Hebei or Hopei (both: hŏ-bā) [key], province (2010 pop. 71,854.202), 78,900 sq mi (204,404 sq km), NE China, on the Bohai, an arm of the Yellow Sea. The capital is Shijiazhuang. The province contains two autonomous municipalities administered directly by the central government: Beijing, the capital of China, and Tianjin, a major port. Another large port on the relatively unindented coast line is Qinhuangdao. Other important cities are Tangshan and Baoding. Hebei is mountainous in the north and the west, where rich iron and coal deposits are extensively mined. The province also has extensive deposits of oil and natural gas. S Hebei is part of the North China Plain. The land is fertile and rainfall is adequate, but until water conservation programs were instituted, the province was subject to severe drought and flooding. These recent improvements, along with the enlargement of farms and the expansion of mechanization, have greatly increased agricultural output. Hebei is a major cotton-producing province and an important producer of wheat. Other crops include rice, millet, sorghum, potatoes, sweet potatoes, barley, corn, soybeans, and fruit. Stock raising is important, and fishing and salt production are significant along the coast. Heavy industry (mainly metallurgical, iron and steel, machinery, and textile) is concentrated in and around Beijing, Tianjin, and Tangshan. Many light manufactures, such as ceramics, paper, and processed foods, are also produced in the province. With many good roads and railroad systems centering on Beijing, Tianjin, and Shijiazhuang, and with the Grand Canal and other excellent waterways, Hebei has one of the best communications systems in China. One of the earliest regions of Chinese settlement, Hebei has many prehistoric sites. Parts of the former provinces of Jehol and Chahar were incorporated into Hebei in 1956. The province was formerly called Chi and Chihli. Hebei Univ. is in Tianjin.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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