Jiangmen City is located at the confluence of the West River and the Pengjiang River, a tributary of the former. It derived its name from the two hills Penglai and Yandun which used to stand on the opposite sides of the Pengjiang River. Jiangmen had originally been governed by Xinhui County. In the early Ming era, Jiangmen had already become an important commercial town and meeting place of merchants. In 1904, the Jiangmen Customs House was set up at Beijie, enabling it to become one of the important coastal foreign trade ports of China. In 1925 and 1951 it twice became a provincially-administered city. In 1983, Jiangmen was set up as a prefectural-level municipality with counties under its jurisdiction.

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