/kyang"sooh"/; Chin. /gyahng"sooh"/, n. Older Spelling.

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Chinese (Wade-Giles)  Chiang-su,  (Pinyin)  Jiangsu,  

      sheng (province) on the east coast of China. It is bounded by the Yellow Sea and by the provinces of Chekiang to the south, Anhwei to the west, and Shantung to the north. It occupies an area of 39,600 square miles (102,600 square kilometres). The provincial capital is Nanking, which was the southern capital of China during the Ming dynasty (1368–1644) and the capital under the National Government (1928–49). Kiangsu became a separate province in 1667 (the sixth year of the reign of the K'ang-hsi emperor). The name is derived from the prefixes of Chiang-ning and Su-chou, the names of the two most important prefectures within the province at that time.

      The province consists almost entirely of alluvial plains divided by the estuary of the Yangtze River into two sections, Chiang-nan (literally, “South of the River”) and Su-pei (northern Kiangsu). Chiang-nan is fertile and well watered, famed for its silk and handicrafts, and very densely populated and industrialized. The cities of Su-chou, Nanking, Wu-hsi, and Shanghai are all located in this region. Shanghai is situated at the mouth of the Yangtze River, although administratively the Shanghai Municipality is not a part of Kiangsu Province but is controlled directly by the State Council of the central government. Su-pei is relatively poor in comparison with Chiang-nan. The northernmost section of Su-pei, from Suchow to the sea, is actually part of the great North China Plain in its physical geography, as well as in its agriculture and general way of living; it is the poorest section of Kiangsu and is densely populated.

The land

      The most important physical characteristic of the province is its wide alluvial plain, stretching from north to south, at a low elevation above sea level. Most of the soils are thus alluvial, both calcareous and noncalcareous, and including some saline soils. There is an intricate network of rivers and canals, lakes and ponds, all protected from floods by dikes. Most of the province is less than 150 feet (45 metres) above sea level. Hills of moderate elevation are found only in the southwestern corner of the province and in the extreme north along the Shantung border. Mount Yün-t'ai, in northern Su-pei near the Yellow Sea, is the highest point in the province, at 2,050 feet (625 metres). Nearly 10 percent of the total area is occupied by shallow lakes and reedy marshes. The silt of the great rivers encroaches constantly on the sea, leaving seaports of former ages dry. In coastal areas below the high-water level, cultivation is carried on in polders (areas protected from the sea, mainly by dikes). Extensive canalization and a vast development of polders have been systematically carried out during the 20th century. This section of the surface of the Earth has been completely altered by human hands.

      Chiang-nan is drained primarily by the Yangtze River, which enters the province to the southwest of Nanking on the Kiangsu–Anhwei border and flows generally east and southeast before reaching the East China Sea. The waters from upstream meet tidewaters at Nanking. The river becomes broader at Chen-chiang, widening to more than 11 miles at Nan-t'ung and more than 56 miles at its mouth. It carries an enormous load of silt to the sea annually, depositing it to form the Yangtze Delta. Tides and currents carry some of the sediment to form sandbars in the estuary and along the coast. The delta itself grows at an average rate of about 82 feet a year.

      Su-pei's major drainage systems are Hung-tse Lake (Hongze Lake) and the Huai River, which flows into the lake; Kao-yu Lake, through which waters from Hung-tse Lake reach the Yangtze; the Su-pei Canal (Subei Canal), which drains Hung-tse Lake; and the Grand Canal, which runs through the entire province from north to south and connects Su-pei with the Yangtze Delta. During several periods in Chinese history, northern Kiangsu was also drained by the Huang Ho (Huang He) (Yellow River), which occasionally left its course and flowed into the Huai. Formerly, the Huai flowed into the sea, but when its channel was gradually usurped by the Huang, beginning more than a thousand years ago, it was unable to reach the sea and instead emptied itself into Hung-tse Lake.

