Bo Yang is a well-known scholar in Taiwan, and his books "Ugly Chinese" and "Compendium of Chinese History" have long been known at home and abroad. The main attention in works of Bo Yang is given to analysis of inferiority inherent in Chinese tradition. This article is part of first chapter "Stages of History" selected from Outline of Chinese History, which mainly presents geographical features and national features of China. The text of this article is long, over 5,000 words, but it contains a very deep understanding of geography of China. I hope you read it patiently and you will learn something for yourself.
The original text looks like this:
Each country has historically recognized recognition of its land, which is a common name. In principle, it is based on natural mountains and rivers and human conditions, but mainly on path of historical development. Therefore, division of regions is not necessarily fully justified, and there is no clear boundary. As is China. We must introduce it one at a time, and then we will not be embarrassed by this incorrect geographical area when describing historical activity.
In history of China, following nine geographical regions are mainly distinguished:one Hexi corridor (central and western Gansu); two western regions (Xinjiang); Mobei (Outer Mongolia); six northeastern (Liaoning, Jilin). , Heilongjiang Province and East Mongolia Second League); seven plateaus of Yunnan-Guizhou (Yunnan, Guizhou); eight plateaus of Qinghai-Tibet (Roof of World); nine headquarters in China respectively. Description:
Located in central and western part of China, in north there are small deserts in western part of Hanhai desert group and a number of small mountain systems called "Northern Mountains", and in south - Qilian Mountains. we entered, also known as "Southern Mountains". This corridor starts at eastern tip of Tien Shan Mountains, obliquely southeast, and ends at Lanzhou in western China, and is 1,100 kilometers long, with a narrowest span of only 100 kilometers. Like training horses to tie together a series of gems - Wuwei, Zhangye, Jiuquan, Dunhuang and other major cities, this is only international road from ancient China to Western countries. In 7th and 8th centuries, fertile fields were connected and this was described as "Jiannan outside Great Wall". However, it later fell into hands of sporadic tribes after collapse of Tubo Kingdom and Huihe Khanate, and became a deserted and impoverished area. It wasn't until 20th century, when transport roads and water conservation projects were rebuilt, that this dilapidated horse-drawn train shone brightly again.
Refers to present-day Xinjiang and eastern Central Asia, as well as Kashmir region. But in most cases, this applies only to Xinjiang. The Altai Mountains, Tien Shan Mountains and Kunlun Mountains are three huge mountain ranges that reach into sky, forming a “troika” shape, sandwiched between two huge Dzungarian basins and Tarim Basin. When Zhang Qian entered this strange world in second century BC, there were thirty-six independent kingdoms around Taklamakan Desert in Tarim Basin alone. In seventh century, it was once incorporated into territory of China, and more than 100 states were founded. But in eighth century it was taken by Tubo kingdom. A thousand years later, in eighteenth century, it returned to China, called Xinjiang, and became largest administrative region of China.
This is area with word "Ji" on Yellow River. After passing through Lanzhou, center of country, Yellow River turned north and flowed under Yinshan mountains, making two sharp 90-degree turns in a row, as if a rope thrown by gods had just hooked Ordos and Ordos plateaus. desert above him. This area should be barren, but due to complete irrigation system between Yellow River and Yinshan Mountain, it is densely populated and rich in agricultural products. An old saying goes: "The Yellow River is full of harm, but only good."
Fort means fortress, and Great Wall is, of course, largest fortress. Therefore, "Saibei" refers to north of Great Wall, also known as "Saibei" (there is no relative name "Sainan" and "Saiin" in history). Saibei in a broad sense includes "Mobei", which includes entire territory of Inner and Inner Mongolia from Great Wall of China to Lake Baikal. In a narrow sense, Saibei only reaches border of Outer Mongolia, which is why it is also called "Monan" - southern part of a vast group of sea deserts, which was backbone of central Inner Mongolia after seventeenth century. Although this area is separated from mainland China only by Great Wall, climate, geographical environment, and human response are completely different. The northern part of Great Wall of China is relatively cold, there is little rain, a lot of wind and sand, there are only a few gaps in desert, where there are industrious farmlands and cities that serve as desert ports. Saibei is area with most foreign invasions in Chinese history. With exception of Tubo kingdom in eighth century and countries of West Sea after 19th century, more than 95% of China's external wars involved resisting aggression from Saibei. . Countless nomadic peoples poured out of Saibei desert like mountains and seas. This is same fate as Roman Empire, but Romans lacked numbers and flexibility of Chinese.
