North China Plain

The North China Plain (Chinese: 華北平原; pinyin: Huáběi Píngyuán) is a large-scale downfaulted rift basin formed in late Paleogene and Neogene and then modified by the deposits of the Yellow River and is the largest alluvial plain of China. The plain is bordered to the north by the Yanshan Mountains, to the west by the Taihang Mountains, to the south by the Dabie and Tianmu Mountains, and to the east by the Yellow Sea. The Yellow River flows through the middle of the plain into the Bohai Sea.

Below the Sanmenxia Dam is the multipurpose Xiaolangdi Dam, located in the river's last valley before the North China Plain, a great delta created from silt dropped at the Yellow River's mouth over the millennia. The North China Plain extends over much of Henan, Hebei, and Shandong provinces. and merges with the Yangtze Delta in northern Jiangsu and Anhui provinces. The Yellow River meanders over the fertile, densely populated plain emptying into the Bohai Sea. The plain is one of China's most important agricultural regions, producing corn, sorghum, winter wheat, vegetables, and cotton. Its nickname is "Land of the yellow earth."

The southern part of the plain is traditionally referred to as the Central Plain (pinyin: Zhōngyuán), which formed the cradle of Chinese civilization.[1][2]

The plain covers an area of about 409,500 square kilometers (158,100 sq mi), most of which is less than 50 metres (160 ft) above sea level. This flat yellow-soil plain is the main area of sorghum, millet, maize, and cotton production in China. Wheat, sesame seed, and peanuts are also grown here. The plain is one of the most densely populated regions in the world.

Beijing, the national capital, is located on the northeast edge of the plain, with Tianjin, an important industrial city and commercial port, near its northeast coast. Shengli Oil Field in Shandong is an important petroleum base. It is also home to the Yellow River.

The North China Plain is the area surrounding the lower Yellow River and its Tributaries, as well as the empty steppe to the North.
Llanura del Norte de China (mapa)
The North China Plain is shown in dark. The Yellow River is shown as "Río Amarillo".

Historical significance

The geography of the North China Plain has had profound cultural and political implications. Unlike areas to the south of the Yangtze, the plain generally runs uninterrupted by mountains and has far fewer rivers, and as a result communication by horse is rapid within the plain. As a result, the spoken language is relatively uniform in contrast to the plethora of languages and dialects in southern China. In addition the possibility of rapid communication has meant that the political center of China has tended to be located here.[3]

Because the fertile soil of the North China Plain gradually merges with the steppes and deserts of Dzungaria, Inner Mongolia, and Northeast China, the plain has been prone to invasion from nomadic or semi-nomadic ethnic groups originating from those regions, prompting the construction of the Great Wall of China.

Although the soil of the North China Plain is fertile, the weather is unpredictable, being at the intersection of humid winds from the Pacific and dry winds from the interior of the Asian continent. This makes the plain prone to both floods and drought. Moreover, the flatness of the plain promotes massive flooding when river works are damaged. Many historians have proposed that these factors have encouraged the development of a centralized Chinese state to manage granaries, maintain hydraulic works, and administer fortifications against the steppe peoples. (The "hydraulic society" school holds that early states developed in the valleys of the Nile, Euphrates, Indus and Yellow Rivers due to the need to supervise large numbers of laborers to build irrigation canals and control floods.)


  2. ^ Keekok Lee (24 October 2008). Warp and Weft, Chinese Language and Culture. Strategic Book Publishing. pp. 39–40. ISBN 978-1-60693-247-6. Retrieved 2 November 2011.
  3. ^ Ramsey, S. Robert, The Languages of China. Princeton University Press (1987), pp. 19-26.

