Meaning of HUNAN in English

Wade-Giles romanization Hu-nan, landlocked sheng (province) of the People's Republic of China, located in central China at the crossroads of two historic lines of communicationthe great waterway of the Yangtze River, which flows from Szechwan province east to the sea, and the Imperial Highway, running from Canton north to Peking. Hunan is bounded by the provinces of Hupeh to the north, Kiangsi to the east, and Kwangtung to the southeast, by the Chuang Autonomous Region of Kwangsi to the southwest, and by the provinces of Kweichow and Szechwan to the west. The capital and most important city is Ch'ang-sha. Hunan's history began as early as 350 BC, when it formed the southernmost extension of the state of Ch'u. For hundreds of years thereafter, under the rule of various dynasties, Hunan experienced heavy waves of migration from northern China. During the Taiping Rebellion (185064), the province was desolated. It was not opened to foreign trade until 1904. Revolution in 1911 left in its wake years of unrest, including the abortive Autumn Harvest Uprising of 1927, led by Mao Zedong (Mao Tse-tung). From Hunan in 1934 Mao led his forces westward on what later came to be known as the Long March. Hunan was the scene of bitter fighting between 1939 and 1941 during the Sino-Japanese War (193745). The years of unrest subsided with the establishment of the People's Republic of China in 1949. More than one-fourth of Hunan's terrain lies at elevations above 1,650 feet (500 m), and much of it is well over 3,000 feet (900 m) above sea level. The western highlands run northeast to southwest and form the eastern edge of the Kweichow Plateau, whose Hseh Mountain extension lies in the heart of the province. In the south, the Nan Range forms a broad mountain border between Hunan, Kwangtung province, and Kwangsi. The uplands of the west, south, and east fall steadily in elevation toward the plain of the Tung-t'ing Lake in the north. The part of the plain that lies within the borders of Hunan has an area of 3,800 square miles (9,800 square km). Weather conditions in the north of Hunan are more extreme than those in the south. Summers are long and humid, and rainfall is ample. Hunan lies in the path of cyclones that pass from west to east along the Yangtze River basin in summer, bringing with them at times long periods of heavy rain that result in extensive flooding. The majority of the population is rural. Although mining and industry have been developed since 1949, the province's economy is basically agricultural. The population is primarily concentrated on the Tung-t'ing Plain and in the main river valleys. Most of the people are Han Jen (Northern Chinese). Villages are usually small; it is not unusual for an entire village to belong to one extended family. Hunan has nine cities of 100,000 population or more. Three of these, Ch'ang-sha, Hsiang-t'an, and Chu-chou, lie close together at the intersection of road, rail, and river communications along the Hsiang River. They have grown rapidly and now form a single vast urban region. Hunan possesses considerable mineral wealth, including coal reserves, iron-ore, tin, and manganese deposits, and rich deposits of antimony, lead, zinc, and tungsten. One of China's great rice-producing regions, Hunan exports a large surplus to other provinces. Other food crops include sweet potatoes, corn (maize), barley, potatoes, kaoliang (sorghum), buckwheat, peas, millet, and beans. Industrial crops are rape (an herb), ramie, cotton, jute, tea, peanuts (groundnuts), and various fruits. Most farms are small and use simple machines and tools, such as foot-operated rice-threshing machines and rubber-tired carts and wheelbarrows. Railroad construction began early in the 20th century with the historic Peking-Canton line, passing through eastern Hunan. Another north-south line traverses western Hunan. There are east-west lines as well. A large proportion of Hunan's goods are moved by water, mainly by sailing junks using the rivers. Village life in Hunan has developed markedly since 1949. Every village of any size has its civic centre and library, however humble. Area 81,300 square miles (210,500 square km). Pop. (1988 est.) 57,826,000. Chinese (Wade-Giles) Hu-nan, (Pinyin) Hunan, landlocked sheng (province) of China, covering an area of 81,300 square miles (210,500 square kilometres). A major rice-producing area, Hunan is situated to the south of the Yangtze River Basin. It is bounded by the provinces of Hupeh to the north, Kiangsi to the east, and Kwangtung to the southeast, by the Chuang Autonomous Region of Kwangsi to the southwest, and by the provinces of Kweichow and Szechwan to the west. The name Hunan is formed from the Chinese words hu (lake) and nan (south), meaning the land to the south of the lakes that reach from Sha-shih, Hupeh, to Chiu-chiang, Kiangsi. The capital and most important city of the province is Ch'ang-sha, situated in the northeast, on