Fujian was called the Region of Minyue (Seven Min Tribes) in ancient times. During the Qin Dynasty (221–206 BC), the prefecture of Min-Zhong was launched to govern Dongye (now called Fuzhou). In the second year of Shi-Yuan (Emperor Zhao) of Western Han (85 BC), the name was changed into Prefecture Ye, and later to Dong-Hou-Guan during the Han Dynasty (206 BC–AD 220). In the 21st year of the reign of Kai-Yuan of the Tang Dynasty (618-907), the post of Fujian military commissioner was officially launched, and the province was thereafter called Fujian. During the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279), the region included one prefecture, five sub-prefectures and two military prefectures. Fujian was therefore also called "Eight Min." Fujian has been an important culture center and trade center throughout history. It was part of the "Maritime Silk Road", the starting point of Zheng He's voyages and an Islam base. Fuzhou and Xiamen have also been listed as one of five treaty ports, while the Port of Mawei was the cradle for the modern shipbuilding industry and scientific talents.
Fujian has witnessed its prosperity in economy and culture throughout history. During the Song Dynasty (960-1279) and Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368), the opening-up of ports and launching of the Maritime Silk Road allowed Fujian to have more frequent overseas trade and exchange, enabling the province to enter into an economic golden period. During the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), the silk textile industry, sugar industry, tea industry, shipbuilding industry and papermaking industry of Fujian were well developed. However, since the implementation of the introverted "maritime trade banning" policy, the economy of Fujian has been seriously affected. Things went from bad to worse after China was degraded into a semi-colonial and semi-feudal country. By 1949, Fujian was one of the coastal provinces with the lowest economic development level in the country.