      The Kiangsu lowlands are floodplains formed by the alluvial deposits of the Yangtze, Huai, and Huang rivers and their tributaries. Using the Yangtze and the old channel of the Huai as convenient landmarks, the area of these plains may be divided into three sections.

      The Chiang-nan plain south of the Yangtze forms the principal part of the Yangtze Delta, characterized by flatness and lying only 10 to 16 feet above sea level. It is crisscrossed by streams and canals and dotted with ponds and lakes, forming an elaborate network of flowing water, meticulously maintained by farmers. This area actually has the highest stream density in China: within it, no place is more than 300 feet from the drainage system of T'ai Lake (Tai, Lake) (the southern shore of which forms much of the Kiangsu–Chekiang border). The canals were all dug by farmers of the area. Isolated hillocks dot the edge of the T'ai Lake area, which adds to its enchanting beauty. The lakes were parts of former shallow bays and inlets of the sea, obstructed and enclosed by the steady advance of the Yangtze Delta. After being cut off from the sea, the water gradually decreased in salinity and formed freshwater lakes. T'ai Lake is connected with the Yangtze and its estuary by many distributaries. The Chiang-nan Canal (the name for the section of the Grand Canal south of the Yangtze), which runs through the full length of the T'ai Lake plain from northwest to southeast, cuts across all the distributaries connecting the T'ai Lake basin with the Yangtze, thus forming a vital link of the T'ai Lake system.

      Between the Yangtze and the ancient channel of the Huai is what Chinese geographers call the Yangtze–Huai plain, built by the alluvium of the two rivers. The centre of this plain is only 61/2 to 13 feet above sea level, while its periphery stands at about 17 to 33 feet. It is considered to be a section of the Yangtze Delta, as it has the same topographical elements, including alluvial deposits and drainage. As a sluggish tributary of the Yangtze, the Huai formerly caused widespread floods during the high-water season, but a water-control project has permanently restricted the high waters of the Huai.

      North of the old channel of the Huai is the Suchow–Huai plain, built of the alluvium of the Huai and Huang rivers and standing about 30 to 150 feet above sea level. In the northern part of the plain are low hills with heights of about 650 feet.

      Within the province, two subtypes of climate may be distinguished: the Yangtze Valley climate, in central and southern Kiangsu, and the North China climate, to the north of the old Huai River. The former is humid subtropical, while the latter is cool, temperate continental, with greater extremes of temperature. Nanking in the south has a mean temperature of 36° F (2.2° C) in January and 82.4° F (28° C) in July. For northern Kiangsu, the mean January temperature is below 32° F (0° C), but summer is as hot as in the south. Annual precipitation generally increases from north to south, ranging from 24 to 47 inches (600 to 1,200 millimetres), that of Nanking being 41 inches. Seasons are distinct in both north and south. Between spring and summer, the south receives prolonged rains of cyclonic origin, typical of the Yangtze Valley and extremely useful for rice growing. The coast is often visited by destructive typhoons between late summer and early autumn.

Plant and animal life
      In Su-pei grow temperate broad-leaved deciduous trees, typical of the North China Plain, while in southern Kiangsu are found subtropical mixed broad-leaved deciduous and broad-leaved evergreen trees, typical of the Yangtze Valley. As the whole of the province has been cleared for cultivation since ancient times, no primary forest remains. In natural flora, it is a markedly depleted territory, because of the dense population and intensive cultivation. There is a warmth-loving and moisture-loving fauna characteristic of the monsoon climate of East Asia. The fauna has considerable economic significance, fish, ducks, crabs, and shrimps being important sources of food. Fish raising is highly developed—the numerous ponds, reservoirs, lakes, canals, and streams are stocked with hundreds of millions of fry that are shipped to other provinces and are also exported to other countries.

      There are also numerous agricultural pests, such as rodents and insects, which harm cultivated plants and trees. Great strides have been made in the control of the more common pests, but the insects that damage trees have not yet been brought under complete control.

