China (300,000 to 400,000), which, with Tibet, Mongolia (from which it is separated by the Great Wall), and parts of Turkestan, forms the Chinese Empire; is a vast, compact, and densely peopled country in Eastern Asia; bounded on the N. by Mongolia; W. by Tibet and Burmah; S. by Siam, Annam, and the China Sea; and E. by the Pacific. In the W. are lofty mountain ranges running N. and S., from which parallel ranges run E. and W., rising to greatest height in the S. Two great rivers traverse the country, the Hoang-ho and the Yangtse-kiang, the latter with many large lakes in its course, and bearing on its waters an innumerable fleet of boats and barges. Between the lower courses of these rivers lies the Great Plain, one of the vastest and richest in the world, whose yellow soil produces great crops with little labour and no manure. The coast-line is long and much indented, and out of it are bitten the gulfs of Pe-che-lee, the Yellow Sea, and Hang-chou. There are many small islands off the coast; the mountainous Hainau is the only large one still Chinese. The climate in the N. has a clear frosty winter, and warm rainy summer; in the S. it is hot. The country is rich in evergreens and flowering plants. In the N. wheat, millet, and cotton are grown; in the S. rice, tea, sugar, silk, and opium. Agriculture is the chief industry, and though primitive, it is remarkably painstaking and skilful. Forests have everywhere been cleared away, and the whole country is marvellously fertile. Its mineral wealth is enormous. Iron, copper, and coal abound in vast quantities; has coal-fields that, it is said, if they were worked, “would revolutionise the trade of the world.” The most important manufactures are of silk, cotton, and china. Commerce is as yet chiefly internal; its inter-provincial trade is the largest and oldest in the world. Foreign trade is growing, almost all as yet done with Britain and her Colonies. Tea and silk are exported; cotton goods and opium imported. About twenty-five ports are open to British vessels, of which the largest are Shanghai and Canton. There are no railways; communication inland is by road, river, and canals. The people are a mixed race of Mongol type, kindly, courteous, peaceful, and extremely industrious, and in their own way well educated. Buddhism is the prevailing faith of the masses, Confucianism of the upper classes. The Government is in theory a patriarchal autocracy, the Emperor being at once father and high-priest of all the people, and vicegerent of heaven. The capital is Pekin (500), in the NE. Chinese history goes back to 2300 B.C. English intercourse with the Chinese began in 1635 A.D., and diplomatic relations between London and Pekin were established this century. The Anglo-Chinese wars of 1840, 1857, and 1860 broke down the barrier of exclusion previously maintained against the outside world. The Japanese war of 1894-95 betrayed the weakness of the national organisation; and the seizure of Formosa by Japan, the Russo-Japanese protectorate over Manchuria and Corea, the French demand for Kwang-si and Kwang-tung, enforced lease of Kiao-chau to Germany, and of Wei-hai-wei to Britain (1898), seem to forebode the partition of the ancient empire among the more energetic Western nations.

Definition taken from The Nuttall Encyclopædia, edited by the Reverend James Wood (1907)

Chimpanzee * China, the Great Wall of
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Chiltern Hundreds
China, the Great Wall of
Chincha Islands
Chinese Gordon


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