Wei River

The Wei River (Chinese: ; pinyin: Wèi Hé; Wade–Giles: Wei Ho) is a major river in west-central China's Gansu and Shaanxi provinces. It is the largest tributary of the Yellow River and very important in the early development of Chinese civilization.[1]

The source of the Wei River is close to Weiyuan County – Wei yuan meaning "Wei's source" – in Gansu province, less than 200 kilometres (120 mi) from the Yellow River at Lanzhou. However, due to the sharp turn north the Yellow River takes in Lanzhou, the Wei and the Yellow River do not meet for more than 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi) further along the Yellow River's course. In a direct line, the Wei's source lies 700 kilometres (430 mi) west of the main city along its course, Xi'an in Shaanxi province. The length of the river is 818 kilometres (508 mi) and the area drained covers 135,000 square kilometres (52,000 sq mi).

The Wei River's tributaries include the Luo River, Jing River, Niutou River, Feng River and the Chishui River.

The drainage basin of the modern Wei.


China 2a
Population concentration during the Western Zhou Dynasty (1050–771 BC). Note the extension up the Wei valley.

In Chinese mythology, the giant Kua Fu drained the Yellow River and the Wei River to quench his burning thirst as he pursued the Sun.[2] The valley of the Wei was one of the early cradles of Chinese civilization, along which the capitals of the Zhou, Qin, Han, and Tang Dynasties were situated. The area of Dingxi around its headwaters in Gansu has numerous stone age sites from various early cultures. The Wei Valley is likely the earliest center of Chinese civilization, and also the location of China's first major irrigation works.[3] Some Chinese historians now believe the Wei is the ancient Jiang River that gave its name to the families of Shennong and the Yan emperor, two Chinese legendary heroes credited with the early development of agriculture there.[4]

The headwaters of the Wei River are also notable in the development of the Northern Silk Road. The Chinese segment of the Northern Silk Road connected Xi'an (then the capital of China) to the west via Baoji, Tianshui at the Wei's headwaters, Lanzhou, Dunhuang, and the Wushao Ling Mountain, before looping north of the Takla Makan on its way to Kashgar and the routes into Parthia.[5]

In September 2003 extensive rainfall led to flooding that caused over 30 fatalities, and temporarily displaced over 300,000 persons.[6] Ecological aspects of the Wei River have been examined with respect to flow rates in the Wei River.[7]

The Wei River Bridge (Weihe Qiao 渭河桥) featured in the design of the 5000-yuan note of the first series of the renminbi, dated 1953, and shows a train passing over the bridge.


  1. ^ "Wei-River Gansu". Wei-River-Gansu-and-Shaanxi-provinces-China.
  2. ^ Summary of the story given in the definition of 夸父追日 in 现代汉语词典 [Contemporary Chinese Dictionary] (in Chinese) (7th ed.). Beijing: The Commercial Press. 2016-09-01. pp. 513, 755. ISBN 978-7-100-12450-8.
  3. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica Online Concise
  4. ^ Pulleybank, Edwin G. "Ji 姬 and Jiang 姜: The Role of Exogamic Clans in the Organization of the Zhou Polity" (PDF). Early China, 25. 2000.
  5. ^ C.Michael Hogan, Silk Road, North China, The Megalithic Portal, ed. Andy Burnham
  6. ^ "17,000 Houses Collapse, 200,000 Evacuated in Flood-Hit China, Agence France-Presse 2 sept 03". Archived from the original on 2006-02-10. Retrieved 2006-03-21.
  7. ^ J.X Song, Z.X. Xu, C.M. Liu, H.E. Li, Ecological and environmental instream flow requirements for the Wei River - the largest tributary of the Yellow River, 24 Jan. 2007

Coordinates: 34°36′42″N 110°17′20″E / 34.61167°N 110.28889°E

Battle of Tong Pass (211)

The Battle of Tong Pass, also known as the Battle of Weinan, was fought between the warlord Cao Cao and a coalition of forces from Guanxi (west of Tong Pass) between April and November 211 in the late Eastern Han dynasty of China. The battle was initiated by Cao Cao's western expansion, which triggered uprisings in Guanxi. Cao Cao scored a decisive victory over the Guanxi coalition and established a hold of the Guanzhong region.

