Meaning of HONAN in English


Chinese (Wade-Giles) Ho-nan, (Pinyin) Henan, sheng (province) of north-central China. It has an area of 64,700 square miles (167,700 square kilometres). The province stretches some 300 miles (500 kilometres) from north to south and 350 miles east to west at its widest point. It is bounded on the north by Shansi and Hopeh, on the east by Shantung and Anhwei, on the west by Shensi, and on the south by Hupeh. The Huang Ho (Yellow River) divides the province into two unequal partsone-sixth north and five-sixths south of the riverand thus to some extent belies the name Honan (South of the River). K'ai-feng, the former capital, has been superseded by Cheng-chou, where the PekingHan-k'ou railway crosses the Huang Ho and meets the Lung-hai Railway running from east to west. Wade-Giles romanization Ho-nan, Pinyin Henan, sheng (province), north-central China. It is bounded by the provinces of Shansi and Hopeh on the north, Shantung and Anhwei on the east, Shensi on the west, and Hupeh on the south. Some of the most important evidences of the Neolithic beginnings of Chinese civilization are found in the northern part of Honan, marking the presence of a well-established primitive farming culture. These earliest farmers, who occupied the lands at the confluence of the Huang Ho (Yellow River), Wei River, and Fen River, were the sowers of Chinese civilization. They gave rise to the early civilization of the Shang (Yin) dynasty (18th12th century BC). The city of Lo-yang in Honan served intermittently as the national capital of China from 771 BC to AD 937. With the fall of the T'ang dynasty in the latter year, K'ai-feng became the national capital and remained so until the Northern Sung dynasty was overthrown by the Mongols in 1127. Honan can be divided topographically into two parts, the western highlands and the eastern plain. The Huang Ho also divides the province into two unequal partsone-sixth north of the river and five-sixths south. South of the river there is a broad stretch of upland composed of a number of moderately high mountain basins, the main ranges being the Hsiung-erh Mountains and Fu-niu Mountains. Honan has three river systems: the Huang Ho in the north and northeast, the Huai River in the east and southeast, and the T'ang and T'ao rivers in the southwest. The province lies in a transitional climatic zone between the North China Plain and the Yangtze River valley. Honan has cold winters and hot and humid summers. The province is more subject to years of alternating heavy rain and drought than the provinces of the Yangtze valley. Honan is China's second most populous province. The ethnic composition of its population is remarkably homogenous and essentially consists of Han Chinese. The greatest concentration of rural population is in the eastern plain. Houses are made mainly of mud-plastered walls and thatched roofs. Honan lies in the region of the wheat eaters, as distinct from the rice-eating people of the south. Wheat is by far Honan's most important crop; the province leads all of China in its acreage and production. The other main food crops are millet, kaoliang (sorghum), soybeans, barley, corn (maize), sweet potatoes, rice, and lentils. The main industrial crops are cotton, tobacco, and vegetable oils. The province is also one of the oldest centres of sericulture (silkworm raising) in China and is an exporter of silk. Honan also has large deposits of coal, petroleum, and natural gas. Coal mines supply the growing industries of Lo-yang, Cheng-chou, K'ai-feng, and Hsin-hsiang. Tractor production is a major industry, and appliances and textiles are also made. Cheng-chou is the junction of China's two greatest trunk railways, the PekingHan-k'ouCanton line and the Lunghai line, which runs from the east coast to the Uighur Autonomous Region of Sinkiang in the far west. One major highway traverses the province. Area 64,500 square miles (167,000 square km). Pop. (1990) 85,509,535; (1996 est.) 91,000,000. History Honan abounds in prehistorical and early historical interest. Some of the most important evidences of the Neolithic beginnings of Chinese civilization are found in the northern part of the province. It was at Yang-shao in north Honan that a Swedish geologist and archaeologist, Johan Gunnar Andersson, in 1921 discovered an assemblage of Neolithic painted pottery that, together with many later finds, marked the presence of a well-established primitive farming culture, which has been named Yang-shao. The early farmers occupied the lands at the confluence of the Huang, Wei, and Fen rivers, the cradle of Chinese civilization. The other main Honan sites of the culture are at Miao-ti-kou, Lin-shan-chai, P'an Nan, and Hsi Yin. The early farmers, who were also part-time hunters and fishermen, lived in sunken circular or rectangular dwellings, sometimes of considerable dimensions. They grew foxtail millet, broomcorn millet, and kaoliang and had domesticated dogs and pigs. Cultivation with their primitive stone tools was comparatively easy in the easily worked loess (wind-borne) soil. Immediately to the east, at Lung-shan in Shantung Province, a different culture was discovered, known as the Black Pottery culture, as distinct from the slightly earlier Painted Pottery culture (Yang-shao culture). It was on these Yang-shaoLung-shan foundations that the early civilization of the Shang (Yin) dynasty arose (18th12th century BC) in north and west Honan, south Hopeh, and west Shantung. Excavations near An-yang and in Cheng-chou and Hsing-t'ai, Hopeh, revealed an advanced culture, having a hierarchical class structure, advanced buildings, and elaborate ritual in which beautiful bronze vessels were used. Based on the dating of oracle bone inscriptions, the Shang king P'an K'eng moved his capital to a site near An-yang in 1384 BC. When the Shang kingdom fell to the Chou dynasty (1111255 BC), An-yang lost its status as a capital. When the Chou capital, Hao (near modern Sian in Shensi Province), was destroyed in 771 BC by western tribes, Lo-yang (then known as Lo-i) took its place. During the period 771 BC to AD 938, the distinction of being the capital was shared alternately by Lo-yang and Ch'ang-an (modern Sian). Lo-yang was the capital during the following dynastiesthe Tung (Eastern) Chou (771256/255 BC), Tung Han (AD 25220), Wei (220265/266), Hsi (Western) Chin (265311), Wei (386534/535), and Hou (Later) T'ang (923936/937). With the fall of the T'ang dynasty in 936/937, K'ai-feng, then called Pien, became the nation's capital and remained so until the Pei (Northern) Sung dynasty was overthrown by the Juchen invaders in 1126. After the sack of K'ai-feng in 1127, the Honan region continued to be the chief source of grain for Imperial storehouses. Both Lo-yang and K'ai-feng remained important because of their strategic locations in the gateway leading from the North China Plain into the Huai Basin, thence into the Yangtze Basin. Cheng-chou became important in the early 20th century as a railway junction and was made the provincial capital in 1954. Thomas R. Tregear Victor C. Falkenheim

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