1902 Encyclopedia > China > Chinese Provinces (17) - Kwei-chow [Guizhou]

(Part 23)


Province 17: Kwei-chow [Guizhou]

The province of Kwei-chow is bounded on the N. by Sze-chuen, on the e. by Hoonan, on the S. by Kwang-se, and on the W. by Yun-nan. It contains 64,554 square miles, and has a population of about 5,288,219. Kwei-yang Foo is the provincial capital, and besides this there are eleven prefectural cities in the province. With the exception of plains in the neighbourhood of Kwei-yang Foo, Ta-ling Foo, and Tsun-e Foo, in the central and northern regions, the province may be described as mountainous. But the very disturbed state in which it has been for many years makes it difficult to gain much information about it. The mountain ranges in the south are largely inhabited by Meaou-tsze, who are the original owners of the soil, and who have been goaded into a state of rebellion by the oppression to which they have been subjected by the Chinese officials. To this disturbing cause has been added also another by the spread of the Mahometan rebellion fo Yun-nan into some of the south-western districts of the province. The devastating effects of these civil wars have been most disastrous to the trade and the prosperity of Kwei-chow. The climate is by nature unhealthy, the supply of running water being small, and that of stagnant water, from which arises a very fatal malaria, being considerable; but it is at the present time rendered still more dangerous by the number of corpses which are left to putrefy in the fields. The agricultural products of the province are very limited, and its chief wealth lies in its minerals. Coppers, silver, lead, and zinc are found in considerable quantities, and as regards quicksilver, Kwei-chow is probably the richest country in the world. It has been from of old the chief products of the province, and the belt in which it occurs extends through the whole province from south-west to north-east. One of the principal mining districts is Kae Chow, in the prefecture of Kwei-yang Foo, and this district has the advantage of being situated near Wang-ping Chow, from which place it can be conveniently and cheaply shipped to Hankow. Cinnabar, realgar, orpiment, and coal form the rest of the mineral products of Kwei-chow. Wild silk is another valuable article of export. It is chiefly manufactured in the prefecture of Tsun-e Foo, where three kinds are produced. The first quality, the trade in which is estimated at about 500,000 taels a year, is chiefly exported to Shen-se, Shan-se, and Peking, while some finds its way to Seang-tan and so into Kwang-se. The inferior kinds are locally consumed.

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