in longitude from 120° 55' to 122° 16' E, bounded on the east by the East China Sea and Zhoushan Archipelago, on the north by Hangzhou Bay, across which it faces Jiaxing and Shanghai, on the west by Shaoxing, and on the south by Taizhou.Its land area is 9,816 square kilometres (3,790 sq mi), while oceanic territory amounts to 9,758 km (3,768 sq mi); there is a total 1,562 km (971 mi) of coastline including 788 km (490 mi) of mainland coastline and 774 km (481 mi) of island coastline, together accounting for one-third of the entire provincial coastline.The massacre was "successful", with 40 Portuguese dead and only 2 Chinese dead, being dubbed "The Ningpo Massacre" by an English correspondent, who noted that the Portuguese pirates had behaved savagely towards the Chinese, and that the Portuguese authorities at Macau should have reined in the pirates. According to Daniel Barenblatt, Prince Tsuneyoshi Takeda received, with Prince Mikasa, a special screening by Shiro Ishii of a film showing imperial planes loading germ bombs for bubonic dissemination over Ningbo in 1940."It has been said of the Ningbo fishermen that, 'no people in the world apparently made so great an advance in the art of fishing; and for centuries past no people have made so little further progress.'" The Cathedral of the Sacred Heart of Jesus was built between 18, was closed by the government in 1963, and was reopened and renamed in 1980.During late Qing era, Western missionaries set up a Presbyterian Church in Ningbo. It was recognized as a national heritage site in 2006.Its port, spread across several locations, is among the busiest in the world As of the 2010 census, the entire administrated area had a population of 7.6 million, with 3.5 million in the six urban districts of Ningbo proper.To the north, Hangzhou Bay separates Ningbo from Shanghai; to the east lies Zhoushan in the East China Sea; on the west and south, Ningbo borders Shaoxing and Taizhou respectively.