Zhidan was formerly known as county. The site derives its historical significance from having temporarily served as the capital of communist China in the midst of China's transition-upheaval period during which communist forces battled the Chinese nationalist GMD government. From early July 1936 to January 1937 Bao'an was the site of the Communist Party of China's Central Committee headquarters, as well as that of the Communist military forces. It was replaced by Yan'an . Zhidan County takes its name from Liu Zhidan, military strategist and high-ranking leader of the Chinese Workers' and Peasants' Red Army who died fighting for the communist side in 1935.