Shandong (Shandong Sheng)
Shandong has played a major role in Chinese history since the beginning of Chinese civilization along the lower reaches of the Yellow River. It has served as a pivotal cultural and religious center for Taoism, Chinese Buddhism and Confucianism. Shandong's Mount Tai is the most revered mountain of Taoism and a site with one of the longest histories of continuous religious worship in the world. The Buddhist temples in the mountains to the south of the provincial capital of Jinan were once among the foremost Buddhist sites in China. The city of Qufu is the birthplace of Confucius and was later established as the center of Confucianism. Confucianism developed from what was later called the Hundred Schools of Thought from the teachings of the Chinese philosopher Confucius.
Shandong's location at the intersection of ancient and modern north–south and east–west trading routes has helped establish it as an economic center. After a period of political instability and economic hardship that began in the late 19th century, Shandong has experienced rapid growth in recent decades. Home to over 100 million inhabitants, Shandong is the world's sixth-most populous subnational entity, and China's second most populous province. The economy of Shandong is China's third largest provincial economy with a GDP of CNY¥8.3 trillion in 2021 or USD$1.3 trillion, which is equivalent to the GDP of Mexico. Compared to a country, it would be the 15th-largest economy and the 15th most populous as of 2021. Its GDP per capita is around the national average.
Shandong is considered one of China's leading provinces in education and research. It hosts 153 higher education institutions, ranking second in East China after Jiangsu and fourth among all Chinese provinces/municipalities after Jiangsu, Guangdong and Henan. As of 2022, two major cities ranked in the top 70 cities in the world (Jinan 36th and Qingdao 68th) by scientific research output, as tracked by the Nature Index.
Individually, the two Chinese characters in the name "Shandong" means "mountain" and "east". Shandong could hence be translated literally as "east of the mountains" and refers to the province's location to the east of the Taihang Mountains. A common nickname for Shandong is Qílǔ, after the States of Qi and Lu that existed in the area during the Spring and Autumn period. Whereas the State of Qi was a major power of its era, the State of Lu played only a minor role in the politics of its time. However, Lu became renowned for being the home of Confucius, and hence its cultural influence came to eclipse that of the State of Qi. The cultural dominance of the State of Lu heritage is reflected in the official abbreviation for Shandong which is "鲁". English speakers in the 19th century called the province Shan-tung.
Map - Shandong (Shandong Sheng)
Country - China
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Modern Chinese trace their origins to a cradle of civilization in the fertile basin of the Yellow River in the North China Plain. The semi-legendary Xia dynasty in the 21st century BCE and the well-attested Shang and Zhou dynasties developed a bureaucratic political system to serve hereditary monarchies, or dynasties. Chinese writing, Chinese classic literature, and the Hundred Schools of Thought emerged during this period and influenced China and its neighbors for centuries to come. In the third century BCE, Qin's wars of unification created the first Chinese empire, the short-lived Qin dynasty. The Qin was followed by the more stable Han dynasty (206 BCE–220 CE), which established a model for nearly two millennia in which the Chinese empire was one of the world's foremost economic powers. The empire expanded, fractured, and reunified; was conquered and reestablished; absorbed foreign religions and ideas; and made world-leading scientific advances, such as the Four Great Inventions: gunpowder, paper, the compass, and printing. After centuries of disunity following the fall of the Han, the Sui (581–618) and Tang (618–907) dynasties reunified the empire. The multi-ethnic Tang welcomed foreign trade and culture that came over the Silk Road and adapted Buddhism to Chinese needs. The early modern Song dynasty (960–1279) became increasingly urban and commercial. The civilian scholar-officials or literati used the examination system and the doctrines of Neo-Confucianism to replace the military aristocrats of earlier dynasties. The Mongol invasion established the Yuan dynasty in 1279, but the Ming dynasty (1368–1644) re-established Han Chinese control. The Manchu-led Qing dynasty nearly doubled the empire's territory and established a multi-ethnic state that was the basis of the modern Chinese nation, but suffered heavy losses to foreign imperialism in the 19th century.
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