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, province (2010 pop. 54,426,891), c.40,000 sq mi (103,600 sq km), SE China, on the East China Sea. The capital is Hangzhou. The province includes many islands, notably the Zhoushan Archipelago.
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a province in East China, on the coast of the East China Sea. Area, 100,000 sq km. Population, 30.2 million (1976). The capital is Hangchou.
The topography of Chekiang is largely mountainous, with an average elevation of approximately 1,000 m; the maximum elevation is 1,859 m above sea level. The mountainous regions are dissected by river valleys. There are plains in the northern part of the province, along the seacoast, and in the vicinity of the lake T’ai Hu, and there are many islands just off the jagged coastline. Chekiang has a subtropical monsoon climate. The average January temperature is 5°C, and the average July temperature is 27°C. Annual precipitation generally exceeds 1,000 mm, and typhoons often strike the region. The numerous rivers of Chekiang flow mainly through the mountains; the most important rivers are the Fuch’un Chiang and the Wu (Ou) Chiang. Subtropical forests are found on the slopes of the mountains.
Agriculture dominates the economy of Chekiang, with three-fourths of the economically independent population engaged in agricultural work. One-fourth of the land of the province is under cultivation, and approximately 80 percent of that area is irrigated. Rice is the main crop; sweet potatoes, wheat, and maize are also grown. The province has orchards of subtropical fruits, including citrus fruits. Industrial crops include sugarcane, fine-fiber cotton, and jute. More jute is raised in Chekiang than in any other province of the People’s Republic of China; it is cultivated primarily in the vicinity of Hangchou. Fine-fiber cotton is grown on the Ningpo-Shaohsing plain. Chekiang produces more tea than any other Chinese province; tea is grown near the cities of Hangchou, Shaohsing, Suich’uan, and Wenchou. Animal husbandry—including the raising of cattle, swine, sheep, and poultry—is of secondary importance in the province’s agriculture. Sericulture, logging, and fishing are also of some importance in the province’s economy.
In 1971, Chekiang’s industry accounted for 3.5 percent of the gross industrial output of the People’s Republic of China. Fluorite, alunite, pyrite, lithographic stone, and iron ore are mined in the province. Chekiang is also a major supplier of salt from evaporated sea water. Electricity is produced primarily by hydroelectric power plants on such rivers as the Hsinan Chiang and the Wu Chiang.
The most highly developed branches of light industry are the processing of silk, jute, and cotton; tea processing is the most highly developed branch of the food-processing industry. The machine-building industry in Chekiang includes shipbuilding and the manufacture of textile machinery, agricultural equipment, and machine tools. The city of Wenchou has a porcelain factory, and Hangchou and Chiahsin have paper factories. The main industrial centers of the province are the cities of Hangchou, Ning-po, and Chiahsin, all of which are located in the northern part of the province and linked with the Shanghai industrial complex. The seaports of the province are Hangchou, Wenchou, and Chenhai, which is the outport of Ningpo.
I. M. FEDOROV
The area that is now Chekiang Province was inhabited in ancient times by Man tribes. From the sixth to fourth centuries B.C., various parts of the area belonged to the Wu, Yüeh, and Ch’u kingdoms. During the fourth through sixth centuries A.D., the area was settled increasingly by Chinese. It was part of the Chiangnan Region in the seventh and eighth centuries and part of Chetung and Chehsi regions in the ninth through 11th centuries. From 1127 to 1179, Hangchou was the capital of the Southern Sung Empire. In the 12th and 13th centuries, the area was part of Chiangche Region. In the 13th century it was linked with Peking by the Grand Canal.
The area received the name “Chekiang” in the 14th century, and in the mid-17th century it was made a province. Chekiang long played an important role in the maritime commerce of China and in the country’s fishing and silk industries. After China’s defeat in the Anglo-Chinese War of 1840–42 (First Opium War), foreign capital began penetrating the province. From 1860 to 1864 virtually all of Chekiang was under the control of Taiping rebels.
From 1930 to 1934, the western part of Chekiang Province provided a base for the movement to establish soviets, or local centers of revolutionary democratic power. From 1937 to 1945 the province was occupied by the Japanese. In May 1949 the mainland part of Chekiang was liberated from the Kuomintang by the People’s Liberation Army of China; the island of Choushan was liberated in May 1950.
V. P. ILIUSHECHKIN