Capital of Guangdong province, south China; population (2010) 11,071,400. On the Zhu River, Guangzhou is one of China's major ports, handling some 15% of the country's foreign trade. Industries include steel, shipbuilding, engineering, and the manufacture of automobiles, electronic goods, chemicals, fertilizers, cement, and textiles.
History Guangzhou was China's chief port for foreign trade with a large Arab community by the time of the Tang dynasty (7th–9th centuries). The first European visitors were the Portuguese in 1516. Between 1730 and 1840 it was the only port in China open to European trade. It was a treaty port from 1842 until its occupation by Japan in 1938. The city was the centre of nationalism in China, the republican leader Sun Zhong Shan himself being Cantonese (a native of Guangdong). The Japanese encountered stiff resistance during their invasion of 1938, but Guangzhou eventually fell after the city centre was reduced to rubble and its industrial works demolished by the retreating Chinese army.
The city's boundaries were substantially extended in 1961, making Guangzhou even more of a focal point for trade in southern China.
Features Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall; Shamian Island, former residence of foreign traders; a temple dating from the Ming dynasty; a mosque said to be the oldest in China; the nearby birthplace of the revolutionary leader Sun Zhong Shan (Sun Yat-sen) (1866–1925). The city is a leading centre of higher education, whose institutions include Zhongshan University, a technical university, a school of medicine, and an agricultural college.
Until the 20th century the city was walled, had narrow winding streets, and a great part of the population lived in boats on the river. The municipal council, established in 1918, demolished the old city wall in the 1920s and replaced it by a circular road, 10 km/6 mi long. Guangzhou was linked by rail to Wuhan in 1936.
Economy In the past the city had factories and several hundred small workshops producing hosiery, matches, silk, porcelain, metal, and fancy goods; it also exported tea, silk, and cassia. Later, canned-food factories (many specializing in fruit-processing), sugar refineries, and paper mills were established. Guangzhou's major industries now include sugar-refining, shipbuilding, and the manufacture of newsprint, cement, automobiles, electronics, and chemicals. Huangpu, its outer port, is accessible to ocean-going vessels. Guangzhou is also the market centre for trade carried by small craft along the Pearl River and its tributaries.
Communications Guangzhou is the hub of the road network and rail system in Guangdong province; expressways and high-speed railways link it to Shenzhen and Zhuhai, next to Macau. It is linked by rail to Hong Kong, Beijing, and Shanghai, and has a busy international airport.
Guangzhou street market
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