Zhejiang (jŭˈjyängˈ) [key] or Chekiang chĕˈkyăngˈ, province (2010 pop. 54,426,891), c.40,000 sq mi (103,600 sq km), SE China, on the East China Sea. The capital is Hangzhou. The province includes many islands, notably the Zhoushan Archipelago. Known for its beauty, Zhejiang is one of China's most affluent and most densely populated provinces. It is part of the Shanghai special economic zone, and two of its cities, Ningbo and Wenzhou, have been designated "open" cities in order to attract foreign investment. Except for the level area in the north, which is part of the Chang delta region, Zhejiang is mountainous, with only a few breaks to the heavily indented coast, chiefly at Ningbo and Wenzhou. The province is drained by numerous rivers, including the Fuchun (the main river), the Wu, and the Ling. Over one third of the area is forested; pine and bamboo predominate. Most of Zhejiang has a wet climate, with a long frost-free period and high summer temperatures. Rice is the leading food crop and tea the major industrial crop. The plains north of Hangzhou receive less precipitation and have high cotton, wheat, and hemp production; most of the cotton is woven in Shanghai, although there are textile mills in Hangzhou. Rapeseed, corn, and sweet potatoes are also grown. There are tung and mulberry trees; Zhejiang is the the country's second leading silk-producing province. Fishing is extensive, with motorized junks now in use; the Zhoushan island area is one of the richest fishing grounds in China. The province also has a developing aquaculture industry. Machinery and agricultural tools are manufactured at Hangzhou, and tractors, electronics, and petrochemicals are manufactured at Ningbo. Coal and fluorspar are mined in the province. Zhejiang is served by the Shanghai-Hangzhou-Nanchang RR, which has a branch to Ningbo. Zhejiang, part of the kingdom of Wu, passed into the Chinese orbit in the 3d cent. B.C. It flourished in the 12th and 13th cent. as the center of the Southern Sung dynasty. Originally called Yueh for its local tribes, Zhejiang received its present name (which is the ancient name of the Fuchun River) in the Ming dynasty (1368–1644). It passed to Manchu control in 1645. Zhejiang was devastated in the Taiping Rebellion (1850–65), was partly occupied by the Japanese in the Second Sino-Japanese War, and fell to the Communists in 1949. Tianmu Mt. is a tourist and pilgrimage center, with many temples. Zhejiang Univ. is in Hangzhou.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
More on Zhejiang from Fact Monster:
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Chinese and Mongolian Political Geography