Shandong province is a significant coastal province in East China. Located on the lower reaches of the Yellow River, it borders the Bohai Sea and Yellow Sea in the east, and faces the Korean Peninsula and the Japanese Archipelago to the east. It connects with Hebei Province in the northwest, with Henan Province in the southwest. The Shandong and Liaodong peninsulas almost encircle the Bohai Sea.
This special geographical location makes Shandong the key link between the Yellow River Economic Belt and the Bohai Rim Economic Area and between north and east China. It occupies a significant position in the national economy.
Shandong Province is located between latitude 34"25' and 38"23' north, and longitude 114"35' and 112"43' east. It is 700km wide from east to west, and 420km long from north to south. With a total land area of 156,700 square km. it makes up 1.6 percent of Chinese territory, and is the 19th largest province in the country.
Central Shandong is mountainous, and eastern and southern Shandong is hilly. The alluvial plain of the Yellow River, part of the North China Plain, occupies the north and northwest parts of Shandong. The highest point is Mount Tai in the center, 1,545 meters above sea level. The lowest point is the Yellow River Delta in the northeast, just 2 to 10 meters above sea level. Plains and basins make up 63 percent of the total provincial area; mountains and hills make up 34 percent; and rivers and lakes make up 3 percent.
Rivers and lakes crisscross the province. It has over 100 rivers each more than 50km long. The Yellow River, long honored as the "Mother River of the Chinese Nation", enters the province in the southwest and cuts through the province for more than 610km before emptying into the Bohai Sea in the northeast. The famous Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal flows for 630km form the southeast to the northwest through the plains in western Shandong. Major rivers in the province also include the Tuhai, Majia, Yihe, Shuhe, Dawen, Xiaoqing, Jiaolai, and Huaihe. The biggest stretches of inland water are the Nansi and the Dongping lakes. Nansi Lake complex, actually consisting of the Weishan, Zhaoyang, Dushan, and Nanyang lakes, covers 1,375 square km, and is one of the 10 largest freshwater lakes in China.
Major mountains in Shandong are Mount Tai as well as Mengshan, Laoshan, Lushan, Yishan, Culai, Kunlun, Jiuding, Aishan, Yashan, Daze, and Menglianggu mountains.
Shandong is located in the warm temperate zone with a semi-tropical monsoon climate. The annual average temperature ranges from 11 to 14 degrees centigrade. The annual precipitation ranges from 550mm to 950mm.The frost-free period in the coastal area is more than 180 days while in the inland areas it is more than 220 days.
History and Administrative Divisions
Since ancient times, Shandong has been one of China's political, economic and cultural centers. During the Xia Dynasty in the 21st century B.C., the Dongyi people lived here. During the Shang Dynasty that existed from around the 17th to the 11th centuries B.C., the tribe's activity center was in southwest Shandong. During the Spring and Autumn and Warring States Period between 770 B.C. and 221 B.C., the Qi and Lu were two vassal states of the Western Zhou Dynasty in today's Shandong. Since the two states were developed in politics, economics and culture, they exerted a significant influence the Chinese history. Shandong is also called Qilu, with "lu" used as an abbreviation for the province.
Shandong was first used as a geographical name during the Warring States Period (475 B.C.-221 B.C.). It is referred to the area east of Taihang Mountain. The name described an administrative area in the Jin Dynasty (1115-1234). During the Yuan Dynasty (1206-1368), the government established Shandong "dao" (an administrative division at that time). During the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), the government established Shandong "buzhengsi" (an administrative division), forming a territory similar to that of today. Shandong Province was formally established in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). Its capital was Jinan. After the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, the province assumed its present administrative division after several adjustments. The province now has 17 cities, and 139 countries, country-level cities and urban districts.
The provincial capital is Jinan in central Shandong. It is a famous historical and cultural city. It is also called the "City of Springs" because of its numerous springs. Qingdao is a coastal city that submits its plans for development directly to the central government. When the Olympic Games 2008 is to be held in Beijing, the aquatic sports programs will be held in Qingdao.
Population and Ethnic Groups
Shandong has a population of 90.41 million people, making it the second most populous province in China. Urban residents account for 39.2 percent of the total population.
Shandong is a multinational province and provides a home for 39 ethnic groups. The Han ethnic group accounts for more than 90 percent of the total population. Among the ethnic minorities, the Hui is the largest, accounting for about 95 percent of the total. The others are the Manchu, Mongolian, Korean, Zhuang, Tujia, Gaoshan, Naxi, Uygur, Bai, Li, Miao, Russia, Xibo, Buyi, and Dong. In the province, there are villages or communities where the Hui, Manchu or Mongolian peoples assemble.