External links

Coordinates: 36°34′48″N 117°09′36″E / 36.58000°N 117.16000°E

1679 Sanhe-Pinggu earthquake

The 1679 Sanhe-Pinggu earthquake (Chinese: 三河—平谷地震; pinyin: Sānhé—Pínggǔ dìzhèn) was a major quake that struck the Zhili (Greater Beijing) region in Qing China on the morning of September 2, 1679. It is the largest recorded surface rupture event to have occurred in the North China Plain. The epicenter was located approximately 50 km (31 mi) east of the Imperial Palace in Beijing.

Campaign of the North China Plain Pocket

The Campaign of the North China Plain Pocket, also called the Breakout on the Central Plains (Chinese: 中原突围; pinyin: Zhongyuan Tuwei) by the Communist Party of China, was a series of battles fought between the nationalists and the communists during the Chinese Civil War, resulting in a successful communist breakout from the nationalist encirclement. The campaign marked the beginning of the full-scale civil war fought between the communists and the nationalists in the post-World War II era.

The communist victory was largely attributed to their ability to surprise the nationalists with movements and avoid battle in locations with overwhelming Nationalist forces. In a sense, the Nationalists did not evenly distribute their forces, which created pocket holes in their encirclement. The Nationalists were also easily distracted by small Communist forces used to draw attention away from their main forces. The communist was able to locate the relatively weaker defended points of the Nationalist defense and break them. Communists also engaged in close-quarters combat in order to limit the power of the Nationalist artillery and air force, making them less effective than they could have been.

China proper

China proper, Inner China or the Eighteen Provinces was a term used by Western writers on the Manchu Qing dynasty to express a distinction between the core and frontier regions of China. There is no fixed extent for China proper, as many administrative, cultural, and linguistic shifts have occurred in Chinese history. One definition refers to the original area of Chinese civilization, the Central Plain (in the North China Plain); another to the "Eighteen Provinces" system of the Qing dynasty. There is no direct translation for "China proper" in the Chinese language due to differences in terminology used by the Qing to refer to the regions and the expression is controversial among scholars, particularly in China, due to national territorial claims.

Geography of China

China has great physical diversity. The eastern plains and southern coasts of the country consist of fertile lowlands and foothills. They are the location of most of China's agricultural output and human population. The southern areas of the country (South of the Yangtze River) consist of hilly and mountainous terrain. The west and north of the country are dominated by sunken basins (such as the Gobi and the Taklamakan), rolling plateaus, and towering massifs. It contains part of the highest tableland on earth, the Tibetan Plateau, and has much lower agricultural potential and population.

Traditionally, the Chinese population centered on the Chinese central plain and oriented itself toward its own enormous inland market, developing as an imperial power whose center lay in the middle and lower reaches of the Yellow River on the northern plains. More recently, the 18,000 km (11,000 mi) coastline has been used extensively for export-oriented trade, causing the coastal provinces to become the leading economic center.

The People's Republic of China has an area of about 9,600,000 km2 (3,700,000 sq mi). The exact land area is sometimes challenged by border disputes, most notably about Taiwan, Aksai Chin, the Trans-Karakoram Tract, and South Tibet. The area of the People's Republic of China is 9,596,960 km2 (3,705,410 sq mi) according to the CIA's The World Factbook. The People's Republic of China is either the third or fourth largest country in the world, being either slightly larger or slightly smaller than the United States depending on how the area of the United States is measured. Both countries are smaller than Russia and Canada and larger than Brazil.


Guandong may refer to:

Guandong or Kwantung (關東), a historical name for Manchuria, i.e. "east of Shanhai Pass"

Kwantung Leased Territory, a small section of the above region controlled by Russia and, then, Japan from 1898 to 1945

Guandong (關東), a historical name for North China Plain, i.e. "east of Tong Pass"


Guanzhong (formerly romanised as Kwanchung; simplified Chinese: 关中; traditional Chinese: 關中; pinyin: Guānzhōng; Wade–Giles: Kuan1-chung1; literally: 'Inside the Pass'), or Guanzhong Plain, is a historical region of China corresponding to the lower valley of the Wei River. It is called Guanzhong or 'within the passes', as opposed to 'Guandong' or 'east of the pass', i.e., the North China Plain. The North China Plain is bordered on the west by mountains. The Yellow River cuts through the mountains at the Hangu Pass or Tong Pass separating Guanzhong from Guandong.