Settlement patterns
      Although almost 90 percent of Kiangsu's population is rural, the province contains many of the largest cities of the Yangtze Delta. The population distribution patterns of Kiangsu Province and the municipality of Shanghai are inseparable geographically and economically. Population density is higher in the north of the province, a fact explained by its earlier development, which dates from ancient times, and its importance as a communication link between North China and the Lower Yangtze Valley. Even the hilly district in southwestern Kiangsu has very high population densities in comparison with Europe and the United States. Shanghai is the largest municipality in China and one of the 10 largest in the world; it is not administratively a part of Kiangsu, being controlled directly by Peking. Other large cities in the region are Nanking, which is the largest city of Kiangsu proper and is its administrative and cultural centre; Suchow (Hsü-chou), in northern Kiangsu; Su-chou, east of T'ai Lake; and Wu-hsi, in Chiang-nan.

      The villages are distributed very close to one another on the Yangtze Delta, generally less than one-third of a mile apart. They are located mostly on the banks of rivers and canals. Villages with several scores of households are the most common. Communication between villages is usually very easy, thanks to canals and barges, rural roads, and the ubiquitous bicycle, somewhat as in the Low Countries of Europe. The houses are usually well built of brick baked in local kilns. Dwelling conditions are fair to good by Chinese standards.

      Dispersed rural settlement is the rule along the coast and the rivers of northern Kiangsu. Dwellings are found singly along the riverbanks and quite close to each other in groups of two, three, or four among the rice fields.

The people
      The population of Kiangsu is entirely Han (Chinese), with the exception of a few Hui (Chinese Muslims). The inhabitants of Chiang-nan speak the Wu (Shanghai) dialect, while those of northern Kiangsu and the Nanking area speak the eastern Mandarin dialect.

The economy

      Kiangsu is one of the richest provinces in China, with a significant agricultural sector. Output is enhanced by multiple cropping, powered irrigation, tractors, and chemical fertilizers. The T'ai Lake plain produces rice, wheat, cotton, fruit, silk, tea, and fish. Tea is grown in the southwestern uplands around I-hsing, which produces the famous I-hsing china tea sets. Cattle, pig, and poultry raising are an important source of food and income, especially since the number and size of private plots allowed to each household increased. Fishing and pisciculture are other sources of food.

      Nanking is the most important heavy industrial centre of Kiangsu proper. Major industrial plants produce trucks and parts for motor vehicles, chemical fertilizers, and detergent raw materials. The Nanking industrial area also produces steel, petrochemicals, electronics, machine tools, cameras, textiles, cement, and sundry building materials. Wu-hsi (Wuxi), near Shanghai, is a rising industrial centre with good inland waterway connections to all parts of the province. Modern manufactures include machine tools, agricultural and transportation equipment, cotton textiles, silk reeling, and food processing. Good deposits of iron and coal have been found at I-hsing and are used in a local ironworks and steelworks.

      Kiangsu has become a major exporter since the 1970s. Goods formerly shipped through Shanghai are now handled through the provincial ports of Nan-t'ung (Nantong), Chang-chia-kang, and Lien-yün-kang (Lianyungang). Two of these ports have been designated “open” cities and encouraged to foster foreign trade and investment: Nan-t'ung, with 16 miles of deepwater frontage on the Yangtze, has developed its own economic and technical investment zone; and Lien-yün-kang, as the eastern terminus of the Lung-hai Railway, is a key export outlet for the central and northwestern provinces along the rail line. Kiangsu was incorporated into a larger Shanghai special economic zone in 1984.

      Among the assets of the province is the dense water transport network. With more than 14,000 miles of inland waterways, Kiangsu carries more than 50 percent of its goods by water. In contrast, its railroads carry only about 20 percent of the province's freight shipments. The completion in 1968 of the Yangtze rail and highway bridge at Nanking made the city a key north–south and east–west communications hub. The Grand Canal, which is periodically redredged, continues to play an important role in north–south transport.

Administration and social conditions
      Kiangsu is divided into 11 prefecture-level municipalities (shih). The province also contains municipal districts (shih-hsia-ch'ü) and municipal counties (shih-hsia-hsien). The provincial capital, Nanking, is the military regional headquarters for eastern China.

