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Simao District History

Simao District (Chinese: 思茅区; pinyin: Sīmáo Qū; formerly known as Cuiyun District) is a district under the jurisdiction of Pu'er Prefecture, Yunnan Province, China. It is the seat of Puer Prefecture. Formerly both Simao and the surrounding region of Pu'er prefecture played a major role in the historic tea horse trade between Yunnan, Tibet and India, with Simao acting as the southern terminus or starting point for the transport of tea by mule caravan north to Dali, Lijiang and Lhasa. Tea remains a central crop and product of the region. In 2007, the city of Simao (思茅市) changed its name to Puer city (普洱市). By doing so, it has had an effect the size of the official Pu’er (普洱) tea production area.The history of Simao District is long-standing and colorful.


The History of Simao(Pu’er) 

Pu'er (Chinese: 普洱) is a prefecture-level city in southern Yunnan province, People's Republic of China. The name Pu'er dates back to 1729, but was changed to Simao (Chinese: 思茅) in 1950 after the Communist Revolution. In 2007, the original name of Pu'er was restored. This change had an effect on the size of the official Pu'er tea production area, a major regional product. The urban administrative center of Pu'er is Simao District, which is also the former name of the prefecture-level city itself. A major downturn in the price of tea in 2007 caused severe economic distress in the area. The price of Pu'er has since recovered and Pu'er tea still contributes much to the income of the area.


The History of Tea Horse Road

The Tea Horse Road or chamadao (simplified Chinese: 茶马道; traditional Chinese: 茶馬道), now generally referred to as the Ancient Tea Horse Road or chama gudao (simplified Chinese: 茶马古道; traditional Chinese: 茶馬古道) was a network of caravan paths winding through the mountains of Sichuan, Yunnan and Guizhou in Southwest China.It is also sometimes referred to as the Southern Silk Road. The route extended to Bengal in the Indian subcontinent.

From around a thousand years ago, the Ancient Tea Route was a trade link from Yunnan, one of the first tea-producing regions: to Bengal via Burma; to Tibet; and to central China via Sichuan Province.In addition to tea, the mule caravans carried salt. Both people and horses carried heavy loads, the tea porters sometimes carrying over 60–90 kg, which was often more than their own body weight in tea.

It is believed that it was through this trading network that tea (typically tea bricks) first spread across China and Asia from its origins in Pu'er County, near Simao Prefecture in Yunnan.

The route earned the name Tea-Horse Road because of the common trade of Tibetan ponies for Chinese tea, a practice dating back at least to the Song dynasty, when the sturdy horses were important for China to fight warring nomads in the north.

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