Central Plain (China)


Central Plain (China)
Central Plain
中原
Zhōngyuán
Map showing the province of Henan and two definitions of the Central Plain or Zhongyuan
Country  China
Major Cities Zhengzhou
Luoyang
Kaifeng
Xinxiang
Population
 – Metro ~24,170,000

Zhongyuan or the Central Plain of China (Chinese: 中原; pinyin: Zhōngyuán) refers to the area on the lower reaches of the Yellow River which formed the cradle of Chinese civilization. It forms part of the North China Plain.

In its narrowest sense, the Central Plain covers modern-day Henan, the southern part of Hebei, the southern part of Shanxi, and the western part of Shandong province. A broader interpretation of the Central Plain's extent would add the Guanzhong plain of Shaanxi, the northwestern part of Jiangsu, and parts of Anhui and northern Hebei.

Since the beginning of recorded history, the Central Plain has been an important site for Chinese civilization.

In the pre-Qin era, present-day Luoyang and its nearby areas were considered the “Center of the World”, as the political seat of the Xia Dynasty was located around Songshan and the Yi-Luo river basin.

Inscriptions on some bronze objects from this era contain references to the 'Central States' (Zhongguo), 'Eastern States', or 'Southern States'. This indicates that the Central Plain, which was referred as the 'Central States' in these inscriptions, was considered to occupy the center of the world.

The Songshu, official history of Song Dynasty states: “Ancient emperors of ability arose in the northwest, that were able to conquer the Central Plain and further occupy the southeast." Zhuge Liang, a noted military strategist of the Three Kingdoms Period, also stated that "he would lead an army to conquer the Central Plain." All these point to the fact that the Central Plain was of both political and strategic importance. This may be the reason that many later dynasties selected Luoyang and Kaifeng in the Central Plain as their capitals.

See also


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