Page:The Chinese Empire. A General & Missionary Survey.djvu/420

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the Teranchi (colonists from the Tarim basin) against their Chinese oppressors, the Chinese and Manchus were massacred wholesale in 1865. Although the arrival of the Russians, who temporarily took possession of Kuldja, put an end to the bloodshed, it was not before the 2,000,000 inhabitants of the country had been reduced to 139,000. Kuldja is nevertheless more thickly populated than Zungaria, the latter country, which has an area five times greater than Kuldja, having only about double its population.

In 1882 these western countries—Kashgaria, Zungaria, Kuldja, with part of North-Western Kansu—were formed into the new province of Sinkiang. At Urumtsi, which has been chosen as the seat of government for this new province, the Chinese are building a new city, and showing much military activity to resist any possible Russian aggression, quite unaware, however, that that site is regarded by competent observers as indefensible. For further particulars concerning Sinkiang, see the article under that name by Mr. George Hunter.

Kokonor.—Before treating of Mongolia proper, a few words should be devoted to Kokonor, a district distinct both from Tibet and Sinkiang. From Tibet it is separated by a treble mountain barrier, and from Kansu and Sinkiang by the formidable Nan-shan.

Kokonor takes its name from the lake which occupies its centre, a lake from 220 to 240 miles in circumference, with an area varying from 2000 to 2500 square miles. From the colour of its waters this district is sometimes known by the Chinese as Tsing-hai or Blue Sea. The Tsaidam river is from 250 to 300 miles in length, and was 480 yards wide at the place where it was crossed by Prejvalsky. As with the Tien-shan and Altai mountains, the Nan-shan are also well wooded on their northern slopes, but not on the south. This is accounted for by the fact that the most humid atmospheric currents which reach them come from the Polar seas.