1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/I-Ch'ang

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I-CH‛ANG (Yi-ch‛ang, anciently known as Yi-ling), a town of China in the province of Hu-peh, one of the four ports opened to foreign trade by treaty in 1877. It is situated in 30° 42′ N. and (approximately) 111° 20′ E., on the Yangtsze-Kiang, 1000 m. from Shanghai. Built on the left bank of the river where it escapes from the ravines and gorges which for 350 m. have imprisoned its channel, I-ch‛ang is exposed to considerable risk of floods; in 1870 the waters rose 20 ft. in one day, and the town had many of its houses and about half of its wall swept away. The first English vessels to ascend the river as far as I-ch‛ang were those of Admiral Sir James Hope’s expedition in 1861. All cargo to or from Szech‛uen is here transhipped from steamer to junk, or vice versâ. About 10 m. above I-ch‛ang the famed scenery of the Yangtsze gorges begins. Through these the great river runs in a series of rapids, which make navigation by vessels of any size extremely difficult. A very large trade, nevertheless, is carried on by this route between Chungk‛ing and I-ch‛ang. As a local centre of distribution this port is of no great consequence, the transhipment trade with Szech‛uen being almost its sole business. The population is estimated at 35,000. The number of foreign residents is very small, trade being carried on by Chinese agents. Before the anti-opium campaign of 1906 (see China) opium was much grown. The trade of the port amounted in 1899 to £531,229, and in 1904 to £424,442, the principal import being cotton yarn and the principal export opium.