The Mongol Yuan Dynasty divided China into provinces but did not establish Shanxi as a province. Shanxi was formally established with its present name and approximate borders by the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644). During the Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911), Shanxi was extended northwards beyond the Great Wall to include parts of Inner Mongolia, including what is now the city of Hohhot, and overlapped with the jurisdiction of the Eight Banners and the Guihua Tümed banner in that area.
明朝灭亡元朝后为了巩固新政权和发展经济，从洪武初年至永乐十五年，五十余年间组织了八次大规模的移民活动。When the Ming Dynasty overthrew the Yuan Dynasty, in order to consolidate its political power and develop the economy, in a period of over 50 years from the early years of Hongwu to the fifteenth year of Yongle, organised eight large-scale migration movements.
晋南是山西人口稠密之处，而洪洞又是当时晋南最大，人口最多的 县。据记载，明朝时在洪洞城北二华里的贾村西侧有一座广济寺，寺院宏大，殿宇巍峨，僧众很多，香客不绝。寺旁有一棵“树身数围，荫遮数亩’”的汉槐，车马 大道从树荫下通过。汾河滩上的老鹞在树上构窝筑巢，星罗棋布，甚为壮观。明朝政府在广济寺设局驻员集中办理移民，大槐树下就成了移民集聚之地。
The south is a densely populated part of Shanxi, and at that time Hongdong was the largest and most populous county. According to records, 2 li (1 km) north of Hongdong Town on the west side of Jia Village was Guangji Temple, a grand temple, lofty-eaved halls, many monks, and many worshippers. Next to the temple was a “thick trunked, shading a large area” Chinese scholar tree. The road passed under its shadow. The sparrow hawks on the banks of the Fen River built their nests all over the tree, an extrememly magnificent sight. The Ming government set up an office and stationed officials at Guangji Temple to centralise the management of migrants. Under the Great Scholar Tree became the place where the migrants assembled.
晚秋时节，槐叶凋落，老鸦窝显得十分醒目。移民们临行之时，凝 眸高大的古槐，栖息在树杈间的老鹞不断地发出声声哀鸣，令别离故土的移民潸然泪下，频频回首，不忍离去，最后只能看见大槐树上的老鹤窝。为此，大槐树和老 鹤窝就成为移民惜别家乡的标志。“问我祖先何处来，山西洪洞大槐树。祖先故里叫什么，大槐树下老鸹窝。”这首民谣数百年来在我国许多地区广为流传。（据我 老家的村民说，我们村就是那个时候从大槐树迁移出来，以充实北部边防的，村里的家谱也正是从那个时候记起的。）
In late autumn the scholar tree’s leaves whither and fall, the old crow’s nests catch the eye. Just before the migrants leave, they fix their gaze on the large, tall, ancient scholar tree, the old sparrow hawks perched in the crotch of the tree constantly call out plaintively, the migrants ordered to leave their native soil, with tears in their eyes repeatedly looked back, couldn’t bear to leave. In the end they could only see the cranes’ nests in the Great Scholar Tree. Because of this, the Great Scholar Tree and the old cranes’ nests became symbols of the hometowns the migrants hated to part from. “Ask where my ancestors came from, the Great Scholar Tree in Hongdong, Shanxi. What is my ancestors’ hometown called, the crow’s nest under the Great Scholar Tree.” Over hundreds of years this folk song has been spread to many parts of China. (According to the villagers of my hometown, our village also came from the Great Scholar Tree at that time, in order to strengthen the defence of the northern border, and the village’s genealogy also began to be recorded from that time)明初从山西洪洞等地迁出的移民主要分布在河南、河北、山东、北 京、安徽、江苏、湖北等地，少部分迁往陕西、甘肃、宁夏地区。从山西迁往上述各地的移民，后又转迁到云南、四川、贵州、新疆及东北诸省。如此长时间大范围 有组织的大规模迁徙，在我国历史上是罕见的，而将一方之民散移各地，仅此一例而已。Of the migrants who left Hongdong and other parts of Shanxi in the early Ming, the largest number went to such places as Henan, Hebei, Shandong, Beijing, Anhui, Jiangsu and Hubei, with a lesser number going to the Shaanxi, Gansu, and Ningxia area. Of the migrants from Shanxi to the places mentioned above, some later moved on to Yunnan, Sichuan, Guizhou, Xinjiang and all the northeastern provinces. Organised migrations over such a long time and of such a large scale are rarely seen in China’s history, and this is the only example of people scattering to every region.