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The Floating People and the Stationary Order: The Formation of Traditional Social and Spatial Structure in the Greater Bay Area

During ancient time, most part of the area what now we call “the Greater Bay Area” were still under the sea. There were just many islands in this bay. Many people based on boats or islands lived in this big bay. After the Song dynasty, many lands brought by sedimentary sand (sand-lands) emerged around those islands. With the expansion of those new lands, many people living on boats became settled farmers. After the Ming dynasty, the political order in this area was constructed by the state. Relying on the state power, those settled farmers monopoly on the exploitation of the new emerging sand-lands. A dichotomy of farmlands and sand-lands became fixed. The distinguishment of the social hierarchy between the great clans living on farmlands and the Tanka people living on sand-lands emerged.