As one of the cradles of Chinese ancient civilization, Ningxia witnessed human activities as far back as some 30,000 years. Archaeological excavations have unearthed stone and bone ware and evidence of the use of fire in the cultural relics of the Paleolithic Age in Shuidong Gauge of Lingwu County-Level City.
As early as the third century B.C., Ningxia and its surrounding areas were incorporated into the Qin Dynasty (221-206 B.C.). Throughout the Han and Tang dynasties there were several large cities and, by the 11th century, the Tangut tribe had established the Western Xia Dynasty (1038-1227) on the edge of territory under the Song Dynasty (960-1279). Ningxia became a strategic link for transportation and trade between West and East China.
It then came under Mongol domination after Genghis Khan conquered Yinchuan in the early 13th century. The authorities changed its name to "Ningxia", which means the pacification and stabilization of Western Xia, or peaceful Western Xia.
In 1929, Ningxia became a detached province. Between 1914 and 1928, the Kuomintang General Ma Hongkui ruled the region and was the military Governor with absolute authority in the province. After the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, the provincial designation was revoked. Part of the area was merged with the Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region and the other part with the province of Gansu. In 1958, Ningxia formally became an autonomous region of China.