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After the fall of Nanjing to the Japanese in 1937, Chengdu briefly served as the capital of China.

It is now one of the most important economic, financial, commercial, cultural, transportation, and communication centers in Western China.

It has been called the only major city in China to have remained at an unchanged location with an unchanged name throughout the imperial, republican, and communist eras, The Song-era geographical work A Universal Geography of the Taiping Era states that the ninth king of Shu's Kaiming dynasty named his new capital Chengdu after a statement by King Tai of Zhou that a settlement needed "one year to become a town, two to become a city, and three to become a metropolis".

Chengdu was the capital of Wang Jian's Former Shu from 907 to 925, when it was conquered by the Later Han.The Later Shu was founded by Meng Zhixiang in 934, with its capital at Chengdu.Chengdu had become a military center for the KMT to regroup in the War of Resistance, and while out of reach of the Imperial Japanese ground forces and escort fighter planes, the then highly advanced twin-engine long-ranged G3M "Nell" medium bombers were routinely flown in to conduct massive aerial bombardments of both civilian and military targets in Chongqing and Chengdu; the massed formation of the G3M bombers provided heavy firepower against Chinese fighter planes assigned to the defense of Chongqing and Chengdu, which continued to cause problems for the Japanese attacks.However, in late 1940, unbeknownst to the Americans and European allies, the Imperial Japanese appeared in the skies over Chongqing and Chengdu with the world's most advanced fighter plane at the time: the A6M "Zero" fighter that dominated the skies over China against the increasingly obsolete Russian-made Polikarpov I-15/I-153s and I-16s that were the principal fighter planes of the Chinese Nationalist Air Force; that which would later prove to be a rude awakening for the Allied forces in the Pacific War following the attack on Pearl Harbor.His minister Zhuge Liang called the area the "Land of Abundance". The city's present Caotang ("Grass Hall") was constructed in 1078 in honor of an earlier, more humble structure of that name erected by Du Fu in 760, the second year of his 4-year stay.

Under the Tang, Chengdu was considered the second most prosperous city in China after Yangzhou. The Taoist Qingyang Gong ("Green Goat Temple") was built in the 9th century.

The surrounding Chengdu Plain is also known as the "Country of Heaven" (Chinese: ) and the "Land of Abundance".

Its prehistoric settlers included the Sanxingdui culture.

Su Shi praised it as "the southwestern metropolis".

At the fall of the Song, a rebel leader set up a short-lived kingdom known as Great Shu ( and the depopulation of Sichuan necessitated the resettlement of millions of people from other provinces during the Qing dynasty.

), formerly romanized as Chengtu, is a sub-provincial city which serves as the capital of China's Sichuan province.