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The county is situated immediately south of the Ma'anshan urban core, and its northern built-up region is effectively a suburb of the greater Ma'anshan area. It is bordered by the city of Wuhu in the southwest, the Yangtze River due east, and Shijiu Lake to the east. Its southern half is still largely rural.
According to the Sixth National Census, the county has a total population of about 410,000. The main urban center of Dangtu County is home to approximately 220,000 residents.
Dangtu County has a long history of more than 2000 years as a county. It was called Danyang (丹阳) in the Qin Dynasty but during the Sui Dynasty, the county became known as "Dangtu" 当涂. A famous poet named Xie Tiao (谢朓) once praised Dangtu County as the place of beautiful mountains and rivers. Li Bai had come to Dangtu seven times and his uncle was the former governor of Dangtu County. There is a memorial to the famous Chinese poet, Li Bai (aka Li Po c.700-762), who is said to have drowned at Dangtu after attempting to embrace the reflection of the moon. Dangtu people have a sense of familiarity with many of the poems Li Bai wrote because the beautiful scenery he described in his poems are the actual places where the local people have lived all of their lives.
Dangtu County, which borders the municipality of Nanjing in Jiangsu, is a relatively prosperous county, with a 2015 GDP per capita of approximately $6,000 (US). Its factories produce bricks, candles, electric lamps, and soap. Its major exports are frozen meat, textiles, leather and plastic products. Industry occupies about 60% of the Dangtu economy, with services generating 20% of economic output.
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