Battle of Wei River

The Battle of Wei River (濰水之戰) was fought in 204 BC between the Han and a combined force of Qi and Western Chu. The famous General Han Xin led the Han force, while the Qi were led by Prince Tian Guang (田廣), and the Chu by Long Ju (龍且). It was one of the most important battles of the Chu-Han Contention.

In 205 BC, Han Xin had captured most of the modern Hebei and Shanxi provinces, the principalities of Zhao, and Dai, and was starting to march on the principality of Qi. Prince Tian Guang, persuaded by noted diplomat Li Yiji (酈食其), had decided to acknowledge the leadership of Han and its king, Liu Bang. However, Liu Bang did not officially notify Han Xin. Ignorant of Prince Tian Guang's intentions, Han Xin decided to launch a surprise attack against Qi, under the counsel of Kuai Tong. Tian Guang's forces were completely surprised. Tian Guang fled and sought assistance from King Xiang Yu of Western Chu, pledging fealty. Xiang Yu sent a strong expeditionary force, including some elite cavalry, under Long Ju to relieve Qi.

Han Xin knew that Long, noted for his personal bravery and fighting prowess, was too arrogant. The night before the battle, he set a trap for Long by building a makeshift dam with sandbags to lower the water level in the Wei river. Long was counselled to fight a slow battle of attrition since he had forces to spare (the force ratio was about 1:3 in favour of Chu). Long declined, believing he had overwhelming forces and that Han Xin was a coward, as a result of an incident when Han Xin served in the Chu forces. (Han Xin had crawled between the legs of some thugs to avoid a conflict when he was outnumbered.)

The next morning, Han Xin marched across the lowered river and attacked Long's forces. Then, he made a strategic retreat by tricking Long into charging his army across the river. When about one quarter of the Chu army had crossed, Han signalled for his men to open the dam. That succeeded in drowning many of the Chu soldiers and isolating Long Ju, with only a fraction of his force. Cut off by the river, Long Ju had nowhere to go and was cut down in battle. The rest of the Chu army disintegrated, when Han Xin continued to press his attack. Prince Tian Guang fled and was eventually caught and killed.

This battle was strategically significant since it cost Xiang Yu between half and a third of his forces, including many veterans, depleted Chu of important reserves and prevented any future possibility of Xiang Yu fighting successfully on two fronts. Eventually, Xiang Yu lost the war.

It is not known why Xiang Yu did not lead the Chu army into battle himself to fight against the now well regarded Han Xin.

Chu–Han Contention

The Chu–Han Contention (206–202 BC) was an interregnum between the Qin dynasty and the Han dynasty in Chinese history. Following the collapse of the Qin dynasty in 206 BC, Xiang Yu split the former Qin Empire into the Eighteen Kingdoms. Two major contending powers emerged, Western Chu and Han, which engaged in a struggle for supremacy over China. Western Chu was led by Xiang Yu, while the Han leader was Liu Bang. Several minor kings also warred, but these were largely independent of the main conflict between Western Chu and Han. The war ended in 202 BC with total victory for Han, with Liu Bang soon proclaiming himself first emperor of the Han dynasty.

Fufeng County

Fufeng County (simplified Chinese: 扶风县; traditional Chinese: 扶風縣; pinyin: Fúfēng Xiàn) is a county under the administration of the prefecture-level city of Baoji, in the west-central part of Shaanxi Province, China. The county lies on the north bank of the Wei River between Xi'an, 110 km (68 mi) to the east, and Baoji, 95 km (59 mi) to the west.

It has a land area of 751 km2 (290 sq mi), and a population of 460,000.The township of Famen contains the Famen Temple and Zhouyuan Museum (in Zhaochen Village).

Gallery road

The archaeological gallery roads (棧道) were roads through remote mountain areas of China. They consisted of wooden planks erected on holes cut into the sides of cliffs. They were most notably used in the Qin Mountains linking the Wei River and the Han River valleys. The first gallery roads were built during the Warring States period (476-221 BC) and used by Qin to invade Shu and Ba. They were fully consolidated into a thriving network during the Han Dynasty. Before the 20th century, very primitive versions were used in the western gorges of the Pamir Mountains.


