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Changsha (chängˈshäˈ), city (1994 est. pop. 1,198,100), capital of Hunan prov., S China, on the Xiang River. The name, which means “long sandbank,” is derived from an island in the river. Changsha is an agricultural distribution and market center, an important stop on the Beijing-Guangzhou RR, and a river port. The city's manufactures include metalwork, machinery, transport equipment, electric equipment and appliances, electronics, textiles, chemicals, plastics, and metal smelting. It also has lumber mills. Changsha was founded in the early 3d cent. B.C. and has long been noted as a literary and educational center. As Tanzhou it was the capital of the Chu kingdom (10th cent.). It became a treaty port in the early 1900s. Mao Zedong was educated in Changsha, and in 1927 he led a Communist uprising there. The city is the birthplace of many notable Chinese literary figures and statesmen, including Chia Yi, a Han dynasty essayist, and Tseng Kuo-fan, a 19th-century diplomat and general. Changsha is the seat of several institutions of higher learning, notably Hunan Univ. and a medical college. An important Chinese air force base is there.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a city in China, on the Hsiang Chiang; capital of Hunan Province. Population, 825,000 (1970). Ch’angsha is a transportation junction. Industry includes food processing, nonferrous metallurgy, the production of textiles (mainly cotton), and machine building (the manufacture of machine tools, instruments, and agricultural equipment). The city is the center of a rice-growing region.

Settlements existed at what is now Ch’angsha as early as the fifth century B.C. The area was a center for the formation of the ancient Chinese Ch’u kingdom, which played an important political role during the Chan Kuo period (fifth to third centuries B.C). Wood and bronze objects excavated at burials of the period have helped scholars establish the major features of the Ch’u culture, and discoveries of painted human figures have helped in determining the physical type of the people. Ancient Chinese texts inscribed on bamboo tablets have been found near the city. During the rule of the Han Dynasty (third century B.C. to third century AD), the production of lacquer ware and bronze mirrors developed in Ch’angsha.

Under the Ch’in Dynasty (221–207 B.C.), Ch’angsha became the seat of a district. Later it was at various times the seat of a district, region, and prefecture. Under the Ch’ing Dynasty (1644–1911) and after the establishment of a republic it was the capital of Hunan Province.

In 1904 one of the first bourgeois revolutionary organizations in China, the Hua-hsing Hui, was established in Ch’angsha. In 1910 a popular uprising known as the rice revolt took place in the city, and in 1920 one of China’s first Marxist circles arose in Ch’angsha. In 1941 and in 1944 and 1945 the city was occupied by Japanese troops. In August 1949, Ch’angsha was liberated from the rule of the Kuomintang by the People’s Liberation Army of China.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


, Ch'ang-sha
a port in SE China, capital of Hunan province, on the Xiang River. Pop.: 2 051 000 (2005 est.)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005