Meaning of LING CANAL in English

Chinese (Wade-Giles) Ling Ch', or (Pinyin) Ling Qu canal in northern Chuang autonomous ch' (region) of Kwangsi, China. Ling Canal was constructed to connect the headwaters of the Hsiang River flowing north into Hunan sheng (province), with the Li River, one of the headwater tributaries of the Kuei River, a tributary of the Hsi River leading eventually to Canton. Near the city of Hsing-an in northern Kwangsi, these two rivers are separated by a low divide broken by a saddle. A contour canal was built leading water diverted from the Hsiang River along some 3 miles (5 km) of gentle gradient into the Li River. Below the point at which the water for the canal was diverted, another canal, the Pei Canal, some 1.5 miles (2.4 km) long, diverted the waters of the Hsiang itself to provide a better channel. The main section of the canal joining the two rivers was called the Nan Canal. The course of the Li River, unsuited in its natural state for navigation, was canalized for some 17 miles (27 km) to its junction with the Kuei River. This canal was first constructed about 215 BC to supply the armies of the Ch'in dynasty (221206 BC) in their campaigns against the state of Nan Yeh in Kwangtung province, providing a water route from the Yangtze River and Ch'ang-sha in Hunan to Canton. It was kept in repair and used regularly during the Han period (206 BCAD 220), at least from 140 BC to AD 50. During this period the route through Hunan was the chief route from central to southern China. Later, the major route became the alternative one through Kiangsi province, which was considerably shorter, although involving a portage between the headwaters of the Kan River in Kiangsi and those of the Pei River system in Kwangtung. Early in the 9th century the Ling Canal fell into disrepair and became impassable. In 825 the canal was rebuilt with a system of locks, but in the 11th or 12th century these were replaced by a series of 36 improved locks that made it possible for larger boats to pass through. The canal is still in use although it can take only relatively small craft.

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