1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Kwang-Tung

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KWANG-TUNG, a southern province of China, bounded N. by Hu-nan, Kiang-si and Fu-kien, S. and E. by the sea, and W. by Kwang-si. It contains an area, including the island of Hainan, of 75,500 sq. m., and is divided into nine prefectures; and the population is estimated at about 30,000,000. Its name, which signifies “east of Kwang,” is derived, according to Chinese writers, from the fact of its being to the east of the old province of Hu-kwang, in the same way that Kwang-si derives its name from its position to the west of Hu-kwang. Kwang-tung extends for more than 600 m. from east to west, and for about 420 from north to south. It may be described as a hilly region, forming part as it does of the Nan Shan ranges. These mountains, speaking generally, trend in a north-east and south-westerly direction, and are divided by valleys of great fertility. The principal rivers of the province are the Si-kiang, the Pei-kiang, or North River, which rises in the mountains to the north of the province, and after a southerly course joins the Si-kiang at San-shui Hien; the Tung-kiang, or East River, which, after flowing in a south-westerly direction from its source in the north-east of the province, empties itself into the estuary which separates the city of Canton from the sea; and the Han River, which runs a north and south course across the eastern portion of the province, taking its rise in the mountains on the western frontier of Fu-kien and emptying itself into the China Sea in the neighbourhood of Swatow. Kwang-tung is one of the most productive provinces of the empire. Its mineral wealth is very considerable, and the soil of the valleys and plains is extremely fertile. The principal article of export is silk, which is produced in the district forming the river delta, extending from Canton to Macao and having its apex at San-shui Hien. Three large coal-fields exist in the province, namely, the Shao-chow Fu field in the north; the Hwa Hien field, distant about 30 m. from Canton; and the west coast field, in the south-west. The last is by far the largest of the three and extends over the districts of Wu-ch‛uen, Tien-pai, Yang-kiang, Yang-ch‛un, Gan-p‛ing, K‛ai-p‛ing, Sin-hing, Ho-shan, Sin-hwang, and Sin-ning. The coal from the two first-named fields is of an inferior quality, but that in the west coast field is of a more valuable kind. Iron ore is found in about twenty different districts, notably in Ts‛ing-yuen, Ts‛ung-hwa, Lung-mēn, and Lu-fēng. None, however, is exported in its raw state, as all which is produced is manufactured in the province, and principally at Fat-shan, which has been called the Birmingham of China. The Kwang-tung coast abounds with islands, the largest of which is Hainan, which forms part of the prefecture of K‛iung-chow Fu. This island extends for about 100 m. from north to south and the same distance from east to west. The southern and eastern portions of Hainan are mountainous, but on the north there is a plain of some extent. Gold is found in the central part; and sugar, coco-nuts, betel-nuts, birds’ nests, and agar agar, or sea vegetable, are among the other products of the island. Canton, Swatow, K‛iung-chow (in Hainan), Pakhoi, San-shui are among the treaty ports. Three ports in the province have been ceded or leased to foreign powers—Macao to Portugal, Hong-Kong (with Kowloon) to Great Britain, and Kwangchow to France.