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Guizhou Province
Name transcription(s)
 • Chinese 贵州省 (Guìzhōu Shěng)
 • Abbreviation wikt:黔 or wikt:贵/ (pinyin: Qián or Guì)
Map showing the location of Guizhou Province
Map showing the location of Guizhou Province
Coordinates: 26°50′N 106°50′E / 26.833°N 106.833°E / 26.833; 106.833Coordinates: 26°50′N 106°50′E / 26.833°N 106.833°E / 26.833; 106.833
Named for wikt:贵/ guì - Gui Mountains
zhōu - zhou (prefecture)
Capital Guiyang
Largest city Bijie
Divisions 9 prefectures, 88 counties, 1539 townships
 • Secretary Zhao Kezhi
 • Governor Chen Min'er
 • Total 176,167 km2 (68,018 sq mi)
Area rank 16th
Population (2010)[2]
 • Total 34,746,468
 • Rank 19th
 • Density 200/km2 (510/sq mi)
 • Density rank 18th
 • Ethnic composition Han - 62%
Miao - 12%
Buyei - 8%
Dong - 5%
Tujia - 4%
Yi - 2%
Undistinguished - 2%
Gelao - 2%
Sui - 1%
 • Languages and dialects Southwestern Mandarin
ISO 3166 code CN-52
GDP (2012) CNY 680.22 billion
US$ 107.758 billion (26th)
 - per capita CNY 19,566
US$ 3,100 (31st)
HDI (2010) 0.598[3] (medium) (30th)
(Simplified Chinese)
Simplified Chinese
Traditional Chinese
Postal Map Kweichow

Guizhou (simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: About this sound Guìzhōu; Wade–Giles: Kuei4-chou1; Postal map spelling: Kweichow) is a province of the People's Republic of China located in the southwestern part of the country. Its provincial capital city is Guiyang.


The area was first organized as an imperially-controlled Chinese administrative region during the Tang dynasty, and was named "Juzhou" (矩州, Middle Chinese: Kjú-jyuw).[4] During the Mongol-led Yuan dynasty, the element "Ju" ("carpenter's square") was changed to the more refined "Gui" ("precious").[4] The region formally became a province in 1413, with its capital at old Guizhou (modern Guiyang).[4]


From around 1046 BCE to the emergence of the Qin Dynasty, northwest Guizhou was part of the State of Shu.[5] During the Warring States period, the Chinese state of Chu conquered the area, and control later passed to the Dian Kingdom. During the Chinese Han Dynasty (206 BCE–220 CE), to which the Dian was tributary, Guizhou was home to the Yelang collection of tribes, which largely governed themselves before the Han consolidated control in the southwest and established the Lingnan province.[5] During the Three Kingdoms period, parts of Guizhou were governed by the Shu Han state based in Sichuan, followed by Cao Wei (220–265) and the Jin Dynasty (265–420).[5]

During the 8th and 9th centuries in the Tang Dynasty, Chinese soldiers moved into Guizhou (Kweichow) and married native women, their descendants are known as Lǎohànrén (老汉人), in contrast to new Chinese who populated Guizhou at later times. They still speak an archaic dialect.[6] Many immigrants to Guizhou were descended from these soldiers in garrisons who married these pre-Chinese women.[7] Although the Song Dynasty after the Tang did not care to govern the lands south of the Dadu River, the development of Chinese commercial, urban, and Confucian culture in the Song greatly influenced the culture of Guizhou.

Kublai Khan and Möngke Khan conquered the Chinese southwest in the process of defeating the Song during the Mongol invasion of China, and the newly established Yuan Dynasty (1279–1368) saw the importation of Chinese Muslim administrators and settlers from Bukhara in Central Asia.[5]

It was during the following Ming Dynasty, which was once again led by Han Chinese, that Guizhou was formally made a province in 1413. The Ming established many garrisons in Guizhou from which to pacify the Yao and Miao minorities during the Miao Rebellions.[5] Chinese-style agriculture flourished with the expertise of farmers from Sichuan, Hunan and its surrounding provinces into Guizhou. Wu Sangui was responsible for the ousting the Ming in Guizhou and Yunnan during the Manchu conquest of China. During the governorship-general of the Qing Dynasty's nobleman Ortai, the tusi system of indirect governance of the southwest was abolished, prompting rebellions from disenfranchised chieftains and the further centralization of government. After the Second Opium War, criminal triads set up shop in Guangxi and Guizhou to sell British opium. For a time, Taiping Rebels took control of Guizhou, but they were ultimately suppressed by the Qing.[5] Concurrently, Han Chinese soldiers moved into the Taijiang region of Guizhou, married Miao women, and their children were brought up as Miao.[8][9]

