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Jiangnan or Jiang Nan (Chinese: 江南; pinyin: Jiāngnán; Wade–Giles: Chiang-nan; sometimes spelled Kiang-nan) is a geographic area in China referring to lands immediately to the south of the lower reaches of the Yangtze River, including the southern part of the Yangtze Delta. The region encompasses the Shanghai Municipality, the southern part of Jiangsu Province, the southern part of Anhui Province, the northern part of Jiangxi Province, and the northern part of Zhejiang Province. The most important cities in the area are Shanghai, Nanjing, Ningbo, Hangzhou, Suzhou, Wuxi, Changzhou and Shaoxing.
The majority populous of the region communicates in Wu Chinese.
The earliest archaeological evidences were of the Majiabang and of the Hemudu cultures. The later Liangzhu culture, from around 2600-2000 BC, created complex and beautiful jade artifacts. Their economy was based on rice cultivation, fishing and constructed houses on stilts over rivers or lakes. During the Zhou Dynasty, the Wu and Baiyue peoples inhabited the area with heavy aquaculture and stilt houses, but became increasingly sinicized through contact with northern Chinese states. They adopted the Chinese writing system and created excellent bronze swords. The Chu state from the west (in Hubei) expanded into this area and defeated the Yue state. After Chu was conquered by Qin, China was unified. It was not until the fall of Western Jin during the early 4th century AD that northern Chinese moved to Jiangnan in significant numbers. The Yellow River valley was becoming barren due to flooding (lack of trees after intensive logging to create farmland) and constant harassment and invasion by the Wu Hu nomads.
Although Chinese civilization originated in the North China Plain around the Yellow River, natural climate change and continuous harassment from nomadic enemies damaged North China's agricultural productivity throughout the 1st millennium AD. Many people settled in South China, where the Jiangnan area's warm and wet climate were ideal for supporting agriculture and allowed highly sophisticated cities to arise. As early as the East Han period (circa 2nd century AD), Jiangnan areas became one of the more economically prominent areas of China. Other than rice, Jiangnan produced highly profitable trade products such as tea, silk, and celadon porcelain (from Shangyu). Convenient transportation - the Grand Canal to the north, the Yangtze River to the west, and seaports such as Yangzhou - contributed greatly to local trade and also trade between ancient China and other nations.
Several Chinese Dynasties were based in Jiangnan. During the Three Kingdoms period, Jianye (modern-day Nanjing) was the capital of the Kingdom of Wu. In the 3rd century, many northern Chinese moved here after nomadic groups controlled the north. In the 10th century, Wuyue was a small coastal kingdom founded by Qian Liu who made a lasting cultural impact on Jiangnan and its people to this day. After the Jurchen completely overran northern China in the Jin–Song war of the 1120s, the exiled Song Dynasty government retreated south, establishing the new Southern Song capital at Hangzhou in 1127.
During the last years of the Yuan Dynasty Jiangnan was fought for by two major rebel states: Zhu Yuanzhang's Ming, based in Nanjing, and the Suzhou-centered Wu led by Zhang Shicheng. A ten-year rivalry ended with Zhu's capture of Suzhou in 1367; having thus reunified Jiangnan, Zhu proclaimed himself the first emperor of the new Ming Dynasty on the Chinese New Year Day (20 January) of 1368, and a few month later expelled the Mongols from Northern China as well. Nanjing remained the capital of the Ming Dynasty until the early 15th century, when the third Ming Emperor, Yongle, moved the capital to Beijing.
The Qing Dynasty Qianlong Emperor made many visits to Jiangnan (Chinese: 乾隆下江南; pinyin: Qiánlóng Xià Jiāngnán), which have been the popular subject of numerous Chinese operas and television dramas. Earlier, the Kangxi Emperor visited the region as well.
During the 19th century Taiping Rebellion, the rebel Taiping state occupied much of Jiangnan and eventually made Nanjing its capital. The area suffered much damage as the Rebellion was quelled and Manchurian rule restored.
After the fall of the Qing monarchy in 1911, and Chiang Kai-shek's Northern Expedition, the Republic of China, following the wishes of Dr. Sun Yat-sen, made Nanjing the national capital. From the late 1920s until the Second World War, the Jiangnan area was the focus of Chinese economic development. Much of the Kuomintang's ruling elite and the ROC's economic elite hailed from the Jiangnan area.
Dialect has also been used as a tool for regional identity and politics in the Jiangbei and Jiangnan regions. While the city of Yangzhou was the a flourishing and prosperous center of trade, it was considered part of Jiangnan (south of the river), which was known to be wealthy, even though Yangzhou was north of the Yangtze river. Once Yangzhou's wealth and prosperity began to wane, it was then considered to be part of Jiangbei, the "backwater". After Yangzhou was removed from Jiangnan, its residents decided to replace Jianghuai Mandarin, which was the dialect of Yangzhou, with Taihu Wu dialects. In Jiangnan itself, multiple subdialects of Wu fought for the position of prestige dialect.
