The founding history of Feng Shui is lost in time.
The first historical documented reference to Feng Shui was in an ancient Chinese text dating back to around 200 AD. However artefacts bearing Feng Shui symbols go much further back. Such symbols have also been found in a grave excavated in 1988 that dates back to around 4000 BC. So Feng Shui may have a timeline that date back 6000 years!
There are also claims that it is derived from Vastu which is a ancient Indian art of architecture that dates back thousands of years. This is however not proven.
Feng Shui continue to be developed through centuries of research, analysis and experimentation and new findings were recorded and old theories refined.
The Tang dynasty (618 – 906 AD) mark the coming of age of the Form School which place emphasis on environmental features such as mountains and water (e.g. lakes, river).
Later on, saw the development of a system that is more mathematical and largely based on the numerology of the Yi Jing. This system is favoured in areas where the terrain is flat and featureless and saw tremendous developing using the Sung dynasty (960 – 1279 AD).
Feng Shui remained popular during the Ming (1368 – 1644 AD) and Ching (1644 – 1911) dynasty.
However after the fall of the Ching dynasty, China attempted to catch up with the modernization and industrialization of the west and many non-scientific practices like Feng Shui were marginalized.
When the Communist government took power in 1949, more efforts were made to discredit such practices. Despite this, practitioners continue to practice their trade. However the Cultural Revolution between 1966 and 1976 took its toll on Feng Shui and many such books and paraphernalia were destroyed.
Many practitioners fled with their knowledge to Hong Kong, Taiwan and other overseas Chinese community. It is today alive and widely practised in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia (which has a significant Chinese minority), Singapore and the other expatriate Chinese communities such as London, San Francisco and Vancouver.
Interestingly, it is experiencing a revival in China with the more open and liberal policies of the current Chinese government.
You may be interested to know Feng Shui was previously known as Kan Yu or the study of Heaven and Earth.