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Shandong

Shandong is  abbreviated Lu, after the state of Lu that existed here during the Spring and Autumn Period.

Map of ShandongThe name Shandong literally means "mountain's east", which refers to the province's location east of the Taihang Mountains.The province is located in the lower reaches of the Huang He (Yellow River) and extends out to sea in the form of the Shandong Peninsula. Shandong borders the Bohai Sea to the north, Hebei to the northwest, Henan to the west, Jiangsu to the south, and the Yellow Sea to the southeast; it also shares a very short border with Anhui, between Henan and Jiangsu. A common nickname for Shandong is Qílǔ, after the state of Lu and state of Qi that existed here during the Spring and Autumn Period.

History
Shandong is located on the eastern edge of the North China Plain, and felt the influence of Chinese civilization since remote antiquity. The earliest dynasties (the Shang dynasty and Zhou dynasty) exerted varying degrees of control over western Shandong, while eastern Shandong was inhabited by the Laiyi peoples who were considered as the "barbarians". Over subsequent centuries, the Laiyi were eventually sinicized.

During the Spring and Autumn Period and the Warring States Period, regional states became increasingly powerful. At this time, Shandong was home to two powerful states: the state of Qi at Linzi and the state of Lu at Qufu. Lu is noted for being the home of Confucius. The state was, however, comparatively small, and eventually succumbed to the powerful state of Chu from the south. The state of Qi was, on the other hand, a major power throughout this entire period. Cities it ruled included Linzi, Jimo (north of modern Qingdao) and Ju.

The Qin Dynasty destroyed Qi and founded the first centralized Chinese state in 221 BC. The Han Dynasty that followed created two zhou ("provinces") in what is now modern Shandong: Qingzhou Province in the north and Yanzhou Province in the south. During the division of the Three Kingdoms Shandong belonged to the Kingdom of Wei, which ruled over northern China.

After the Three Kingdoms period, a brief period of unity under the Western Jin Dynasty gave way to invasions by nomadic peoples from the north. Northern China, including Shandong, was overrun. Over the next century or so Shandong changed hands several times, falling to the Later Zhao, then Former Yan, then Former Qin, then Later Yan, then Southern Yan, then the Liu Song Dynasty, and finally the Northern Wei Dynasty, the first of the Northern Dynasties during the Northern and Southern Dynasties Period. Shandong stayed with the Northern Dynasties for the rest of this period.

In 412, the Chinese Buddhist monk Faxian landed at Laoshan, on the southern edge of the Shandong peninsula, and proceeded to Qingzhou to edit and translate the scriptures he had brought back from India.

The Sui Dynasty reestablished unity in 589, and the Tang Dynasty (618-907) presided over the next golden age of China. For the earlier part of this period Shandong was ruled as part of Henan Circuit, one of the circuits (a political division). Later on China splintered into warlord factions, resulting in the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period. Shandong was part of the Five Dynasties, all based in the north.

The Song Dynasty reunified China in the late tenth century. In 1996, the discovery of over two hundred buried Buddhist statues at Qingzhou was hailed as a major archaeological find. The statues included early examples of painted figures, and are thought to have been buried due to Emperor Huizong's Song Dynasty repression of Buddhism (he favoured Taoism).

The Song Dynasty was forced to cede northern China to the Jurchen Jin Dynasty in 1142. Shandong was administered by the Jin Dynasty as Shandong East Circuit and Shandong West Circuit - the first use of its current name.

The modern province of Shandong was created by the Ming Dynasty. It also included much of modern-day Liaoning (in south Manchuria) at the time. However, the Manchus increasingly asserted independence, and managed to conquer all of China in 1644. Under the Qing Dynasty, which they founded, Shandong acquired (more or less) its current borders.

Dezhou, ShandongDuring the nineteenth century, China became increasingly exposed to Western influence, and Shandong, a coastal province, was especially affected. Qingdao was leased to Germany in 1897 and Weihai to Britain in 1898. The rest of Shandong was generally considered to be part of the German sphere of influence. In addition, the Qing Dynasty opened Manchuria to Han Chinese immigration during the 19th century; Shandong was the main source of the ensuing tide of migrants.

Shandong was one of the first places in which the Boxer Rebellion started and became one of the centers of the uprising. In 1899, the Qing-Dynasty general Yuan Shikai was appointed as governor of the province to suppress the uprising. He held the post for 3 years.

