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Hunan (湖南 Pinyin: H'nn) is a province of China, located in the middle reaches of the Yangtze River and south of the Dongting Lake (hence the name Hunan, meaning "south of the lake"). Hunan is sometimes called "Xiang" for short, after the Xiang River which runs through the province. Hunan covers an area of 211,800 km and has a population of 64.40 million (2000 population census). Changsha is the capital.

Province Abbreviation(s): Xiang (湘)
Capital Changsha
 - Total
 - % water
Ranked 10th
210,500 km²
 - Total (2000)
 - Density
Ranked 7th
Administration Type Province

Table of contents
1 Administration
2 History
3 Geography
4 Economy
5 Demographics
6 Culture
7 Tourism
8 Colleges and universities


There are 13 prefecture-level cities directly under the provincial juridiction (Changde, Changsha, Chenzhou, Hengyang, Huaihua, Loudi, Shaoyang, Xiantang, Yiyang, Yongzhou, Yueyang, Zhangjiajie and Zhuzhou), 1 autonomous prefecture,the Xiangxi, and 122 counties.


Hunan entered the written history of China around 350 BC, when under the emperors of the Zhou dynasty it became part of the state Chu Empire (Chu State). Until then Hunan was a land of primeval forests, occupied by the Miao, Tujia, Tung (Dong) and Yao peoples, but starting at this time and for hundreds of years thereafter it was a magnet for migration of Han Chinese from the north, who cleared most of the forests and began farming rice in the valleys and plains. To this day, many of the small villages in Hunan are named after the Han families which originally settled there.

Hunan, was, together with Hubei, Guangdong and Guangxi, forming the province of Huguang (湖廣) till Qing dynasty.

Hunan became an important communications center from its position on the Yangzi River (Changjiang) and on the Imperial Highway constructed between northern and southern China. Its land produced grain so abundantly that it fed many parts of China with its surpluses. The population continued to climb until, by the 19th century, Hunan was overcrowded and prone to peasant uprisings.

The Taiping Rebellion (Taiping Tianguo Peasants Uprising or Peaceful Heaven Peasants Uprising) which began to the south in Guangxi Province in 1850 spread into Hunan and then further eastward along the Yangzi River valley, but ultimately it was a Hunanese army under Zeng Guofan which marched to Nanjing and put down the uprising in 1864. Hunan was relatively quiet until 1910 when there were uprisings against the crumbling Qing dynasty, which were followed by the Communist's Autumn Harvest Uprising of 1927 led by Hunanese native Mao Zedong. The Communists maintained a guerilla army in the mountains along the Hunan-Jiangxi border until 1934, when under pressure from the Nationalist (Kuomintang, KMT) forces they began the famous Long March to bases in Shaanxi Province. After the departure of the Communists, the KMT army fought against the Japanese, defending the capital Changsha until it fell in 1944. Hunan was relatively unscathed by the civil war that followed the defeat of the Japanese in 1945, and in 1949 the Communists returned once more as the Nationalists retreated southward.

Being Mao Zedong's home province, Hunan supported the Cultural Revolution of 1966-1976, and was slower than most provinces in adopting the reforms implemented by Deng Xiaoping in the years that followed Mao's death in 1976.


Hunan Province is located on the south bank at mid-stream of the Yangtze River (Changjiang, 长江), it is far 1000 km away from Shanghai, 1200 km away from Beijing, and 500 km away from Guangzhou. The neighboring provinces are Hubei, Chongqing Municipality, Guizhou, Guangxi, Guangdong and Jiangxi.

Hunan is situated between 109-114 east longitude and 20-30 north latitude. The east, south and west sides of the province are surrounded by mountains and hills. The mountains and hills occupy more than 80% of the area and the plain comprises less than 20% of the whole province.

The Xiangjiang, the Zijiang, the Yuanjiang and the Lishui Rivers converge on the Yangtze River at Lake Dongting (Dongting Hu, 洞庭湖) in the north of Hunan. The center and northern parts are somewhat low and a U-shaped basin is formed with Lake Dongting as its center. Most of Hunan Province lies in the basins of four major tributaries of the Yangtze River.



As of the 2000 census, the population of Hunan is 64,400,700 consisting of 41 ethnic groups. Its population grew 6.17% (3,742,700) from its 1990 levels. According to the census, 89.79% (57,825,400) identified themselves as Han people, 10.21% (6,575,300) as minority groups. The minority groups are Tujia, Miao, Dong, Yao, Hui, Bai,Zhuang, Uighurs and so on.



Colleges and universities