Historically, no-one has wanted to have much to do with Guìzhōu. Chinese rulers set up an administration in the area as far back as the Han dynasty (206 BC–AD 220), but it was merely in an attempt to maintain some measure of control over Guìzhōu’s non-Chinese tribes. Chinese settlement was confined to the northern and eastern parts of the province, and the western areas were not settled until the 16th century when rapid immigration forced the native minorities out of the most fertile areas.
It wasn’t until the Sino-Japanese war, when the Kuomintang made Chóngqìng their wartime capital, that the development of Guìzhōu began: roads to neighbouring provinces were constructed, a rail link was built to Guǎngxī, and industries were established in Guìyáng and Zūnyì. Most of this activity ceased with the end of the war and it wasn’t until the communists began construction of the railways that industrialisation of the area was revived.
Nevertheless, Chinese statistics continue to paint a grim picture of underdevelopment and poverty for Guìzhōu. GDP per capita in Shànghǎi is approximately 10 times higher than in Guìzhōu. The government is attempting to change all of this, mostly by constructing roads in every possible place to enable fast travel to tourist sights and also by promoting minority cultures as a local attraction.