Henan or Honan (both: hŏˈnänˈ) [key], province (2010 pop. 94,023,567), c.65,000 sq mi (168,350 sq km), NE China. The capital is Zhengzhou. It is sparsely settled in the mountainous western region but densely populated and cultivated in the east. Although the climate is dry, the loess provides fertile soil. Henan is a major wheat and cotton producing province; other agricultural products include sorghum, rice, millet, sweet potatoes, tobacco, fruit, oakleaf silk, and oilseed crops (sesame, peanuts). The province is well-watered, with the Huang He (Yellow River) flowing through the northern section and the Huai River in the east; both are generally navigable only for small rivercraft. Floods and droughts, long suffered in Henan, have been alleviated by the building (1960s) of the Sanmen dam on the Huang He in the southwest, the construction of the People's Victory Canal (which diverts water from the Huang He to the Jin River), reforestation efforts, and other irrigation and drainage programs. In addition to its waterways, Henan has many good highways and a fine railway system; the principal north-south and east-west railroad lines of China cross the province, intersecting at Zhengzhou. Coal, abundantly found in Henan, and hydroelectric power from the Sanmen project supply burgeoning industries in Zhengzhou, Luoyang, and Kaifeng. The province has a growing variety of heavy industries, such as chemical works and tractor plants, and light industries, such as the production of textiles, appliances, and electronic equipment. An aluminum plant is at the Sanmen gorge. Petroleum and natural gas can be found at the Zhongyuan oil fields. In addition to coal, iron is mined, and lead and pottery clay are found. Stone Age remains have been discovered in Henan, and from c.2000 B.C. the region was a center of Chinese civilization; Anyang, Luoyang, and Kaifeng are historic cities. In the early 1930s, N Henan was part of the Anhui-Henan-Hubei soviet area (also called the Oyuwan Republic). The area N of the Huang He was a part of Pingyuan prov. from 1949 to 1952.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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