Northern Shaanxi

Shaanbei (simplified Chinese: 陕北; traditional Chinese: 陝北; pinyin: Shǎnběi) is the northern portion of Shaanxi province in Northwest China, and is a natural as well as cultural area, forming part of the Loess Plateau. As it includes Yan'an, it is known as the birthplace of the Chinese Communist revolution.


Shaanbei is located in the center of the Loess Plateau with a general elevation range of 800 to 1300 metres, occupying approximately 45% of the area of Shaanxi Province. Elevation tends to increase from southeast to northwest. The northern portions degrade into desert, while the southern portions slope down to hills.


The region is known for its distinctive forms of folk singing.

The predominant language of Shaanbei is Jin Chinese, with the southern areas being a transition zone into Guanzhong dialect.

Administrative divisions

Shaanbei is generally perceived to include all of Yulin and most of Yan'an prefectures, excluding the southern portions.

See also

Coordinates: 37°24′N 109°36′E / 37.4°N 109.6°E

11th Motorized Infantry Division (People's Republic of China)

The 11th Division (Chinese: 第11师) was created in February 1949 under the Regulation of the Redesignations of All Organizations and Units of the Army, issued by Central Military Commission on November 1, 1948, basing on the 3rd Security Brigade, 4th Column of the PLA Northwest Field Army. Its composition can be traced to 84th Division of 27th Corps, Military Division of Shaanxi-Gansu, 29th Corps, Independent Division of Shanganning, 2nd Regiment of Shanganning, 1st Independent Division of Northern Shaanxi and Headquarters, 4th Corps, all parts of Chinese Workers' and Peasants' Red Army.

The division was composed of 31st, 32nd and 33rd Regiments. Under the command of 4th Corps it took part in the Chinese Civil War. including the Battle of Yan'an and Lanzhou Campaign. After the foundation of the People's Republic of China, the division took part in the Campaign to Suppress Bandits in Northwestern China and the suppression on 1959 Tibetan uprising.

In June 1952 the division was renamed as 11th Infantry Division. 33rd Infantry Regiment was disbanded and absorbed into 31st and 32nd Regiments, while 30th Infantry Regiment, 10th Division was attached to the division as 30th Infantry Regiment, 11th Infantry Division. Artillery Training Regiment, 4th Corps was attached to the division as Artillery Regiment, 11th Infantry Division.

In April-June 1953, all regiments of the division was renamed as:

31st Infantry Regiment (former 30th);

32nd Infantry Regiment (former 31st);

33rd Infantry Regiment (former 32nd);

305th Artillery Regiment (former Artillery).From October 1960 the division was renamed as 11th Army Division (Chinese: 陆军第11师). The division was then stationed in Shigatse, Tibet.

In October 1962 the division took part in Sino-Indian War. During the campaign the division allegedly neutralized 2,000 Indian soldiers, captured 9 tanks and over 300 trucks. From 1962 the division maintained as a catalogue A unit.

In 1965, in order to distract the Indian Army and support Pakistan in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, the division conducted two camouflage maneveurs alongside the border.

In 1967 the division took part in Nathu La and Cho La clashes.

In June 1969, 305th Artillery Regiment was renamed as Artillery Regiment, 11th Army Division.

From April 1979, the division moved to Urumqi, Xinjiang.

From 1983 the division was reduced to a catalogue B unit.

In 1985 the division was renamed as 11th Motorized Infantry Division (Chinese: 摩托化步兵第11师), as a northern motorized infantry division, catalogue A unit. By then the division was composed of:

31st Infantry Regiment;

32nd Infantry Regiment;

33rd Infantry Regiment;

Tank Regiment (former Independent Tank Regiment of Urumqi Military Region);

Artillery Regiment;

Anti-Aircraft Artillery Regiment (former 662nd Anti-Aircraft Artillery Regiment of 73rd Artillery Division).In 1988, 11th Motorized Infantry Division was decorated as a Red Army Division, with its all three infantry regiments as Red Army Regiments.

In 1998, 33rd Infantry Regiment was disbanded. Tank Regiment, 11th Motorized Infantry Division was renamed as Armored Regiment, 11th Motorized Infantry Division. Since then the division was composed of:

31st Infantry Regiment;

32nd Infantry Regiment;

Armored Regiment;

Artillery Regiment;

Anti-Aircraft Regiment.The division is now a maneuver unit of Xinjiang Military Region and one of few divisions left in the Ground Force of People's Liberation Army.

Battle of Yan'an

After World War II, Hu Zongnan battled the Communist Party of China and in the early stage of the struggle, was once successful in the Battle of Yan'an taking Yan'an, the capital of the communist base in Shaanxi.

