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Encyclopedia > Guangdong Province
Guǎngdōng Shěng
Abbreviation: 粤 (pinyin: Yu)
Guangdong is highlighted on this map
Origin of Name 广 guǎng - region name
东 dōng- east
"eastern Guang"
Administration Type Province
Capital Guangzhou
CPC Guangdong Committee Secretary Zhang Dejiang
Governor Huang Huahua
Area 177,900 km (15th)
Population (2005 est.)
 - Density
110,000,000 (4th)
618/km (9th)
GDP (2002)
 - per capita
1177.0 billion (1st)
14976 (5th)
Major Nationalities (2000) Han - 99%
Zhuang - 0.7%
Yao - 0.2%
Prefecture-level divisions 21
County-level divisions 121
Township-level divisions 1710
ISO 3166-2 CN-44

Guangdong (Simplified Chinese: 广东; Traditional Chinese: 廣東; pinyin: Guǎngdōng; Wade-Giles: Kuang-tung; Kwangtung in older transliteration; Cantonese: gwong2 dung1), is a province on the south coast of the People's Republic of China.

Together, Guangdong and neighboring Guangxi are called the "Two Guangs" (兩廣 liăng guăng).

Sometimes, "Canton Province" (based on an obsolete transliteration of "Guangdong") is used to mean Guangdong. This is as opposed to "Canton (City)", which refers to the city of Guangzhou.

The modern abbreviation 粵/粤 (Yue) is related to the name of a legendary ethnicity of similar name (百越, Hundred Yuet) that lived in Guangdong and other areas.



The Battle of Yamen (1279) took place in today's Guangdong. It marked the end of the Southern Song Dynasty.

Since the 16th century, Guangdong has had extensive trade links with the rest of the world. European merchants, particularly the British, traded extensively through Guangzhou, and it was the opium trade through Guangzhou that triggered the Opium Wars.

In the 19th century, Guangdong was the major port of exit for laborers in southeast Asia and the Western United States. Until the late 20th century, residents in Chinatowns tended to be overwhelmingly from Guangdong.

During the 1850s, the first revolt of the Taiping Rebellion took place in Guangdong. Because of contact with the West, Guangdong was a center of anti-Manchu and anti-imperialist activity. The generally acknowledged founder of modern China, Sun Yat-Sen was from Guangdong.

During the early 1920s of the Republic of China, Guangdong was the staging area for KMT to prepare for the Northern Expedition. Whampoa Military Academy was built near Guangzhou to train military commanders.

In recent years, the province has seen extremely rapid economic growth, aided in part by its close trading links with Hong Kong, which borders it.

Guangdong is believed to be the source of SARS in 2003.


In 214, Qin Shi Huang made the area Nanhai Commandry (南海郡), with the capital at Pan District (番禺) (today Guangzhou). In the Han Dynasty, it is in Jiao Prefecture (交州). It, with Guangxi, was Lingnan Circuit (嶺南道), or Mountain-South Circuit, in 627 during the Tang Dynasty.

The Guangdong part of Lingnan Circuit was renamed Guangnan East Region (廣南東路 guǎng nn dōng l) in 971 during the Song Dynasty. "Guangnan East" is the source of "Guangdong". "Guang" means "Expanse".

During the Yuan Dynasty, it was a part of Jiangxi. Its present name, "Guangdong Province" was given during the Qing Dynasty.

Hainan was originally part of Guangdong but was separated in the 1980s.


The current immediate administrative divisions of Guangdong consist of 21 prefecture-level cities:

The above division include, in total, 49 districts, 30 county-level cities, 42 counties, and 3 autonomous counties.


Guangdong faces the South China Sea to the south and had a total of 4,300 km of coastline. Leizhou Peninsula is on the southwestern end of the province. There are a few inactive volcanoes on Leizhou Peninsula. The Pearl River Delta is the convergent point of three upstream rivers: the East River, North River, and West River. The river delta is filled with hundreds of small islands. The province is geographically separated from the north by a few mountain ranges collectively called the Southern Mountain Range (南岭). The highest point in the province is about 1,600 meters above sea level.

Guangdong borders Fujian province to the northeast, Jiangxi and Hunan provinces to the north, Guangxi autonomous region to the west, and Hong Kong and Macau Special Administrative Regions to the south. Hainan province is offshore across from the Leizhou Peninsula.

Cities around the Pearl River Delta include Dongguan, Foshan, Guangzhou, Huizhou, Jiangmen, Shenzhen, Shunde, Taishan, Zhongshan and Zhuhai. Other cities in the province include Chaozhou, Chenghai, Kaiping, Nanhai, Panyu, Shantou, Shaoguan, Xinhui, Zhanjiang and Zhaoqing.


