The original South China University of Tropical Agriculture (formerly known as "South China Tropical Crop College") was founded in 1958 to break the imperialist blockade of our country's natural rubber in the early days of the founding of the People's Republic of China. Under the personal care of Premier Zhou Enlai, the South China Tropical Crop College, a characteristic university with rubber and tropical agriculture as its main focus, was established with the approval of the central government. It is the only university directly under the Ministry of Agriculture in Hainan Province with national key disciplines and doctoral programs. The South China Tropical Crop College and the South China Tropical Crop Science Research Institute, founded in 1954,operated under a system of "one team, two names," colloquially referred to as "Two Institutes",Together, they are hailed as the "twin stars" of China's tropical agriculture.
In the early days of the establishment of the university, under extremely difficult conditions, with profound patriotism, rigorous academic attitude, and selfless dedication, the "people of the two academies" broke through the internationally recognized "forbidden area" where rubber cannot be grown north of 15 °latitude, and created the myth of large-scale rubber planting in the area of 18-24°north latitude, making China the only country in the world to successfully cultivate rubber at such northern latitudes. From previously being a nation devoid of rubber cultivation, China miraculously rose to become the fifth-largest rubber producer in the world. At the same time, This accomplishment also solidified the unparalleled position of the "two institutes" in the field of rubber and tropical agriculture research domestically, making significant contributions to the economic and social development of China's tropical regions.
The original Hainan University was established in 1983 with the approval of the State Council and the Ministry of Education. It was formed by merging advantageous disciplines and educational resources from the former Hainan Normal College, Hainan Medical College, and the Hainan Administrative Region Agricultural College (Hainan Agricultural College). Since the establishment of the school, with the strong support of the Hainan Provincial Party Committee and the Provincial Government as well as the generous sponsorship from overseas Chinese compatriots, the older generation of Hainan University builders worked hard to create a modern ，culturally rich and beautiful campus on more than 3,000 acres of coastal wasteland . It has become a key comprehensive university in Hainan Province with coordinated development of philosophy, economics, law, literature, science, engineering, agriculture, and management. It has achieved remarkable teaching and scientific research results, trained and provided a large number of high-level talents for Hainan, and actively contributed to the implementation of the "Revitalize Hainan through Science and Education" strategy.
The new Hainan University is a comprehensive key university in Hainan Province established by the merger of South China University of Tropical Agriculture and Hainan University on August 14, 2007, approved by the Ministry of Education. It is jointly established by the Hainan Provincial People's Government, the Ministry of Education, and the Ministry of Finance. In December 2008, it was approved by the state to become a key construction university under the "211 Project".
In 2017, Hainan University was selected as a national "world-class disciplines" construction university, and crop science was included in the list of world-class discipline construction.
In 2018, the work report of the Hainan Provincial Government clearly put forward "mobilize the entire province's resources to develop Hainan University well.": Hainan University was selected as a "Ministry-Province Joint Construction" university, ranking among universities directly under the Ministry of Education