Fangli was one of the eight Pengshan tribes of indigenous Taokas people. In the third year of the rule of Emperor Xianfeng, the immigrants from Quanzhou, China built houses and streets at the north of Fangli. In its golden days, the area served as a prosperous hub of salt and dyed cloth trades. To facilitate businesses, the residents paved stone plates on the main streets and rain sheds on houses.
In the second year of the rule of Emperor Guangxu, however, a fire took place and the area became deserted. Also, a new station was established in Yuanli for coastal trains. The hub was transferred to Yuanli, and Fangli declined. Today, the old town walls are all gone. Only the northern ditches remind people of Fangli’s good old past.
Fangli still retains plenty of historical sites, such as Shuntian Temple, Fangli River-crossing Monument, and Family Tsai’s House. These are all worth some exploration.