Translation of key words:
Shang: above, up, upper reach of river, upstream
Xia: below, down, lower reach, downstream
Pu: canal, man-made rivulet
Wai: lower reach of river
Wai Tan (the Bund), word by word, mean outer
shoal of the Wusong River
The word “Shanghai” firstly appeared in the Song Dynasty (960-1279). In order to discharge the floods of Wusong River that emptied into the sea near then-Shanghai, 18 canals were dug then out of the Wusong River. Each canal was called a “pu” in regional dialect. Among these, two canals near the sea were named “Shang Hai Pu” and “Xia Hai Pu” as the former was theoretically closer to the upstream of the Wusong River.
In the same dynasty, due to the prosperity of the liquor-making industry in the then-Shanghai area, an office in charge of the tax collection of liquor-making was instituted near ”Shang Hai Pu” Canal. When Shanghai Town and Shanghai County were officially established in the following Yuan (1271-1368) and Ming (1368-1644) Dynasty, they were both centered on “Shang Hai Pu” district. Since then, the area referred to as Shanghai became more and more well-known among people.