Refers to northern part of Hanhai desert group, that is, northern part of Saibei in narrow sense, including Outer Mongolia and Lake Baikal, which is base of invasion of northern nomads into China. Harkheling is royal court of Xiongnu Khanate, and Huihe Khanate once built a city wall that later became capital of early Mongol Empire. When China counterattacked aggressors, expeditionary force had to go deep and hard, crossing endless seas and deserts to hit aggressor in heart. If you only win in northern part of country, it's just an illusion. As soon as expeditionary force retreats, nomad forces will immediately regroup. This is biggest threat China feels. When Mobei unites with China, Chinese will be safe; when it separates from China, Chinese will not be safe.
Also known as Liaodong and Manchuria. Since it is located in north of Shanhaiguan, starting point of Great Wall, it is also called Guangwai, and Chinese headquarters south of Shanhaiguan is called Guangnei. Northeast China is China's coldest region: at one time, temperature of Myangdu River at foot of Greater Khingan was minus 50.02 degrees Celsius. There are two large river systems and two large plains in this area, namely Songhua River Plain and Liaohe Plain. The soil is fertile, just transporting land to Guannei is best fertilizer. In 12th century BC, Sushen tribe lived on banks of Songhua River and sent people thousands of miles away to pay tribute to China. Later, many independent kingdoms emerged in this ancient tribal homeland. The Kingdom of Goguryeo on Korean Peninsula also invaded Liaodong Peninsula. The Bohai Kingdom, which arose at end of seventh century, once became a powerful power in northeast. It later became a Jurchen base and successively founded powerful Jin Empire and even stronger Qing Empire. In early 20th century, Japan was still creating a puppet regime, Manchurian Empire. Explain that this area, like Bashu area, is a complete economic and military unit with independent defense and independent offensive capabilities.
Comprising two provinces of Yunnan and Guizhou, this vast plateau is made up of countless mountains, countless fast-flowing rivers, and countless steep valleys. Most of mountains in Yunnan are densely packed from north to south, like huge walls one after other, tightly squeezing seething rivers rushing down. There are thousands of mountains staggered in Guizhou area, and it is rare to see a slightly large flat land. There are three proverbs that can explain Guizhou's insignificant and miserable status in ancient China: "The sky is not sunny for three days, earth is not three miles and people are not three taels of silver. ". The climate in Yunnan is more suitable, but inconvenience of transportation is more serious than "land without three miles" in Guizhou. .The direct route is only one day's journey. Arrival takes four days. For example, Kunming is 250 kilometers from Dali, and it takes 14 days to walk. Dali is 190 kilometers from Tengchong, and it takes 15 days to walk. This difficult traffic situation and congested terrain are main features of Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau. Another feature is ethnic diversity. Congshan in Guizhou is base of Miao people, while other areas are home to Dai people, Shui, Dong people, Buyi people, Tujia people, Gelao people, etc.. The Chinese are very unfamiliar with these ethnic minorities, and they are very afraid of air pollution known as "miasma" and all kinds of infectious diseases in wilderness. This is a cave of poisonous insects. I firmly believe that every beautiful Miao girl will have mysterious "voodoo" magic (no one knows what "voodoo" is, they say that it can be drilled in stomach by eating and drinking, and it will attack at regular intervals). The poor Chinese who cheated on her love died of poison. So everyone thought that if ten people came here, then, unfortunately, at least nine of them would die. Even Chinese who were sent here as officials felt so sad, as if they had been kidnapped for execution. After 20th century, railroads, highways and heavy industry entered the region with deafening force, and everything changed in a strange way, becoming a completely new modern world.