Hutuo River

Hutuo River is a major river in northern China and an important member of Hai River system. It derives from Wutai Mountain in Shanxi province and flows through the Taihang Mountains to reach the North China Plain, where it meets the Fuyang River near the Xian County of Hebei province and continued flowing as Ziya River to the Pohai Bay. The total length of Hutuo River is about 587 kilometers and the watershed area is about 27.3 thousand square kilometers. It flows through the city of Shijiazhuang, the capital of Hebei province. The discharge is about 220 million cubic meters per year.

The Linji school (sect) of Buddhism, influential in China and Japan, takes its name from a Linji Temple that existed on the shores of the river. The sect was created by the Chan Buddhist monk Linji Yixuan, who joined the temple around 851. The Hutuo river is called Koda by Japanese adepts of the Linji school.

Ji Canal River

The Ji Canal River or Jiyunhe (Chinese: 蓟运河; literally: 'Ji Canal') is a semi-artificial river in North China Plain near the major city of Tianjin. It is an important part of Hai River watershed system. The total length of Jiyunhe as of today is about 145 km and it drains into the Bohai Sea near Tanggu. Jiyunhe was originally a natural river (named Baoqiu River before Sui and Tang dynasties and Chao River before Ming dynasty) derived from a mountain called Baoqiu north of the Great Wall near Zunhua. The original length of this river was over 310 km. The section south of the Great Wall was artificially widened by Cao Cao during the Han dynasty so that it became navigable and thus it could be used to supply the frontline in the northeast. The upstream section of the river was gradually abandoned. In Ming dynasty, the channel was artificially broadened again to make it navigable to bigger ships. Since then, it became a supply line of Tianjin. Grains were shipped to Tianjin and nearby towns on this river, so it got a nickname of Grain River and was finally renamed as Jiyunhe which literally means Canal of Ji.

Ju River

The Ju River in North China Plain is a major river in the Beijing and Tianjin vicinities. It is a part of Hai River's watershed system. In 354 BCE (Warring States period of Zhou dynasty), State of Yan defeated State of Qi in a battle by this river. In Han dynasty, the original channel of Ju River was widened by Emperor Xian so that it became a navigable river and a major military supply line to the northeast frontier. The total length of Ju River is 206 km, 66 of them are in the Pinggu District of Beijing. Before paved roads were constructed in 1930s, this river was the only transportation route to and from the remote Pinggu region. The river was polluted by industrial wastewater in 1990s. The water quality has been improved in recent years and it has become a water resource for the Pinggu region.

Loess Plateau

The Loess Plateau, also known as the Huangtu Plateau, 黃土高原 (Huángtǔ gāoyuán) is a 640,000 km2 (250,000 sq mi) plateau located around the Wei River valley and the southern half of the Ordos Loop of the Yellow River in central China. It covers almost all of the provinces of Shaanxi and Shanxi and extends into parts of Gansu, Ningxia, and Inner Mongolia. It was enormously important to Chinese history, as it formed one of the early cradle of Chinese civilization and its eroded silt is responsible for the great fertility of the North China Plain, along with the repeated and massively destructive floods of the Yellow River. Its soil has been called "most highly erodible... on earth" and conservation efforts and land management are a major focus of modern Chinese agriculture.

Longhai Campaign

Longhai Campaign (陇海战役), also known as the Campaign along the Longhai (Lanzhou – Lianyungang) Railway (陇海路战役), was a campaign launched against the nationalists by the communists during Chinese Civil War in the post World War II era. The campaign was a coordinated offensive in support of the other two campaigns the Communists launched against the nationalists, namely, the Campaign of the North China Plain Pocket and the Central Jiangsu Campaign. Longhai Campaign resulted in the communist victory, achieving the Communists objective of relieving the pressure on their comrades in the other two campaigns this one supported, enabling those in the Campaign of the North China Plain Pocket successfully escape from the nationalists and those in the Central Jiangsu Campaign to also score a huge victory over the nationalists.

