1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Fu-kien

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search

FU-KIEN (formerly Min), a south-eastern province of China, bounded N. by the province of Cheh-kiang, S. by that of Kwang-tung, W. by that of Kiang-si and E. by the sea. It occupies an area of 53,480 sq. m. and its population is estimated at 20,000,000. The provincial capital is Fuchow Fu, and it is divided into eleven prefectures, besides that ruled over by the prefect of the capital city. Fu-kien is generally mountainous, being overspread by the Nan-shan ranges, which run a general course of N.E. and S.W. The principal river is the Min, which is formed by the junction, in the neighbourhood of the city of Yen-p'ing Fu, of three rivers, namely, the Nui-si, which takes its rise in the mountains on the western frontier in the prefecture of Kien-ning Fu, the Fuh-tun Ki, the source of which is found in the district of Kwang-tsih in the north-west of the province, and the Ta-shi-ki (Shao Ki), which rises in the mountains in the western district of Ning-hwa. From Yen-p'ing Fu the river takes a south-easterly course, and after passing along the south face of the city of Fuchow Fu, empties itself into the sea about 30 m. below that town. Its upper course is narrow and rocky and abounds in rapids, but as it approaches Fuchow Fu the channel widens and the current becomes slow and even. Its depth is very irregular, and it is navigable only by native boats of a small class. Two other rivers flow into the sea near Amoy, neither of which, however, is navigable for any distance from its mouth owing to the shallows and rapids with which they abound. Thirty-five miles inland from Amoy stands the city of Chang Chow, famous for the bridge which there spans the Kin-lung river. This bridge is 800 ft. long, and consists of granite monoliths stretching from one abutment to another. The soil of the province is, as its name, “Happy Establishment,” indicates, very productive, and the scenery is of a rich and varied character. Most of the hills are covered with verdure, and the less rugged are laid out in terraces. The principal products of the province are tea, of which the best kind is that known as Bohea, which takes its name, by a mispronunciation, from the Wu-e Mountains, in the prefecture of Kien-ning Fu, where it is grown; grains of various kinds, oranges, plantins, lichis, bamboo, ginger, gold, silver, lead, tin, iron, salt (both marine and rock), deers' horns, beeswax, sugar, fish, birds' nests, medicine, paper, cloth, timber, &c. Fu-kien has three open ports, Fuchow Fu opened in 1842, Amoy opened to trade in the same year and Funing. The latter port was only opened to foreign trade in 1898, but in 1904 it imported and exported goods to the value of £7668 and £278,160 respectively.