Meaning of HAN-CHUNG in English

Pinyin Hanzhong city in southern Shensi Province (sheng), China. It is a county-level municipality (shih) and the administrative centre of Han-chung Prefecture (ti-ch'). Han-chung is situated in a long, narrow, and fertile basin along the Han Shui (river), between the Tsinling Shan (mountains) and Mi-ts'ang Shan. To the north one of the few routes across the Tsinling Shan joins it to Pao-chi in Shensi, while southwestward a route leads into Szechwan Province. The route into Szechwan was traditionally an important one, linking the Wei Ho (river) Valley, seat of successive dynastic capitals, with the rich Szechwan Basin. The route was first constructed to take carriage traffic under the Ch'in in the 3rd century BC. In early historical times the area had belonged to the Ch'u state, based on the Middle Yangtze River region. It was annexed in 325 BC by the Ch'in and established as Han-chung Commandery (chn). On the collapse of the Ch'in in 206 BC, the future founder of the Han was installed as prince of Han-chung; the Han dynasty takes its name from that of the Prince's fief. Throughout the ages Han-chung has remained the administrative centre of the mountainous frontier district between Szechwan, Kansu, and Shensi provinces and was a place of major strategic importance, constituting the key to control of Szechwan. During the Three Kingdoms period (AD 220264) it was a battleground between the northern state of Wei and the Szechwanese kingdom of Shu. At this time it was given the name of Liang-chou, which it held intermittently until the 10th century. In 782 it was given the name of Hsing-yan to commemorate the fact that the T'ang emperor Te II Tsung (reigned 780805) took refuge there during the rebellions of 781785 and used the city as a base for his recapture of the capital. Under the Sung dynasty (9601279) it was the capital of Li-chou Province. Incorporated in the northern empire of Chin after 1127, it was the site of crucial battles in the 13th century with the Mongols, who inflicted crushing defeats on the Chin forces in this area. Under the Mongol (Yan) dynasty (12791368) it again took the provincial name Hsing-yan, but in 1368 the Ming dynasty (13681644) renamed it Han-chung, which it has been ever since. It remained a superior prefecture (fu) until 1912, when it became a county (hsien) seat. The surrounding area was originally wild virgin forest, and it was very sparsely populated until the 17th century, when the use of new cropscorn (maize) and sweet potatoes in particularmade the cultivation of the hill slopes possible. A wave of immigration from Szechwan and the Middle Yangtze region, as well as from other areas, followed, and its population grew rapidly until the 19th century. Han-chung's traditional role as a transportation centre was somewhat lessened by the construction in the early 1950s of a rail link from Pao-chi to Ch'eng-tu (Szechwan), which by-passed the city about 70 mi (110 km) to the west. Han-chung remains the principal agricultural market and collecting centre for southern Shensi. The area produces timber and forest products as well as rice, corn, tea, and a wide range of fruits. It has minor light industries, among which the cotton textile industry is the most important. Pop. (1982) 374,270.

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