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Shandong

Shandong ▶ (Simplified Chinese: ɽ; Traditional Chinese: ɽ|; pinyin: Shndng; Wade-Giles: Shan-tung) is a province of the People's Republic of China, located on the eastern coast of the country. The province is located at the lower reaches of the Huanghe (Yellow River) and extends out to sea in the form of the Shandong Peninsula. Shandong borders the Bohai Bay to the north, Hebei to the northwest, Henan to the west, Jiangsu to the south, and the Yellow Sea to the southeast. It also shares a very short border with Anhui, between Henan and Jiangsu.

Shandong's name literally means mountains' east, which refers to the province's location east of the Taihang Mountains. Its abbreviation is Lu, after the state of Lu that existed here during the Spring and Autumn Period of Chinese history. A common nickname for Shandong is Ql (³/R), after the state of Lu and state of Qi that existed here during the Spring and Autumn Period.

Shandong's location on the ocean, with mountains, abundant plains, and the Yellow River flowing through along with the Grand Canal of China, cast the province into a central role in Chinese history. The first city existed in Shandong, and the region played a central role in the succession of Chinese dynasties. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Germany put the province in its sphere of influence, while Great Britain took control of a port city. Japan invaded and controlled the province from 1937, until liberation in 1945. The province played a central role under communist rule. Now, with China's shift to free enterprise, Shandong's diverse natural resources, natural beauty, as well as strategic location with its many ports, has propelled its economy into one of the top in China.

Geography

The sacred Mount Tai.

Shandong is mostly flat in terrain, especially since the northern, western, and southwestern parts of the province are all part of the North China Plain. The center of the province is more mountainous, with the Taishan Mountains, Lushan Mountains, and Mengshan Mountains being the most prominent ranges. The eastern part of the province (Shandong Peninsula) extends into the sea, separating the Bohai Sea in the northwest from the Yellow Sea to the east and south. The highest peak in Shandong is the highest peak in the entire Taishan area, Jade Emperor Peak, which has a height of 1,545 m.

The Yellow River passes through Shandong's western region, entering the sea along Shandong's northern coast. As it runs through Shandong it flows on a levee at a higher elevation than the surrounding land, and divides western Shandong into the Haihe watershed in the north and the Huaihe watershed in the south. The Grand Canal of China enters Shandong from the northwest and leaves in the southwest. Weishan Lake is the largest lake in the province. Shandong's coastline is 3,000 km long, and the Shandong Peninsula is characterized by its rocky coastline, with cliffs, bays, and islands. The large Laizhou Bay, the southernmost of the three bays of Bohai Sea, is found to the north, between Dongying and Penglai. Jiaozhou Bay, which is much smaller, is found to the south, next to Qingdao. The Miaodao Islands extend northwards from the northern coast of the peninsula.

Dragon-and-tiger pagoda in Shandong Province, China.

Shandong has a temperate climate, with moist summers and cold, dry, winters. Average temperatures are -5 to 1C in January and 24 to 28C in July. Annual precipitation is 550 to 950 mm, although it is frequently affected by marine monsoons, especially during the summer time.

Along with Jinan, which serves as the province's economic and cultural center, Shandong's economic prowess has led to the development of modern coastal cities located at Qingdao, Weihai, and Yantai. Weifang and Zaozhuang are also upstart cities which have benefited from Shandong's enormous economic growth.

Major cities:

  • Jinan
  • Qingdao
  • Weihai
  • Yantai
  • Weifang
  • Zaozhuang

Major rivers and lakes:

  • Yellow River
  • Weishan Lake
  • Dongping Lake

Economy

Shandong ranks first among all of China's provinces in the production of a variety of products, including cotton and wheat. Other important crops include tobacco, sorghum and maize, as well as peanuts, for which the province is especially well-known, providing nearly a quarter of the entire country's total supply. Shandong is also a significant producer of fruit, and is famous for the apples of Yantai, the pears of Laiyang, the dates of Leling and the watermelons of Dezhou. Shandong also effectively utilizes its coastal position by producing salt from sea water, and by serving as one of the largest fisheries in China, providing significant amounts of fish, crabs, and kelp.

Fishingboat in Daheishan harbor

In addition to its agricultural resources, Shandong has extensive deposits of natural gas, iron, diamonds, and bauxite. Its output of gold also ranks first in all of China.

Shandong serves a strategic role for China due to its abundant petroleum deposits, which are especially concentrated in the Dongying area of the Yellow River delta. The Shengli Oilfield is one of the major oilfields of China, and provides a large quantity of petroleum to the rest of the nation. In total, the crude oil produced in Shandong makes up one-third of the nations total. Along with its strong petroleum reserves, the province has 50,000 square kilometers of coalfields, and its Yanteng coal mine is one of the nations ten major coal production bases. Both of these resources make Shandong an incredibly important energy producer for China.

Shandong is one of the richer provinces of China, and its economic development has been focused on large enterprises with well-known brand names. Shandong has also benefited from South Korean and Japanese investment, due to its geographical proximity to those countries. The richest part of the province is the Shandong Peninsula, where the city of Qingdao is home to two of the most well-known brand names of China: Tsingtao Beer and Haier. In addition, Dongying's oil fields and petroleum industries form an important component of Shandong's economy. Although the coastal areas have been blessed with tremendous economic prosperity, the extreme inland west of Shandong is much poorer than the rest of the province. This is consistent with a general trend in China, where the urban coastal areas have become much more affluent than the rural inland areas.

In 2004, the nominal GDP for Shandong was 1.55 trillion yuan (US$192.3 billion), ranking second in the country (behind Guangdong and ahead of Jiangsu).

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