After the communist takeover and until the start of the Deng Xiaoping reforms in 1978, Guangdong was an economic backwater. Economic development policies encouraged industrial development in the interior provinces which were weakly linked to Guangdong via transportation links. The government policy of economic autarky made Guangdong's access to the ocean irrelevant.

Deng Xiaoping's open door policy radically changed the economy of the province as it was able to take advantage of its access to the ocean, its closeness to Hong Kong, and historical links to overseas Chinese. In addition, until the 1990s when the Chinese taxation system was reformed, the province benefited from the relatively low rate of taxation placed on it by the central government due to its historical status of being economically backward.

The province is now one of the richest in the nation. It has three of the four Special Economic Zones: Shenzhen, Shantou and Zhuhai.


The majority of the province's population is Han Chinese. There is a small Yao population in the northern part of the province. Other smaller minority groups include Mian, Li, and Zhuang.

The Cantonese dialect, rather than the official Mandarin, serves as the lingua franca for 60,000,000 or so people of Guangdong speaking various dialects. Minnan and Hakka dialects are also spoken. Mandarin is taught in school and understood by majority of the population.

Owing to the closeness of Guangdong to the ocean, it is the ancestral home to large numbers of overseas Chinese. Most of the railroad laborers in the Western United States in the 19th century came from the province. Emigration in recent years has slowed due to the relatively good economy in the province, and Guangdong is a major destination of the floating population from more northern provinces.

Because of the high population density and the close proximity in which humans and animals live, Guangdong has often been the source of respiratory diseases such as influenza. In late 2002, Guangdong was the initial source of SARS.


During the 1980s, the Guangdong provincial government had a reputation of resisting central government directives, especially those regarding the economy. At the same time, the good economic situation of Guangdong has made it relatively quiet in the area of political and economic activism. Although some in the West assume that Guangdong's economic growth and distinctive language would give rise to separatism, this is not the case, and there has never been any significant support for separatism.

Although both Hong Kong and Macau have historically been part of Guangdong, the Basic Laws of both Special Administrative Regions (SARs) explicitly forbid provincial governments from intervening in political issues. Many issues, such as border policy and water rights, regarding the relationship between Hong Kong and Macao and the rest of China are settled via negotiation between the SAR's and the Guangdong provincial government. Because the SAR's are subdivisions of China, it is impossible for a negotiation to occur between the central government and the SAR government since they are of different statuses with the central government the higher power. However, because Guangdong and the SAR's of equal status with neither having control over the other, negotiation between them is possible and in fact encouraged on issues in which the Central Government has no opinion.



Miscellaneous topics

Professional sports teams based in Guangdong include:

Colleges and universities

External links

  • Administration Districts of Guangdong (http://www.getgd.net/gd_surv/gd_sur6.html)

Province-level divisions administered by the People's Republic of China
Provinces: Anhui | Fujian | Gansu | Guangdong | Guizhou | Hainan | Hebei | Heilongjiang | Henan | Hubei | Hunan | Jiangsu | Jiangxi | Jilin | Liaoning | Qinghai | Shaanxi | Shandong | Shanxi | Sichuan | Yunnan | Zhejiang
Autonomous Regions: Guangxi | Inner Mongolia | Ningxia | Tibet | Xinjiang
Municipalities: Beijing | Chongqing | Shanghai | Tianjin
Special Administrative Regions: Hong Kong | Macau
See also: Political status of Taiwan

  Results from FactBites:
AllRefer.com - Guangdong, China (Chinese Political Geography) - Encyclopedia (625 words)
Guangdong is the country's leading producer of sugarcane; rice and silk are other major crops, although the silk industry is no longer as important as it once was.
Guangdong was the main scene of China's early foreign contact, chiefly through Guangzhou; there was trade with the west during the Roman Empire, trade with the Arabs during the T'ang dynasty, and European trade that originated during the 16th cent.
Guangdong has been a center of revolutionary activity; there the Kuomintang was formed (1912) under the leadership of Sun Yat-sen, and there Chiang Kai-shek began his drive (1920s) for the unification of the country.
Guangdong - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1694 words)
As time passed, the demographics of what is now Guangdong slowly shifted to Han Chinese-dominance, especially during several periods of massive migration from the north during periods of political turmoil and/or nomadic incursions from the fall of the Han Dynasty onwards.
During the early 1920s of the Republic of China, Guangdong was the staging area for KMT to prepare for the Northern Expedition, an effort to bring the various warlords of China back under the central government.
Guangdong borders Fujian province to the northeast, Jiangxi and Hunan provinces to the north, Guangxi autonomous region to the west, and Hong Kong and Macau Special Administrative Regions to the south.
  More results at FactBites »



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