Changsha is the capital and largest city of Hunan province in south-central China, located on the lower reaches of Xiang River, a branch of the Yangtze River. Its municipality covers an area of 11,819 square kilometres and, according to the 2010 Census, a population of 7,044,118 inhabitants.Changsha was important from the time of the Qin dynasty. In AD 750–1100 Changsha was a major commercial hub, and its population increased greatly. Under the Qing dynasty, from 1664, it was the capital of Hunan province, and it was a major rice market. It was besieged during the Taiping Rebellion but never fell. Changsha was the site of Mao Zedong's conversion to communism. It was the scene of major battles in the Sino-Japanese War of 1937–45 and was briefly occupied by the Japanese. Rebuilt since 1949, the city is now a major interior port and a commercial and industrial center.