Physiographic macroregions of China

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Physiographic macroregions of China is a term suggested by an American anthropologist G. William Skinner as a subdivision of China Proper into nine areas according to the drainage basins of the major rivers and other travel-constraining geomorphological features. They are distinct in terms of environment, economic resources, culture and more or less interdependent histories with often unsynchronized developmental macrocycles.[1] They were described in Skinner's landmark essays in The City in Late Imperial China.[2]

19th Century[edit]

Skinner and his school maintain that prior to the modernization, the transportation was largely constrained by the terrain and the physiographical macroregions are a close approximation for the socioeconomical macroregions of the 19th century China. These macroregions are defined by Skinner as follows.[3]

Modern provinces of Xinjiang, Tibet, Qinghai and a larger part of Inner Mongolia are not considered by Skinner's scheme.

Twentieth century[edit]

According to Skinner's analysis, the 20th century China excluding Inner Asia has 9 socioeconomic macroregions with cores not changed from the physiographic ones of the 19th century, but with changed territorial extents.[3]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Needham, Joseph; Bray, Francesca; Huang Hsing-Tsung; Daniels, Christian; Menzies, Nicholas K. (1984). Science and Civilisation in China. ISBN 0-521-63262-5. 
  2. ^ Skinner, G. William, ed. (1977), The City in Late Imperial China, Stanford University Press 
  3. ^ a b Skinner, G. William; Henderson, Mark; Yue Zumou, A note regarding the Physiographic and Socioeconomic Macroregions of China 
  4. ^ Marks, Robert (1997). Tigers, Rice, Silk, and Silt: Environment and Economy in Late Imperial South China. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-59177-5.