In this study, we analyzed the evolution of saltwater intrusion in Changjiang Estuary since the 1970s based on: salinity data collected at the Wusong, Gaoqiao, and Baogang stations; days of saltwater intrusion at the water intakes of the Wusong water plant, Chenhang reservoir, and Qingcaosha reservoir; river discharges at Datong station; and satellite remote sensing data of estuarine topography changes. The measured salinity changes at Wusong, Gaoqiao, and Baogang stations in the dry seasons showed that the saltwater intrusion in the Changjiang Estuary was serious in the 1970s, became weak in the 1980s, and was weak from 1990 to 1996. The peak salinity at Baogang station occurred prior to Wusong station, and the peak salinity at Wusong station occurred prior to Gaoqiao station; these observations indicate that the saltwater intrusion originated from upstream saltwater spilling over from the North Branch. The annual days of saltwater intrusion at the water intakes of the Wusong water plant, Chenhang reservoir, and Qingcaosha reservoir indicate that the saltwater intrusion was serious from 1974 to 1981 and particularly acute in 1974, 1979 and 1980; in these cases, the days of saltwater intrusion at the water intake of Wusong water plant exceeded 70 days. The saltwater intrusion was relatively weak from 1982 to 1995. The saltwater intrusion intensified from 1996 to 2002, and serious saltwater intrusion occurred in 1996, 1999, and 2001. The saltwater intrusion from 2003 to 2020 decreased significantly. The construction of the Three Gorges reservoir in 2003 and the cascade reservoirs in the upper reaches of the Changjiang Basin after 2003 resulted in a significant increase in river discharge during the dry season; this phenomenon was the main driver for the weakening saltwater intrusion. The changes in estuarine topography from 1974 to 2013 were detected by satellite remote sensing images; in particular, the North Branch was a wide river in the 1970s. With the successive reclamations of Yonglongsha, Xinglongsha, and Xincunsha, as well as the reclamation of the south shoal in the lower reaches of the North Branch, the North Branch became narrow and the tidal capacity decreased; the sequence of events subsequently led to the gradual weakening of saltwater spillover from the North Branch into the South Branch in a long time scale. The topography changes of the North Branch also explain the drivers for the serious saltwater intrusion that occurred in the 1970s and the relative weakening of saltwater intrusion over time, particularly since the beginning of this century. River discharge and estuarine topography changes are the main drivers for the long-term changes in saltwater intrusion in the Changjiang Estuary. With the construction of more reservoirs in the upper reaches of the Changjiang River and further shrinkage of the North Branch, saltwater intrusion will continue to weaken. These changes are conducive to the safety of freshwater resources in the Changjiang Estuary.