Province (pop., 2002 est.: 42,220,000), south-central China. It is bordered by Hubei, Anhui, Zhejiang, Fujian, Guangdong, and Hunan provinces. It has an area of 63,600 sq mi (164,800 sq km), and its capital is Nanchang. Located in the drainage basin of the Gan River, it is one of China's richest agricultural provinces, and it is also renowned for its porcelain industry, which dates from the 11th century. The opening of the Grand Canal under the Tang dynasty (618–907) set it on the main trade route between northern and southern China. During the Yuan dynasty (1206–1368), it included part of Guangdong; its current boundaries were established in the Ming dynasty. It was taken in 1926 by Chiang Kai-shek and was fought over by the Nationalists and the communists. Much of the province was occupied by the Japanese from 1938 to 1945 and came under communist control in 1949. Agricultural production, as well as a thriving timber industry, contributes to the economy.
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The name of the province does not mean "west of the Yangtze" as a literal reading would imply, but originated as a contraction of "Jiangnan Xi" ("West Jiangnan", or more literally "the west of the south of the Yangtze"). The name was coined when Jiangnan ("south of the Yangtze") Circuit was split into western and eastern halves during the Tang Dynasty. The short name for Jiangxi is "Gan", for the Gan River.
Jiangxi is centered on the Gan River valley, which historically provided the main north-south transport route of south China. The corridor along the Gan River is one of the few easily traveled routes through the otherwise mountainous and rugged terrain of the south-eastern mountains. This open corridor was the primary route for trade and communication between the North China Plain and the Yangtze River valley in the north and the territory of modern Guangdong province in the south. As a result Jiangxi has been strategically important throughout much of China's history.
Jiangxi was outside the sphere of influence of early Chinese civilization during the Shang Dynasty (sixteenth to eleventh centuries BC). Information about this era is scarce, but it is likely that peoples collectively known as the Yue inhabited the region. During the Spring and Autumn Period, the northern part of modern Jiangxi formed the western frontier of the state of Wu. Two settlements are known of at this time: Ai (艾), and Po (番, later 潘). After Wu was conquered by the state of Yue (a power based in modern northern Zhejiang) in 473 BC, the state of Chu (based in modern Hubei) took over northern Jiangxi and there may have been some Yue influence in the south. Chu subjugated Yue in 333 BC, and was in turn subjugated by the state of Qin in 221 BC. Qin established the Qin Dynasty in that same year, the first unified Chinese state.
The unification of China by the Qin Dynasty saw the incorporation of Jiangxi into the Qin empire. The Qin Dynasty established a two-tier administration system in China, with commanderies on top and counties below. Seven counties were established in what is now Jiangxi, all of them administered from Jiujiang commandery, located north of the Yangzi in modern Anhui, not the modern city of Jiujiang in Jiangxi. All of the county seats were located along the Gan River system. Most were no more than a day or two separated and protected one of the Qin routes to the newly incorporated territories further south in Nanhai commandery (modern Guangdong). Military settlements were known to have existed at at least two of the counties. Qin colonisation formed the earliest settlement structure in Jiangxi and which for the most part, has survived to the present day.
Yuzhang commandery (豫章) was established in northern Jiangxi at the beginning of the Han Dynasty, possibly before the death of Xiang Yu in 202 BC. (Xiang Yu was the main opponent to Liu Bang, founder of the Han Dynasty) It was named after the Yuzhang River (豫章江), the original name of Gan River (贛江). "Gan" has become the abbreviation of the province. In 201, eight counties were added to the original seven of Qin, and three more were established in later years. Throughout most of the Han Dynasty the commandery's eighteen counties covered most of the modern province of Jiangxi. The county seats of Nanchang, Gan, Yudu, Luling among others were located at the sites of modern major cities. Other counties, however, have been moved or abolished in later centuries.
Under the reign of Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty, Yuzhang Commandery was assigned to Yangzhou Province, as part of a trend to establish provinces (zhou) all across China. In 291 AD, during the Western Jin Dynasty, Jiangxi became its own zhou called Jiangzhou (江州). During the Northern and Southern Dynasties, Jiangxi was under the control of the southern dynasties, and the number of zhou slowly grew.
|Yuhan||餘汗||northeast of Yugan County|
|Chaisang||柴桑||southwest of modern Jiujiang|
|Nancheng||南城||east of Nancheng County|
|Yudu||雩都||northeast of Yudu County|
|Ai||艾||west of Xiushui County|
|Anping||安平||southeast of Anfu County|
|Liling||曆陵||east of De'an County|
|Chaoyang||west of Duchang County|
|Nanye||southwest of Nankang County|
During the Sui Dynasty, there were seven commanderies and twenty-four counties in Jiangxi. During the Tang Dynasty, another commandery and fourteen counties were added. Commanderies were then abolished, becoming zhou (henceforth translated as "prefectures" rather than "provinces").
Circuits were established during the Tang Dynasty as a new top-level administrative division. At first Jiangxi was part of the Jiangnan Circuit (lit. "Circuit south of the Yangtze"). In 733, this circuit was divided into western and eastern halves. Jiangxi was found in the western half, which was called Jiangnanxi Circuit (lit. "Western circuits south of the Yangtze"). This is the source of the modern name "Jiangxi".
