1902 Encyclopedia > China > Chinese Provinces (15) - Kwang-tung [Guangdong]

(Part 21)


Province 15: Kwang-tung [Guangdong]

The province of Kwang-tung is bounded on the N. by Hoo-nan, Keang-se, and Fuh-keen, on the S. and E. by the sea, and on the W. by Juang-se. It contains an area of 79,456 square miles, and is divided into nine prefectures; and the population is estimated at about 19,174,030. Its name, which signifies "east of Kwang," is derived, according to Chinese writers, from the fact of its being to the east of the old province of Hoo-kwang, in the same way that Kwang-se derives its name from its position to the west of Hoo-kwang. Kwang-tung extends for more than 600 miles from E. to W., and for about 420 from N. to S. It may be described as a hilly region, forming part as it does of the Nan Shan ranges. These mountains, speaking generally trend in a north-east and south-westerly direction, and are divided by valleys of great fertility. The principal rivers of the province are the Se-keang, which has been already described; the Pih-keang, or North Rover, which rises in the mountains to the north of the province, and after a southerly course joins the Se-keang at San-Shwuy Heen; the Tung-keang, or East River, which after flowing in a south-westerly direction from its source ion the north-east of the province, empties itself into the estuary which separates the city of canton from the sea; and the Han River, which runs a north and south course across the eastern portion of the province, taking its rise in the mountains on the western frontier of Fuh-keen, and emptying itself into the China Sea in the neighbourhood of Swatow, Kwang-tung is one of the most producti8ve provinces of the empire. Its mineral wealth is very considerable, and the soil of the valleys and plains is extremely fertile. The principal article of export is silk, which is produced in the district forming the river delta, extending from Canton to Macao and having its apex at San-shwuy Heen. The value of the silk and of silken manufacturers, especially textures which are annually exported form Canton in foreign bottoms, is estimated at about 14,000,000 dollars. Tea is also grown in many districts, and is exported annually to the amount of about 3,000,000 dollars; cassia lignea, together with cassia buds and twigs (from the sub0prefecture of Lo-ting, 150 miles east of Canton), matting, fire-crackers, sugar, and palm leaf fans, which are annually exported to the number of 4,000,000 or 5,000,000 to New York alone, are among the other prominent articles of merchandize. Sugar is grown on the banks of almost all the rivers and 40 per cent of the ground under cultivation in the districts of Pwan-yu, Tung-kwan, and Tsang-ching, is occupied by sugar plantations. Out of the total exports from Swatow during the year 1874, which amounted in value to £4,367,739, sugar was put down as representing £1,023,810. Three large coal-fields exist in the province, namely, the Shaou-chow Foo field in the north; the Hwa Heen field distant about 30 miles from Canton; and the west coast, in the south-west. The last is by far the largest of the three, and extends over the districts of Woo-chuen, Teen-pih, yang-keang, Yang-chuen, Gan-ping, Kae-ping, Sin-hing, Ho-shan, Sin-hwang and Sin-ning. The coal from the two first named fields is of an inferior quality, but that in the west coast filed is of a more valuable kind. Iron ore is found in about twenty different districts, notably in Tsing-yuen, Tsung-fa, Lung-mun, and Luh-fung. None, howver, is exported in its raw state, as all which is produced is manufactured in the province, and principally at Fat-shan, which has been called the Birmingham of China. The Kwang-tung coast abounds with islands, the largest of which is Hainan, which forms part of the prefecture of Keung-chow Foo. This island extends for about 100 miles from north to south, and the same distance from east to wets. The southern and eastern portions of Hainan are mountainous, but on the north there is a plain of some extent. Gold is found in the central part; and sugar, cocoa nuts, betel nuts, bird’s nests, and agar agar, or sea vegetable, are among the other products of the island. By the terms of the treaty Keung-chow Foo on the north coast was to be a Treaty Port, and it is now about to be opened to trade. In the province of Kwang-tung there are two Treaty Ports, namely, Canton and Swatow. At Canton the value of the exports carried in foreign vessels during the year 1874 amounted to £4,672,128, and of imports to £1,985,701. The value of the imports to Swatow during the same period was £3,317,297, and of the exports £1,310,321.

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