Yellow River (Huang He) Changed its Route   河改道)

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On the eve of 1850 the Yangtze River flooded over the neighbouring provinces of Hupeh, Anhwei, Kiangsu and Chekiang.  In 1847 there was a serious draught in Honan and in 1849 a famine in Kwangsi.  In comparison, the most disastrous one was the changing course of the Yellow River 河改道) from 1852 to 1857.  The shifting of the river was not a new thing throughout its long history of development, for over centuries it had moved north and south from time to time.  In the early Qing a fixed amount of three million taels a year was appropriated for its conservancy.  The figure reached 4.5 million by the early 19th century or one-tenth of the government's regular expenditure.   However, because of the accumulation of silt and insufficient maintenance of dikes,   there resulted in a rise in its river bed.  The river finally broke loose with great damage and began shifting from Kiangsu to the Gulf of Chihli (直隸).  During the interval of the shifting, great damage was caused in terms of the productivity of the provinces concerned and the loss of revenue.  The relief work only provided more opportunities for official activity and speculation.  It was reported that large areas of fertile farm land were lost, lines of military communication were broken and the vital Grand Canal became even not navigable at many points.

       

from 1852 to 1857.  The shifting of the river was not a new thing throughout its long history of development, for over centuries it had moved north and south from time to time.  In the early Qing a fixed amount of three million taels a year was appropriated for its conservancy.  The figure reached 4.5 million by the early 19th century or one-tenth of the government's regular expenditure.   However, because of the accumulation of silt and insufficient maintenance of dikes,  there resulted in a rise in its river bed.  The river finally broke loose with great damage and began shifting from Kiangsu to the Gulf of Chihli(直隸).  During the interval of the shifting, great damage was caused in terms of the productivity of the provinces concerned and the loss of revenue.  The relief work only provided more opportunities for official activity and speculation.  It was reported that large areas of fertile farm land were lost, lines of military communication were broken and the vital Grand Canal became even not navigable at many points.

 

 

        http://aer2.sbc.edu.hk/~wcc/China/TBACKGD.DOC

 

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