Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region (nĭngˈshyäˈ hwē) [key], autonomous region (2010 pop. 6,301,350), c.25,600 sq mi (66,321 sq km), N China. The capital is Yinchuan. Ningxia is part of the Inner Mongolian plateau, and desert and grazing land make up most of the area. Extensive land reclamation and irrigation projects, however, have increased cultivation, pushing the nomadic herders north or forcing them to change their lifestyles. The northern section, through which the Huang He (Yellow River) flows, is the best agricultural land. Wheat, sorghum, rice, beans, fruit, and vegetables are grown. Wools, furs, hides, and rugs are exported, and there is some coal mining. Desert lakes yield salt and soda. The chief cities—Yinquan, Wuzhong, and Shicui shan—are all on the Huang He. Other towns are merely stations on the camel caravan routes, which are still important avenues of trade. One railroad, linking Lanzhou with Baotou, crosses the region. A highway has been built across the Huang He at Yingchuan. The Chinese population is by far the largest; other ethnic groups include the Hui, Mongols, Tibetans, and Manchus. Formerly a province, Ningxia was incorporated into Gansu in 1954 but was detached and reconstituted as an autonomous region for the Hui people in 1958. In 1969, Ningxia received a part of the Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region, but this area was returned in 1979. Ningxia Univ. is in Yingchuan. The name sometimes appears as Ninghsia Hui.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.