1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Kwei-Chow

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KWEI-CHOW, a south-western province of China, bounded N. by Sze-ch‛uen, E. by Hu-nan, S. by Kwang-si, and W. by Yun-nan. It contains 67,000 sq. m., and has a population of about 8,000,000. Kwei-yang Fu is the provincial capital, and besides this there are eleven prefectural cities in the province. With the exception of plains in the neighbourhood of Kwei-yang Fu, Ta-ting Fu, and Tsun-i Fu, in the central and northern regions, the province may be described as mountainous. The mountain ranges in the south are largely inhabited by Miao-tsze, who are the original owners of the soil and have been constantly goaded into a state of rebellion by the oppression to which they have been subjected by the Chinese officials. To this disturbing cause was added another in 1861 by the spread of the Mahommedan rebellion in Yun-nan into some of the south-western districts of the province. The devastating effects of these civil wars were most disastrous to the trade and the prosperity of Kwei-chow. The climate is by nature unhealthy, the supply of running water being small, and that of stagnant water, from which arises a fatal malaria, being considerable. The agricultural products of the province are very limited, and its chief wealth lies in its minerals. Copper, silver, lead, and zinc are found in considerable quantities, and as regards quicksilver, Kwei-chow is probably the richest country in the world. This has been from of old the chief product of the province, and the belt in which it occurs extends through the whole district from south-west to north-east. One of the principal mining districts is K‛ai Chow, in the prefecture of Kwei-yang Fu, and this district has the advantage of being situated near Hwang-p‛ing Chow, from which place the products can be conveniently and cheaply shipped to Hankow. Cinnabar, realgar, orpiment and coal form the rest of the mineral products of Kwei-chow. Wild silk is another valuable article of export. It is chiefly manufactured in the prefecture of Tsun-i Fu.