North China

North China (simplified Chinese: 华北; traditional Chinese: 華北; pinyin: Huáběi; literally "China's north") is a geographical region of China, lying North of the Qinling Huaihe Line.

The heartland of North China is the North China Plain, or the Yellow River Plain. North China is usually restricted to the northern part of China proper (inner China and excludes Xinjiang and often Manchuria and Northeast China.

The vast region in China from the Yellow River Valley south to the Yangtze River was the centre of Chinese empires and home to Confucian civilization. Historically, the language used in this area was Ancient Chinese of the Huaxia, Old Chinese of the Shang, Zhou and Han dynasties. In prehistory and early history, the plain (Henan in particular) is considered the origin of Chinese civilization in official Chinese history.

Rice domestication originated in this area at least 9000 years ago, although later on in Chinese history, cultivation of wheat took over as the soils became leeched with the arrivals of the Mongolians and Manchurians from the North, which greatly influenced the area culturally, politically, linguistically and genetically, while earlier scions and their descendants migrated South of the Yangtze River to flee from the invasion of the barbarians. Refugees have fled the area since the collapse of the Han dynasty established by Qinshihuang, especially the Royalty. Imperialty, as well as families of soldiers which formed the Hakka migration, in order to escape persecutions from the new dynasties of the barbarians.

In modern times, the area has shifted in terms of linguistic, cultural, socio-political, economic and genetic composition. Nowadays unique embracing a North Chinese culture, it is heavily influenced by Marxism, Communism, Leninism, Soviet systems of farming while preserving a Traditional Chinese indigenous culture. The region has been cultivating wheat, and most inhabitants here nowadays speak variants of Northern Chinese languages such as the standard (Mandarin), which includes Beijing dialect, which is largely the basis of Standard Chinese (Mandarin), the official language of the People's Republic of China (PRC), and its cousin variants. Jin Chinese and Mongolian are also widely spoken due to the political and cultural history of the area. Other than the British Colony of Hong Kong, the revival of Shanghai as financial center, the old imperial city of the Purple Forbidden Citadel of China's Last 24 Emperors known by Westerners as Peking, now modernized as Beijing City, this is the ancient and historical region which remains truly at the heart of Chinese civilisation. It remains the political, military, and cultural center of the People's Republic of China.

Pingjin Campaign

Pingjin Campaign (simplified Chinese: 平津战役; traditional Chinese: 平津戰役; pinyin: Píngjīn Zhànyì), also known as the Battle of Pingjin, was part of the three major campaigns launched by the People's Liberation Army during the late stage of the Chinese Civil War against the Nationalist government. It began on 29 November 1948 and ended on 31 January 1949, lasting a total of 64 days. This campaign marked the end of Nationalist dominance in the North China Plain. The term Pingjin refers to the cities Beiping (now Beijing) and Tianjin.

Taihang Mountains

The Taihang Mountains (Chinese: 太行山; pinyin: Tàiháng Shān) are a Chinese mountain range running down the eastern edge of the Loess Plateau in Shanxi, Henan and Hebei provinces. The range extends over 400 kilometres (250 mi) from north to south and has an average elevation of 1,500 to 2,000 metres (4,900 to 6,600 feet). The principal peak is Xiao Wutaishan (2,882 metres (9,455 feet)). The Taihang's eastern peak is Cangyan Shan in Hebei; Baishi Mountain forms its northern tip.

The name of Shanxi Province, meaning "west of the mountains", derives from its location west of the Taihang Mountains, as does the name of Shandong Province (east of the mountains).The Red Flag Canal is located on the south edge of the Taihang Mountains.

