As one of early developed regions in China, Xiaogan City enjoys a long history. According to textural researches, there were human activities as early as 5000 years ago. During the period in slave society 3000 years ago, a strong and powerful tribe “Jingchu Tribe” was formed in this region. In Northern and Southern Dynasties (AD 420-489), because of social instability, a large number of people swarmed into this region. In the early period of Liu Song Dynasty, Emperor Xiao Wu divided the eastern and southern areas of Anlu County into Xiaochang County (today’s Xiaonan and Xiaochang) and Yingcheng County in the first year of his reign (AD 454); Emperor Liang Wu set up Zhenshan County (today’s Hanchuan) along the bank of Han River in the first year of his reign (AD 502); in the sixteenth year of Western Wei Dynasty (AD 550), the southern areas of Anlu County was further divided into Yunmeng County; in AD 1933, the bordering area of Xiaogan, Huangpi, Huangan and Luoshan was divided into Lishan County (Today’s Dawu). For the convenience of administrative management, in AD 454, Jiangxia County was divided into Anlu County with the county town located at today’s Anlu; in Tang Dynasty, it was renamed as Anzhou; in the end of Northern Song Dynasty, Anzhou was raised to be De’an Prefecture; from then to Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties, very few changes were made on the scope of administrative divisions. In AD 1912, the Republic of China was founded, which replaced the Prefectures with road and changed the Prefecture into Jianghan Road. In 1927, the road was abolished. In 1932, the Administrative Supervision Districts were established with Xiaogan, Anlu, Yunmeng and Yingcheng as the fifth Administrative Supervision District (renamed as the third Administrative Supervision District later), Dawu as the fourth Administrative Supervision District and Hanchuan as the sixth Administrative Supervision District. Meanwhile, for the region of Hubei Province and Henan Province under the governance of the Soviet Regime, from the year 1931, it was chronologically divided into Pixiaobei (Huangpi and Xiaogan) County, Anying (Anlu and Yingcheng) County, Yunxiao (Yunmeng and Xiaogan) County, Hanxiaopi (Hanyang, Xiaogan and Huangpi) County and Lishan County.
In April, 1949, Central Plains Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, temporary People’s Government in Central Plains and Hubei Provincial Party Committee, and Hubei People’s Government jointly decided to establish Xiaogan Prefectural Party Committee, Hubei Province, CPC (Called “Xiaogan Prefectural Party Committee” in short) and Xiaogan Administrative Region Commissioner’s Office (called Xiaogan commissioner’s office) in Hekou Town, Lishan County. In May, 1949, all counties that belonged to Xiaogan City were liberated.
Since the establishment of Prefectural Commissioner’s Office of Xiaogan administrative region in May 1949, the administrative region had experienced 9 changes. The administrative area was also adjusted for several times; the maximum of which is 35598 Km2, and the minimum is 8910 Km2. From May 1949 to June 1951, it governed 9 counties, namely Xiaogan (Currently Xiaonan District, Xiaochang County), Lishan (Currently Dawu County today), Yingshan (Currently Guangshui City), Anlu, Yunmeng, Yingcheng, Huangpi (Currently Huangpi District of Wuhan City), Huangan (Currently Hong'an County) and Sui County (Zengdu District of Suizhou County), and Yingchegn Mining. The land area was 20971 km2. In July 1951, two counties, Hanchuan and Hanyang, under sole administration of previous Mianyang were divided into the sole administration of Xiaogan. The land area was 23728 km2. In January 1952, 7 counties, Xianning (Currently Xian’an District of Xianning County), Wuchang (Currently Jiangxia District of Wuhan County), Puqi (Currently Chibi County), Jiayu, Chongyang, Tongshan and Tongcheng, under the sole administration of previous Daye were put into the sole administration of Xiaogan. In June of the same year, Sui County was put into the sole administration of Xiangyang. In August of the same year, the People’s Government of Yingcheng Mining was cancelled, the administrative area of which was merged into Yingcheng County. In September, Huangan County was put into the sole administration of Huanggang. Then, there were 16 counties under the sole administration of Xiaogan. The land area was 26977 km2. In January 1960, the Prefectural Commissioner’s Office of Xiaogan was cancelled; the 16 counties under which were merged into Wuhan City. In April 1961, with separate prefecture-level administration, Wuhan City was separated from previous Prefectural Commissioner’s Office of Xiaogan and its 16 administrative counties which gent back to the Prefectural Commissioner’s Office of Xiaogan again. In July 1965, seven counties, namely Xianning, Wuchang, Puqi, Jiayu, Chongyang, Tongshan and Tongcheng, were put into the newly-established Prefectural Commissioner’s Office of Xianning. By this time the land area was 14943km2. In December 1975, Hanyang County was put into the administration of Wuhan City. The land area was 13849 km2. In August 1983, Huangpi County was put into the administration of Wuhan City. The land area was 11588Km2. In July 2000, Guangshui City was put into the administration of Suizhou City. In 2005, Xiaonan District under the administration of Xiaogan contained three counties, Dawu, Yunmeng and Xiaochang, and three cities, Hanchuan, Yingcheng and Anlu. The distance throughout from north to south was about 163 km, and the width from east to west was about 122km. The land area of the whole city was 8910 km2, which accounted for approximately 4.8% of total territory area of Hubei Province. Therefore, up to July 2000, the administration district had experienced 10 changes. The administrative area with territory was also adjusted for several times. On April 10, 1993, the State Council approved to cancel Xiaogan region, set up prefecture-level Xiaogan City, as well as cancel previous county-level Xiaogan City and set up Xiaonan County and Xiaonan District. In March 1997, Hanchuan County was canceled and Hanchuan City was set up. In July 2000, Guangshui was put under the administration of Suizhou. Thus, Xiaogan City has three cities, three counties and one district in total.
Xiaogan is known for massive filial people. The three great stories about filial people, namely, “Huangxiang’s Warming Quilt” and “Dongyong’s Selling Himself for Burying His Father” in Han Dynasty, “Mengzong’s Crying Toward the Bamboo” in Jin Dynasty, was recorded into the books of Yuan Dynasty and the Twenty Four Filial Exemplars with booming spread.
As the rapid development of modern traffic condition, Xiaogan gradually became the important hub. Pinghan Railway, from Hankou to south Yellow River, was open in the 31st Year in the reign of Guangxu, passing through territory of Xiaogan. Xiang (fan) Hua (Yuan) Road of 1928 and Han-Yi Road (Hankou-Yichang) of 1934 were open, both of which pass through the territory of Xiaogan. Therefore, Xiaogan gradually replaced De’an House as local administrative and economic center.