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Under the reign of the Han Dynasty (206 BC to 220 AD), Jiangsu was removed from the centers of civilization in the North China Plain, and was administered under two zhou (provinces): Xuzhou Province in the north, and Yangzhou Province in the south.
During the Three Kingdoms period, southern Jiangsu became the base of the Eastern Wu (222 to 280) whose capital, Jiankang, is modern Nanking (later renamed to Nanjing).
After the war, Nanking was once again the capital of the Republic of China, though now the Chinese Civil War had broken out between the Kuomintang government and Communist forces, based further north, mostly in Northeast China.
The decisive Huaihai Campaign was fought in northern Jiangsu; it resulted in Kuomintang defeat, and the communists were soon able to cross the Yangtze River and take Nanking.
(The naming of the two cities continue to reflect this: "Nanjing" literally means "southern capital", "Beijing" literally means "northern capital.) The entirety of modern day Jiangsu as well as neighbouring Anhui province kept their special status, however, as territory-governed directly by the central government, and were called Nanzhili ( "Southern directly governed").
After the Sui Dynasty united the country in 581, the political center of the country shifted back to the north, but the Grand Canal was built through Jiangsu to link the Central Plain with the prosperous Yangtze Delta.
From then onwards, south Jiangsu, especially major cities like Suzhou or Yangzhou, would be synonymous with opulence and luxury in China.
Today south Jiangsu remains one of the richest parts of China, and Shanghai, arguably the wealthiest and most cosmopolitan of mainland China cities, is a direct extension of south Jiangsu culture.
This was however interrupted by the second Sino-Japanese War, which began full-scale in 1937; on December 13, 1937, Nanjing fell, and the combined atrocities of the occupying Japanese for the next three months would come to be known as the Nanjing Massacre.
Nanjing was the seat of the collaborationist government of East China under Wang Jingwei, and Jiangsu remained under occupation until the end of the war in 1945.