Not to be confused with the unrelated provinces of Hainan and Henan
Hnn Shěng
Abbreviation: 湘 (pinyin: Xiāng)
Missing image
Hunan is highlighted on this map

Origin of Name 湖 h - lake
南 nn - south
"south of Lake Dongting"
Administration Type Province
Capital and
Largest City
CPC Hunan Committee Secretary Yang Zhengwu
Governor Zhou Bohua
Area 211,800 km² (10th)
Population (2002)
 - Density
66,290,000 (7th)
313/km² (13th)
GDP (2003)
 - per capita
463.9 billion (12th)
6960 (17th)
Major Nationalities (2000) Han - 90%
Tujia - 4%
Miao - 3%
Dong - 1%
Yao - 1%
Prefecture-level divisions 14
County-level divisions 122
Township-level divisions 2587
ISO 3166-2 CN-43

Hunan (Template:Zh-cp) is a province of China, located in the middle reaches of the Yangtze River and south of Lake Dongting (hence the name Hunan, meaning "south of the lake"). Hunan is sometimes called 湘 (pinyin: Xiāng) for short, after the Xiang River which runs through the province.

Hunan borders Hubei in the north, Jiangxi to the east, Guangdong to the south, Guangxi to the southwest, Guizhou to the west, and Chongqing to the northwest. The capital is Changsha.



Hunan entered the written history of China around 350 BC, when under the kings of the Zhou dynasty it became part of the State of Chu. Until then Hunan was a land of primeval forests, occupied by the ancestors of the modern Miao, Tujia, Dong and Yao peoples, but starting at this time and for hundreds of years thereafter it was a magnet for migration of Han Chinese from the north, who cleared most of the forests and began farming rice in the valleys and plains. To this day, many of the small villages in Hunan are named after the Han families which originally settled there. Migration from the north was especially prevalent during the Eastern Jin Dynasty and the Southern and Northern Dynasties Periods, when nomadic invaders overran the north.

During the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period, Hunan was home to its own independent regime, Ma Chu.

Hunan, was, together with Hubei, a part of the province of Huguang (湖廣) till the Qing dynasty.

Hunan became an important communications center from its position on the Yangzi River (Changjiang) and on the Imperial Highway constructed between northern and southern China. Its land produced grain so abundantly that it fed many parts of China with its surpluses. The population continued to climb until, by the 19th century, Hunan was overcrowded and prone to peasant uprisings.

The Taiping Rebellion (Taiping Tianguo Peasants Uprising or Peaceful Heaven Peasants Uprising) which began to the south in Guangxi Province in 1850 spread into Hunan and then further eastward along the Yangzi River valley, but ultimately it was a Hunanese army under Zeng Guofan which marched to Nanjing and put down the uprising in 1864. Hunan was relatively quiet until 1910 when there were uprisings against the crumbling Qing dynasty, which were followed by the Communist's Autumn Harvest Uprising of 1927 led by Hunanese native Mao Zedong. The Communists maintained a guerilla army in the mountains along the Hunan-Jiangxi border until 1934, when under pressure from the Nationalist (Kuomintang, KMT) forces they began the famous Long March to bases in Shaanxi Province. After the departure of the Communists, the KMT army fought against the Japanese in the second Sino-Japanese war, defending the capital Changsha until it fell in 1944, when Japan launched Operation Ichigo to control the railroad from Wuchang to Guangzhou (Guanghan Railway). Hunan was relatively unscathed by the civil war that followed the defeat of the Japanese in 1945, and in 1949 the Communists returned once more as the Nationalists retreated southward.

Being Mao Zedong's home province, Hunan supported the Cultural Revolution of 1966-1976, and was slower than most provinces in adopting the reforms implemented by Deng Xiaoping in the years that followed Mao's death in 1976.

Former Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji is also Hunanese.

