Hunan is part of China since Zhou dynasty as well as the place of birth of Mao Zedong, who founded People’s Republic of China. Hunan and Hubei are similar in many points, due to the fact that they have been part of the same province for some time. Indeed, lake Dongting (one of the biggest of China) gives the name to it: South of the Lake. Hubei’s name means, instead, North of the Lake.
Thanks to the fertility to its land, the population is bigger than many other Chinese provinces.
The geography of Hunan
Most of the province is peaks and hills. Still, Hunan has a huge population, with more than 67 million people – close to France. Both Han and various minorities live in the territory, among which Tujia and Miao ethnics are considerable. There are also Dong, Yao, Hui and some Uygurs: the last two mixed a lot, so the Uygurs of Hunan are very different from most of those living in Xinjiang.
Hunan’s capital, Changsha, is an important historical city, with more than 12 million people in its metropolitan and urban areas.
Farming in Hunan has been always good and well, but the export of tea, tobacco and honey is slowly giving way to steelworks, electronics and machinery. Hunan is, as other provinces, taking part of the industrial base of the richer neighbors of Guangdong and Zhejiang.
Hunan is also one of the top producers of fireworks and construction equipment such as cranes. Changsha hosts a national economic and technical development zone, focused on biotechnology, hi–tech industry and research of new materials.
The interesting Chenzhou’s Export Processing Zone is rapidly making the city one of the biggest export processing zones of China. Among others, it promotes the exportation of precision machinery and advanced new materials.
Hunan is famous in China for its natural views: Wulingyuan, a world heritage site as well as a AAAAA site, is among the best tourist spots in China.
Many visitors crowd its historical sites and try their food specialties, especially reliant on seasonings and spices.
Xiang is Hunan’s most important river and it crosses the province from south to north. It also gives the name to Hunan’s local language and it is often used as a name for the province.
Hunan’s position is helping the development of the province’s industry – thanks to the fact many in Zhejiang and Guangdong decide to relocate their industry in nearby poorer provinces: still, Hunan is not a poor province at all – and its huge population can confirm that it has a great potential to grow its industry more and more.