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Summary Article: Shandong
from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

Province of east China, bounded to the north by the Bohai Gulf, to the east by the Yellow Sea, to the south by Jiangsu and Anhui, and to the west by Henan and Hebei provinces; area 153,300 sq km/59,200 sq mi; population (2013 est) 97,333,900. It is one of the most densely populated provinces of China. The capital is Jinan. There are coal, oil, petrochemical, engineering, and textile industries. Cereals, cotton, peanuts, wild silk, and wine are produced.

History Settled as early as the 3rd millennium BC, Shandong was one of the cradles of Chinese civilization; oracle bones with early forms of Chinese writing have been excavated at sites in the province. In the Spring and Autumn, and Warring States periods (8th to 3rd century BC), Shandong was divided between the two states of Qi and Lu. The philosophers Confucius (551–479 BC) and Mencius (372–289 BC) were natives of Shandong at that time, as later were the poet Li Qingzhao (1084–1151), and the pioneer folklorist Pu Songling (1604–1715).

In 1121 Liangshan, on the south bank of the Huang He in the east of the province, was the base of the rebels later celebrated in the popular tale The Water Margin, reworked by the 14th-century novelist Luo Guan Zhong. In 1898 Germany and Britain leased naval bases in the peninsula, at Jiaozhou and Weihai. Germany developed its territory into the port and industrial city of Qingdao, and made it a base for economic exploitation of the province, building the railway line to Jinan, and developing the coal fields around Zibo. Qingdao was occupied by Japan in 1914, and was returned to China in 1922 in return for concessions elsewhere. Britain surrendered its lease on Weihai in 1930. Japan occupied the whole province between 1937 and 1945, during which time Shandong's coal industry was further developed.

Geography The eastern half of the province forms the Shandong Peninsula, dividing the Bohai Gulf from the Yellow Sea. Its relief consists of two upland areas separated by a central depression about 80 km/50 mi wide. The central upland contains the sacred Mount Tai. The Huang He River crosses the province and enters the sea to the north of the peninsula. Over the centuries the mouth of this river has changed a great deal, causing widespread flooding and destruction in the province; from the 12th century to the mid-19th century the river reached the sea to the south of the peninsula. The province contains the Grand Canal Towns and ports include Zibo, Yantai, Weihai, and Qingdao.

Climate Winters are cold in Shandong, with January average temperatures ranging from −1°C/30°F in the southeast to −5°C/23°F in the west. Summers are hot, with July average temperatures varying from 24°C/75°F on the north coast of the peninsula to 28°C/82°F inland. Rain falls mostly in the summer, and the annual average ranges from 1,170 mm/46 in in the southeast to 560 mm/22 in in the west.

Economy A wide variety of crops are grown including wheat, maize, cotton, tobacco, peanuts, and fruit. The province is renowned for its silks and wines.

Large coal deposits are mined in the centre and south of the province from Zibo to Zaozhuang. The Shengli oilfield at Dongying in the Huang He delta is China's second largest. Iron ore is mined around Zibo and gold deposits are exploited on the northern side of the peninsula. Limestone is extensively quarried to make cement.

Shandong's urban economy is based on its energy and other resources, its agricultural produce, and its coastal location. Textile and food-processing industries are widespread across the province, being important in cities of the interior, such as Dezhou, Heze, and Jining, as well as those on the peninsula. Shandong's wild silk and cotton fabrics are sold abroad as well as elsewhere in China, while China's internationally known brands of beer and wine are made in Qingdao.

The province's oilfields supply refineries and petrochemical industries at Zibo and Qingdao. Iron and steel are smelted in Zibo, where local coal powers potteries at Boshan and glassmaking factories. Jinan and Qingdao support more varied industries; engineering is important, with machinery, machine tools, chemicals, and heavy lorries, as well as the more traditional silks, at Jinan, while textiles, locomotives, chemicals, and tyres, as well as consumer goods such as televisions and washing machines, are produced at Qingdao. Export-processing industries, electronics, and the manufacture of precision machinery and pharmaceuticals developed in the peninsula after the Shandong Peninsula Open Economic Area was designated in 1984, particularly at Qingdao, Yantai, and Weihai. Tourism is important along the coast as well as at Qufu and Mount Tai. Coal from Yanzhou in the south of the province is exported from Rizhao (formerly Shijiusuo).

© RM, 2018. All rights reserved.

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