Dali has a long history of civilization.
As early as 4,000 years ago, the ancestors of the
Bai and Yi nationalities lived and multiplied in this areas.
In 109 B.C. during the Yuanfeng era of the Western
Han Dynasty, under the jurisdiction of Yizhoujun Prefecture, Yeyu
County was established. Starting from the 2nd year of the Yongping
era (AD. 69) of the Eastern Han Dynasty, Yeyu County was switched
to Yongchangjun Prefecture and again to Yunnanjun Prefecture
during the time of Shu Kingdom of the Three Kingdoms.
Supported by the Tang royal court in the 26th year
of the Kaiyuan era (738), chieftain Piloge of Nanzhao (otherwise
known as Mengshe Zhao) unified the 6 Zhaos and established Nanzhao
Kingdom. In 937, Duan Siping, the "Jiedushi" (military satrap) of
Tonghai united with the other 37 tribes in East Yunnan, marched to
Dali and set up Dali Kingdom consequently.
In the long process of 500 years, Dali had always
been the capital of Nanzhao Kingdom and Dali Kingdom. In 1253,
Kublai Khan led his men on an expedition to the south, conquered
Dali Kingdom, and made Yunnan province of the Yuan empire. The
Nanzhao capital Daili was renamed Dalilu (Dali City). In 1381,
Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang who inaugurated the Ming Dynasty changed
Dalilu into Dalifu (Taihe County). The Qing Dynasty followed the
Ming Dynasty without any change. In the 2nd year of the Republic
of China, Taihe County was again changed into Dali County.