the banks of the Hsiang River. History From 350 to 221 BC Hunan formed the southernmost extension of the state of Ch'u, which nominally was ruled by the Chou dynasty. From 221 to 206 BC Hunan was ruled by the Ch'in dynasty, which subdued contending feudal states and joined them into the first unified state of China, of which Hunan formed part of the central area. Most of Hunan at this time was covered with dense primeval forest that was sparsely inhabited by tribes who engaged in hunting, fishing, and clearing land by burning or cutting for temporary cultivation. These tribes also mined the copper and tin that were used in the north for making bronze. After the downfall of the Ch'in dynasty, the area became quickly incorporated into the Chinese empire ruled by the Han dynasty from 206 BC to AD 220. During this period persistent waves of migrant Han (Chinese) from the North occupied the land, and the indigenous Miao, T'u-chia, Tung, and Yao were pushed west and southwest into the hills, which they still occupy. By the end of the Hsi (Western) Chin dynasty in AD 316/317, the Tung-t'ing floodplain to the north and the Hsiang Valley in the east were relatively well populated. Han migration from the North continued under subsequent dynasties, with migrants fleeing first from Mongol and then from Manchu invasions. Those who went farther south, crossing the Nan Mountains in the southern part of the province to enter Kwangtung, have since considered themselves T'ang-jen, or southern Chinese, but the Hunanese have remained Han in both culture and speech. Population pressures on the land increased markedly in the 19th century during the latter part of the Ch'ing, or Manchu, dynasty (16441911/12), leading to increased peasant unrest, particularly among the non-Chinese tribes. When the Taiping Rebellion broke out in Kwangsi in 1850, it spread northward into Hunan. Hunan, together with other provinces on the lower Yangtze Basin, was desolated in the subsequent fighting, although the city of Ch'ang-sha withstood a Taiping siege in the mid-1850s. It was a Hunanese, Tseng Kuo-fan, who ultimately was responsible for crushing the rebellion. Hunan was not opened to foreign trade until 1904, following the conclusion of the Treaty of Shanghai between China and Japan. A foreign settlement was established at Ch'ang-sha, and British and Japanese firms built warehouses. Hunan became a centre of revolutionary activity: the first uprisings against Yan Shih-k'ai's attempted regency over the Chinese empire occurred in the province in 1910, although the more widespread revolution that finally overthrew the tottering Manchu dynasty and established the Republic of China did not occur until the following year. Thereafter, Hunan remained in a state of unrest from which it had little respite until 1949, when the People's Republic of China was established. Many important Chinese Communist leadersincluding Mao Zedong, who was born in Shao-shan, near the border with Kiangsi, and Liu Shaoqi (Liu Shao-ch'i), chairman of the People's Republic (195968)were from Hunan. Mao was largely responsible for encouraging the peasants and miners to make the abortive Autumn Harvest Uprising of 1927. He subsequently held the Communist forces together in the Ching-kang Mountains, where they withstood repeated attacks by the forces of Chiang Kai-shek, the Chinese Nationalist leader. In 1934 Mao set out from the HunanKiangsi border region, leading his forces westward in the difficult northward retreat that later came to be known as the Long March. During the Sino-Japanese War Hunan was the scene of bitter fighting between 1939 and 1941. After the fall of Hunan to the Japanese, the Nationalist general Hseh Yeh continued to successfully defend Ch'ang-sha against the Japanese invaders, until it too fell in 1944. Between 1946 and 1949 the province was relatively peaceful. In 1949, despite damage to bridges and communications, the province experienced comparatively little destruction when the Nationalist forces retreated rapidly southward before the advancing Communist armies. Provincial leaders from Hunan have played an important national role since 1949. Hunan's provincial party leader was purged in 1958 for opposing the economic policies of the Great Leap Forward (195860) and was replaced by supporters of Mao Zedong's more ambitious and radical policies. One of Mao's rising provincial supporters, Hua Guofeng (Hua Kuo-feng), was Communist Party chairman (197681) after Mao's death. Hunan supported many of the policies of Mao's Cultural Revolution (196676), and it was slower than other provinces at implementing the economic and political reform programs instituted by the post-Mao leadership. Gradually, however, the provincial leadership has been replaced by more technically proficient and younger leaders, who are taking over from the revolutionary generation. Thomas R. Tregear Victor C. Falkenheim

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