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Wuhan (wo͞o-hän), city (1994 est. pop. 3,519,600), capital of Hubei prov., central China, at the junction of the Han and Chang rivers. The great industrial, commercial, and transportation center of central China, Wuhan comprises (since 1950) the former cities of Hankou, Hanyang, and Wuchang. Situated in the heart of China, virtually equidistant from Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Chengdu, it is an air, river, and rail hub dominating the middle Chang plain; China's main north-south railroad runs through the city. The Chang is there spanned by a mile-long bridge that accommodates both trains and motor vehicles. The busy port on the Chang, although about 600 mi (970 km) from the sea, handles large oceangoing vessels. Wuhan is one of the most important industrial centers in China; it has the country's second largest concentration of metallurgical facilities. Also in the city are railroad shops, automotive works, textile mills, food-processing establishments, and plants making heavy machinery, glass, cement, fertilizer, electronics, pharmaceuticals, and paper products. The many institutions of higher learning include Wuhan Univ., Central China Technical Univ., and a medical college. A bridge across the Han River links Hankou and Hanyang. Wuhan was the apparent origin of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, and experienced China's highest death rate from the disease and most severe quarantine.
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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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.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, one of the country’s principal economic centers. Capital of Hupeh Province and administrative center of Wuhan Municipality. Formed in 1953 from the three cities of Hank’ou, Hanyang, and Wuch’ang. Population, 3 million (1974).

Wuhan is situated at the confluence of the Han Shui with the Yangtze. An important transportation hub for Central and Southwest China, it has been called the crossroads of nine provinces. The city has a large river port, accessible to oceangoing vessels of medium size; it is a railroad and highway junction and has an airport. Wuhan is a commercial and distribution center for a rich agricultural and mining area. Tea, cotton, rice, and minerals are shipped from the city, and it receives coal, metals, industrial equipment, and other goods and materials.

Wuhan has a metallurgical combine. In addition to machine tools for heavy industry and the textile industry, the city produces boilers, forging and pressing equipment, metal structural members, ball bearings, railroad cars, ships, agricultural machinery, electrical equipment, chemical products, and cement. The city has many enterprises of the food-processing, leather and footwear, and other branches of light industry. Wuhan has a branch of the Academy of Sciences of the People’s Republic of China, research institutes, and higher educational institutions. The two-deck Wuhan bridge was built across the Yangtze in 1957.


Wuhan is an ancient city. In the Chou period (1027–256 B.C.) a settlement developed in the area and became a transportation hub. In the Chan Kuo period (A.D. 220–280) intensive construction was carried out on the site of modern Wuhan. Under the Yuan Dynasty (13th—14th centuries), Wuch’ang became the capital of Hupeh Province. In 1853 it was occupied by the Taiping rebels. Beginning in 1861, foreign concessions were granted in Hank’ou. The Hsinhai Revolution of 1911–13 began in Wuch’ang. The Peking-Hank’ou strike of 1923 was directed from Hank’ou, and during the revolution of 1925–27, the revolutionary government was located in that city from December 1926 to July 1927. From October 1938 to August 1945, Wuhan was occupied by Japanese troops. In May 1949 the People’s Liberation Army of China freed the city from the Kuomintang.

Wuhan does not have a regular street plan. Architectural landmarks include the seven-story Paota Pagoda, built in the 13th century. The city has museums and numerous parks.

Chiehfang (Liberation) Park is the site of a mass grave of Soviet volunteer pilots who perished during the Chinese people’s national liberation war against the Japanese invaders (1937–45).

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


a city in SE China, in Hubei province, at the confluence of the Han and Yangtze Rivers: formed in 1950 by the union of the cities of Hanyang, Hankou, and Wuchang (the Han Cities); river port and industrial centre; university (1913). Pop.: 6 003 000 (2005 est.)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
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