Yan'an became the capital of Red China after the Xian Incident in 1936. It became famous in this role during the Sino-Japanese War and through World War II, until its capture in 1947. (Before taking over Yenan, Mao had been based at Bao'an.)

In 1947, there was only token Red resistance, as most Reds had already fled in advance in a strategic withdrawal to lure Hu to the Northwest.

With the outbreak of full-scale civil war between Communists and Nationalists in early 1947, Xi Zhongxun

remained in northwestern China to coordinate the protection and then recapture of the Yan'an Soviet Area.[2] As political commissar, Xi and commander Zhang Zongxun defeated Nationalists west of Yan'an at the Battle of Xihuachi in March 1947.[2] After Yan'an fell to Hu Zongnan on March 19, 1947, Xi worked on the staff of Peng Dehuai in the battles to retake Yan'an and capture northwest China.

Many high-level Communist leaders were forced to flee their lost Capital, and Chiang Kai-shek declared final victory.

KMT forces were only able to hold Yanan for about a week, and PLA forces rapidly recaptured it. The KMT commitment to conventional-style warfare with a focus on capturing fixed political capitals as objectives, immobilized a large KMT army in the useless Northwest front, making them impotent for the more important mobile campaigns in the East.

In protracted guerrilla warfare, traditional military objectives such as capturing the enemy's capital is no longer decisive.

The famous picture of Mao, often erroneously attributed to the Long March, is actually of Mao leading the march to Northern Shaanxi in 1947.


The Di or Beidi (Northern Di) were various ethnic groups who lived north of the Chinese (Huaxia) realms during the Zhou dynasty. Although initially described as nomadic, they seem to have practiced a mixed pastoral, agricultural, and hunting economy and were distinguished from the nomads of the Eurasian steppe (Hu) who lived to their north. Chinese historical accounts describe the Di inhabiting the upper Ordos Loop (mostly in northern Shaanxi) and gradually migrating eastward to northern Shanxi and Hebei, where they eventually created their own states like Zhongshan and Dai. Other groups of Di seem to have lived interspersed between the Chinese states before their eventual conquest or assimilation.

Chinese Red Army

The Chinese Workers' and Peasants' Red Army (traditional Chinese: 中國工農紅軍; simplified Chinese: 中国工农红军; pinyin: Zhōngguó Gōngnóng Hóngjūn) or Chinese Workers' and Peasants' Revolutionary Army, renamed Chinese People's Red Army (traditional Chinese: 中國人民紅軍; simplified Chinese: 中国人民红军; pinyin: Zhōngguó Rénmín Hóngjūn) in 1936, commonly known as the Chinese Red Army or simply the Red Army (traditional Chinese: 紅軍; simplified Chinese: 红军; pinyin: Hóngjūn), was the armed forces of the Communist Party of China from 1928 to 1937. The Red Army was incorporated into the National Revolutionary Army as part of the Second United Front with the Kuomintang to fight against the Japanese during the Second Sino-Japanese War of 1937. In the later stages of the Chinese Civil War, they were renamed the People's Liberation Army.


Errentai, also known as Errenban, Dawanyi'er, Shuangwanyi'er, and Bengbeng, is a genre of Chinese opera performed by two singers. It is popular in Fugu County and Shenmu County in northern Shaanxi, Hequ County in northwestern Shanxi, Kangbao County in northwestern Hebei, and areas near Baotou, Hohhot, and the Ordos Plateau in Inner Mongolia.In 2006, errentai was listed as a national-level intangible cultural heritage by the government of China.

First Encirclement Campaign against the Shaanxi-Gansu Soviet

The First Encirclement Campaign against the Shaanxi-Gansu Soviet was an encirclement campaign launched by the Chinese Nationalist Government that was intended to destroy the communist Shaanxi-Gansu Soviet and its Chinese Red Army in the local region. It was responded by the Communists' First Counter-Encirclement Campaign at Shaanxi-Gansu Soviet (Chinese: 陕甘苏区第一次反围剿), also called by the communists as the First Counter-Encirclement Campaign at Shaanxi-Gansu Revolutionary Base (Chinese: 陕甘革命根据地第一次反围剿), in which the local Chinese Red Army successfully defended their soviet republic in Shaanxi and Gansu provinces against the Nationalist attacks from March 1934 to 26 August 1934.