This is former site of Tubo Kingdom, roof of world we introduced earlier, and ancient living space of Tibetan people. Tubo was called Usang in 14th century and in 17th century it was called Tibet, also known as Tibet. We don't know why he changes names so often and what those names mean. Because it is roof of world, air is rarefied and cold here, and in summer you still need to wear cotton clothes. Mountains are covered with snow accumulated over a thousand years, and land is covered with inland lakes and swamps created by short rivers that cannot flow into ocean. In seventh century, Tibetans established powerful kingdom of Tubo here, conquered western regions, inflicted serious damage on China, and won continuous wars with Arab empire expanding to east. After kingdom collapsed due to civil war, it could no longer be revived, and its population was drastically reduced. By nineteenth century, only two million Tibetans remained in 2.3 million square kilometers of former kingdom of Tubo, and their number continued to decrease. After twentieth century, with awakening of Tibetans and mass immigration of Han, area gained new strength.
This is original territory of China, just like original England of United Kingdom and original thirteen states of United States. When China's first dynasty, Yellow Emperor Dynasty, was founded in 27th century BC, it was located in middle reaches of Yellow River and lower reaches of Feng River, a tributary of Yellow River, in an area of only about 20,000 or 30,000 square kilometers. After continuous development, in third century BC, Emperor Yingzheng of Qin Dynasty conquered numerous independent kingdoms and expanded rapidly from north to south. The land expanded to three million square kilometers, from Great Wall in north to South China. sea, west to Lanzhou on south bank of Yellow River, east to East China Sea (including Bohai Sea, Yellow Sea, East China Sea). This is what we call China, but sometimes it also includes Hetao and Hexi Corridor, sometimes it also includes Yunnan, Guizhou and Hainan Island, and sometimes it also includes island of Taiwan.
The main part of China is divided into following seven regions: 1. Central Plains, 2. Hedong, 3. Guanzhong, 4. Longxi, 5. Jianghuai, 6. Bashu, and 7. Jiangnan.
In modern times, this is so-called Great North China Plain, stretching from Great Wall of China in north to Huai River in south, Hangu Pass in west and East China Sea in east. Among them, north of Huang He is called "Hebei" and "Heshuo", south of Huang He is called "Henan" and "Heguan" (Hebei and Henan are geographical regions that are different from administrative regions of China). Hebei and Henan). Since entire area is located east of Hangu Pass, it was called "Kandong" in fourth century. And because it is located in east of Xiaoshan Mountain, it is also called "Shandong" (as opposed to administrative region of Shandong Province) between fourth century BC and third century AD. Because it is birthplace and development of Chinese nation, it is also heart of Chinese history. The biggest feature is endless fertile plains. China Headquarters is center of gravity of China's historical scene, and Central Principles are center of gravity of China Headquarters, where much of China's history takes place.
Located between Taihang and Yellow River mountains, it is called "Hedong" because it is located to east of Yellow River. But it is also west of Taihang Mountains, so it was renamed "Shanxi" after 14th century. He forms his own fighting unit, posing greatest threat to Hebei and Guanzhong. Many ancient Chinese dynasties founded their capitals here or rose here.
Refers to area north of Qinling Mountains and south of Great Wall, named after ancient capital of Xi'an, located in a group of passes. To east there is Hangu Pass, to west Xiaoguan Pass, to south Dashan Pass and Wuguan Pass, and to north Jinsuo Pass and Qin Pass. Until third century BC, Qin kingdom, which was already quite prosperous and whose capital was in Xianyang (Xianyang, Shaanxi), continued to invade outside. Since neighbor from east, Kingdom of Han, whose capital is in Xinzheng, oldest ancient capital, could not resist, so he came up with a strange method that no one with brains could think of, and sent an eminent water engineer to teach Qin Kingdom how to open water Build an irrigation system. This is believed to tire King Qin's people and focus them on internal affairs rather than expanding outward. It is as terrible as helping enemy to produce an atomic bomb in hope that his treasury will be empty and he will no longer expand outward. During project, Kingdom of Qin discovered this plot, but immediately realized that this plot is too cute, It only prolongs life of Kingdom of Han for a few years, but for Kingdom of Qin, it can enjoy eternal benefits. Since then, Guanzhong has become more prosperous, and Jia has been in whole country for a thousand years, and it was destroyed by invasion of Tubo kingdom in ninth century. Only in 20th century, with a large number of water conservation projects and large investments in industrial construction, Guanzhong regained its former important position.
