Meaning of CHENG-CHOU in English

formerly (1913-49) Chenghsien, Pinyin Zhengzhou, or Chengxian city in central Honan Province (sheng), China. The provincial capital of Honan since 1954, Cheng-chou forms a prefecture-level municipality (shih). It is situated to the south of the Huang Ho (Yellow River) where its valley broadens into the great plain and at the eastern extremity of the Hsiung-erh Shan (mountains). Cheng-chou is at the crossing point of the north-south route skirting the T'ai-hang Shan and the mountains of western Honan and the east-west route along the southern bank of the Huang Ho. Since 1950 archaeological finds have shown that there were Neolithic settlements in the area and that the Shang Bronze Age culture, which flourished there from about 1500 BC, was centred on a walled city. Outside this city, in addition to remains of large public buildings, a complex of small settlements has been discovered. The site is generally identified with the Shang capital of Ao. The Shang, who continually moved their capital, left Ao, perhaps in the 13th century BC. The site, nevertheless, remained occupied; Chou (post-1050 BC) tombs have also been discovered. Traditionally it is held that in the Western Chou period (1111-771 BC) it became the fief of a family named Kuan. From this derives the name borne by the county (hsien) since the late 6th century BC-Kuan-ch'eng (City of the Kuan). The city first became the seat of a prefectural administration in AD 587, when it was named Kuan-chou. In 605 it was first called Cheng-chou-a name by which it has been known virtually ever since. It achieved its greatest importance under the Sui (AD 581-618), T'ang (618-907), and early Sung (960-1127) dynasties, when it was the terminus of the New Pien Canal, which joined the Huang Ho to the northwest. There, at a place called Ho-yin, a vast granary complex was established to supply the capitals at Lo-yang and Ch'ang-an to the west and the frontier armies to the north. In the Sung period, however, the transfer of the capital eastward to K'ai-feng robbed Cheng-chou of much of its importance. In 1903 the Peking-Han-k'ou railway arrived at Cheng-chou, and in 1909 the first stage of the Lung-hai Railway gave it an east-west link to K'ai-feng and Lo-yang; it later was extended eastward to the coast at Lien-yn-kang, Kiangsu Province, and westward to Sian (Ch'ang-an), Shensi Province, as well as to western Shensi. Cheng-chou thus became a major rail junction and a regional centre for cotton, grain, peanuts (groundnuts), and other agricultural produce. Early in 1923 a workers' strike began in Cheng-chou and spread along the rail line before it was suppressed; a 14-story double tower in the centre of the city commemorates the strike. In 1938, during the war with Japan, the retreating Chinese Nationalist Army blew up the dikes retaining the Huang Ho about 20 mi (32 km) northeast of the town, flooding a vast area. At about the same time, in their drive to relocate industry in the interior far from the invading Japanese, the Chinese transferred all the local plants to the west. When the Communist government came to power in 1949, Cheng-chou was a commercial and administrative centre, but it had virtually no industry. Because it was the centre of a densely peopled cotton-growing district, it was developed into an industrial city, with industry concentrated on the west side so that the prevailing northeast winds would blow fumes away from the city. There are cotton-textile plants, spinning mills, textile-machinery works, flour mills, tobacco and cigarette factories, and various food-processing plants; coal is mined nearby. Cheng-chou also has a locomotive and rolling-stock repair plant, a tractor-assembly plant, and a thermal generating station. The city's industrial growth has resulted in a large increase in population, largely of industrial workers from the north. Trees have been planted throughout the city's more than 23 sq km (60 sq mi) area, holding down the sand that formerly blew in thick gusts through the city. A water diversion project and pumping station, built in 1972, provides irrigation for the surrounding countryside. The city has an agricultural university. Pop. (1983 est.) 1,424,000.

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