Fugu Airport

Fugu Airport (Chinese: 府谷机场) is an airport being constructed to serve Fugu County in northern Shaanxi Province, China. It is located near Sangyuanliang Village, Fugu Town.The airport project was launched by the Fugu County government in 2009, and received approval from the State Council of China and the Central Military Commission on 23 January 2019. It will be the first county-level airport in Shaanxi.The airport will have a runway that is 2,800 metres (9,200 ft) long and 45 metres (148 ft) wide (class 4C) and four aircraft parking places. It is projected to handle 450,000 passengers and 1,200 tons of cargo annually by 2025.

Liang Shidu

Liang Shidu (梁師都) (died June 3, 628) was an agrarian leader who rebelled against the rule of the Chinese dynasty Sui Dynasty near the end of the reign of Emperor Yang of Sui. He, claiming the title of Emperor of Liang with the aid from Eastern Turkic Khaganate retained the modern northern Shaanxi and western Inner Mongolia region for over a decade, but was gradually weakened by attacks from Tang Dynasty, whose founding emperor Emperor Gaozu and successor Emperor Taizong had eliminated the rival contenders for power one by one, leaving Liang isolated. In 628, with the Eastern Turks in internal turmoil and unable to come to his aid, Emperor Taizong launched another attack on Liang. Liang's cousin Liang Luoren (梁洛仁) assassinated him and surrendered, completing Tang's drive to reunite China after Sui's collapse.

Liu Zhidan

Liu Zhidan (4 October 1903 (many sources give 1902) – 14 April 1936) (Liu Chih-tan) was a Chinese military commander and Communist leader, who founded the Shaanxi-Gansu-Ningxia Base Area in north-west China, which became the Yan'an Soviet.

Murong Hong

Murong Hong (Chinese: 慕容泓; died 384) was the founder of the Xianbei state Western Yan. He was a son of the Former Yan emperor Murong Jun and a younger brother of Former Yan emperor Murong Wei.

It is not known when Murong Hong was born. In 359, he was created the Prince of Jibei. After Former Yan was destroyed by Former Qin in 370, he and his brothers were made local officials throughout the Former Qin realm. By 384, he was the secretary general to the commandery governor of Beidi (北地, roughly modern Tongchuan, Shaanxi).

Early that year, he heard that his uncle Murong Chui had rebelled against Former Qin rule in light of the Former Qin emperor Fu Jiān's defeat at the Battle of Fei River in 383. He fled from his post and gathered several thousand Xianbei soldiers and, after defeating the Former Qin general Qiang Yong (強永), claimed for himself the titles of supreme commander and governor of Yong Province (雍州, modern central and northern Shaanxi), but did not claim a more honored regal title than the one he had under Former Yan—Prince of Jibei.

Murong Hong, upon hearing that Fu Jiān's brother Fu Rui (苻叡) was arriving with Former Qin forces to attack him, wanted to flee east back to the Yan homeland with his Xianbei soldiers. Fu Rui, instead, rejecting his assistant Yao Chang's suggestion that Murong Hong be allowed to withdraw, cut off Murong Hong's escape route and attacked him—and Murong Hong defeated and killed him. Meanwhile, his younger brother Murong Chong had also rebelled against Former Qin, but after a defeat joined his army.

Murong Hong sent a demand to Fu Jiān at the Former Qin capital Chang'an for him to deliver his older brother Murong Wei to him, promising to leave Guanzhong and not attack Former Qin any further if that was done. Fu Jiān summoned Murong Wei and rebuked him, but spared Murong Wei when Murong Wei pledged allegiance. He also had Murong Wei write letters to Murong Chui, Murong Hong, and Murong Chong, urging them to surrender. However, Murong Wei also sent a secret messenger to Murong Hong, stating:

I am a man within an iron cage, and there is no reason for me not to die. Further, I also sinned against Yan, and you should not mind me. You should earnestly seek to establish yourself.He also explicitly urged Murong Hong to prepare taking the imperial title if Murong Hong heard that Fu Jiān had executed him. Murong Hong therefore advanced on Chang'an and officially broke from Former Qin by changing the era name. However, in summer 384, his strategist Gao Gai (高蓋) and other officials felt that Murong Hong's reputation was not as great as his brother Murong Chong's, and that his punishments were overly harsh, killed him and supported Murong Chong to succeed him, under the title of crown prince.


"Nanniwan" (Chinese: 南泥灣; pinyin: Nánníwān; Wade–Giles: Nan2-ni2-wan1; literally: 'South Muddy Bend') is a revolutionary song written in 1943 with lyrics by communist playwright and poet He Jingzhi and music by Ma Ke. It was made popular by the Communist Party of China and continues to be one of the most recognisable songs in the People's Republic of China.

