As the birthplace of Taoism, Qingdao has a long history. Human settlement on this soil dates from 6,000 years ago.
In the Eastern Zhou Dynasty (770-256 BC), the town of Jimo was established, which was then the second largest in the Shandong region. After unifying China in 221 BC, Ying Zheng, the First Emperor of the Qin Dynasty, thrice climbed to the top of the Langyatai Hill in the present satellite city of Jiaonan. Xu Fu, an official of the Qin Dynasty, set sail with his fleet at the foot of the Langyatai Hill eastbound to Korea and Japan.
Liu Che, one of the emperors during the Han Dynasty (206 BC- 220 AD) held sacrificial rites at the Jiaomen Palace in Mt. Buqi, which is now in Chengyang District of Qingdao. He also ordered nine temples to be constructed in Mt. Nugu along the Jiaozhou Bay, to worship God and his ancestors. By the end of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911AD), Qingdao had grown into a prosperous town known then as Jiao'ao.
Qingdao city was first established on June 14, 1891, when the Qing government sent troops here. In November 1897, Germany occupied Qingdao by force on the pretext of the Juye Litigation over religious disputes. When the First World War broke out in 1914, Japanese invaders took over Qingdao and continued the colonial rule. In protest against the then Chinese government yielding to Japanese pressure, demanding the resumption of China's sovereignty over Qingdao ignited the famous May 4th Movement in 1919. On December 10, 1922, the Northern Warlord government regained control of Qingdao and established a government office for port commercial affairs. It was in July, 1929 that Qingdao was granted the status of the Special City and in 1930 was officially renamed "Qingdao". In January 1938, the Japanese troops invaded Qingdao again, but their occupation came to an end in September 1945 when the KMT government regained control of the city.
On June 2, 1949, Qingdao was liberated by the Chinese People's Liberation Army under the leadership of the Communist Party of China , who put a decisive end to the five decades of turbulence and colonial rule. In 1986 Qingdao was authorized to exercise special State plans and was given the status equivalent to provincial economic administration. In 1994, Qingdao was included in the country's 15 vice-provincial-level- city list.