Division of Hunan Province


Hunan Province is located on the south bank at mid-stream of the Yangtze River (Changjiang, 长江), it is 1000 km away from Shanghai, 1200 km away from Beijing, and 500 km away from Guangzhou.

Hunan is situated between 109-114 east longitude and 20-30 north latitude. The east, south and west sides of the province are surrounded by mountains and hills, such as the Wuling Mountains to the northwest, the Xuefeng Mountains to the west, the Nanling Mountains to the south, and the Luoxiao Mountains to the east. The mountains and hills occupy more than 80% of the area and the plain comprises less than 20% of the whole province.

The Xiangjiang, the Zijiang, the Yuanjiang and the Lishui Rivers converge on the Yangtze River at Lake Dongting (Dongting Hu, 洞庭湖) in the north of Hunan. The center and northern parts are somewhat low and a U-shaped basin, open in the north and with Lake Dongting as its center. Most of Hunan Province lies in the basins of four major tributaries of the Yangtze River.

Lake Dongting is the largest lake in the province and the second largest freshwater lake of China. Due to the reclamation of land for agriculture, Lake Dongting has been subdivided into many smaller lakes, though there is now a trend to reverse some of the reclamation, which had damaged wetland habitats surrounding the lake.

Hunan's climate is subtropical, with mild winters and plenty of precipitation. January temperatures average at 3-8 C while July temperatures average at 27-30 C. Average annual precipitation is 1200 - 1700 mm.

Administrative divisions

Hunan is divided into 14 prefecture-level divisions, of which there are 13 prefecture-level cities and 1 autonomous prefecture.

The prefecture-level cities:

The autonomous prefecture:

The 14 prefecture-level divisions of Hunan are subdivided into 122 county-level divisions (34 districts, 16 county-level cities, 65 counties, 7 autonomous counties). Those are in turn divided into 2587 township-level divisions (1098 towns, 1158 townships, 98 ethnic townships, 225 subdistricts, and 8 district public offices).

See Administrative divisions of Hunan province for a complete list of county-level divisions.


Hunan's traditional crop is rice. The Lake Dongting area is an important center of ramie production, and Hunan is also an important center of tea cultivation.

The Lengshuijiang area is noted for its stibnite mines, and is one of the major centers of antimony extraction in China.

Its nominal GDP for 2003 was 463.9 billion RMB (56 billion USD.) and a per capita of 6960 RMB (840 USD).


As of the 2000 census, the population of Hunan is 64,400,700 consisting of 41 ethnic groups. Its population grew 6.17% (3,742,700) from its 1990 levels. According to the census, 89.79% (57,825,400) identified themselves as Han people, 10.21% (6,575,300) as minority groups. The minority groups are Tujia, Miao, Dong, Yao, Hui, Bai, Zhuang, Uighurs and so on.


Xiang, a subdivision of spoken Chinese, is spoken over most of Hunan, except the north.

Hunan cuisine is noted for its use of chili peppers.

N shu is a writing system that was used exclusively among women in Jiangyong County.



Miscellaneous topics

Professional sports teams in Hunan include:

Colleges and universities

Province-level divisions administered by the People's Republic of China Missing image
Flag of the People's Republic of China

Provinces¹: Anhui | Fujian | Gansu | Guangdong | Guizhou | Hainan | Hebei | Heilongjiang | Henan | Hubei | Hunan | Jiangsu | Jiangxi | Jilin | Liaoning | Qinghai | Shaanxi | Shandong | Shanxi | Sichuan | Yunnan | Zhejiang
Autonomous Regions: Guangxi | Inner Mongolia | Ningxia | Tibet | Xinjiang
Municipalities: Beijing | Chongqing | Shanghai | Tianjin
Special Administrative Regions: Hong Kong | Macau
¹ See also: Political status of Taiwan

de:Hunan es:Hunan eo:Hunano fr:Hunan id:Hunan ja:湖南省 pt:Hunan fi:Hu'nan zh:湖南


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