1902 Encyclopedia > China > Chinese Provinces (2) - Shan-tung [Shandong]

China
(Part 8)




C. GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF CHINA PROPER

Part 8. Province 2: Shan-tung [Shandong]


The province of
Shan-tung, "or East of the Mountains," is bounded on the N. by the province of Chih-li and the Gulf of Pih-chih-li, on the E. by the Yellow Sea, on the S. by Keang-soo and the yellow Sea, and on th. W. by Chih-li. It contains an area of 65,104 square miles, and the population is estimated to be 30,000,000. It is divided into ten prefectures, with as many prefectural cities, of which Tse-nan Foo, the provincial capital, is the chief. The physical features of the province are very plainly marked. The centre and eastern portions are occupied by a series of mountain ranges running north-east and south-west, between which lie fertile valleys, while the north-western, southern, and western portions form part of the great delta plain of the north of china. The most considerable range of mountains is that which lies to the north of the city of Tai-gan Foo, of which the highest peak is the Tai-shan, a mountain which has been famous in Chinese history for more than 4000 years, and to which at the present day hundreds of pilgrims annually resort. Another important range is the Laou-shan, which fringes the south-eastern coast for about 18 miles. With the exception of the Yellow River, which in its new course 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 Pih-chih-li; the Yih, which empties itself into a lake lying to the east of the Grand Canal; and the ta-wan, which rises at the southern foot of the Yih Mountains and terminates its course in the Grand Canal. There are several lakes in the province, notably the He-shang Hoo and the Nan-shang Hoo, both of which border on the Grand Canal in the south-west. Large quantities of foreign and southern goods are consumed in the populous districts surrounding these lakes, the waters of which afford means of export for the cotton, silk, coal, grain, &c., which are produced in the fertile tracts lying in their neighbourhood. Speaking generally the province is not a fertile one. 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 southwest are, however, extremely rich and fertile. The chief wealth of Shan-tung consist in its minerals, the principal of which is coal. There are four large coal-fields and several smaller ones now being worked in the province, the most considerable of which lies in the valley of the Laou-foo River in the centre of the province. The coal and coke from this district are conveyed by road to the city of Le-tsing on the Yellow River, a distance of about 75 miles, from whence they are exported in all directions. Anpther large field lies on the plain a little to the south of Yih-chow Foo in the south. A third field is in the district of Wei Heen to the north; and a foruth in the neighbourhood of Yih Heen in the south-west. Iron ore, ironstone, gold, galena, lead, and copper are also found in considerable quantities in many parts of the province. The principal agricultural products are wheat, millet, Indian corn, pulse, rice, arrowroot, and many varieties of fruits and vegetables. 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 means of the wax insects. Unlike those of their kind in Sze-chuen, 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. Shan-tung abounds in good harbours, the most noteworthy of which are Chefoo and Wei-hai-wei on the north, and Shih-taou, Kin-kea-kow, and China-taou on the south of the promontory. As being the native province of both Confucius and Mencius, Shan-tung has acquired an undying fame in the Chinese world of literature. Che-foo, the Treaty Port of Shan-tung, is situated on the northeastern coast of the province. The value of the foreign trade from this port amounted in 1874 to £2,597,060, £1,882,144 of which represented the imports, and £714,916 the exports.






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