The plains of Hubei have been inhabited by the Han Chinese since 1000 BC, but by the time the Spring and Autumn Period came around, it became home to the State of Chu.  Though powerful, the State of Chu was slowly overpowered by the State of Qin as it expanded to the south, until in 221 BC, when the Qin Dynasty finally ruled all over China, resulting in the first unification of the Chinese territory. 

During the Han Dynasty, which followed the Qin Dynasty, Hubei was part of the province Jingzhou, along with what is now modern-day Hunan.  When the nomads began invading the north of China, while south remained ruled by the Han Chinese, the country was divided once again, until the Sui Dynasty drove the nomads away and reunited the country again.  During the Tang Dynasty, Hubei was divided into several circuits, and continued to be divided into different regimes long after the aforementioned dynasty was gone.

Hubei as it is now was formed during the Song Dynasty, when it was still called Jinghubei Circuit.  But when the Mongols finally infiltrated the whole nation, they clustered Hubei with the province Hunan, and some parts of Guangdong and Guangxi, into one province called Huguang.  It was under the Mongolian rule when Hubei suffered from the plague of the Black Death, 

Hubei came into being as a province during the Manchu Qing Dynasty.  During this regime, economic reforms were made, which turned Hubei into a successful center of industry, as it became the first interior of China to be highly industrialized. 

When the Republic of China finally put an end to the dynasties, Wuhan, Hubei’s modern-day capital, became the seat of power for Koumintang—only to merge with the Nanjing faction led by Chang Kai-Shek. 

During the Sino-Soviet Border conflicts in the late sixties, the Underground Project 131 was constructed in the Hubei prefecture, Xianning, because of their fear of a nuclear war.  It was however never used, and now simply stands as a tourist attraction.

Because of its location, Hubei suffered greatly during the Yangtze River Floods of 1954.  This led to the death of more than 30,000 residents, and the pressure to build such dams as the Gezhouba Dam and the controversial Three Gorges Dam.  Once completed, the Three Gorges Dam is expected to provide a tenth of the whole country’s energy needs. 

Writer:  Kannika Pena