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, province (2010 pop. 35,712,111), c.60,000 sq mi (155,400 sq km), NE China. The capital is Taiyuan. It is bounded on the west and the south by the Huang He (Yellow River) and on the north by Inner Mongolia. Much of Shanxi is a high plateau region.
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a province in China, in the basin of the middle course of the Huang Ho. Area, 150,000 sq km. Population, 18 million (1975). The capital is the city of T’aiyüan.
Shansi occupies the Shansi Plateau, which constitutes the eastern part of the Loess Plateau and the western slopes of the T’ai-hang Shan. The province has a temperate monsoon climate, with a mean January temperature that ranges from –16°C in the north to –2°C in the south and a mean July temperature of 20°–25°C. Annual precipitation is 400–500 mm. Vegetation in the west and northwest is mostly of the semidesert type; in the east are mixed and broad-leaved forests that have survived mainly in the upper zone of the mountains.
In value of output, Shansi’s economy is dominated by industry, although most of the economically active population is employed in agriculture. The coal, metallurgical, machine-building, chemical, textile, and food-processing industries are highly developed. In addition to T’aiyüan, which accounts for about half the province’s total industrial output, the principal industrial centers are Tat’ung and Yangch’iian. Coal is mined at the Tat’ung, Yang-ch’üan (Chintungnan), Hsit’an (Chinchuang), Luan, Fenhsi, Ningwu, and Hotung coalfields. Shansi produces about one-seventh of China’s coal.
The metallurgical plant in T’aiyüan makes pig iron and steel, including rolled stock. Pig iron is produced in Yangch’üan, Ch’angchi, and Linfen. The machine-building industry, which is of nationwide importance, is represented by heavy machine building in T’aiyüan, textile machine building in Yützu, and textile and agricultural machine building in T’aiyüan and Tat’ung. The chemical industry, whose principal products are soda, acids, and sulfur, is concentrated in T’aiyüan and Yünch’eng.
The textile industry is represented by cotton mills in T’aiyüan and Yützu, and the food-processing industry produces wine, butter, and flour. The province’s handicrafts include silk fabrics, rugs, and metal and porcelain articles. The production of building materials is centered in T’aiyüan and Tat’ung.
Shansi is an ancient farming region. Approximately one-third of the province is under cultivation, and part of the land, mainly in the Fen Ho valley and the Hsinhsien Basin (Yünch’eng), is irrigated. Terracing is practiced on the mountain slopes. More than half the plowland is sown to grains: wheat, foxtail millet, kaoliang, maize, and oats. The major industrial crops are cotton and flax, but sesame, peanuts, rape, and sugar beets are also grown. In the central and southern areas the land is double-cropped. Cattle, donkeys, and mules are raised chiefly for use as draft animals; sheep (in the mountains) and swine are also raised.
S. N. RAKOVSKII
Traces of the Neolithic Yangshao culture and remains of the material culture of the Shang period (16th–11th centuries B.C.) have been discovered in Shansi. The region was part of the Chin state from the seventh to fifth centuries B.C., the Chou kingdom from the fifth to third centuries B.C., the Northern Wei state from the fourth to sixth centuries A.D., the province of Hotung from the seventh to ninth centuries, the Khitan state of Liao from the tenth to 12th centuries, and the Jurchen state of Chin in the 12th and 13th centuries. Shansi received its present name in the 14th century.
In the 17th century, rebel peasant detachments under Li Tzuch’eng were active in Shansi, which was officially formed as a province in the middle of the century. For many years after the Hsinhai Revolution of 1911–13 the province was controlled by the warlord Yen Hsi-shan. From 1937 to 1945, Shansi was occupied by the Japanese. The province was liberated from Kuomintang rule by the People’s Liberation Army of China in April and May 1949.
V. P. ILIUSHECHKIN