1902 Encyclopedia > China > Chinese Provinces (18) - Yun-nan [Yunnan]

(Part 14)


Province 18: Yun-nan [Yunnan]

The province of Yun-nan, "South of the Clouds," is bounded on the N. by Sze-chuen, on the E. by Kwei-chow and Kwang-se, on the S. by Burman and the Lao tribes, and on the W. by Burmah and Tibet. It occupies an area of 107,969 square miles, but though thus the second largest province of the empire, its population is estimated at only 5,561,320, and probably this number is at the present time, in consequence of the long continuance and violent extinction of the Panthay rebellion, excessive. The greater part of the province may be said to consist of an extensive plateau, containing numerous valley plains, which is divided in the northern portion by mountains ranges that enter at the north-west corner of the province and separate the waters of the Kin-sha-keang, the Meikon, and the Salwein. Besides Yun-nan Foo, the capital, the province contains twenty prefectural cities, several of which—Tung-chuen Foo, Yun-nan Foo, Ta-le Foo, Yung-chang Foo, Tsoo-heung Foo, and Ling-gan Foo, for example—are situated in the valley plains just spoken of. The principal rivers are the Meikon, which traverses the province from north to south on its way to the China Sea through Anam; the Salwein, which runs a parallel course through its western portion; the Kin-sha-keang, which runs first in a south-east and then in an easterly direction through the north of the province; and the head-waters of the Songka, which takes its rise in the south-eastern part of the province. This last-named river forms a navigable communication from Yun-nan to the Gulf of Tong-king where it empties itself into the sea. The navigation commences at man-haou, a town only ten days’ journey from Yun-nan Foo, and it thus affords an easy outlet for the mining districts of eastern and souther Yun-nan. There are two large lakes in the province,—one in the neighbourhood of Ta-le Foo, which is 24 miles in length by 6 miles in breadth, and the other near Yun-nan Foo, which measures from 70 to 80 miles in circumstances. Several important roads intersect the province, the chief of which are—1. The road from Yun-nan Foo to Bhamo in Burmah viâ Ta-le Foo (12 days), Tang-yue Chow or Momien (8 days), and Manwyne,—an easy road as far as Ta-le Foo, but beyond this city the mountain ranges spoken of above present obstacles of no little difficulty; 2. The road from Ta-le Foo northwards to batang viâ Le-keang Foo, which thus connects western Yun-nan with Tibet; 3. The road spoken of in the description of Sze-chuen, from Ta-le Foo to Ching-too Foo viâ Ning-yuen Foo and Ya-chow Foo; 4. The road from Yun-nan Foo to seu-chow Foo, viâ Tung-chuen Foo and Chaou-tung Foo; 5. The road from the same city to Wang-ping Chow, in Kwei-chow, viâ Kwei-yang Foo, and down the Yuen River to Chang-tih Foo in Hoo-nan; and 6. the ancient and important trade road to Canton. This route connects Yun-nan Foo with Pih-se Foo, in Kwang-se, on the canton west river, a land journey which occupies about twenty days. From this point the river furnishes in quiet time an easy communication with canton, but of late owing to the disturbed condition of Kwang-se, this route has been little used. The agricultural products of the province are fully sufficient to supply the wants of the inhabitants, but its chief wealth lies in the minerals with which it abounds. On this subject Baron von Richthofen says, "We are now in an extremely remarkable region, which is highly worthy a detailed examination, because a great variety and quality of metalliferous deposits are distributed throughout its extent. The country so distinguished comprehends nearly the whole of yun-nan, from Ta-kwan-ting in the north of Po-urh Foo in the south, and from the eastern boundary of the province to Tang-yue Chow (Momien) in the west. Besides, it extends across the yang-tsze, and comprises the whole department of Ning-yuen Foo, till Tsing-ke-Heen, a district of Ya-chow Foo; and in the east, the district of Wei-ning Chow in Kwei-chow. There are no positive indications to show that the metalliferous region extends beyond those limits to the south, west, and north, but this is different as regards the direction to the east, or rather north-east. I have had several statements given me concerning the occurrence of ores of copper and silver through a large portion of Kwei-chow; but as no mines are worked outside of Wei-ning Chow, the statement cannot be considered as proved. It is, however, a remarkable fact, that immediately adjoining the metalliferous region of Yun-nan to the north-east, commences a belt distinguished by the occurrence of quicksilver and its ores. It extends through the whole width of the province of Kwei-chow. Quicksilver is found only in this belt, and not in Yun-nan."

Silver and gold are among the metals produced in Yun-nan, but they are not known to exist in any large quantities. Lead is of frequent occurrence in the province, and indeed the are through which copper, silver, lead, tin, and zinc are distributed in sufficient quantities to make mining answer, comprises at least 80,000 square miles. The ores are generally of good quality, and are so deposited as to be easy of extraction. Tea from Po-urh Foo, in southern Yun-nan, which is well known and appreciated throughout the empire; opium of an inferior quality; medicines in the shape not only of herbs and roots, but also of fossil shells, bones, teeth, and various products of the animal kingdom; and precious stones, principally jade and rubies, are among the other exports from Yun-nan.

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