      Kiangsu has a rich educational tradition, with some of China's top arts and science universities, and a scientific and technical work force that forms the basis of one of the country's centres of technology and research. With a predominantly rural population, however, the province's illiteracy levels are slightly higher than the national average. The proportion of the provincial population with a primary level of education or higher is just at the national average. Since 1949 health care has expanded greatly.

Cultural life
      The cities of the province fall into two categories based on the standpoint of historical development—the ancient cities and the modern cities. The former date from ancient or medieval times and include Nanking, Su-chou, Yang-chou, Chen-chiang, and Suchow. Several of them are well known in East Asian history, are rich in cultural heritage, and have a long tradition that has found artistic expression in Chinese traditional architecture, painting, sculpture, flower gardens, stone bridges, and world-renowned handicraft industries, such as silk embroidery and carving of various materials. These cities often possess historical monuments, famous temples, and local shrines and p'ai-lou (arches) honouring their illustrious citizens. Many cities have a rich folklore. Nanking, especially, abounds in national monuments and famous historical relics. The most renowned are the simple Ming tombs (of Ming emperors) and the magnificent Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum, at the foot of Tzu-chin Hill. The gastronomic specialty of this ancient capital is the renowned Nanking salted duck. The duck is raised in ponds and lakes nearby. Other products from the Nanking area include handwoven silk (tzu-ching), particularly cloud brocades, which use every conceivable shade of colour to portray the clouds of sky at sunset.

      The modern cities that sprang up in the 19th century after the Opium Wars and the Treaty of Nanking (1842), which opened China to international trade, include Shanghai, Wu-hsi, Nan-t'ung, and Lien-yün-kiang. Most of them are seaports, river ports, or railway junctions.

      In antiquity, the Kiangsu region was within the jurisdiction of the ancient state of Wu. During the Chou dynasty (Zhou dynasty) (c. 1111–255 BC) much of the area was called Kou-wu and was considered outside Chinese borders. During the Ch'un-ch'iu (Spring and Autumn) and part of the Chan-kuo (Warring States) periods from the 8th to the 3rd century BC, it was brought into the Chinese empire as one of the “outer states.” Known as the Wu region during the Han dynasty (206 BC–AD 220), it became the independent state of Wu during the succeeding San-kuo (Three Kingdoms) period, with its capital at Chien-yeh, the site of modern Nanking. The golden age of culture in the region was during the Six Dynasties (AD 220–589), when it received a major influx of immigrants from the north. After the fall of the T'ang dynasty in 907, Yang-chou (Yangzhou) in Kiangsu became the capital of the Nan (Southern) T'ang state, which lasted from 937 to 975/976.

      Another period of major cultural and commercial development occurred during the Nan Sung dynasty (1127–1279). In the early Ming dynasty Nanking became capital for the entire empire, and even after 1420, when the Ming capital shifted to Peking, Nanking remained as subcapital for South China. During the Ming and Ch'ing (Qing dynasty), or Manchu, dynasties, Chiang-nan was a major rice surplus region, supplying 40 percent of tribute tax grain to the capital by means of the Grand Canal. Chiang-nan merchants were among the most influential in China during this period. In the mid-19th century there was significant foreign commercial intervention, based on treaty port privileges. The region was seriously affected during the Taiping Rebellion of the 1850s and '60s, and Nanking became the Taiping capital in 1853, remaining under Taiping control until 1864.

      In the 20th century Kiangsu became an important power base for the Nationalist Party (Kuomintang) of Chiang Kai-shek, and Nanking was made capital of the Nationalist government in 1928. It remained the puppet government capital under the Japanese occupation, after the Nationalist government moved to Chungking. During World War II the region was the locus of Communist-led guerrilla forces of the New 4th Army, from whose ranks many of Kiangsu's post-1949 leaders came.

Frederick Fu Hung Victor C. Falkenheim

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Universalium. 2010.

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