Zhongshan, known as Xiangshan in ancient times, is the hometown of Sun Yat-sen, a great forerunners in China's revolution. The city was established in 1152 and changed its name from Xiangshan to Zhongshan in 1925 to commemorate Sun Yat-sen.
On October 30, 1949, Zhongshan County was liberated and was gradually divided into several parts, including Zhuhai County, Doumen County (most part), and some areas affiliated to Panyu County, Shunde County and Xinhui County respectively.
On December 22, 1983, Zhongshan changed its administrative status from a county into a city (at county-level), with the unchanged administrative regions.
On January 7, 1988, Zhongshan was upgraded to a prefecture-level city that is under the direct administration of the Guangdong People's Government.