Page:The Chinese Empire. A General & Missionary Survey.djvu/308

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By the Rev. John M'Carthy, China Inland Mission.

The province of Yunnan (Cloudy South) is situated in the south-western corner of China proper, and borders on both English and French possessions in Burmah and Tonkin. It possesses an area of 146,680 square miles, with an estimated population of 12,000,000, or the same as Mexico. Being so far removed from the busy sea-bound provinces, and not being in the way of the ordinary traveller, it does not occupy so much of the thought and effort of the Christian Church as its importance would warrant. And yet there is hardly any part of China that has a more exciting ancient history.

It is generally accepted that the inhabitants of this province originally came through Burma from Hindustan. The name given to the district when first mentioned in Chinese history—during the Chau dynasty, 1122-255 B.C.—was Shan-tsan. No particulars are given, the name only being mentioned. It seems to have been afterwards divided into six princedoms, until in the seventh century one prince obtained supreme control. Frequent attacks were made upon these people by their neighbours from the north and east, and during more than a thousand years the aborigines fought desperately with the Chinese for life and home.

Through all these years the people seem to have been able to maintain their independence until A.D. 1252, when Kublai Khan subdued the province, since which time it has been under Imperial rule.