Historical Geography Research ›› 2019, Vol. 39 ›› Issue (1): 68-82.

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A New Exploration on the Transformation of Garrison Towns to Prefectures and Counties in Northern Wei Dynasty

Wang Xingzhen   

  1. Centre for Historical Geography Studies, Fudan University, Shanghai 200433, China
  • Received:2019-03-22 Online:2019-08-20 Published:2019-08-20


The establishment, development and transformation of garrison towns were deeply embedded in the political evolution of Northern Wei Dynasty. They interacted with prefectures and counties regarding geography of administrative divisions and local administrative systems. To meet the needs of local administrative regulation, Emperor Taiwu started to transform some garrison towns into prefectures and counties (Zhou-jun system). During the reign of Emperor Xiaowen, the reformation process of garrison towns towards ordinary prefectures and counties was fully activated in local administration (Zhou-jun prefectures and counties). However, the differences in the geography of administrative division among different garrison towns influenced the course and results of this transformation. Based on types of garrison towns and ways they transformed, we should subdivide this process into three categories, which are changing a garrison town into a prefecture. In first two methods, the administrative division of Northern Wei Dynasty was altered, and garrison towns were gradually removed from local administrative system. In the third method, however, changes were only applicable to policies rather than the geography of divisions. These three methods promoted the process of switching garrison towns into normal prefectures and counties, both geographically and institutionally, and triggered changes of local administrative system of Northern Wei Dynasty at a further level of the regime structure.

Key words: garrison towns, local authorities of garrison towns, Zhou-jun system, Zhou-jun prefectures and counties, Emperor Xiaowen

CLC Number: 

  • K928