Xiangtan is a city in China's Hunan Province that is located on the lower reaches of Xiang River. The hometowns of several founding leaders of the Chinese Communist Party, including Mao Zedong, Liu Shaoqi, and Peng Dehuai are in the Xiangtan Municipal District, as well as the hometowns of Qing Dynasty painter Qi Baishi and scholar-general Zeng Guofan. It has 2,748,552 inhabitants at the 2010 census whom 1,779,960 live in the built up area' (2 urban districts plus Xiangtan county). With adjoining 4 Zhuzhou urban districts being agglomerated, the joint built up areas is home to 2,586,948 inhabitants.
Xiangtan prospered throughout the Ming Dynasty and Qing Dynasty upon an economic foundation of trading in rice and traditional Chinese medicinal ingredients, and was sometimes referred to as "Little Nanjing" or "Golden Xiangtan". Prior to the Second Opium War, Xiangtan was a central transfer point for import and export goods going to and from ports in Canton, Shanghai, and Wuhan, and had approximately 200,000 inhabitants.