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.

Jing River

The Jing River (Chinese: 泾河) or Jing He (Pinyin: Jīng Hé), also called Jing Shui (Chinese: 泾水), is a tributary of the Wei River (Chinese: 渭河), which in turn is the largest tributary of the Yellow River.

The Jing River flows for 455.1 kilometres (282.8 mi), with a basin area of 45,000 square kilometres (17,000 sq mi). The river's flow varies greatly throughout the year, and soil erosion causes serious problems in its basin. Summer floods cause the Jing to be laden with sediment; in the dry season, the river flows with relatively clear water.

Water in the Jing River comes from Mount Liupan in Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region and flows through Gansu and Shaanxi, where it joins the Wei River in Gaoling County.

According to Chinese mythology a Dragon King ruled over the river.

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.

Luo River (Shaanxi)

Luo River, also known by its Chinese name as the Luo He, is a tributary of the Wei River. It flows through the Loess Plateau and has a length of about 680 kilometers (420 mi).

Northern Liang

The Northern Liang (Chinese: 北涼; pinyin: Bĕi Liáng; 397-439) was a state of the Sixteen Kingdoms in China. It was founded by the Xiongnu Juqu family, although they initially supported the Han official Duan Ye as prince, they overthrew him in 401 and took over the state for themselves.

All rulers of the Northern Liang proclaimed themselves "wang" (translatable as "prince" or "king").

Most Chinese historians view the Northern Liang as having ended in 439, when its capital Guzang (姑臧, in modern Wuwei, Gansu) fell to Northern Wei forces and its prince Juqu Mujian was captured. However, some view his brothers Juqu Wuhui and Juqu Anzhou, who subsequently settled with Northern Liang remnants in Gaochang (高昌, in modern Turpan Prefecture, Xinjiang), as a continuation of the Northern Liang, and thus view the Northern Liang as having ended in 460 when Gaochang fell to Rouran and was made a vassal.

It was during the Northern Liang that the first Buddhist cave shrine sites appear in Gansu Province. The two most famous cave sites are Tiantishan ("Celestial Ladder Mountain"), which was south of the Northern Liang capital at Yongcheng, and Wenshushan ("Manjusri's Mountain"), halfway between Yongcheng and Dunhuang. Maijishan lies more or less on a main route connecting China and Central Asia (approximately 150 miles (240 km) west of modern Xi'an), just south of the Weihe (Wei River). It had the additional advantage of located not too distant from a main route that also ran N-S to Chengdu and the Indian subcontinent.

In 439, remnants of the Northern Liang royal family fled to Gaochang to found a new kingdom, led by Juqu Wuhui and Juqu Anzhou where they would hold on to power until 460 when they were conquered by the Rouran. The remnants of the Juqu family were slaughtered.

Ordos Plateau

The Ordos Plateau or the Ordos is the land enclosed by the Ordos Loop, a large rectangular bend of the Yellow River in northern China. The Great Wall of China cuts across the center, roughly separating the sparsely populated north—considered the Ordos proper—from the agricultural south, known as the Loess Plateau. The Wei River valley, which cuts horizontally across the south of the loop, was one of the cradles of Chinese civilization and remains densely populated, including Xi'an, which long served as the capital of China. The Ordos Desert in the north is administered by Inner Mongolia.

The area is of high archaeological interest. Skeletal remains and artifacts show the Ordosian culture occupied the area in the Upper Paleolithic. The late Neolithic saw the development or introduction of the Zhukaigou culture, which was followed by the iron-wielding Ordos culture.

Wei River (Shandong)

The Wei River (Chinese: 卫河, p Wèi Hé, also spelled as Wey River) of Shandong Province is a 283-kilometre (176 mi) long tributary of the Hai River. Beginning in the southern foothills of the Taihang Mountains in Xinxiang County of Henan Province, the Wei River meets the Grand Canal at Linqing in northwest Shandong province and more or less parallels the Yellow River at some distance for a several kilometers before flowing into the Hai River near Tianjin.

