1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Shan-tung

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SHAN-TUNG (“East of the Mountains”), a maritime province of China, bounded N. by the province of Chih-li and the Gulf of Chih-li, E. by the Yellow Sea, S. by Kiang-su and the Yellow Sea and W. by Chih-li. Area about 56,000 sq. m., population (estimated) 37,500,000. It is the most densely inhabited part of China, and is celebrated as the native province both of Confucius and Mencius. It is divided into ten prefectures, with as many prefectural cities, of which Chi-nan Fu (q.v.), the provincial capital, is the chief.

The physical features of the province are very plainly marked. The centre and eastern are occupied by mountain ranges running N.E. and S.W:, between which lie fertile valleys, while the north-western, southern and western portions form part of the great deltaic plain of the north of China. The mountainous region projects seaward beyond the normal coast line forming a large peninsula, the shores of which are deeply indented and contain some good harbours, such as that of Kiao-chow. The most considerable range of mountains occupies the centre of the province, the highest peak being the T'ai-shan (5060 ft.), a mountain famous in Chinese history for more than 4000 years, and to which hundreds of pilgrims annually resort. The Lao-shan, east of Kiao-chow, fringes the south-eastern coast for about 18 m. With the exception of the Hwang-ho, which traverses the province in a north-easterly direction to the sea, there are no large rivers in Shan-tung. The most considerable are the Wei, which flows into the Gulf of Chih-li; the I-ho, which empties into a lake lying east of the Grand Canalyand the Ta-wen, which rises at the southern foot of the I-sham Mountains and terminates in the Grand Canal. The canal traverses the provinces S. to N. east of the mountain region. There are several lakes, notably the Tu-shan Hu, which borders on the Grand Canal in the south-west. The fauna includes wild boars, wolves, foxes, badgers, partridges, quails and snipe. Cotton, silk, coal, grain, &c. are produced in the fertile tracts in the neighbourhood of the lakes. Not being a loess region, the mountains are unproductive, and yield only brushwood and grass, while the plain to the north is so impregnated with salt that it is almost valueless, especially near the sea, for agricultural purposes. The valleys between the mountains and the plain to the south-west are, however, extremely rich and fertile.

The chief wealth of Shan-tung consists in its minerals, the principal of which is coal. Several coal-fields are worked; the most considerable lies in the valley of the Lao-fu river in the centre of the province. Another large field lies on the plain a little to the south of I-chow Fu in the south. A third field is in the district of Wei Hien to the north; and a fourth in the neighbourhood of I-Hien in the south-west. Iron ore, ironstone, gold, galena, lead and copper are also found in considerable quantities in many districts.

Agricultural products are wheat, millet, Indian corn, pulse, arrowroot and many varieties of fruits and vegetables. Rice is grown in the extreme south of the province. Among trees, stunted pines, dwarf oaks, poplars, willows and the cypress are fairly plentiful. The castor-oil plant, is common, and the wax tree grows plentifully in the neighbourhood of Lai-yang in the east, giving rise to a considerable trade in the wax produced by the wax insects. Unlike those of their kind in Sze Ch'uen, the Wax insects of Shan-tung breed and become productive in the same districts. They are placed upon the trees in the spring, and at the close of the summer they void a peculiar substance which when melted forms wax. In the autumn they are taken off the trees, and are preserved within doors until the following spring. Sericulture is an important industry. The worms are fed in the west on mulberry leaves, in the east on those of the dwarf oak, the material made from the silk produced from the oak-fed worms being known as pongee or Chifu silk. The worm itself, after the cocoon has been used, is eaten and is esteemed a delicacy.

Besides Chi-nan Fu, the provincial capital, other inland cities are Tsao-Chow Fu (pop. 150,000) on the Grand Canal. (an industrial centre) and Wei-hsien (100,000), a commercial centre. The ports of Shan-tung include Chifu, Wei-hai-Wei and Kiao-chow (Tsing-tao), all separately noticed.

As part of compensation for the murder of two German missionaries in 1897 in this province—Protestant mission work in Shan-tung dates from 1860—the Germans took possession on lease of the port of Kiao-chow, 300 m. N. of Shanghai, a 36 hours run by steamer, with which were associated many railway and mining rights in the district. In fulfilment of these rights a railway has been constructed connecting Kiao-chow with Chinan-fu, the capital; there it connects with another railway crossing the province north to south and forming part of the Tientsin and Chin-kiang line. In consequence of this acquisition, of territory by Germany and the subsequent seizure of Port Arthur by Russia, Great Britain accepted the lease of Wei-hai-Wei on the same terms. The convention confirming this arrangement was signed on the 1st of Tuly 1898. It was in Shang-tung that the Boxer movement was first turned against foreigners (see China, § History).

See M. Broomhall, The Chinese Empire (London, 1907), pp. 93-100; L. Richard, Comprehensive Geography of the Chinese Empire (Shanghai, 1908), pp. 79-89, and authorities there cited.