Nanniwan is a gorge about 90 km southeast of Yan'an, Shaanxi province. In response to economic blockades by the Imperial Japanese Army and Kuomintang in 1941, the Communists set up an opium production committee with Ren Bishi as its head and began experimenting with small scale agricultural development as well as poppy production in a bid to become self-sufficient. The 359th brigade of the Eighth Route Army was deployed to Nanniwan to improve productivity. In 1943 Nanniwan was heralded a success, and a propagandist song was commissioned. The lyrics, written by He Jingzhi, were set to a traditional folk melody of northern Shaanxi.

The song rose during the last years of the Second Sino-Japanese War and continued to be popular after the Communist victory in 1949. It is the signature song of the important revolutionary singer Wang Kun, and Cui Jian, widely regarded as the "father of Chinese rock," created a rock music version of the song in 1991. It experienced a revival during the mid-1990s along with other revolutionary songs, with the release of many readaptations in Guoyue compilations.

Second Encirclement Campaign against the Shaanxi-Gansu Soviet

The Second Encirclement Campaign against the Shaanxi-Gansu Soviet was an encirclement campaign launched by the Chinese Nationalist Government that was intended to destroy the communist Shaanxi-Gansu Soviet and its Chinese Red Army in the local region. It was responded by the Communists' Second Counter-Encirclement Campaign at Shaanxi-Gansu Soviet (Chinese: 陕甘苏区第二次反围剿), also called by the communists as the Second Counter-Encirclement Campaign at Shaanxi-Gansu Revolutionary Base (Chinese: 陕甘革命根据地第二次反围剿), in which the local Chinese Red Army successfully defended their soviet republic in the border region of Shaanxi and Gansu provinces against the Nationalist attacks from April 1935 to July, 1935.

Beginning in October, 1934, Chiang Kai-shek mobilized more than 40,000 troops of warlords of Shaanxi, Shanxi, Ningxia and Gansu to launch the Second Encirclement Campaign against Shaanxi-Gansu Soviet aimed to eradicate the local communists. However, the nationalist effort was doomed from the start: none of the warlords were willing to sacrifice their own troops and a unified command could not be formed because all were afraid of that the one in charge would sacrifice others. As a result, Chiang Kai-shek at the distant south, hundreds or even thousands miles away, had to take the command, and due to other affairs that needed to be taken care of, as well as the warlords's lack of enthusiasm and cooperation, Chiang was unable to command effectively. It would take half a year since the first mobilization for the nationalists to finally launch their first assault and the disconnection between the battlefields of the nationalist high command had also prevented any timely decision to be made in real time, which would inevitably lead to the eventual nationalist failure of the campaign.

In contrast, the communists adopted the correct strategy by concentrating their forces and fought in northern Shaanxi under a unified command. After the 42nd Division and the 84th Division of the Chinese Red Army had met up in Anding (安定) county, a unified command was formed under the name of Chinese Workers' and Peasants' Red Army Northwestern Military Committee Frontline Command. Liu Zhidan (刘志丹) was named as the commander-in-chief while Gao Gang was named as the political commissar.

In late April, 1935, the nationalists finally begun their uncoordinated and disorganized attacks, which were easily defeated by the communists. After more than two months of fighting, nationalists not only failed their original objective, but also lost half a dozen towns including Anding (安定), Yanchang (延长), Yanchuan (延川), Ansai (安塞), Jingbian (靖边) and Bao'an (Shaanxi). After suffering more than three thousands casualties, the warlords decided that they'd had enough and called off the any further military operations, and the campaign resulted in communist victory. As a result of their victory, the previous two separate communist bases of the Shaanxi-Gansu Soviet, the one at the border region of Shaanxi and Gansu and the other in northern Shaanxi had been linked up to become a new one with larger size.

The East Is Red (song)

"The East Is Red" (simplified Chinese: 东方红; traditional Chinese: 東方紅; pinyin: Dōngfāng Hóng) is a song that was the de facto national anthem of the People's Republic of China during the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s. The lyrics of the song were attributed to Li Youyuan, a farmer from northern Shaanxi, and the melody was derived from a local folk song. He allegedly got his inspiration upon seeing the rising sun in the morning of a sunny day.

Three Qins

The Three Qins (Chinese: 三秦; pinyin: Sān Qín) refer to three of the Eighteen Kingdoms, formed from the division of the empire after the collapse of the Qin dynasty in 206 BC. The three kingdoms are located in Guanzhong (in present-day central Shaanxi), the heartland of the Qin Empire.

Originally, according to a promise by King Huai II of Chu, Guanzhong belonged to Liu Bang, because Liu was the first to capture Guanzhong and end the Qin dynasty. However, Xiang Yu ignored the promise and relocated Liu to another fief, Kingdom of Han, which was located in present-day Sichuan. Guanzhong was granted to three former Qin generals, who surrendered to Xiang Yu after the Battle of Julu. The three kingdoms are collectively known as the Three Qins, because they occupied the heartland of the former Qin state.