After the Republic of China was founded in 1911, Qingdao reverted to Chinese control in 1922, Weihai followed in 1930. In April 1925, the warlord Zhang Zongchang, nicknamed the "Dogmeat General", became military governor of Shandong Province. Time dubbed him China's "basest warlord". He ruled over the province until 1928, when he was ousted in the wake of the Northern Expedition. He was succeeded by Han Fuju, who was loyal to the warlord Feng Yuxiang but later switched his allegiance to the Nanjing government headed by Chiang Kai-Shek. Han Fuju also ousted the warlord Liu Zhennian, nicknamed the "King of Shandong East", who ruled eastern Shandong Province, hence unifying the province under his rule.

In 1937 Japan began its invasion of China proper in the Second Sino-Japanese War, which would eventually become part of the Pacific theatre of the Second World War. Han Fuju was made Deputy Commander in Chief of the 5th War Area and put in charge defending the lower Yellow River valley. However, he abandoned his base in Jinan when the Japanese crossed the Yellow River. He was executed for not following orders shortly thereafter.

Shandong was occupied in its entirety by Japan, with resistance in the countryside, and was one of the provinces where operation sankō was implemented by general Yasuji Okamura. This lasted until the surrender of Japan in 1945.

By 1945, communist forces already held some parts of Shandong. Over the next four years of the Chinese Civil War, they expanded their holdings, eventually driving the Kuomintang (government of the Republic of China) entirely out of Shandong by June 1949. The People's Republic of China was founded in October of the same year.

Under the new government, parts of western Shandong was initially given to the short-lived Pingyuan Province, but this did not last. Shandong also acquired the Xuzhou and Lianyungang areas from Jiangsu province, but this did not last either. For the most part Shandong has kept the same borders that it has today.

In recent years Shandong, especially eastern Shandong, has enjoyed significant economic development, becoming one of the richest provinces of the People's Republic of China.

Zhucheng, which is located in Shandong, is known as "dinosaur city" as it has been the scene of many dinosaur finds in the past. On December 31, 2008, it was announced that 7,600 dinosaur bones were uncovered. This is believed to be the largest collection ever found. These bones include tyrannosaurus and ankylosaurus.

Language
Mandarin dialects are spoken in Shandong. Linguists classify these dialects into three broad categories: Ji Lu Mandarin spoken in the northwest (as well as in neighbouring Hebei), such as the Jinan dialect; Zhongyuan Mandarin spoken in the southwest (as well as in neighbouring Henan); and Jiao Liao Mandarin spoken in the Shandong Peninsula (as well as the Liaodong Peninsula across the sea), such as the Qingdao dialect. When people speak of the "Shandong dialect", it is generally the first or the second that is meant; the Jiao Liao dialects of Shandong are commonly called the "Jiaodong dialect".

Cuisine
Shandong cuisine is one of the eight great traditions of Chinese cuisine. It can be more finely divided into inland Shandong cuisine (e.g. Jinan cuisine); the seafood-centered Jiaodong cuisine in the peninsula; and Confucius's Mansion cuisine, an elaborate tradition originally intended for imperial and other important feasts. Shandong Bangzi and Lüju are popular types of Chinese opera in Shandong; both originated from southwestern Shandong.


Tourist Attractions in Shandong
the capital city of Shandong since Ming dynasty, renowned for its 72 Famous Springs.
Baotu Spring, a culturally significant artesian karst spring, declared as "Number One Spring under the Heaven" by the Qing Dynasty Emperor Qian Long.
Daming Lake, the largest lake in Jinan, whose water is from the springs of the area. Marco Polo described its beauty in his works.
Thousand Buddha Mountain, renowned for its numerous Buddha images which have been carved out of the hill's rock faces or free-standing structures erect since the times of the Sui Dynasty and its Xingguochan Temple.
Lingyan Temple, one of the 4 most famous temples in Tang dynasty, in which there are 11th century Pizhi Pagoda and the Thousand Buddha Hall which houses a Ming Dynasty bronze Buddha statue as well as 40 painted clay statues of life-size luohan from the Song Dynasty.
remant of Great Wall of Qi, the oldest existing Great Wall in China, which is built in 685 BCE and stretches from Jinan to Qingdao.
Penglai, a town on the north of the Shandong peninsula famed in Taoism.
Qingdao, beach resort city on the south of the peninsula famous for its Tsingtao beer
Ba Da Guan, made up of eight streets named after the eight great military forts of the ancient times.
Zhan Qiao, a long strip pier stretches into the sea and was the first wharf at Qingdao.
Laoshan, a scenic area and Daoist centre to the east of Qingdao.
Qingzhou, an ancient trading and administrative centre with some famous archaeological discoveries.
Weihai, a former British port city important in the second Sino-Japanese War.

-World Heritage Sites:
Temple and Cemetery of Confucius, and the Kong Family Mansion in Qufu
Tai Shan, sacred mountain, in Tai'an

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