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Location of Yan'an City jurisdiction in Shaanxi
|Country||People's Republic of China|
|• Total||37,000 km2 (14,000 sq mi)|
|Elevation||975 m (3,199 ft)|
|• Density||58/km2 (150/sq mi)|
|Time zone||China Standard (UTC+8)|
"Yan'an", as written in Chinese
Yan'an (Chinese: 延安; pinyin: Yán'ān) is a prefecture-level city in the Shanbei region of Shaanxi province, People's Republic of China, bordering Shanxi to the east and Gansu to the west. It administers several counties, including Zhidan (formerly Bao'an), which served as the headquarters of the Chinese Communists before the city of Yan'an proper took that role.
|#||Name||Hanzi||Hanyu Pinyin||Population (2004 est.)||Area (km²)||Density (/km²)|
|1||Baota District||宝塔区||Bǎotǎ Qū||400,000||3,556||112|
|2||Yanchang County||延长县||Yáncháng Xiàn||150,000||2,295||65|
|3||Yanchuan County||延川县||Yánchuān Xiàn||180,000||1,941||93|
|4||Zichang County||子长县||Zǐcháng Xiàn||240,000||2,405||100|
|5||Ansai County||安塞县||Ānsài Xiàn||160,000||2,984||54|
|6||Zhidan County||志丹县||Zhìdān Xiàn||130,000||3,781||34|
|7||Wuqi County||吴起县||Wúqǐ Xiàn||130,000||3,776||34|
|8||Ganquan County||甘泉县||Gānquán Xiàn||80,000||2,288||35|
|9||Fu County||富县||Fù Xiàn||150,000||4,185||36|
|10||Luochuan County||洛川县||Luòchuān Xiàn||200,000||1,886||106|
|11||Yichuan County||宜川县||Yíchuān Xiàn||110,000||2,945||37|
|12||Huanglong County||黄龙县||Huánglóng Xiàn||50,000||2,383||21|
|13||Huangling County||黄陵县||Huánglíng Xiàn||120,000||2,288||52|
In medieval China, Yan'an was once called Yanzhou, a location of strategic military importance for the Chinese empire and Tanguts of the Western Xia Dynasty. It was once successfully defended by the Song Dynasty (960–1279) era Chinese scientist, statesman, and general Shen Kuo (1031–1095 AD). However, it was eventually taken over by the Tanguts in 1082 once Shen's defensive victories were marginalized and sacrificed by the new Chancellor Cai Que (who handed the city over to the Tanguts as terms of a peace treaty). Yan'an and the whole of Shaanxi were taken over by the Mongols in the late 1220s, only after their leader Genghis Khan had died during the siege of the Western Xia capital in 1227. The city was maintained by the successive Chinese Ming Dynasty (1368–1644), as well as the Manchu Qing Dynasty (1644–1911). After the fall of the Qing Dynasty, the city became part of the newly created Republic of China.
In December 1936, at the start of the Second United Front, Yan'an was taken over by the Chinese Communists. They had arrived in the area in October 1935 after making the famous Long March from Jiangxi. When Edgar Snow went there in 1936, it was under Kuomintang control and a Red army siege had recently been lifted. Unknown to him at the time, there had also been contacts there between the Communists and the generals who later staged the Xi'an Incident. Snow actually met Mao at Bao'an (Pao An).
Having rebelled against Chiang, the local warlords decided to hand over Yan'an to the Communists, who were now allies. They pulled out and the Red Army walked in without a fight. This is described by Agnes Smedley in her book Battle Hymn of China. She was in Xi'an at the time and got to Yan'an shortly after the take-over.
From 1937, Yan'an became the seat of the communist government of what became known as the Shaanxi-Gansu-Ningxia Border Region. It became the center for intensive training of party members and army troops. In 1941, Mao Zedong put special influence on a series of training programs to "correct unorthodox tendencies" and essentially mold the peasantry to the communist model. One of the first CPC programs launched was the Yan'an Rectification Movement.
World War II
During the Second World War almost all buildings, except a pagoda, were destroyed by Japanese bombing, and most inhabitants took to living in yaodongs, artificial caves or dugouts carved into hillsides which were traditional dwellings in Shaanxi. While Yan'an was the center of Chinese communist life many prominent Western journalists including Edgar Snow and Anna Louise Strong met with Mao Zedong and other important leaders for interviews. Hsiao Li and Michael Lindsay were part of the resistance movement. 
During the Second World War, Yan'an played host to the United States Army Observation Group, also known as the Dixie Mission. A joint military and civilian mission, it was sent to establish official ties with the Communists and explore possible plans for cooperation against the Japanese. The Americans had a presence in Yan'an from 1944 to 1947.
Yan'an was briefly captured in the Battle of Yan'an by the Kuomintang forces in the Chinese Civil War. The Communist leadership learned of a planned attack in advance and decided to pull out. From then until their capture of Beijing they were usually based somewhere else, often with a mobile headquarters.
Geography and climate
Yan'an is located in northern Shaanxi on the south-central part of the Loess Plateau, with latitude spanning 35°21′–37°31′ N and longitude 107°41′–110°31′ E. It borders Yulin to the north, Xianyang, Tongchuan, and Weinan of the Guanzhong to the south, Linfen and Lüliang (Shanxi) to the east, and Qingyang (Gansu) to the west. Elevations generally increase from southeast to northwest, and the average elevation is over 1,000 m (3,280 ft).
Yan'an has a humid continental climate (Köppen climate classification Dwa) that borders on a steppe climate (Köppen BSk), with cold, dry, and moderately long winters, and hot, somewhat humid summers. Spring and autumn are short transition seasons in between. The monthly 24-hour average temperature ranges from −5.5 °C (22.1 °F) in January to 23.1 °C (73.6 °F) in July, and the annual mean is 9.90 °C (49.8 °F). The area receives 511 millimetres (20.1 in) of precipitation. With monthly percent possible sunshine ranging from 49% in September to 64% in January, the city receives 2,449 hours of bright sunshine per year.
|Climate data for Yan'an (1971–2000)|
|Average high °C (°F)||2.2
|Average low °C (°F)||−11
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||3.0
|Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.1 mm)||2.2||3.2||5.2||6.2||7.5||9.0||13.3||11.8||10.2||7.1||3.8||2.1||81.6|
|Avg. relative humidity (%)||53||52||54||48||51||59||70||74||74||69||63||57||60.3|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||194.3||172.7||194.3||220.7||247.1||239.5||222.1||212.9||183.4||190.4||185.2||185.9||2,448.5|
|Percent possible sunshine||64||57||53||56||57||55||50||51||49||55||60||62||55|
|Source: China Meteorological Administration|
- China Yan'an Executive Leadership Academy: training on revolutionary traditions and conditions in the country
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