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Jiangxi is a southern province of China, spanning from the banks of the Yangtze River in the north into hillier areas in the south. The name of the province does not mean "west of the Yangtze" as a literal reading would imply, but originated as a contraction of "Jiangnan Xi". The name was coined when Jiangnan ("south of the Yangtze") Circuit was split into western and eastern halves during the Tang Dynasty. The short name for Jiangxi is Gan, for the Gan River.

Map of JiangxiJiangxi is landlocked and surrounded by six provinces. It borders Anhui to the north, Zhejiang to the northeast, Fujian to the east, Guangdong to the south, Hunan to the west, and Hubei to the northwest.

Jiangxi is centered on the Gan River valley, which historically provided the main north-south transport route of south China. The corridor along the Gan River is one of the few easily traveled routes through the otherwise mountainous and rugged terrain of the south-eastern mountains. This open corridor was the primary route for trade and communication between the North China Plain and the Yangtze River valley in the north and the territory of modern Guangdong province in the south. As a result Jiangxi has been strategically important throughout much of China's history.

Jiangxi was outside the sphere of influence of early Chinese civilization during the Shang Dynasty (16th to 11th centuries BC). It is likely that peoples collectively known as the Yue inhabited the region. During the Spring and Autumn Period, the northern part of modern Jiangxi formed the western frontier of the state of Wu. After Wu was conquered by the state of Yue (a power based in modern northern Zhejiang) in 473 BC, the state of Chu (based in modern Hubei) took over northern Jiangxi and there may have been some Yue influence in the south. Chu subjugated Yue in 333 BC, and was in turn subjugated by the state of Qin in 221 BC. Qin established the Qin Dynasty in that same year, the first unified Chinese state.

The unification of China by the Qin Dynasty saw the incorporation of Jiangxi into the Qin empire. The Qin Dynasty established a two-tier administration system in China, with commanderies on top and counties below. Seven counties were established in what is now Jiangxi, all of them administered from Jiujiang commandery, located north of the Yangzi in modern Anhui, not the modern city of Jiujiang in Jiangxi. Qin colonisation formed the earliest settlement structure in Jiangxi and which for the most part, has survived to the present day.

Yuzhang commandery was established in northern Jiangxi at the beginning of the Han Dynasty, possibly before the death of Xiang Yu in 202 BC. It was named after the Yuzhang River, the original name of Gan River. "Gan" has become the abbreviation of the province. In 201, eight counties were added to the original seven of Qin, and three more were established in later years. Throughout most of the Han Dynasty the commandery's eighteen counties covered most of the modern province of Jiangxi. The county seats of Nanchang, Gan, Yudu, Luling among others were located at the sites of modern major cities. Other counties, however, have been moved or abolished in later centuries.

Under the reign of Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty, Yuzhang Commandery was assigned to Yangzhou Province, as part of a trend to establish provinces (zhou) all across China. In 291 AD, during the Western Jin Dynasty, Jiangxi became its own Zhou called Jiangzhou. During the Northern and Southern Dynasties, Jiangxi was under the control of the southern dynasties, and the number of zhou slowly grew.

During the Sui Dynasty, there were seven commanderies and twenty-four counties in Jiangxi. During the Tang Dynasty, another commandery and fourteen counties were added. Commanderies were then abolished, becoming zhou (henceforth translated as "prefectures" rather than "provinces").

Circuits were established during the Tang Dynasty as a new top-level administrative division. At first Jiangxi was part of the Jiangnan Circuit (lit. "Circuit south of the Yangtze"). In 733, this circuit was divided into western and eastern halves. Jiangxi was found in the western half, which was called Jiangnanxi Circuit (lit. "Western circuits south of the Yangtze"). This is the source of the modern name "Jiangxi".

The Tang Dynasty collapsed in 907, heralding the division of the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period. Jiangxi first belonged to Wu, then to Southern Tang. Both states were based in modern-day Nanjing, further down the Yangtze River.

During the Song Dynasty, Jiangnanxi Circuit was reestablished with nine prefectures and four army districts (with sixty-eight districts).

