River port and capital of Hubei province, central China, at the confluence of the Han and Chang Jiang rivers; population (2010) 9,785,400. It was formed in 1950 as one of China's greatest industrial areas by the amalgamation of Hankou, Hanyang, and Wuchang, and by the late 20th century, with the advantage of large nearby reserves of coal and iron ore, it had become, after Anshan, the second largest metallurgical centre in China. Iron, steel, heavy machine tools, railway rolling stock, lorries, agricultural machinery, electrical equipment, including fibre optic cables, textiles, cement, fertilizers, and consumer goods including food and drinks, bicycles, watches, and radios are manufactured.
Wuhan was a centre of unrest in both the Taiping Rebellion (1850–64) and the 1911 Chinese Revolution. In 1967, during the Cultural Revolution, there was an uprising here against Mao Zedong.
Location Wuhan comprises the cities of Wuchang, Hankou, and Hanyang. The left bank of the Chang Jiang at this point is divided into two parts by the River Han, which joins the Chang Jiang. Wuchang is situated on the right bank of the Chang Jiang, Hankou on the left bank of the Han, and Hanyang on the right bank of the Han.
The triple city is an important centre of communications at the crossing point of the east–west river system of the Chang Jiang and the most important railway in China, the north-south line between Beijing and Guangzhou. Major bridges have been constructed to carry the railway across the rivers; the one across the Han was built in 1954, and the larger structure across the Chang Jiang, between Hanyang and Wuchang, dates from 1957.
Wuchang Wuchang is the administrative and cultural centre of the municipality, and the location of the Hubei provincial government. It is the oldest of the three cities, and the most traditional part of the conurbation. Cotton and woollen textile mills and railway-repair yards are sited in the city, and a major iron and steel complex has been constructed in the northeastern suburbs. Wuhan University is also situated in the suburbs. Wuchang was the starting-point of the Chinese Revolution in October 1911, which eventually resulted in the overthrow of the Qing dynasty and the establishment of the People's Republic of China.
Hankou Hankou is the largest of the three cities, with about two-thirds of the total population of Wuhan. It is a major commercial and manufacturing centre, having been one of the first of China's inland cities to be opened to foreign trade in 1861. The territorial concessions once held by foreign powers now constitute the manufacturing and business centre of the city. Since 1949 Hankou has experienced considerable industrial development in cotton, silk, and vehicle production, papermaking, ship-repairing, and other manufactures.
Hanyang Hanyang is the major centre for heavy industry in the Wuhan complex. It produces iron and steel and is also noted for the manufacture of armaments. There are large cotton-textile mills.
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