There are politicians in world like Kingdom of Han who use funds to strengthen enemy's combat power in exchange for temporary peace, but they don't know time to cheer up. Many important decisions in history seem incomprehensible to ordinary mind, and this is just one example.
Referring to area between Hexi Corridor and Guanzhong, with Longshan to east and Lanzhou on south bank of Yellow River to west, which is now eastern Gansu and Ningxia. Thousands of mountains rise and fall along with Guanzhong and Hedong (Shanxi), they form Loess Plateau. This is one of main bases of Qiang and Di peoples in history, as well as barrier of Guanzhong. Once it is captured by western barbarians, Guanzhong will be shaken overnight.
Referring to narrow strip between Yangtze and Huaihe rivers. It is smallest and flattest wilderness that actually belongs to extension of North China Plain. In age of unification it was a grain warehouse, and in the age of division it was a tug-of-war field. Several decisive battles and famous battles took place in this territory.
This is Sichuan Basin, where current Sichuan Province is located. Ba, Ba country, now Chongqing; Shu, Shu country, now Chengdu. This area is surrounded on all sides by high mountains, and in center is a huge basin 200,000 square kilometers wide. Only Yangtze River connects from east, but Yangtze River has 204 km Three Gorges. at junction of this area and eastern area — — — Three treacherous, narrow, line-like canyons with high mountains and fast-flowing waters that make navigation extremely dangerous. The area of the region is 300,000 square kilometers, about same as Japan. Therefore, it is called Sichuan because four important rivers flowing into Yangtze River flow into it: Jialing River, Tuojiang River, Minjiang River, and Wujiang River. Bashu was originally a barren and poor area. In third century BC, Li Bing, a county magistrate (prefect) appointed by kingdom of Qin, and his son Li Erlang were two great water conservation experts who worked wonders. They built rivers and canals. Dams were built to divert water, and area has not suffered from floods for more than two thousand years and has become a "Land of Plenty" with fertile fields and thousands of kilometers. After death of Li Bing and his son, people of Bashu firmly believed that they ascended to heaven and became gods, so they built temples for them and burned incense for generations to worship. Among projects built by Li Bing and his son, most famous is Dujiangyan, a huge dam in city of Dujiangyan that remained untouched until 20th century. Make Bashu an independent entity with a strong economic and military, as well as geographical position. The proverb says: "The world falls into chaos before Shu falls into chaos, and world was ruled before Shu began to rule." Short-lived empires and more semi-independent political divisions. After 20th century, rise of industry and development of mines made area even more powerful, becoming diamond region of modern China.
Referring to area south of Yangtze River and northern Vietnam, also known as "South China" or "South China". Three centuries ago this place was still wild. During era of Great Separation in fourth century, Chinese nation moved south from Central Plains and settled around Wuling Mountains. They were called "Hakkas" because they lived abroad. Their descendants still spoke ancient Chinese of Central Plains in third century. They may be a Chinese nation. One of purest bloodlines. In 9th century, warlords quarreled, and Chinese people moved south for second time. In twelfth century, Jin Empire swept Central Plains and Chinese nation moved south for third time. South of Yangtze River gradually developed into a rice region with most perfect water management and richest agricultural society in China. As a result, it is customary for Chinese to refer to any wealthy area as Second Jiangnan. The northeast corner of this area, near Taihu Lake, was called "Jiangdong" until third century because it was located in southeast of Yangtze River. The southernmost coastal region of this area, since it is located in south of Wuling Mountains, has always been called "Lingnan", which of course includes Hainan Island.