or Kuang-chou conventional Canton
City (pop., 2003 est.: 4,653,131), capital of Guangdong province, China.
Located on the Zhu (Pearl) River about 80 mi (130 km) from the sea, it is southern China's chief port. Incorporated in the Chinese empire in the 3rd century BC, it later became an important city under the Ming dynasty . The first Chinese seaport opened to foreigners, it was regularly visited by Arab and Hindu traders and, in the 16th century, by the Portuguese. The English arrived in the late 17th century, followed by the French and Dutch. Guangzhou's resistance to the English opium trade led to war (1839–42), and it was occupied by the British and French in 1856–61. In the late 19th century it was the seat of revolutionary political ideas promoted by the Nationalist Party . It was bombed and then occupied by the Japanese in 1938–45. Its industrial growth subsequently expanded, and, with China's renewed ties to the West, it was designated as one of several economic investment areas for foreigners in 1984. One of China's largest cities, its expanding economy added to the region's growth.