Yunnan

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Yunnan

or

Yun-nan

(both: yün`nän) [south of the clouds], province (2010 pop. 45,966,239), c.162,000 sq mi (419,600 sq km), SW China. It borders Myanmar on the west and Laos and Vietnam on the south. KunmingKunming
, city (1994 est. pop. 1,240,000), capital of Yunnan prov., S China, on the northern shore of Dian Chi Lake. It is a major administrative, commercial, and cultural center of S China and leading transportation hub (air, road, rail), with rail connections to Vietnam.
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 is the capital. The average altitude is c.6,500 ft (1,980 m). The eastern half of the province is a limestone plateau with karst scenery and unnavigable rivers flowing through deep mountain gorges; the western half is characterized by mountain ranges and rivers running north and south. These include the Thanlwin and the Mekong. The rugged, vertical terrain produces a wide range of flora and fauna, and the province has been called a natural zoological and botanical garden.

Yunnan has a mild climate with balmy and fair weather, but although the growing period is long, there is little arable land. Agriculture is restricted to the few upland plains, open valleys, and terraced hillsides. Rice is the main crop; corn, wheat, sweet potatoes, soybeans (as a food crop), tea, sugarcane, tobacco, and cotton are also grown. On the steep slopes in the west livestock is raised and timber is cut (teak in the southwest). Yunnan's chief source of wealth, however, lies in its vast mineral resources. It is the country's leading tin producer; other deposits include iron, coal, lead, copper, zinc, gold, mercury, silver, antimony, and sulfur.

China is constructing a series of dams on the Mekong to develop it as a waterway and source of power; the first was completed at Manwan in 1993. Road and railroad traffic has been recently improved, and Kunming is now a transportation center; an important railroad runs from Kunming to Hanoi, Vietnam, while transportation to Myanmar is maintained by the Burma RoadBurma Road,
in China and Myanmar, extending from the railhead of Lashio, Myanmar, to Kunming, Yunnan prov., China. About 700 mi (1,130 km) long and constructed through rough mountain country, it was a remarkable engineering achievement.
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.

There are many minority groups in Yunnan. From ancient times the Chinese invaders gradually pushed the aboriginal tribes into mountain localities, where today, retaining their distinct languages and culture, they populate eight autonomous districts. The Miao, Yao, Lolo, Lao, Shan, Thai, and Lisu are some of the larger tribes; there is also a considerable Tibetan minority. Yunnan Univ. is in Kunming.

Separated by rugged mountains from the central authority in N China, Yunnan for centuries remained independent. In 1253 it was conquered by the Mongols of the Yüan dynasty, which destroyed the Thai kingdom of Nan Chao established there. Yunnan passed to the Manchus in 1659 and became a province of China under the control of the central government. It was the scene of a great Muslim revolt (1855–72). It was a major center of Chinese resistance in World War II, and in 1950 it passed to Communist control.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Yünnan

 

a province in Southwest China. Area, 380,000 sq km. Population, 28 million (1975). The capital is K’unming.

Yünnan, most of which lies on the Yünnan Plateau, has an agricultural and industrial economy. More than 80 percent of the sown area is devoted to the cultivation of food crops, primarily rice, maize, wheat, buckwheat, and potatoes; double-cropping is practiced. Rape, peanuts, tobacco, tea, cotton, sugarcane, and various tropical crops are grown. Cattle—chiefly water buffalo—and swine are raised. Sericulture plays a role in the economy.

About 5 percent of China’s timber is felled in Yünnan. Tin is mined at Kochiu, copper ore at Tungch’uan, lead-zinc ore at Huitse, rock salt at Yangfeng and other cities, and coal at Ip’inglang and Minglang; iron ore is among the other minerals mined in the province. The province has food-processing, lumber, textile, chemical, and cement industries. Metallurgy is dominated by the smelting of tin, primarily at Kochiu. Machine building is represented by the manufacture of machine tools, equipment for the energy and electrical engineering industries, instruments, and motor vehicles. Small-scale cottage production accounts for a large percentage of industrial output. The province’s chief industrial center is K’unming.

In antiquity, Yünnan was inhabited by such nationalities as the Tai, Li, and Miao. In the third and second centuries B.C. several small states existed in the region, the most powerful of which was Tien. The area was seized by the Chinese and became part of the Han Empire in the second century B.C., a period that marks the beginning of Chinese settlement. From the third to sixth centuries Yünnan formed part of various states in South China. In the seventh century the Nan Chao state was formed in Yünnan. Known from the ninth century at Tali, it existed until the 13th century, when it was conquered by the Mongols, who made it part of the Yuan Empire. Yünnan was ruled indirectly from the mid-14th century to the second half of the 17th century, when it became a province.

In 1855, during the peasant war of the Taipings, large uprisings of non-Chinese nationalities began in Yünnan. In 1856 the rebels created their own state, P’ing-nan, and named as its capital Tali, which was destroyed in 1873. In the 1870’s Yünnan became an object of aggression first by Great Britain and later by France. In 1896, France was granted a concession by the Chinese government to build a railroad from Vietnam to K’unming, a project that wa6 completed in 1910, and to develop the province’s mineral resources. During the anti-Japanese war of 1937—45, Yünnan was an important Chinese rear base. By late 1949 the province had been liberated from Kuomintang rule by the People’s Liberation Army of China.

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