More unsuccessful Miao rebellions occurred during the Qing, in 1735, from 1795–1806[10] and from 1854–1873.[11] After the overthrow of the Qing in 1911 and following Chinese Civil War, the Communists took refuge in Guizhou during the Long March (1934–1935).[5] While the province was formally ruled by the Guomindang warlord Wang Jialie, the Zunyi Conference in Guizhou established Mao Zedong as the leader of the Communist Party. As the Second Sino-Japanese War pushed China's Nationalist Government to its southwest base of Chongqing, transportation infrastructure improved as Guizhou was linked with the Burma Road.[12] After the end of the War, a 1949 Revolution swept Mao into power, who promoted the relocation of heavy industry into inland provinces such as Guizhou, to better protect them from Soviet and American attacks. After the Chinese economic reform began in 1978, geographical factors led Guizhou to become the poorest province in China, with a GDP growth average of 9 percent from 1978–1993.[12]


Bouyei minority Shitou village, west Guizhou (near Longgong caves), China.

Guizhou adjoins Sichuan Province and Chongqing Municipality to the north, Yunnan Province to the west, Guangxi Province to the south and Hunan Province to the east. Overall Guizhou is a mountainous province however it is more hilly in the west while the eastern and southern portions are relatively flat. The western part of the province forms part of the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau.

Other cities include: Anshun, Kaili, Zunyi, Duyun, Liupanshui and Qingzhen.

Guizhou has a subtropical humid climate. There are few seasonal changes. Its annual average temperature is roughly 10 to 20 °C, with January temperatures ranging from 1 to 10 °C and July temperatures ranging from 17 to 28 °C.

Like in China's other southwest provinces, rural areas of Guizhou suffered severe drought during spring 2010. One of China's poorest provinces, Guizhou is experiencing serious environmental problems, such as desertification and persistent water shortages. On 3–5 April 2010, China's Premier Wen Jiabao went on a three days inspection tour in the southwest drought-affected province of Guizhou, where he met villagers and called on agricultural scientists to develop drought-resistant technologies for the area.[13]


A bird photographed at Caohai.
Grey-backed Shrike at Caohai.

The border mountains of Guizhou, Guangxi, and Hunan have been identified as one of the eight plant diversity hotspots in China. The main ecosystem types include evergreen broad-leaved forest, coniferous and broad-leaved mixed forest, and montane elfin forest. Plant species endemic to this region include Abies ziyuanensis, Cathaya argyrophylla, and Keteleeria pubescens.[14] In broad terms, the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau is one of the vertebrate diversity hotspots of China. At the level of counties, Xingyi is one of nine Chinese vertebrate diversity (excluding birds) hotspots.[15] Animals only known from Guizhou include Leishan moustache toad, Kuankuoshui salamander, Shuicheng salamander, Guizhou salamander, and Zhijin warty newt.

Caohai Lake with its surroundings is a wetland that is an important overwintering site for many birds. It is a National Nature Reserve and an Important Bird Area identified by BirdLife International.[16]


The politics of Guizhou is structured in a dual party-government system like all other governing institutions in mainland China.

The Governor of Guizhou is the highest-ranking official in the People's Government of Guizhou.

Administrative divisions[edit]

townsips map guizhou

Guizhou is divided into nine prefecture-level divisions: six prefecture-level cities and three autonomous prefectures:

Map # Name Administrative Seat Chinese
Hanyu Pinyin
Population (2010)
Guizhou prfc map.png
Prefecture-level city
1 Bijie Qixingguan District 毕节市
Bìjíe Shì
2 Zunyi Huichuan District 遵义市
Zūnyì Shì
3 Tongren Bijiang District 铜仁市
Tóngrén Shì
4 Liupanshui Zhongshan District 六盘水市
Liùpánshuǐ Shì
5 Anshun Xixiu District 安顺市
Ānshùn Shì
6 Guiyang
(Provincial seat)
Guanshanhu District 贵阳市
Guìyáng Shì
Autonomous prefecture
7 Qianxi'nan
(for Buyei & Miao)
Xingyi 黔西南布依族苗族自治州
Qiánxī'nán Bùyīzú Miáozú Zìzhìzhōu
8 Qiannan
(for Buyei & Miao)
Duyun 黔南布依族苗族自治州
Qiánnán Bùyīzú Miáozú Zìzhìzhōu
9 Qiandongnan
(for Miao & Dong)
Kaili 黔东南苗族侗族自治州
Qiándōngnán Miáozú Dòngzú Zìzhìzhōu

These prefecture-level divisions are sub-divided into 88 county-level divisions, which are subdivided into 1543 township-level divisions.


