Page:The Chinese Empire. A General & Missionary Survey.djvu/277

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THE PROVINCE OF SHANSI By Mr. Albert Lutley, China Inland Mission.

The province of Shansi lies between Shensi and Chihli, and north of Honan. The Yellow Eiver bounds it on the west and partly on the south. A long range of mountains divides it from the provinces of Shantung and Chihli on the east, thus giving it the name of Shansi (" West of the Mountains "). The north is traversed by two arms of the Great Wall, though at a considerable distance from its present frontier.

The eastern and western portions of the province consist of high, undulating tablelands, which in many places rise into mountain ranges varying from 4000 feet to 8000 feet above the sea.

The western part is, generally speaking, poor, and the hills are almost devoid of trees; but the eastern portion abounds in mineral wealth, and in not a few districts the hills are well covered with pines or firs. It is thought by European experts that this is one of the largest and richest coalfields in the world. Baron Richthofen estimated that there are some 13,500 square miles of anthracite coal- fields with seams varying from 20 to 30 feet in thickness. Between these tablelands there are several rich, fertile plains. The provincial capital, Taiyuan {i.e. " The Great Plain "), is situated on the northern border of the largest of these, and derives its name from it. This plain contains about 2000 square miles, and is nearly 100 miles from

north to south. It is thickly populated, containing eleven