The Shitai Passenger Railway crosses under the Taihang Mountains via the Taihang Tunnel, which, at almost 28 kilometres (17 mi), is the third longest railway tunnel in China.

Tong Pass

Tongguan or Tong Pass, was a former mountain pass and fortress located south of the confluence of the Wei and Yellow Rivers, in today's Tongguan County, Shaanxi, China. It was an important chokepoint, protecting Xi'an and the surrounding Guanzhong region from the North China Plain. Tong Pass was built in 196 AD by the warlord Cao Cao during the late Han dynasty. The fortress was the seat of Tongguan County, but was demolished in the 1950s to make way for the Sanmenxia Dam and reservoir.

Tongguan County

Tongguan County (formerly romanized as Tungkwan) is a county in the east of Shaanxi province, China, administered as part of the prefecture-level city of Weinan. It is named after the Tong Pass, located south of the confluence of the Wei and Yellow Rivers. It is the southeastern corner of the Ordos Loop, the point at which the Qin Mountains turn the Yellow River sharply eastward, forcing it into the North China Plain, and borders the provinces of Shanxi to the north and Henan to the east.

Western Hills

The Western Hills (Chinese: 西山; pinyin: Xīshān) are the hills and mountains in the western part of Beijing.

Yan Mountains

The Yan Mountains, also known by their Chinese name Yanshan, are a major mountain range to the north of the North China Plain, principally in the province of Hebei.

The range rises between the Chaobai River on the west and the Shanhai Pass on the east. It is made up mostly of limestone, granite, and basalt. Its altitude ranges from 400 to 1000 meters. The main peak, Mount Wuling, is 2,116 meters (6,942 ft) above sea level and is located in Xinglong County in Hebei. The range contains many narrow passes, such as the Gubei Pass, the Xifeng Pass, and the Leng Pass. The eastern stretch of the Great Wall of China, including Badaling in northern Beijing, can be found in the Yan Mountains. The mountains are also an important traffic gateway between north and south.


Zhongyuan (Chinese: 中原; pinyin: Zhōngyuán), Chungyuan, or the Central Plain, also known as Zhongtu (Chinese: 中土; pinyin: Zhōngtǔ), Chungtu or Zhongzhou (Chinese: 中州; pinyin: Zhōngzhōu), Chungchou, is the area on the lower reaches of the Yellow River which formed the cradle of Chinese civilization. It forms part of the North China Plain.

In its narrowest sense, the Central Plain covers modern-day Henan, the southern part of Hebei, the southern part of Shanxi, and the western part of Shandong province. A broader interpretation of the Central Plain's extent would add the Guanzhong plain of Shaanxi, the northwestern part of Jiangsu, and parts of Anhui and northern Hubei.

Since the beginning of recorded history, the Central Plain has been an important site for Chinese civilization.

In the pre-Qin era, present-day Luoyang and its nearby areas were considered the “Center of the World”, as the political seat of the Xia dynasty was located around Songshan and the Yi-Luo river basin.

Inscriptions on some bronze objects from this era contain references to the 'Central States' (Zhongguo), 'Eastern States', or 'Southern States'. This indicates that the Central Plain, which was referred to as the 'Central States' in these inscriptions, was considered to occupy the center of the world.

In a broader context, the term Zhongyuan refers to Chinese civilization and China proper, regions directly governed by centralized Chinese governments and dynasties. However, when used to describe the Chinese civilization, Zhongyuan often connotes Huaxia and Han Chinese cultural dominance.

The Dungans, who are Chinese descendants of Hui ethnicity, residing in Central Asia and Russia, are referred to using terms linked to Zhongyuan.

Plains of China
Northeast China Plain
North China Plain
Middle and Lower Reaches Plain of Yangtze River
Coastal Plains in Southeast China
Upper and Middle Reaches Plains of Yellow River
Other Plains
Hebei topics
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