Meaning of HSIANG-T'AN in English

Pinyin Xiangtan, city in eastern Hunan sheng (province), China. It is situated at the confluence of the Hsiang and Lien rivers, 22 miles (35 km) south of Ch'ang-sha. Hsiang-t'an has good communications by water as far as Heng-yang to the south and Shao-yang to the southwest. Hsiang-t'an was first established in the early 6th century AD but it was subordinate to Ch'ang-sha. Originally some distance south of the present city, it was moved to its present site in 749 and has remained a county under the same name ever since, except for a brief interval in the 13th and 14th centuries when it became an independent prefecture. It was opened to foreign trade in 1905. With the construction of the northern section of the Han-k'ouCanton railway in 1918, however, Hsiang-t'an was bypassed, since the rail line went through Chu-chou (formerly a small market town under its jurisdiction) to the east. Hsiang-t'an did not get its own rail link until 1957, when the line westward from Chu-chou to Lou-ti was opened. Subsequently, in 1963, this line was extended to Shao-yang to the southwest and to Hsin-hua to the west. In the 1970s the line was extended westward from Hsin-hua to Kuei-yang (in Kweichow). The city has continued to be a major river port and is the main market and collecting centre for the rich rice area of the Lien and I-su river valleys. Traditionally it was a great centre of the medicinal-herb business, the effects of its trade stretching far into Kweichow, Yunnan, Szechwan, and Kwangtung provinces. Before 1949 the city's only modern industries were the generation of electricity and the manufacture of electric equipment. The old citythe commercial centre and portwas located on the west bank of the Hsiang River. Since 1949 a major new industrial city has grown up on the east bank. This includes a large cotton-textile industry and a large electric wire and cable plant as well as an electrical equipment plant that makes a wide range of products. There is also a large iron and steel complex, built in the late 1950s, which came into production in 1959. Hsiang-t'an remains a commercial centre for the agricultural produce of southern and southwestern Hunan. It is a centre for rice milling and is a major producer of hog bristles. It also has a university. Pop. (1990 est.) 441,968.

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