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Home : China Guide : Hubei : Yichang

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Population of Yichang
Yichang has a population of 4.136 million, 1,047 thousand of which are inhabitants of cities and towns. Most of the people belong to the Han nationality, while 9.5% belong to Tujia minority, and 0.13% belong to other minority nationalities.Altogether, there are 31 ethnic groups in Yichang.

Location of Yichang
On the north bank of the Chang Jiang (Yangzi River), just below the Three Gorges, about 1000 km (620 miles) due west of Shanghai.

History of Yichang
Due to its strategic location on the main route to Sichuan Province from eastern China, Yichang was often disputed by warring factions during the times when China was politically divided. It took the name Yichang under the Qing dynasty (1644-1911), having been previously known as Yilingchun or Shanzhou (Shan Chou). Being made a treaty port in 1877 brought considerable foreign trade to Yichang. A railroad from Hankou to Chongqing via Yichang was begun in 1914, but was only partially completed before being abandoned in the political chaos of 1915. To this day, Yichang is only on a spur line of the railroad that runs from Xiangfan south to Hunan Province.

In 1940 Yichang was captured by the Japanese, which marked the furthest penetration of the invaders during the Sino-Japanese War. By the end of the Japanese occupation in 1945, Yichang's commerce was ruined, but shipping began to recover in the 1950s, and extensive industrialization has since taken place, with important food-processing and chemical industries now present. A huge boom is now taking place with the construction of the Three Gorges Dam only 40 km (25 miles) upstream at Sandouping.

Language
Like virtually everyone else in Hubei Provice, Yichang natives speak a dialect of Southwestern Mandarin Chinese.
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