Six prefectures and four military prefectures (軍 jun) replaced the previous prefectures (with fifty-five counties).
The Tang Dynasty collapsed in 907, heralding the division of the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period. Jiangxi first belonged to Wu (吳), then to Southern Tang (南唐). Both states were based in modern-day Nanjing, further down the Yangtze River.
During the Song Dynasty, Jiangnanxi Circuit was reestablished with nine prefectures and four army districts (with sixty-eight districts).
During the Yuan Dynasty, the circuit was divided into thirteen different circuits, and Jiangxi Province was established for the first time. This province also included the majority of modern Guangdong. Jiangxi acquired (more or less) its modern borders during the Ming Dynasty after Guangdong was separated out. There has been little change to the borders of Jiangxi since.
After the fall of the Qing Dynasty, Jiangxi became one of the earliest bases for the Communists and many peasants were recruited to join the growing people's revolution. The Nanchang Uprising took place in Jiangxi on August 1, 1927, during the Chinese Civil War. Later the Communist leadership hid in the mountains of southern and western Jiangxi, hiding from the Kuomindang's attempts to eradicate them. In 1931, the Chinese Soviet Republic's government was established in Ruijin (瑞金), which is sometimes called the "Former Red Capital" (红色故都), or just the "Red Capital". In 1935, after complete encirclement by the Nationalist forces, the Communists broke through and began the Long March to Yan'an.
Following the Doolittle Raid during world war II, most of the B-25 american crews that came down in China eventually made it to safety with the help of Chinese civilians and soldiers. The Chinese people who helped them, however, paid dearly for sheltering the Americans. The Imperial Japanese Army began the Zhejiang-Jiangxi Campaign to intimidate the Chinese from helping downed American airmen. The Japanese killed an estimated 250,000 civilians while searching for Doolittle’s men.
The Gan River dominates the province, flowing through the entire length of the province from south to north. It enters Lake Poyang in the north, the largest freshwater lake of China; that lake in turn empties into the Yangtze River, which forms part of the northern border of Jiangxi. Important reservoirs include the Xiushui Tuolin Reservoir in the northwest of the province on the Xiushui River, and the Wan'an Reservoir in the upper section of the Gan.
The eleven prefecture-level divisions of Jiangxi are subdivided into 99 county-level divisions (19 districts, ten county-level cities, and 70 counties). Those in turn are divided into 1548 township-level divisions (770 towns, 651 townships, seven ethnic townships, and 120 subdistricts).
The Governor of Jiangxi is the highest ranking official in the People's Government of Jiangxi. However, in the province's dual party-government governing system, the Governor has less power than the Jiangxi Communist Party of China Provincial Committee Secretary, colloquially termed the "Jiangxi CPC Party Chief".
Jiangxi is rich in mineral resources, leading the provinces of China in deposits of copper, tungsten, gold, silver, uranium, thorium, tantalum, niobium, among others. Noted centers of mining include Dexing (copper) and Dayu County (tungsten).
Jiangxi is rather poor province when compared to its immediate neighbouring provinces. It is located in extreme proximity to some of the richest provinces of China (Guangdong, Zhejiang, Fujian), which are sometimes blamed for taking away talent and capital from Jiangxi.
Jiangxi's nominal GDP for 2006 was about 546.9 billion yuan (71.9 billion USD) and a per capita of 12,562 RMB (1,652 USD).
Jiangxi is the main area of concentration of the Gan varieties of Chinese, spoken over most of the northern two-thirds of the province. Examples include the Nanchang dialect, Yichun dialect and Ji'an dialect. The southern one-third of the province speaks Hakka. There are also Mandarin, Huizhou, and Wu dialects spoken along the northern border.
Although little known outside of the province, Jiangxi cuisine is rich and distinctive. Flavors are some of the strongest in China, with heavy use of chile peppers and especially pickled and fermented products.
Jiangxi also was a historical center of Chan Buddhism.
Prominent examples of Hakka architecture can be found in Jiangxi.
Near the northern port city of Jiujiang (九江) is the well-known (and expensive) resort area of Mount Lushan (庐山). Also near the city are Donglin (East Wood) Temple (东林寺) and Tiefo (Iron Buddha) Temple (铁佛寺), two important Buddhist temples.
Near the small city of Yingtan (鹰潭) is the resort area Longhushan (龙虎山) which purports to be the birthplace of Taoism (道教) and hence has great symbolic value to Taoists. The region has many interesting temples, cave complexes, mountains and villages. It is considered by many to be the best-kept secret of Jiangxi tourism.
Other wildlife, though not plentiful, are more numerous in Jiangxi than in many other developed areas of China. Numerous species of birds are common, especially around the marshes of Lake Poyang in the north. Though protected, mammals such as muntjak, wild boar, civet cats, and pangolins, are still common enough that they'll even occasionally be seen in markets for sale as game meat, or possibly even in a forest.