a narrow, low-lying strip of coastland in China, between the Yanshan Mountains and the Gulf of Liaotung of the Yellow Sea. It connects the North China Plain with Northeast China and has a length of approximately 200 km and widths of up to 25 km. The railroad and highway that link Peking with Shenyang run through it.
For many centuries, the corridor was China’s main gateway to the north, and as such it held great strategic importance. In the sixth century, the Chinese began building forts in the corridor, which derives its modern name from the Shanhaikuan Fort, erected in the 14th century; the eastern end of the Great Wall of China was joined to the fort. In May 1644 a battle took place near Shanhaikuan between the rebel forces of Li Tzu-ch’eng and the combined forces of Manchu aggressors and Chinese feudal lords under the leadership of Wu San-kuei. The rebels were defeated in the battle; shortly thereafter, the Manchu forces seized Peking and proceeded to conquer all of China.