The Yuanmou Man, a Homo erectus fossil unearthed by railway engineers in the 1960s, has been determined to be the oldest known hominid fossil in China. By the Neolithic period, there were human settlements in the area of Lake Dian. These people used stone tools and constructed simple wooden structures.
Around the third century BC, the central area of Yunnan around present day Kunming was known as Dian. The Chu general Zhuang Jiao entered the region from the upper Yangtze River and set himself up as "King of Dian". He and his followers brought into Yunnan an influx of Chinese influence, the start of a long history of migration and cultural expansion.
In 221 BC, Qin Shi Huang unified China and extended his authority south. Commanderies and counties were established in Yunnan. An existing road in Sichuan – the "Five Foot Way" – was extended south to around present day Qujing (曲靖), in eastern Yunnan. In 109 BC, Emperor Wu sent General Guo Chang south to Yunnan, establishing Yizhou commandery and twenty-four subordinate counties. The commandery seat was at Dianchi County (present day Jinning). Another county was called "Yunnan", probably the first use of the name. To expand the burgeoning trade with Burma and India, Emperor Wu also sent Tang Meng to maintain and expand the Five Foot Way, renaming it "Southwest Barbarian Way" (西南夷道).
During the Three Kingdoms, the territory of present day Yunnan, Qianxi and southern Sichuan was collectively called Nanzhong. The dissolution of Chinese central authority led to increased autonomy for Yunnan and more power for the local tribal structures. In AD 225, the famed statesman Zhuge Liang led three columns into Yunnan to pacify the tribes. His seven captures of Meng Huo, a local magnate, are much celebrated in Chinese folklore.
In the fourth century, northern China was largely overrun by nomadic tribes from the north. In the 320s, the Cuan (爨) clan migrated into Yunnan. Cuan Chen (爨琛) named himself king and held authority from Lake Dian (then called Kunchuan. Henceforth the Cuan clan ruled Yunnan for over four hundred years. In 738, the kingdom of Nanzhao was established in Yunnan by Piluoge, who was confirmed by the imperial court of the Tang Dynasty as king of Yunnan. Ruling from Dali, the thirteen kings of Nanzhao ruled over more than two centuries and played a part in the dynamic relationship between China and Tibet. In 937, Duan Siping overthrew the Nanzhao and established the Kingdom of Dali. The kingdom was conquered by the Mongol and Chinese armies of Kublai Khan.
Yunnan passed to the Qing dynasty in 1659 and became a province of China under the control of the central government. It was a major center of Chinese resistance in World War II. The People’s Republic of China took Yunnan province in control in 1950.
Gengma Dai-Va Aut. County(耿马傣族佤族自治县)
Gongshan Derung-Nu Aut. County(贡山独龙族怒族自治县)
Hekou Yao Aut. County(河口瑶族自治县)
Jinping Miao-Yao-Dai Aut. County(金平苗族瑶族傣族自治县)
Jingdong Yi Aut. County(景东彝族自治县)
Jinggu Dai-Yi Aut. County(景谷傣族彝族自治县)
Jiangcheng Hani-Yi Aut. County(江城哈尼族彝族自治县)
Luquan Yi-Miao Aut. County(禄劝彝族苗族自治县)
Lanping Bai-Pumi Aut. County(兰坪白族普米族自治县)
Lancang Lahu Aut. County(澜沧拉祜族自治县)
Mojiang Hani Aut. County(墨江哈尼族自治县)
Menglian Dai-Lahu-Va Aut. County(孟连傣族拉祜族佤族自治县)
Nanjian Yi Aut. County(南涧彝族自治县)
Ninglang Yi Aut. County(宁蒗彝族自治县)
Ning′er Hani-Yi Aut. County(宁洱哈尼族彝族自治县)
Shilin Yi Aut. County(石林彝族自治县)
Shuangjiang Lahu-Va-Blang-Dai Aut.County(双江拉祜族佤族布朗族傣族自治县)
Weishan Yi-Hui Aut. County(巍山彝族回族自治县)
Weixi Lisu Aut. County(维西傈僳族自治县)
Xundian Hui-Yi Aut. County(寻甸回族彝族自治县)
Ximeng Va Aut. County(西盟佤族自治县)
Xinping Yi-Dai Aut. County(新平彝族傣族自治县)
Yangbi Yi Aut. County(漾濞彝族自治县)
Yulong Naxi Aut. County(玉龙纳西族自治县)
Yuanjiang Hani-Yi-Dai Aut. County(元江哈尼族彝族傣族自治县)
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