Much of Chinese history involves the absorption of frontier areas. The process of Chinese state and social formation are therefore closely intertwined with the formation and transformation of China's many frontiers. This book examines one such frontier: the Southwest, specifically the present-day provinces of Yunnan and Guizhou. Beginning with the Yuan conquest of the area in 1253, James Lee traces the development of an integrated regional economy by 1750 by concentrating on the major periods of Chinese expansion in the fifteenth and eighteenth centuries and the major components of growth (land, labor, and capital). Arguing that the imperial policies had a major impact on the local economy, he focuses on the role of the Chinese state in the economic development of the Southwest.