Meaning of YANG-CHOU in English

Pinyin Yangzhou city in Kiangsu Province (sheng), China. It lies to the north of the Yangtze River at the southern terminus of the section of the Grand Canal joining the Huai River to the Yangtze. In the 4th and 3rd centuries BC Yang-chou was a fief known as Kuang-ling in the state of Ch'u. After the Ch'in unification of the empire in 221 BC, it became the seat of a county. Under the Han dynasty (206 BCAD 220), it was the seat of a feudal principality. In the 5th and 6th centuries it was the seat of a commandery, or chn (district controlled by a commander), called either Kuang-ling or Nan-yen. During this early period, Yang-chou was the traditional name for Southeast Chinaone of the nine traditional divisions of China. The identification of the old city of Kuang-ling with Yang-chou began in 590. Yang-chou became the southern capital of the Sui dynasty (581618) in 605. In 606607 it became the southern terminus of the canal system built to link the Yangtze and Huai valleys with the capital cities of Lo-yang and Ch'ang-an. Yang-chou became a major port and transshipment point, as well as the chief commercial city of the Yangtze valley. After 763, under the T'ang dynasty (618907), Yang-chou became the administrative centre for the state's financial apparatus in southern China and the headquarters of the salt administration. It was also an important seaport. Yang-chou continued to be a flourishing trading centre through the Sung (9601279) and Yan (12061368) periods. According to some scholars, Marco Polo, the 13th-century Venetian traveler (who knew the city as Yonju), was employed as an official there; he speaks of its flourishing trade and large garrison forces. During the Ming dynasty (13681644), its importance as a port diminished with the decline of Chinese sea-borne trade. The city, previously located near modern Chiang-tu some distance to the east, had been moved to its present site during the Southern Sung dynasty (11271279). Under the Ming the present city was constructed on a part of the Sung site, and the whole surrounded by 5.5 miles (9 km) of walls. Yang-chou remained a regional administrative centre from Ming to Ch'ing times (13681911/12), forming a superior prefecture (fu) of the same name. During this period it was of national importance as the base for the Liang-huai Salt Administration. The salt merchants of Yang-chou grew immensely wealthy, and from the 16th to the 18th centuries were patrons of the arts and letters, making Yang-chou an important centre of culture. Its decline dates from the Taiping Rebellion (185064). The city was taken by the rebels in 1853, and in 1855 it was the site of a major battle in which the Imperial (Manchu) forces were disastrously defeated. During these years Yang-chou was seriously damaged, its temples and public buildings being destroyed. Its recovery was hampered by the fact that from 1855 onward the Grand Canal was flooded and its northern reaches damaged, so that grain shipments to Peking and Tientsin were increasingly sent north by sea from Shanghai. At the same time the changes in the salt administration also struck at the other base of Yang-chou's traditional prosperity. In 1913 it ceased to be a superior prefecture and reverted to a county municipality. In the early part of the 20th century, it remained relatively prosperous, and was still a centre of the salt administration, although no longer the home of its merchant princes. It also remained a centre of such traditional handicrafts as silk textiles, lacquer ware, carving, and embroidery. It was a regional market, especially for rice, and a centre of food processing. Since 1949 Yang-chou has experienced a revival, especially since the restoration of the southern reaches of the Grand Canal and improvements made in the canal system to the north. It is primarily a transportation and market city and is the focus of an extensive road network. Industry, chiefly cotton spinning and textiles, is less important. In the 1970s a pumping station was constructed to pump Yangtze River water to the northern part of the country. The city has many ancient buildings and sites of historic interest. Pop. (1980 est.) 280,000.

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