Guizhou or Kweichow (both: gwāˈjōˈ) [key], province (2010 pop. 34,746,468), c.66,000 sq mi (170,940 sq km), SW China. Guiyang is the capital and chief city; Zunyi and Duyun are important towns. Guizhou is almost entirely a high plateau, and its sheer limestone hills form some of the most spectacular karst scenery in the world. Guizhou has many deep river valleys, notably those of the Wu (the major river), the He, and the Yuan. The climate is mild and the rainfall adequate, but the soil is poor and there is little arable land. Rice is the major crop; the same amount of acreage is given to corn but with about half the yield. Soybeans, wheat, oats, barley, sweet potatoes, sorghum, and beans are raised for food. Commerical crops include rapeseed, tobacco, tea, peanuts, oakleaf silk, sugarcane, and indigo. Cotton is being developed. Guizhou has rich forests, and lumber, tung oil, lacquer, and paint are produced. Mineral resources, which are important to the province, include mercury, coal, iron, zinc, lead, copper, manganese, and gold. With unnavigable rivers, a limited railway system, and well-developed highways, transportation in the province is adequate. The province has two autonomous districts: one in the southeast, peopled by Miao (known for their embroideries) and Dong; and another in the south, inhabited by Puyi and Miao. Chinese settlement of the region began around 2,000 years ago, but it was only in the 10th cent. that it passed under the suzerainty of China. Guizhou became a province in the 17th cent. under the Ming dynasty, but the native Miaos were not completely subdued until about 1870. The traditional name of Guizhou is Kien or Qian. Guizhou Univ. is in Guiyang.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.