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Korla

Korla or Kuerle (Kurla) is a mid-sized city in central Xinjiang. Korla is the capital of the Bayin'gholin Mongol Autonomous Prefecture, which is larger than France and is the largest prefecture in China. Korla is known for its "fragrant" pears. The city name is occasionally spelled Kurla in English.

Geography
Korla is approximately 200 kilometres (120 mi) southwest from Ürümqi, although travelling by road the distance is more than 500 kilometres (310 mi). Coordinates: 41°39′N 86°08′E / 41.65°N 86.133°E / 41.65; 86.133

The Iron Gate Pass (Tiemen Pass) leading to Karashahr is about 7 kilometres (4.3 mi) north of the city and, as it was easily defended, playing an important part in protecting the ancient Silk Roads from raiding nomads from the north.

The Kaidu River also known as Konqi River or Kongue River flows through the center of Korla, a unique feature amongst cities in Xinjiang. Often mistranslated as "Peacock River", the Chinese word "kongque" is actually a transliteration of the Uyghur word "konqi", meaning "an abundance of water".

History
Korla was known as Weili (reconstructed pronunciation of first character: during the Han Dynasty. Weili is said in the Hanshu or 'History of the Former Han' (covering the period 125 BCE to 23 CE), to have had 1,200 households, 9,600 individuals and 2,000 people able to bear arms. It also mentions that it adjoined Shanshan and Qiemo (Charchan) to the south.

In 61 CE, the Xiongnu led some 30,000 troops from 15 kingdoms including Korla, Karashahr, and Kucha in a successful attack on Khotan.

In 94 CE, the Chinese general Ban Chao sent soldiers to punish the kingdoms of Yanqi (Karashahr), Weixu (Hoxud), Weili(Korla), and Shanguo (in the western Kuruk mountains).

"He then sent the heads of the two kings of Yanqi (Karashahr) and Weili (Korla) to the capital where they were hung in front of the residences of the Man and Yi princes in the capital (Luoyang). (Ban) Chao then appointed Yuan Meng, who was the Yanqi (Karashahr) Marquis of the Left, king (of Kashgar). The kings of Weili (Korla), Weixu (Hoxud), and Shanguo (in the western Kuruk mountains) were all replaced."
 
After the rebellion of the "Western Regions" (106-125 CE), only the kings of Korla and Hoxud refused to submit to the Chinese. Ban Yong, the son of Ban Chao, along with the Governor of Dunhuang attacked and defeated them.

Tarim Basin in the 3rd centuryThe 3rd century Weilue records that Korla, Hoxud and Shanwang (Shanguo) were all dependencies of Karashahr.  In May, 1877 Yakub Beg, the Muslim ruler of Kashgaria, died here, prompting the reconquest of Eastern Turkestan by the Manchu dynasty.

Francis Younghusband, passed through "Korlia" in 1887 on his overland journey from Beijing to India. He described it as being prosperous and the country round about well-cultivated, with more land under cultivation than any other town he had passed. Maize seemed to be the major crop but rice was also grown. There was a small Chinese town, about 400 yards (370 m) square with mud walls about 35 feet (11 m) high and with a ditch. There were round bastions at the angles, but none at the gateway. A mile (1.6 km) south was the Turk town, but its walls were in ruins. It had one main street about 700 yards (640 m) long. "The shops are somewhat better than at Karashar, but not so good as at Turfan."

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