This river is not related to the larger Wei River (渭河, p Wèi Hé) that has its source in Gansu neither to the small Wei River (潍河) that passes by the town of Zhucheng (in Shandong, too).

Wei River (Xiang tributary)

The Wei or Weishui River (simplified Chinese: 沩水河; traditional Chinese: 溈水河; pinyin: Wéishuǐ Hé), begins in Weishan Township, is 117.2 kilometres (72.8 mi) long, and has a drainage basin of 2,125 square kilometres (820 sq mi). It is the largest river in Ningxiang City and one of the largest tributaries of the Xiang River.Wei River's main tributaries include Huangjuan River (黄涓水), Duan River (塅溪), Mei River (梅溪), Tiechong River (铁冲河), Yutang River (玉堂水), Chu River and Wu River. The river passes places such as Huangcai Town, Hengshi Town, Shuangfupu Town, Dachengqiao Town, Batang Town, Huilongpu Town, Baimaqiao Township, Yutan Town, Lijingpu Township, and Shuangjiangkou Town, and empties into the Xiang River in Wangcheng District.

Weinan Weihe Grand Bridge

The Weinan Weihe Grand Bridge is a part of the Zhengzhou–Xi'an High-Speed Railway which connects Zhengzhou and Xi'an, in China. The bridge is 79,732 metres (261,588 ft; 49.543 mi) long crossing the Wei River twice, as well as many other rivers, highways and railways. Upon its completion, it was the longest bridge in the world, but surpassed by two new bridges on Beijing–Shanghai High-Speed Railway that completed in 2010.

The bridge was completed in 2008 but the railway line itself did not open until February 6, 2010.

Western Zhou

The Western Zhou (Chinese: 西周; pinyin: Xīzhōu; c. 1045 – 771 BC) was the first half of the Zhou dynasty of ancient China. It began when King Wu of Zhou overthrew the Shang dynasty at the Battle of Muye and ended when the Quanrong nomads sacked its capital Haojing and killed King You of Zhou in 771 BC.

The Western Zhou early state was successful for about seventy-five years and then slowly lost power. The former Shang lands were divided into hereditary fiefs which became increasingly independent of the king. In 771, the Zhou were driven out of the Wei River valley; afterwards real power was in the hands of the king's nominal vassals.


Xianyang (Chinese: 咸阳; pinyin: Xiányáng) is a prefecture-level city in central Shaanxi province, situated on the Wei River a few kilometers upstream (west) from the provincial capital of Xi'an. Once the capital of the Qin dynasty, it is now integrated into the Xi'an metropolitan area, one of the main urban agglomerations in inland China, with more than 7.17 million inhabitants, its built-up area made of 2 urban districts (Qindu and Weicheng) was 945,420 inhabitants at the 2010 census. It has a total area of 10,213 square kilometres (3,943 sq mi).

Yangling District

Yangling District (simplified Chinese: 杨陵区; traditional Chinese: 楊陵區; pinyin: Yánglíng Qū) is a district of the city of Xianyang, Shaanxi province, People's Republic of China, located on the plains of Wei River. It has an area of 94 square kilometres (36 sq mi) and a population of 155,000. The district is roughly 80 kilometres (50 mi) to the west of the provincial capital Xi'an.

Zhang River

The Zhang River is a tributary of the Wei River in China. The river commences at the confluence of the rivers Qingzhang (or Clear Zhang, 清漳河) and Zhuozhang (or Turbid Zhang, 浊漳河), where between She county of Hebei and Linzhou of Henan, then joins the Wei River in Guantao county, Hebei. A dam on the Zhang River diverts water into the Red Flag Canal.

Zhengguo Canal

The Zhengguo Canal, Zhengguoqu or Chengkuo Canal (simplified Chinese: 郑国渠; traditional Chinese: 鄭國渠; pinyin: Zhèng Guó Qú), named after its designer, Zheng Guo, is a large canal located in Shaanxi province, China. The canal irrigates the Guanzhong plain, north of Xi'an. Together with the Dujiangyan Irrigation System and Lingqu Canal, it is one of the three biggest water conservation projects before the Qin dynasty in ancient China. The canal connects the Jing river and Luo river, northern tributaries of the Wei River.

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.