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Shandong

Shandong or Shantung (both: shän-dŏng) [key] [east of the (Taishan) mountains], province (2010 pop. 95,793,065), c.59,000 sq mi (152,850 sq km), NE China. Jinan is the capital. The eastern half of the province is a peninsula, situated between the Bohai on the north and the Yellow Sea on the east and south. The mountain chain that forms the Liaodong peninsula in Manchuria continues into east and central Shandong. The western portion of the province, a level area, is part of the delta of the Huang He (Yellow River), which crosses Shandong to empty into the Bohai. Although the soil is very fertile, rainfall is inadequate, and famines used to occur. Much of the land has been reclaimed, however, and half of the province is now under cultivation. Shandong is an important wheat-producing and cotton-producing province; sorghum, millet, corn, soybeans, peanuts, sweet potatoes, rice, fruits, and tobacco are also grown. Livestock raising is an important industry, and pongee silk is produced by wild silkworms fed on oak leaves. Fishing is excellent along the rocky coast and offshore islands. Salt is also produced in the province. Oil, extracted near the mouth of the Huang He (Yellow River), has become a vital component of the provincial economy. Abundant coal and iron reserves are also exploited, and Shandong has deposits of gold, copper, and kaolin. Qingdao and Jinan are leading light- and heavy-industrial centers. Jinan is on the north-south railway system that connects Shanghai and Nanjing with Tianjin; a branch line extends to Qingdao and Yantai. There are many paved roads throughout the province. Strategically located near Manchuria and with excellent harbors, Shandong has often been subjected to foreign encroachment. Kiaochow (Jiaozhou) was held by Germany until 1914 and by Japan until 1922, and Great Britain leased the territory of Weihaiwei from 1898 to 1930. In recent years many Chinese have migrated from Shandong to Manchuria to escape extreme overcrowding. Shandong is venerated by the Chinese as the birthplace of the ancient philosophers Confucius and Mencius, and as the site of Tai, a sacred peak. Shandong Univ. is in Jinan.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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