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N 46° 42′ 57′′, E 82° 52′ 45′′
515 MASL
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The city wall of the Qing settlement at Chuguchak (Tacheng) pictured in the early 20th century. The old city, built in 1764, was named Suijingcheng by the Qianlong Emperor, meaning “city to establish tranquility”. A new city was built in 1888, two decades after Suijingcheng was destroyed during the Dungan Revolt of 1865. The city wall was completely destroyed in the 1960s during the Cultural Revolution.

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The Karamay–Tacheng Railway under construction, with wind turbines in the background. Built specifically to transport natural resources, in particular coal, the Karamay–Tacheng Railway started operation in 2019. The railway passes through the Mayitasi wind zone, nicknamed “devil wind zone,” where large-scale wind farms are being rapidly developed, including the China General Nuclear Power Group’s Tacheng Mayitasi Wind Farm.

1759: Dzungaria, bounded by the Tianshan Mountains to the south and the Altai Mountains to the north, had long been inhabited by steppe-dwelling nomadic people. The territory came under the control of Qing China after Qianlong Emperor conquered Xinjiang from the Dzungar Khanate (1758–1759).


1764: Qing China built a fort at the riverside of the Ujar River to station troops in 1764, which was relocated to Chuguchak (or Tacheng in Chinese sources) at the foot of the Chuguchak Mountain in 1766 and named as Suijingcheng (literally means “city to make tranquil”).


1822: Qing and Russian possessions in Central Asia came in close proximity as the Russian Empire started to gradually integrate the Kazakh steppe since the late 18th century. Russia defeated three main Kazakh Khans between 1822 and 1848 and built many forts to control the conquered territories.


1851: To compete with Britain, which rapidly expanded trade with China after the First Opium War (1839–1842), Russia pushed for Sino–Russian trade through China’s northwestern regions. Chuguchak and Kuldja (or Ili in Chinese sources) were considered the most important commercial centers of western China, and the 1851 Treaty of Kuldja regularized trade and allowed for Russian settlement at both places.


1860: The 1860 Convention of Peking between Qing China and Tsarist Russia was signed, assigning the basin of the Naryn River, the upper reaches of the Syr Darya, and Lake Issyk-Kul in the Tianshan Mountains to Russia.


1864: The 1864 Protocol of Chuguchak between Qing China and Tsarist Russia was signed to clarify the borderline between the Altai Mountains and the Tianshan Mountains. The entire region between the Lake Balkhash and the Tianshan Mountains, including the western part of the Chuguchak Mountain, was assigned to Russia.


1865: Suijingcheng was destroyed during the Dungan Revolt (1862–1877).


1888: Qing reconquered Xinjiang in 1877, and Suijingcheng was not rebuilt until 1888. The old city was referred to as Han city, and the newly built city located to the south was referred to as Manchu city.


1913: Tacheng County was established.


1917: The port in Tacheng was closed following the outbreak of the Russian Revolution.


1920: The port reopened.


1937: During the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945), particularly after Japan took control of the China’s coast, a logistical lifeline was formed in the Dzungaria, where munitions and other vital supplies entered China at two alternative points, either near Kuldja or near Chuguchak.


1953: The Baketu checkpoint in Tacheng was established.


1962: The Baketu Port was closed following the Ili-Tacheng Incident in the spring of 1962, when more than 67,000 border inhabitants of Xinjiang, most of whom were ethnic Kazaks, fled to the Soviet Republic of Kazakhstan through Korgas and Baketu.


1966: To mediate the aftermath of the Ili-Tacheng Incident and stabilize the border region, Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai dispatched a special team of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (Bingtuan) to establish a belt of state-run farms near the Sino-Soviet border. A total of 38 farms had been established at Ili, Bole, Tacheng, and Altay by 1966.


1969: The Sino-Soviet tension escalated after the abortive 1964 border negotiations. The Sino-Soviet border conflict broke out in 1969, and one of the most violent clashes occurred in August at Tielieketi in Tacheng.


1984: Tacheng County was upgraded to city status.


1990: The Baketu Port temporarily reopened.


1992: The Baketu Port officially opened. Tacheng was designated as a border open city, and Tacheng Border Economic Cooperation Zone was established.


1995: The Tacheng Airport started operation.


2011: The Bingtuan/provincial-level Baketu Industrial Park and the national-level Baketu Border Economic Cooperation Zone (also known as the Liaoning-Tacheng New District) were established. Construction on the Karamay–Tacheng Expressway started in 2011 and completed in 2014.


2013: China’s first “green channel” for rapid customs clearance of agricultural products was opened at the Baketu Port.


2019: The construction of Karamay–Tacheng Railway started in 2014 and completed in 2019.

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