Shenyang, literally meaning "the city in the north of Shen River", comes from the Hun River on the city which used to be called Shen River. Archaeological findings show that human beings resided in present day Shenyang as early as 7,200 years ago. The City of Shenyang was first established by Qin Kai, a general of Yan in the Warring States period about 300 B.C and was named as Hou City (Chinese: 候城). It became known as Shen Prefecture (瀋州) in the Jin Dynasty and Shenyang Path (Chinese: 瀋陽路) in the Yuan Dynasty. During the Ming Dynasty, it became Shenyang Zhongwei (Chinese: 瀋陽中衛).
Shenyang remained the capital of the Qing Dynasty until the relocation of the capital to Beijing in 1644 after the fall of Ming dynasty. In 1914, the city changed back to its old name Shenyang. The Mukden Incident (18 September 1931), which gave the Japanese an impetus to create the Manchukuo state, took place near Shenyang. During the Manchukuo era (1932-1945) the city was called Fengtian again.
During the Chinese Civil War, Shenyang remained a Kuomintang stronghold from 1946–1948, although the Chinese communists controlled the surrounding countryside. Since 1949, Shenyang became one of the most important heavy industry centers of China.
Shenyang is a thriving city with a population of almost 8 million people. It is the second largest city in Liaoning Province, and the fifth largest city in China.