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Ningxia

Ningxia is a Hui autonomous region of China, located on the northwest Loess highland, the Yellow River flows through a vast area of its land. The Great Wall of China runs along its northeastern boundary. Ningxia is the home of the Hui, one of the officially recognized Nationalities of China. The capital of the region is Yinchuan.

Map of NingxiaNingxia is bounded by Shaanxi and Gansu provinces and Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region and has an area of 66,400 sq km. Formerly a province, Ningxia was incorporated into Gansu in 1954 but was detached and reconstituted as an autonomous region for the Hui people in 1958. In 1969, Ningxia received a part of the Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region, but this area was returned in 1979. It is nearly coextensive with the ancient kingdom of the Tangut people, whose capital was captured by Genghis Khan in the early 13th century. The region is mostly desert and is sparsely settled, but the vast plain of the Yellow River in the north has been irrigated for centuries; over the years an extensive system of canals has been built. Desert and grazing land make up most of the area. Extensive land reclamation and irrigation projects have increased cultivation. The northern section, through which the Yellow River flows, is the best agricultural land. One railroad, linking Lanzhou with Baotou, crosses the region. A highway has been built across the Yellow River at Yinchuan.

History
Ningxia and its surrounding areas were incorporated into the Qin Dynasty as early as the third century BCE. Throughout the Han Dynasty and the Tang Dynasty there were several large cities established in the region, and by the eleventh century the Tangut tribe had established the Western Xia Dynasty on the outskirts of the then Song Dynasty.

It then came under Mongol domination after Genghis Khan conquered Yinchuan in the early thirteenth century. After the Mongols departed and its influences faded, some Turkic-speaking Muslims also began moving into Ningxia from the west. In the Muslim Rebellion of the 19th century, twelve million non-Muslims were killed by the Hui Muslims for the purpose of developing a Muslim country on the western bank of the Yellow River (Shaanxi, Gansu and Ningxia (excluding the Xinjiang province)), around five million Hui Muslims in Western China were killed by the Qing authorities.

In 1914, Ningxia was merged with the province of Gansu; in 1928, however, it was detached and became a province. Between 1914 and 1928, the Xibei San Ma brothers (literally "three Mas of the northwest") ruled the provinces of Qinghai, Ningxia and Gansu. In 1958, Ningxia formally became an autonomous region of China. In 1969, Ningxia's border was extended to the north and acquired parts of the Inner Mongolia autonomous region, but was reverted again in 1979.

Geography
Ningxia is a relatively dry, desert-like region. There is significant irrigation in order to support the growing of wolfberries (a commonly consumed fruit throughout the region). Ningxia's deserts include the Tengger desert in Shapotou.

On 16 December 1920, the Haiyuan earthquake, 8.6 magnitude, at 36°36′N 105°19′E / 36.6°N 105.32°E / 36.6; 105.32, initiated a series of landslides that killed an estimated 200,000 people. Over 600 large loess landslides created more than 40 new lakes.

In 2006, satellite images indicated that a 700 by 200-meter fenced area within Ningxia—5 km southwest of Yinchuan, near the remote village of Huangyangtan—is a near-exact 1:500 scale terrain model reproduction of a 450 by 350-kilometer area of Aksai Chin bordering India, complete with mountains, valleys, lakes and hills. Its purpose is as yet unknown.

Climate
The region is 1,200 km from the sea and has a continental climate with average summer temperatures rising to between 17 and 24°C in July and average winter temperatures dropping to between -7 and -10°C in January. Seasonal extreme temperatures can reach 39°C in summer and -30°C in winter. The diurnal temperature variation in summer is 17°C. Annual rainfall averages from 190 to 700 millimeters, with more rain falling in the south of the region.

Tourism
One of Ningxia's main tourist spots is the famous Xixia Tombs site located 30 km west of Yinchuan. The remnants of nine Western Xia emperors' tombs and two hundred other tombs lie within a 50-km² area. Other famous sites in Ningxia include Helan Shan, the mysterious 108 dagobas, the twin pagodas of Baisikou and the desert research outpost at Shapatou.


 

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