History of Immigration and Emigration in Jiangnan
Ethnic Han Chinese from the Yangtze delta region migrated to Seng ge gshong "at the turn of" the 1400s. Seng ge gshong was renamed Wutun due to these colonists. During the Qianlong reign this migration was recorded in the Xunhua zhi. Wutun is located in Qinghai province.
During the Ming dynasty people from Jiangsu migrated to Taomin in Northwest China, where the Taozhou dialect is spoken. Chen Ming developed a theory in which he claimed that the hua'er song style popular in northwest China was created by a synthesis between the songs of these Jiangsu migrants and the Tibetans and Qiang of Taomin.
- Chinese macro-regions
- Golden Triangle of the Yangtze
- Vicariate Apostolic of Kiang-nan for the missionary history
- Wu Chinese (topolect or language)
- Wu-speaking peoples
- Wu (region)
In popular culture
The name Jiangnan (江南) is the Chinese translation of the Korean hit song, Gangnam Style, which is called Jiangnan style in Chinese.
- 江南 jiāngnán
- Roberts, Edmund (1837). Embassy to the Eastern Courts of Cochin-China, Siam, and Muscat. New York: Harper & Brothers. p. 122.
- Frederic E. Wakeman (1977). The fall of imperial China (illustrated, reprint ed.). Simon and Schuster. p. 87. ISBN 0-02-933680-5. Retrieved 11 October 2011.
The gentry of Kiangnan in the lower Yangtze harbored anti-barbarian sentiments and were reluctant to implement necessary tax reforms
- Dorothy Ko (1994). Teachers of the inner chambers: women and culture in seventeenth-century China (illustrated, annotated ed.). Stanford University Press. p. 21. ISBN 0-8047-2359-1. Retrieved 23 September 2011.
With the exclusion of Yangzhou came the denigration of its dialect, a variant of Jianghuai "Mandarin" (guanhua). The various Wu dialects from the Lake Tai area became the spoken language of choice, to the point of replacing guanhua...
- Michael Dillon (1999). China's Muslim Hui community: migration, settlement and sects. Psychology Press. p. 23. ISBN 0-7007-1026-4. Retrieved 17 July 2011.
There were also many Muslim settlements in the Jiangnan region, the area immediately south of the Yangzi river which was to become so important for the spectacular economic growth that China experienced during the Ming dynasty. Many of the Muslims who went to Yunnan with Mu Ying at the beginning of the Ming dynasty were drawn from the Jiangnan communities which, during the Yuan, included units of the Tammachi army and Muslim farming families.
- Jonathan Neaman Lipman (1997). Familiar strangers: a history of Muslims in Northwest China (illustrated ed.). University of Washington Press. p. 188. ISBN 0-295-97644-6. Retrieved 17 July 2011.
A millennium later Mu Ying, one of Zhu Yuanzhang's close associates, brought an army to subdue the "eighteen lineages of the Tufan" in 1379. Many of his Muslim soldiers stayed at Taozhou, building the town's first mosque and setting up in trade between the nomads and the sedentary population of the Tao valley, Hezhou, and points north and east."
- Toni Huber (2002). "EIGHT". In Toni Huber. Amdo Tibetans in transition: society and culture in the post-Mao era : PIATS 2000 : Tibetan studies : proceedings of the Ninth Seminar of the International Association for Tibetan Studies, Leiden 2000. Volume 9 of PIATS 2000: Tibetan Studies ; Proceedings of the Ninth Seminar of the International Association for Tibetan Studies. BRILL. p. 200. ISBN 90-04-12596-5. Retrieved 17 July 2011.
The Xunhua zhi, written during the reign of Qing emperor Qianlong (r. 1736-96), also describes Chinese settlement occurring in the region at the turn of the fifteenth century, and it was during this migration that Seng ge gshong was given the name Wutun, after the place of origin of the immigrant Chinese who came predominantly from Wu in the lower Yangtze delta.(Brill's Tibetan studies library ; 2/5 Volume 9 of Proceedings of the ... seminar of the International Association for Tibetan Studies, International Association for Tibetan Studies Volume 5 of PIATS 2000: Tibetan Studies ; Proceedings of the Ninth Seminar of the International Association for Tibetan Studies, Leiden 2000)
- Harris M. Berger, Michael Thomas Carroll (2003). Harris M. Berger, Michael Thomas Carroll, ed. Global pop, local language. Univ. Press of Mississippi. p. 182. ISBN 1-57806-536-4. Retrieved 17 July 2011.
Chen Ming follows a similar argument in relation to hua'er songs in the Taomin ( Taozhou) dialect area, saying that when the Jiangsu immigrants came to this region in the Ming dynasty, they combined the performance styles of their native folksongs with song competitions popular among the Tibetans already living in the area. Together they "gradually created the new song form hua'er"