The Three Qins are listed as follows:

Yong (雍), ruled by Zhang Han, occupying present-day central Shaanxi

Sai (塞), ruled by Sima Xin, occupying present-day northeastern Shaanxi

Zhai (翟), ruled by Dong Yi, occupying present-day northern ShaanxiIn the autumn of 206 BC, Liu Bang's general Han Xin made a surprise attack on the Kingdom of Yong and defeated Zhang Han. Following that, Sima Xin and Dong Yi surrendered to Liu. By 205 BC, the Three Qins became part of Liu's Kingdom of Han (later known as the Han dynasty).

Wayaobu Manifesto

This Wayaobu Manifesto (Chinese:瓦窑堡宣言) was issued in December 1935, by Mao Zedong in Wayaobu, northern Shaanxi. It deliberated on policies and strategies to confront the Japanese invasion of China (see Second Sino-Japanese War).

Mao Zedong called for a national united front with the Kuomintang to resist the Japanese. This appeal struck a responsive chord among Chinese. This decision of the Communist Party of China differed sharply with Chiang Kai-shek's policy of first defeating the Communists before challenging Japan directly.

In December 9, 1935, students and other citizens (dubbed the “December Niners”) held a demonstration on the Tiananmen Square in Beijing (renamed as Beiping then) to protest Chiang Kai-shek's continued “nonresistance” against the Japanese. City police used violence to suppress the students, turning the fire hoses on them, in the near-freezing weather. However, this demonstration became a potent symbol of anti-Japanese resistance and led to patriotic groups sprouting around the country.

Western Xia

The Western Xia or Xi Xia (Chinese: 西夏; pinyin: Xī Xià; Wade–Giles: Hsi1 Hsia4), also known to the Mongols as the Tangut Empire and to the Tangut people themselves and to the Tibetans as Mi-nyak, was an empire which existed from 1038 to 1227 in what are now the northwestern Chinese provinces of Ningxia, Gansu, eastern Qinghai, northern Shaanxi, northeastern Xinjiang, southwest Inner Mongolia, and southernmost Outer Mongolia, measuring about 800,000 square kilometres (310,000 square miles). Its capital was Xingqing (modern Yinchuan), until its destruction by the Mongols in 1227. Most of its written records and architecture were destroyed, so the founders and history of the empire remained obscure until 20th-century research in the West and in China.

The Western Xia occupied the area round the Hexi Corridor, a stretch of the Silk Road, the most important trade route between North China and Central Asia. They made significant achievements in literature, art, music, and architecture, which was characterized as "shining and sparkling". Their extensive stance among the other empires of the Liao, Song, and Jin was attributable to their effective military organizations that integrated cavalry, chariots, archery, shields, artillery (cannons carried on the back of camels), and amphibious troops for combat on land and water.

Yan'an Nanniwan Airport

Yan'an Nanniwan Airport (IATA: ENY, ICAO: ZLYA) is a dual-use military and public airport serving the city of Yan'an in northern Shaanxi Province. It is located in Liulin Town (柳林), Baota District, 13 kilometres (8.1 mi) southwest of the city center.Yan'an was formerly served by Yan'an Ershilipu Airport. In 2002, the Yan'an city government proposed the construction of a new airport to replace Ershilipu and it was approved by the Chinese national government in 2009. Nanniwan Airport was opened on 8 November 2018 with an inaugural China Eastern Airlines flight from Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport, and all civil flights were transferred to Nanniwan from Ershilipu Airport.


Yiqu (simplified Chinese: 义渠; traditional Chinese: 義渠; pinyin: Yìqú; Wade–Giles: I-ch'ü; Old Chinese: /*ŋ(r)aj-s [ɡ](r)a/, or simplified Chinese: 仪渠; traditional Chinese: 儀渠; pinyin: Yíqú; Old Chinese: /*ŋ(r)aj [ɡ](r)a/), was an ancient Chinese state which existed during the Zhou dynasty in what is now eastern Gansu and northern Shaanxi. It was inhabited by a people who were called the "Yiqu," by contemporary writers, whom modern scholars have attempted to identify as one of the non-Han peoples on the fringes of the Zhou territories, such as the Rong, Di, or Qiang.

Zhiwulin Black

The Zhiwulin Black goat breed from the northern Shaanxi Province of China is used for the production of cashmere fiber and meat.Cross-breeding with the Liaoning Cashmere breed has been found to improve cashmere yields.

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