During the Yuan Dynasty, the circuit was divided into thirteen different circuits, and Jiangxi Province was established for the first time. This province also included the majority of modern Guangdong. Jiangxi acquired (more or less) its modern borders during the Ming Dynasty after Guangdong was separated out. There has been little change to the borders of Jiangxi since.

After the fall of the Qing Dynasty, Jiangxi became one of the earliest bases for the Communists and many peasants were recruited to join the growing people's revolution. The Nanchang Uprising took place in Jiangxi on August 1, 1927, during the Chinese Civil War. Later the Communist leadership hid in the mountains of southern and western Jiangxi, hiding from the Kuomindang's attempts to eradicate them. In 1931, the Chinese Soviet Republic's government was established in Ruijin , which is sometimes called the "Former Red Capital", or just the "Red Capital". In 1935, after complete encirclement by the Nationalist forces, the Communists broke through and began the Long March to Yan'an.

Geography and Climate
Mountains surround Jiangxi on three sides, with the Mufu Mountains, Jiuling Mountains, and Luoxiao Mountains on the west; Huaiyu Mountains and Wuyi Mountains on the east; and the Jiulian Mountains and Dayu Mountains in the south. The southern half of the province is hilly with ranges and valleys interspersed; while the northern half is flatter and lower in altitude. The highest point in Jiangxi is Mount Huanggang in the Wuyi Mountains, on the border with Fujian. It has an altitude of 2157 m.

The Gan River dominates the province, flowing through the entire length of the province from south to north. It enters Lake Poyang in the north, the largest freshwater lake of China; that lake in turn empties into the Yangtze River, which forms part of the northern border of Jiangxi. Important reservoirs include the Xiushui Tuolin Reservoir in the northwest of the province on the Xiushui River, and the Wan'an Reservoir in the upper section of the Gan.

Jiangxi's climate is subtropical. Average temperatures are about 3 to 9°C in January and 27 to 31°C in July. Annual precipitation is 1200 to 1900 mm.

Porcelain workshop in Jingdezhen.Jiangxi is the main area of concentration of the Gan varieties of Chinese, spoken over most of the northern two-thirds of the province. Examples include the Nanchang dialect, Yichun dialect and Ji'an dialect. The southern one-third of the province speaks Hakka. There are also Mandarin, Huizhou, and Wu dialects spoken along the northern border.

Ganju (Jiangxi opera) is the type of Chinese opera performed in Jiangxi.
Although little known outside of the province, Jiangxi cuisine is rich and distinctive. Flavors are some of the strongest in China, with heavy use of chile peppers and especially pickled and fermented products.
Jingdezhen is widely regarded as the producer of the best porcelain in China. Jiangxi also was a historical center of Chan Buddhism. Prominent examples of Hakka architecture can be found in Jiangxi.

The mountain peaks of Lushan National Park.Near the northern port city of Jiujiang is the well-known (and expensive) resort area of Mount Lushan. Also near the city are Donglin (East Wood) Temple and Tiefo (Iron Buddha) Temple, two important Buddhist temples.

Near the small city of Yingtan is the resort area Longhushan which purports to be the birthplace of Taoism and hence has great symbolic value to Taoists. The region has many interesting temples, cave complexes, mountains and villages. It is considered by many to be the best-kept secret of Jiangxi tourism.

The Lushan National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996. In 2007, Jiangxi (specifically the Zhelin Reservoir, about 40 km from Nanchang) was the filming location for the fifteenth series of the American TV show Survivor.

Flora and Fauna
The mountainous terrain and large forest coverage of Jiangxi has made it historically one of the more wild places of central China. South China Tigers have been seen as recently as fifteen or twenty years ago and projects are underway to document evidence of existing tigers, if there are any. Several mountain areas along the northern border with Hunan and Hubei are potential sites for "wilderness" preserves specifically for protecting or even reintroducing tigers.

Other wildlife, though not plentiful, are more numerous in Jiangxi than in many other developed areas of China. Numerous species of birds are common, especially around the marshes of Lake Poyang in the north. Though protected, mammals such as muntjak, wild boar, civet cats, and pangolins, are still common enough that they'll even occasionally be seen in markets for sale as game meat, or possibly even in a forest.

The late Paleocene mesonychid, Jiangxia chaotoensis was found in the province, and named after it.