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Ning Xia

 

 

 

Ningxia (Chinese: 宁夏; pinyin: Níngxià; Wade–Giles: Ning-hsia; pronounced [nǐŋɕjâ]), officially Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region (NHAR), is an autonomous region of the People's Republic of China located in the northwest part of the country. Formerly a province, Ningxia was incorporated into Gansu in 1954 but, in 1958, broke off from Gansu and was reconstituted as an autonomous region for the Hui people, one of the 56 officially recognised nationalities of China.

 

Ningxia is bounded by Shaanxi to the east, Gansu to the south and west, and Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region to the north and has an area of around 66,400 square kilometres (25,600 sq mi). This sparsely settled, mostly desert region lies partially on the Loess Plateau and in the vast plain of the Yellow River, and features the Great Wall of China along its northeastern boundary. Over the years an extensive system of canals has been built. Extensive land reclamation and irrigation projects have made increased cultivation possible.

 

 

Geography

 

Ningxia borders the provinces of Shaanxi and Gansu, and the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.

 

The Yellow River flows through Ningxia. The Ningxia ecosystem is one of the least studied regions in the world. Some plant genera in Ningxia have been estimated at over 40,000 years old.

 

Ningxia is a relatively dry, desert-like region. Significant irrigation supports the growing of wolfberries, a commonly consumed fruit throughout the region.

 

Ningxia's deserts include the Tengger desert in Shapotou.

 

The northern section, through which the Yellow River flows, supports the best agricultural land. A railroad, linking Lanzhou with Baotou, crosses the region. A highway has been built across the Yellow River at Yinchuan.

 

On 16 December 1920, the Haiyuan earthquake, 8.6 magnitude, at 36.6°N 105.32°E, initiated a series of landslides that killed an estimated 200,000 people. Over 600 large loess landslides created more than 40 new lakes.

 

In 2006, satellite images indicated that a 700 by 200-meter fenced area within Ningxia—5 km (3.1 mi) southwest of Yinchuan, near the remote village of Huangyangtan—is a near-exact 1:500 scale terrain model reproduction of a 450 by 350-kilometer area of Aksai Chin bordering India, complete with mountains, valleys, lakes and hills. Its purpose is as yet unknown.

 

 

Climate

 

The region is 1,200 kilometres (750 mi) from the sea and has a continental climate with average summer temperatures rising to 17 to 24 °C (63 to 75 °F) in July and average winter temperatures dropping to between −7 to −15 °C (19 to 5 °F) in January. Seasonal extreme temperatures can reach 39 °C (102 °F) in summer and −30 °C (−22 °F) in winter. The diurnal temperature variation can reach above 17 °C (31 °F), especially in spring. Annual rainfall averages from 190 to 700 millimetres (7.5 to 27.6 in), with more rain falling in the south of the region.

 

 

Tourism

 

One of Ningxia's main tourist spots is the famous Xixia Tombs site located 30 km (19 mi) west of Yinchuan. The remnants of nine Western Xia emperors' tombs and two hundred other tombs lie within a 50 km2 (19 sq mi) area. Other famous sites in Ningxia include Helan Shan, the mysterious 108 dagobas, the twin pagodas of Baisikou and the desert research outpost at Shapatou. A less visited tourist spots in Ningxia is the Mount Sumeru Grottoes (须弥山), which is among the ten most famous grottoes in China.

 

 

History

 

Ningxia and its surrounding areas were incorporated into the Qin Dynasty as early as the 3rd century BC. Throughout the Han Dynasty and the Tang Dynasty there were several large cities established in the region, and by the 11th century the Tangut tribe had established the Western Xia Dynasty on the outskirts of the then Song Dynasty. Jews also lived in Ningxia, as evidenced by the fact that, after a major flood destroyed Torah scrolls in Kaifeng, a replacement was sent to the Kaifeng Jews by the Ningbo and Ningxia Jewish communities.

 

It then came under Mongol domination after Genghis Khan conquered Yinchuan in the early 13th century. After the Mongols departed and its influences faded, some Turkic-speaking Muslims also began moving into Ningxia from the west. The Muslim Rebellion of the 19th century occurred here.

 

In 1914, Ningxia was merged with the province of Gansu; in 1928, however, it was detached and became a province. Between 1914 and 1928, the Xibei San Ma (literally "three Mas of the northwest") ruled the provinces of Qinghai, Ningxia and Gansu. Muslim Kuomintang General Ma Hongkui was the military Governor of Ningxia and had absolute authority in the province. In 1958, Ningxia formally became an autonomous region of China. In 1969, Ningxia received a part of the Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region, but this area was returned in 1979. It is nearly coextensive with the ancient kingdom of the Tangut people, whose capital was captured by Genghis Khan in the early 13th century.

 

A number of Chinese artifacts dating from the Tang dynasty and Song dynasty, some of which had been owned by Emperor Zhenzong were excavated and then came into the hands of Ma Hongkui, who refused to publicize the findings. Among the artifacts were a white marble tablet from the Tang dynasty, gold nails, and bands made out of metal. It was not until after Ma passed away, that his wife went to Taiwan in 1971 from America to bring the artifacts to Chiang Kai-shek, who turned them over to the Taipei National Palace Museum.