As early as ancient times, there were human beings living in this land, and gradually three tribal systems formed, which were called Sushen, Huimo and Dohu respectively. In the Shun and Yu times, the ancient nationalities in Jilin Province began to establish tribute relations with the ruling dynasties of the Central Plains, and gradually became an important part of the Chinese nation. Since the Pre-Qin Dynasty, Jilin has been under the administration of the central authorities of all dynasties. Administrative division of the present Jilin Province was first seen in the Han Dynasty, when prefectures and counties were set up here, then in the Tang Dynasty, it was subject to Bohai Kingdom, and in the following Liao, Jin and Yuan Dynasties, the different levels of administrative division were similar to today’s provinces, cities and counties. The Ming Dynasty established Du Si, a provincial military leading organization, and garrisons. In 1653 A.D. (the 10th year ruled by Emperor Shunzhi of Qing Dynasty), the Qing government send Chief General to govern Ningguta, which can be seen as the earliest administrative organization of Jilin Province.
In 1673 (the 12th year of Emperor Kangxi of the Qing Dynasty), Jilin City was built in the shipyard (today's Jilin City). It was historically known as "Jilin Ura" (Manchu transliteration meaning "along the river"), from which Jilin got its name. In 1907 (the 33rd year of Emperor Guangxu of Qing Dynasty), Jilin Province was formally established.