Meaning of HSIANG-FAN in English

Pinyin Xiangfan city in northern Hupeh sheng (province), China. Hsiang-fan lies in the middle basin of the Han River and is situated just west of the junction of the Han with its northern tributary, the Pei River. It is the head of navigation for steamers and is a transshipment point for the junk traffic from the upper Han River and its tributaries. It has good highway communications, being at the crossing place of the major route from Honan province (which runs via Nan-yang to Sha-shih and across the Yangtze River into the southwest) with the southeast-to-northwest route via the Han River valley from Wu-han to Lan-chou in Kansu province. The area from very early times had been a vitally important strategic and commercial centre. The modern municipality was formed in 1950 by combining the two cities of Fan-ch'eng (a commercial centre and river port) on the north bank of the Han River, and Hsiang-yang (an administrative, political, and cultural centre) on the south bank. Hsiang-yang is much the older of these two cities. The county of this name was established by the Han dynasty (206 BCAD 220) in the 2nd century BC and continued in existence on the same site until the present. It became the site of a commandery in AD 221 and was a key strategic stronghold in the wars of the ensuing period between the rival regimes in North and South China. In the late 12th century it became a superior prefecture, retaining this status until 1912. During the 13th century it was the most important fortress on the frontier between the territory occupied by the Mongols in northern China and the Southern Sung dynasty (11261279); its capture, following a prolonged siege during which the Mongol forces used cannon and explosives, was a turning point in the Mongol conquest of the central Yangtze River basin and, eventually, of all southern China. Hsiang-yang, although it continued to be an important garrison city and administrative centre, was not a good river port; and Fan-ch'eng, on the opposite bank, grew rapidly in importance during the 19th and 20th centuries, as did Kuang-hua, farther upstream, which was the head of navigation for junk traffic. The creation of the municipality of Hsiang-fan in 1950 established its economic importance as the major collecting and commercial centre for the surrounding region, which is rich and densely populated. The city's importance has been increased further by the construction of rail links that join it to Wu-han. A line by way of Kuang-hua extending up the Han River valley northwest to An-k'ang and then southwest to Chungking (in Szechwan province) was completed in 1978. A north-to-south rail line from Lo-yang in Honan to Chih-ch'eng in Hupeh on the Yangtze River and to nearby I-ch'ang has also been constructed. Hsiang-fan has a thermal generating plant. There is, however, no significant industry apart from small-scale processing of agricultural products, oil pressing, the production of textiles, yarn spinning, and glass manufacture. Pop. (1990 est.) 410,407.

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