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The earliest-known records bearing the name "Shenzhen" date from 1410, during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Shenzhen became a township at the beginning of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). Local people called the drains in paddy fields "zhen" or "chong." Shenzhen literally means "deep drains" because the area used to be crisscrossed by rivers and streams - and still is, today - with deep drains in the paddy fields. Shenzhen is also known as "Roc City" because maps of the city's outline resemble a flying roc with its wings spread.

The city of Shenzhen was established in 1979. In August of the following year, the country's first special economic zone was established here.

Human activity in the area dates back more than 6,700 years. The area was founded as a county 1,700 years ago and is home to 600-year-old cultural relics such as Nantou Ancient City and Dapeng Fortress. The Hakka people migrated to the area from central China about 300 years ago.

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