1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Hu-peh

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HU-PEH, a central province of China, bounded N. by Ho-nan, E. by Ngan-hui, S. by Hu-nan, and W. by Shen-si and Szechʽuen. It has an area of 70,450 sq. m. and contains a population of 34,000,000. Han-kow, Ichʽang and Shasi are the three open ports of the province, besides which it contains ten other prefectural cities. The greater part of the province forms a plain, and its most noticeable feature is the Han river, which runs in a south-easterly direction across the province from its north-westerly corner to its junction with the Yangtsze Kiang at Han-kow. The products of the Han valley are exclusively agricultural, consisting of cotton, wheat, rape seed, tobacco and various kinds of beans. Vegetable tallow is also exported in large quantities from this part of Hu-peh. Gold is found in the Han, but not in sufficient quantities to make working it more than barely remunerative. It is washed every winter from banks of coarse gravel, a little above I-chʽêng Hien, on which it is deposited by the river. Every winter the supply is exhausted by the washers, and every summer it is renewed by the river. Baron von Richthofen reckoned that the digger earned from 50 to 150 cash (i.e. about 11/2d. to 41/4d.) a day. Only one waggon road leads northwards from Hu-peh, and that is to Nan-yang Fu in Ho-nan, where it forks, one branch going to Peking by way of Kʽai-fêng Fu, and the other into Shan-si by Ho-nan Fu.