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Yun-Nan - Encyclopedia

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YUN-NAN (i.e. Cloudy South), a S.W. province of China, bounded N. by Sze-ch'uen, E. by Kwei-chow and Kwang-si, S. by Burma and the Lao tribes and W. by Burma and Tibet; area estimated at from to 1 4 6,000 sq. m. Though the second largest province of the empire, its population is estimated at only 12,000,000. The inhabitants include many races besides Chinese, such as Shans, Lobos and Maotsze. The Musus, in N.W. Yun-nan, once formed an independent kingdom which extended into E. Tibet. Many of the inhabitants are nominally Moslems. The greater part of the province may be said to consist of an extensive plateau, generally from 5000 to 7000 ft. in altitude, containing numerous valley plains, which is divided in the N. by mountain ranges that enter at the N.W. corner and separate the waters of the Yangtsze-kiang, the Mekong and the Salween. The mountains attain heights of 16,000 ft. The climate is generally healthy and equable; on the plateau the summer heat seldom exceeds 86°, and in winter there is little snow. The principal rivers are the Yangtszekiang (locally known as the Kinsha-kiang=Golden Sand river), which enters Yun-nan at its N.W. corner, flows first S.E. and then N.E., forming for a considerable distance the N. boundary of the province; the Mekong, which traverses the province from N. to S. on its way to the sea through Annam; the Salween, which runs a parallel course through its W. portion; and the headwaters of the Songkoi, which rises in the S.E. of the province. This last-named river is navigable from the Gulf of Tongking to Man-hao, a town ten days' journey from Yun-nan Fu. There are two large lakes - one in the neighbourhood of Ta-li Fu, which is 24 m. long by 6 m. broad, and the other near Yun-nan Fu, which measures from 70 to 80 m. in circumference.

Besides run-nan Fu, the capital, the province contains thirteen prefectural cities, several of which - Teng-ch`uen Fu, Ta-li Fu, Yung-ch`ang Fu, Ch`u-siung Fu and Lin-gan Fu, for example - are situated in the valley plains. Mengtsze, Szemao and Momein. (or Teng-yueh) are open to foreign trade. Yun-nan Fu is connected by railway (1910) with Tongking. The line hich starts from Haiphong runs, in Yun-nan, via Mengtsze hsien (a great commercial centre), to the capital. Several important roads intersect the province; among them are - I. The road from Yun-nan Fu to Bhamo in Burma via Ta-li Fu (12 days), Teng-yueh Chow or Momein (8 days) and Manwyne - beyond Ta-li Fu it is a difficult mountain route. The road from Ta-li Fu N. to Patang via Li-kiang Fu, which thus connects W. Yun-nan with Tibet. 3. The ancient trade road to Canton, which connects Yun-nan Fu with Pai-se Fu, in Kwang-si, on the Canton West River, a land journey which occupies about twenty days. From this point the river is navigable to Canton.

Agricultural products include rice and maize (the principal crops), wheat, barley and oats. The poppy was formerly extensively cultivated, but after the anti-opium edict of 1906 vigorous measures were taken to stamp out the cultivation of the plant. In certain localities the sugar-cane is grown. Tea from Pu-erh Fu in S. Yun-nan is appreciated throughout the empire. Fruits and vegetables are plentiful, and there are large herds of buffaloes, goats and sheep. Silkworms are reared. The chief wealth of Yun-nan consists, however, in its minerals. Copper is the most important of the minerals worked. Silver and gold are produced, but they are not known to exist in any large quantities. Lead is of frequent occurrence, and indeed the area through which copper, silver, lead, tin and zinc are distributed in sufficient quantities to make mining answer, comprises at least 80,000 sq. m. Coal is also found and several salt mines are worked. The ores are generally of good quality, and are easy of extraction. Cotton yarn and cloth, petroleum, timber and furs are among the chief imports; copper, tin, hides and tea are important exports; medicines in the shape not only of herbs and roots, but also of fossils, shells, bones, teeth and various products of the animal kingdom; and precious stones, principally jade and rubies, are among the other exports.

Yun-nan, long independent, was subdued by Kublai Khan, but was not finally incorporated in the empire until the 17th century. It was the principal centre of the great Mahommedan rebellion, which lasted sixteen years and was suppressed in 1872. Even in 1910 the province had not wholly recovered from the effects of that struggle and the barbarity with which it was stamped out. The opening of Christian (Protestant) mission work in Yun-nan began in 1877, and was one result of the murder of Mr Margary (see China, History, § D). See H. R. Davies, Yun-nan, the Link between India and the Yangtze (Cambridge, 1909); A. Little, Across Yunnan (London, 1910); Rev. J. M`Carthy, "The Province of Yunnan," in The Chinese Empire (London, 1907); L. Richard, Comprehensive Geography of the Chinese Empire (Shanghai, 1908).

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