When the Jin Dynasty emperor Wányán Liàng (February 24, 1122 – December 15, 1161 CE) moved his capital to the Beijing area, he had a Wang hill Palace built on the site of the hill. In the Yuan Dynasty, the hill was renamed from Wang hillto Jug Hill (Weng Shan).
The Qianlong Emperor (r. 1735-1796) of the Qing Dynasty (1644–1911), who commissioned work on the imperial gardens on the hill in 1749, gave Longevity Hill its present-day name in 1752, in celebration of the 60th birthday of his mother,Empress Dowager Chongqing.
The palace complex has suffered two major destructive attacks. First by the British and French during the Anglo-French allied invasion of 1860 (with the Old Summer Palace also ransacked at the same time), and second during the Boxer Rebellion, in an attack by the eight allied powers in 1900. The garden was torched and mostly destroyed. Most of the artifacts within were split among the eight allied nations. The Palace has been under restoration since its destruction. The main obstacle of the restoration is the lack of original blueprints.
In 1888, it was given the current name, Yihe Yuan. It served as a summer resort for Empress Dowager Cixi.