Traditional Chinese徐州
Simplified Chinese徐州

Xuzhou as a historical toponym refers to varied area in different eras.

Ordinarily, it was a reference to the one of the Nine Provinces which modern Xuzhou inherited.


Pre-Qin era

Xuzhou or Xu Province was one of the Nine Provinces of ancient China mentioned in Chinese historical texts such as the Tribute of Yu, Erya and Rites of Zhou.

The Yu Gong [Tribute of Yu] records: "The Sea, Mount Dai (ancient name of Mount Tai), and the Huai River served as the boundaries of Xuzhou."[1][2] While the definition of Xuzhou is more brief in Erya: "Where is located in the east of Ji River". Based on these descriptions, the ancient Xuzhou covered an area that roughly corresponds to the regions in modern southeastern Shandong (south of Mount Tai) and northern Jiangsu (north of the Huai River).[3][4]

Han dynasty

Chinese provinces in the late Eastern Han dynasty period, 189 CE.
Chinese provinces in the late Eastern Han dynasty period, 189 CE.

In 106 BCE, during the reign of Emperor Wu (r. 141–87 BCE) in the Western Han dynasty (206 BCE – 9 CE), China was divided into 13 administrative divisions or provinces (excluding the capital Chang'an and seven commanderies in its vicinity), each governed by a cishi (刺史; Inspector). 11 of them were named after the Nine Provinces mentioned in the historical texts Classic of History and Rites of Zhou. Xuzhou was one of the 11, and it covered parts of Jiangsu (north of the Yangtze River) and southeastern Shandong. In the Eastern Han dynasty (25–220 CE), Xuzhou's capital was set up at Tan (; present-day Tancheng County, Linyi, Shandong).[3][4]

Three Kingdoms period and Jin dynasty

During the Three Kingdoms period (220–280), Xuzhou was a territory of the state of Cao Wei (220–265), and its capital was moved to Pengcheng (彭城; present-day Xuzhou, Jiangsu).[4] The area of Xuzhou shrunk slightly as its southern border with Sun Wu.[3]

After the fall of the Western Jin (265–316) due to the Wu Hu uprising, the Jin remnants fled to southern China and established the Eastern Jin (317–420). To govern the people from northern who relocated in the south of the Huai River, While its area shrunk again. Its capital was variable, it moved to Xiapi (下邳; present-day Suining, Jiangsu), Shanyang (山陽; present-day Huai'an District, Jiangsu), Guangling (廣陵; present-day Yangzhou, Jiangsu) and Jingkou (京口; present-day Zhenjiang, Jiangsu) at different stages. Since its capital moved to the south of the Yangtze River, where had never been a part of its area, Xuzhou became a migrated province.[3][4][5]

Sixteen Kingdoms and Southern and Northern Dynasties period

In the Sixteen Kingdoms period, Xuzhou was divided between, or came under the administration of, various kingdoms:[3][4]

In 408, the Emperor An (r. 397–419) of the Liu Song dynasty (420–479) recaptured the former territory in the north of the Huai River, Xuzhou was renamed as North Xuzhou, whose south border next to the Huai River while capital was Pengcheng, in 411.[3] Meanwhile, the migrated Xuzhou remained.

In 421, during the reign of Emperor Wu (r. 420–422), North Xuzhou was restored as Xuzhou, while South Xuzhou instead of the former migrated Xuzhou comparatively.[5][6][7]

In 433, during the reign of Emperor Taiwu (r. 424–452) of the Northern Wei (386–535), Xuzhou's capital was established at Jiyang County (濟陽縣; northeast of present-day Lankao, Henan).[3][4] It was disbanded in 467 during the reign of Emperor Xianwen (r. 465–471).

In 473, as the original area was captured by Northern Wei, Liu Song set up the new Xuzhou whose capital was located in Yan County (燕縣; present-day Feng Yang, Anhui).[3][8]

Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties

During the reign of Emperor Huizong (r. 1333–1370) in the Yuan dynasty (1279–1368), Xuzhou became an administrative division known as "Xuzhou Circuit" (徐州路) after 1348, with its capital in Pengcheng.[3][6]

During the reign of the Hongwu Emperor (r. 1368–1398) in the Ming dynasty (1368–1644), the name "Xuzhou" was restored, and the administrative division governed Pei County and Feng County in Jiangsu, and Dangshan County and Xiao County in Anhui.

Xuzhou became "Xuzhou Prefecture" (徐州府) in the Qing dynasty (1644–1912) during the reign of the Yongzheng Emperor (r. 1722–1735) and it administered the modern city of Xuzhou and Suqian in Jiangsu, and Suzhou, Xiao County and Dangshan County in Anhui.

As other alternative toponym

Pre-Qin era

Jurchen Jin dynasty

During the reign of Emperor Taizong (r. 1123–1135) of the Jurchen-led Jin dynasty (1115–1234), "Ansu Military Division" (安肅軍置) whose capital at Ansu County (安肅縣; present-day Xushui County, Hebei) was renamed Xuzhou. It administered the area in present-day eastern Xushui County. It was renamed "Ansuzhou" (安肅州) in 1151 during the reign of Wanyan Liang (r. 1150–1161).


  1. ^ 禹貢 [Tribute of Yu]. 海、岱及惟徐州:淮、沂其乂,蒙、羽其藝;大野既豬,東原厎平。厥土赤埴墳。草木漸包。厥田惟上中,厥賦中中。厥貢惟土五色,羽畎夏翟,嶧陽孤桐,泗濱浮磬,淮夷蠙珠暨魚;厥篚玄纖縞。浮於淮、泗,達於菏
  2. ^ English translation of the quoted Chinese text from the Yu Gong.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Encyclopedia of China, Vol. 25 (2nd edition, 中国大百科全书(第二版)第25册). Encyclopedia of China Publishing House. 2009. p. 327. ISBN 978-7-500-07958-3.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h 中国历史大辞典·历史地理卷. Shanghai Cishu Press. 1996. ISBN 7-5326-0299-0.
  5. ^ a b "宋书·志第二十五".
  6. ^ a b "江苏省志·地理志".
  7. ^ "江苏省志·地名志".
  8. ^ "南齐书·志第六".
  9. ^ Gu, Jiegang (1988). "徐和淮夷的遷留". 文史 Literature and History. 31: 1–28.