Guiyang is the provincial capital of Guizhou.

As of the mid 19th century, Guizhou exported mercury, gold, iron, lead, tobacco, incense and drugs.[17]

Guizhou is a relatively poor and economically undeveloped province, but rich in natural, cultural and environmental resources. Its nominal GDP for 2012 was 680.22 billion yuan (107.758 billion USD). Its per capita GDP of RMB 19,566 (3,100 USD) ranks last in all of the PRC.

Its natural industry includes timber and forestry.[18] Guizhou is also the third largest producer of tobacco in China, and home to the well-known brand Guizhou Tobacco.[19] Other important industries in the province include energy (electricity generation) - a large portion of which is exported to Guangdong and other provinces[19] - and mining, especially in coal, limestone, arsenic, gypsum, and oil shale.[18] Guizhou's total output of coal was 118 million tons in 2008, a 7% growth from the previous year.[20] Guizhou's export of power to Guangdong equaled 12% of Guangdong's total power consumption. Over the next 5 years Guizhou hopes to increase this by as much as 50%.[21]

Economic and Technological Development Zones[edit]

  • Guiyang Economic & Technological Development Zone was created in February 2000.[22]
  • Guiyang National New & Hi-Tech Industrial Development Zone



Guizhou's rail network consists primarily of a cross formed by the Sichuan-Guizhou, Guangxi-Guizhou and Shanghai-Kunming Railways, which intersect at the provincial capital, Guiyang, near the center of the province. The Liupanshui-Baiguo, Pan County West and Weishe-Hongguo Railways form a rail corridor along Guizhou's western border with Yunnan. This corridor connects the Neijiang-Kunming Railway, which dips into northwestern Guizhou at Weining, with the Nanning-Kunming Railway, which skirts the southwestern corner of Guizhou at Xingyi.

As of 2013, the Guiyang-Guangzhou and Chongqing–Guizhou High-Speed Railways are under construction.


Major Autonomous areas within Guizhou. (excluding Hui)
The long-horn tribe, one of the small branches of Miao living in the twelve villages near Zhijing (织金) County, Guizhou Province. The wooden horns remain daily attire for most women.

As of 1832, the population was estimated at five million.[17]

Guizhou is demographically one of China's most diverse provinces. Minority groups account for more than 37% of the population and they include Miao (including Gha-Mu and A-Hmao), Yao, Yi, Qiang, Dong, Zhuang, Bouyei, Bai, Tujia, Gelao and Sui. 55.5% of the province area is designated as autonomous regions for ethnic minorities. Guizhou is the province with the highest fertility rate in China, standing at 2.19. (Urban-1.31, Rural-2.42)[23]


Main article: Guizhou cuisine

Guizhou is the home of the well-known Chinese liquor Moutai.[24] The area of Rongjiang especially includes numerous vinyards and distilleries. A local specialty is osmanthus wine, and sweet osmanthus flowers are used to flavor many traditional foods in the area, including teas, cakes, and sauces.

Guizhou cuisine is spicy but distinct[clarification needed] from Szechuan and Hunan cuisine.


Huangguoshu Waterfall, the largest in China.
Drum tower in the Dong village of Zhaoxing, southern Guizhou.

The province has many covered bridges, called Wind and Rain Bridges. These were built by the Dong minority people.

The southeastern corner of the province is known for its unique Dong minority culture. Towns such as Rongjiang, Liping, Diping and Zhaoxing are scattered amongst the hills along the border with Guangxi.

The rich population of minorities in Guizhou allow for a great many ethnic festivals throughout the lunar calendar. During the first lunar month (usually February), the early festival in Kaili (east of Guiyang) celebrates local culture with acts of bullfighting, horse racing, pipe playing, and comedy works.

