Port and capital of Hunan province, China, on the River Xiang (or Hsiang); population (2010) 3,094,000. It trades in rice, tea, timber, coal, and non-ferrous metals; works antimony, lead, silver, and aluminium; and produces machinery, chemicals, electronics, vehicles, textiles, plastics, porcelain, and embroidered goods.
The political leader Mao Zedong was a student here between 1912 and 1918.
Location Changsha is situated at the confluence of the Xiang and Liuyang rivers, on the Guangzhou–Beijing railway. It lies in the centre of a district rich in both agricultural products and minerals. The commercial quarters are in the north and west of the city, while the southern part is occupied by factories.
Features The Yuelu Shan in the southwest of the city is one of the many sacred peaks of the Heng Shan, which rises to 1,290 m/4,232 ft. At its foot is Hunan University, formerly the site of the Lushan Academy founded in the 12th century. The Hunan Provincial Museum contains artefacts excavated from the Western Han dynasty (206 BC–AD 8) tombs at Mawangdui just outside the city. A memorial garden to Yang Kaihui, Mao Zedong's first wife, was established in 1969 in her home town of Bancang, now a suburb of the city.
History Changsha is an ancient city dating from the 5th century BC, and its position has always been of strategic importance. Under the Qin dynasty (3rd century BC) it was named Linxiang and made the head town of a shire. In 1664 it was made the capital of Hunan. It was opened as a treaty port in 1903, but its foreign trade was much overshadowed by Hankou (now Wuhan). The city was almost completely destroyed by fire started by Jiang Jie Shi's (Chiang Kai-shek's) retreating troops in face of the invading Japanese in 1938; but it withstood three subsequent Japanese offensives between 1938 and 1943. The present city was almost completely rebuilt after the war.