Qingdao, also known in the West by its postal map spelling Tsingtao, is a major city in eastern Shandong province, People's Republic of China. It borders Yantai to the northeast, Weifang to the west and Rizhao to the southeast. Lying across the Shandong Peninsula while looking out to the Yellow Sea, Qingdao today is a major seaport, naval base, and industrial center. It is also the site of the Tsingtao Brewery. The character 青 (qīng) in Chinese means "green" or "lush", while the character 岛 (dǎo) means "island". Qingdao is administratively at the sub-provincial level. In 2008, Qingdao was named China's 7th-most livable city.
Human settlement in the area dates back 6,000 years. The Dongyi nationality, one of the important origins of the Chinese nation, lived here and created the Dawenkou, Longshan and Dongyeshi cultures. In the Eastern Zhou Dynasty (770BC~256BC), the town of Jimo was established, which was then the second largest one in the Shandong region. The area in which Qingdao is located today was named Jiao'ao (胶澳) when it was administered by the Qing Dynasty on 14 June 1891.
1891 the Qing government decided to make the area a defense base against naval attack and began to improve Qingdao's existing fortifications. German naval officials observed and reported on this Chinese activity during a formal survey of Jiaozhou Bay in May 1897. Subsequently, German troops seized and occupied the fortification. China conceded the area to Germany the following year, and the Kiautschou Bay concession, as it became known, existed from 1898 to 1914. With an area of 552 square kilometres (136,000 acres; 213 sq mi), it was located in the imperial province of Shandong (alternately romanized as Shantung or Shan-tung) on the southern coast of the Shandong Peninsula in northern China. Jiaozhou was romanized as Kiaochow, Kiauchau or Kiao-Chau in English and Kiautschou in German. Qingdao was its administrative center. "The so-called Marktstrasse (Market street) was nothing more than the old main street of the Chinese village of Tsingtao, and the buildings lining it were the former homes of fishermen and farmers. Having sold their property, they resettled their homes and fields in the villages further east." Upon gaining control of the area, the Germans outfitted the impoverished fishing village of "Tsingtao" (Qingdao) with wide streets, solid housing areas, government buildings, electrification throughout, a sewer system and a safe drinking water supply, a rarity in large parts of Asia at that time and later. The area had the highest school density and the highest per capita student enrollment in all of China, with primary, secondary and vocational schools funded by the Imperial German treasury and Protestant and Roman Catholic missions. Commercial interests established the Germania Brewery in 1903 , which later became the world-famous Tsingtao Brewery. German influence extended to other areas of Shandong Province, including the establishment of diverse commercial enterprises.
Identified by the German authorities as a strategically important port, Qingdao was administered by the Imperial Department of the Navy (Reichsmarineamt) rather than the Imperial Colonial Office (Reichskolonialamt). The navy based their Far East Squadron there, allowing the ships to conduct operations throughout the Pacific. Beginning January 1898 the marines of III. Seebatallion were based at Tsingtao. Before the outbreak of World War I the ships of the German naval forces under Admiral Count von Spee were located at central Pacific colonies on routine missions. The fleet then rendezvoused in the Marianas to plan a transit to Germany rather than be trapped in the Pacific by Allied fleets. After a minor British naval attack on the German colony in 1914, Japan occupied the city and the surrounding province during the Siege of Tsingtao after Japan's declaration of war on Germany in accordance with the Anglo-Japanese Alliance. The failure of the Allied powers to restore Chinese rule to Shandong after the war triggered the May Fourth Movement. Map of Qingdao in 1912 The city reverted to Chinese rule in December, 1922, under control of the Republic of China. The city became a direct-controlled municipality of the ROC Government in 1929. Japan re-occupied Qingdao in 1938 with its plans of territorial expansion onto China's coast.
Internationally, Qingdao is perhaps best known for its Tsingtao Brewery, founded by a German-British joint venture in 1903 that produces Tsingtao beer, the most well-known Chinese export beer. It is also home to Haier, a large white goods manufacturer, and Hisense, a major electronics company. In 2002 guitar manufacturer Epiphone opened a factory in Qingdao.