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The new course of the Yellow River connected the city to the Grand Canal and regional waterways in northern Shandong and southern Hebei.

German influence in Jinan grew after the Qing dynasty ceded Qingdao to the German Empire in 1897.

The area of present-day Jinan has been inhabited for more than 4000 years.

The Neolithic Longshan Culture was first discovered at the Chéngzǐyá () site to the east of Jinan (Zhangqiu City) in 1928.

In 685 BCE, the state of Qi started to build the Great Wall of Qi( During the times of the Han dynasty (206 BCE – 220 CE), Jinan was the capital of the Kingdom of Jibei (济北国/濟北國; pinyin: Jǐbĕi Guó) and evolved into the cultural and economic hub of the region.Prior to this, it was pronounced with the fourth tone ("jì").Older texts spell the name as "Tsinan" (Wade-Giles romanization) or "Chi-nan".After defections of his defenders had made his position untenable, Li Tan tried to commit suicide by drowning himself in Daming Lake.However, he was rescued by the Mongols in order to execute him by trampling him to death with their horses.

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