Colleges and universities[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Doing Business in China - Survey". Ministry Of Commerce - People's Republic Of China. Retrieved 5 August 2013. 
  2. ^ "Communiqué of the National Bureau of Statistics of People's Republic of China on Major Figures of the 2010 Population Census [1] (No. 2)". National Bureau of Statistics of China. 29 April 2011. Retrieved 4 August 2013. 
  3. ^ 《2013中国人类发展报告》 (PDF) (in Chinese). United Nations Development Programme China. 2013. Retrieved 2014-05-14. 
  4. ^ a b c Wilkinson (2012), p. 233.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Maygew, Bradley; Miller, Korina; English, Alex (2002). "Facts about South-West China - History". South-West China (2 ed.). Lonely Planet. pp. 16–20, 24. 
  6. ^ Scottish Geographical Society (1929). Scottish geographical magazine, Volumes 45-46. Royal Scottish Geographical Society. p. 70. Retrieved 2010-06-28. 
  7. ^ Margaret Portia Mickey (1947). The Cowrie Shell Miao of Kweichow, Volume 32, Issue 1. The Museum. p. 6. Retrieved 2010-06-28. 
  8. ^ Contributions to Southeast Asian ethnography, Issue 7. Board of Editors, Contributions to Southeast Asian Ethnography. 1988. p. 99. Retrieved 2010-06-28. 
  9. ^ Dan Jin, Xueliang Ma, Mark Bender (2006). Butterfly mother: Miao (Hmong) creation epics from Guizhou, China. Hackett Publishing. p. xvii. ISBN 0-87220-849-4. Retrieved 2010-06-28. 
  10. ^ Elleman, Bruce A. (2001). "The Miao Revolt (1795–1806)". Modern Chinese Warfare, 1795-1989. London: Routledge. pp. 7–8. ISBN 978-0-415-21474-2. 
  11. ^ Robert . Jenks (1994). Insurgency and Social Disorder in Guizhou: The "Miao" Rebellion, 1854-1873. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 0-8248-1589-0. 
  12. ^ a b Hutchings, Graham (2003). "Guizhou Province". Modern China: A Guide to a Century of Change. Harvard University Press. pp. 176–177. 
  13. ^ "China's premier concerned about drought in SW China". Xinhua. 2010-04-05. Retrieved 2008-09-17. 
  14. ^ Zhang, Y. B.; Ma, K. P. (2008). "Geographic distribution patterns and status assessment of threatened plants in China". Biodiversity and Conservation 17 (7): 1783–1798. doi:10.1007/s10531-008-9384-6.  edit
  15. ^ Chen, Yang; An-Ping Chen, Jing-Yun Fang (2002). "Geographical distribution patterns of endangered fishes, amphibians, reptiles and mammals and their hotspots in China: a study based on "China Red Data Book of Endangered Animals"". Biodiversity Science 10 (4): 359–368. 
  16. ^ BirdLife International (2013). "Important Bird Areas factsheet: Cao Hai Nature Reserve". Retrieved 24 February 2013. 
  17. ^ a b Roberts, Edmund (1837). Embassy to the Eastern Courts of Cochin-China, Siam, and Muscat. New York: Harper & Brothers. p. 123. 
  18. ^ a b "Market Profiles on Chinese Cities and Provinces : Guizhou Province". Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTD)/Guizhou Statistical Yearbook 2008. January 2009. Retrieved 2010-11-27. 
  19. ^ a b
  20. ^ "Coal output in SW China province tops 100 mln tons". People's Daily Online. 2005-12-24. Retrieved 2008-07-06. 
  21. ^ The China Perspective | Guizhou Economic Facts and Data
  22. ^ "Guiyang Eco&Tech Development Zone". Business in China. 17 September 2004. Retrieved 10 February 2013. 
  23. ^ Heather Kathleen Mary Terrell (May 2005). "Fertility in China in 2000 : A County Level Analysis (thesis, 140 p.)". Texas A & M University. Retrieved 2010-11-27. 
  24. ^ "Maotai Remains Short in Supply in 2008". 8 January 2008. Retrieved 27 March 2012. 
  • Wilkinson, Endymion (2012). Chinese History: A New Manual. Harvard-Yenching Institute Monograph Series 84. Cambridge, MA: Harvard-Yenching Institute; Harvard University Asia Center. ISBN 978-0-674-06715-8. 

External links[edit]