As a country with the longest history of civilization, there is a lot of rich history about China. This includes its rise and falls to become the country it is today. China is currently made up of several major provinces, each of which has a rich history and culture that is followed to date.
Among the provinces in China is Guangdong. This is a province that has played an important role in Chinese history, given that it is one of the major international trading centers, with a major foreign presence and influence. Being among the largest provinces in the country, it is also considered to be the most populous with an estimated population of 110 million by 2019 alone.
Being a coastal province, it is also largely a tourist destination. The main highlights for tourists are the capital city Guangzhou and Shenzhen. That is because of their tall skyscrapers and numerous places to shop. But this is not all there is to know about Guangdong, which is why in this post we will help you have a better understanding of this province. We will cover everything from its history, geographic location, different cities, cuisine, as well as what makes this province so special.
Guangdong Province History.
Guangdong has been in existence since the prehistoric period. The earliest account of it was 4600 years ago when the Neolithic era was introduced to the inland areas of the province and represented as Shixia culture between 2650-2250 BC. From that time, Guangdong was considered a remote area that was ignored by many emperors. At the time it was inhabited by a collection of ancient Yue tribes known as the Hundred Yue people. It wasn’t until the Qin dynasty, that the region was considered a part of China. Still, it was largely left to operate independently as a kingdom known as Nanyue. That is until the Han dynasty when it came under the administration of the empire. It was combined with Guanxi and Northern Vietnam to form Jiaozhi province. The southmost part of this province was at the time used as a trading gateway for merchants from the West coming from as far as the Roman empire.
During the Three Kingdoms period, however, under the rule of Wu Kingdom, Guangzhou became an independent province and was called Guang province. It became a prosperous port city whose importance was reduced when the Persians and Arabs raided it. Once again in during the Tang dynasty, Guangdong was merged with Guanxi to form a political circuit called Lingnan. The Guangdong part was later renamed Guangnan East circuit during the Song dynasty.
With the reign of the Mongols during the Yuan dynasty, a large part of Guangdong then became a part of Jiangxi. It wasn’t until the Ming dynasty that the province was finally named Guangdong. From the 16th century, Guangdong grew to have extensive trade links to the rest of the world. European merchants especially the British and Portuguese traded mainly through Guangzhou. It was in this city that the opium trade that triggered the First Opium War in the 19th century, was conducted. Guangdong became the center of anti-imperialist and anti-Manchu activity, given its direct contact with the west. By the 20th century during the republic of China, Guangdong was made the staging area of Kuomintang, in preparation for the Northern Expedition. It was an attempt to bring back all the warlords under central governance. From then until today, Guangdong has continued to grow rapidly economically. Now it is considered one of the provinces in China with the highest gross domestic production.
Where Is Guangdong Located in China?
The Guangdong province is a coastal province in China facing the South China Sea to the south and covers 4,300 km of the coastline. It is bordered by Hunan and Jiangxi to the north, Fujian to the northeast, Macau special administrative regions, and Hong Kong to its south, and Guangxi to the west. The Leizhou Peninsula, which has a few inactive volcanoes borders the province to the southwest.
The province is home to the Pearl River Delta. This is the convergence of the East, West, and North upstream rivers. The north part of the province is also geographically separated by mountain ranges that are called the Nan (Nan Ling) mountains. The highest part of the province is Shikengkong which is 1902 meters above sea level. The general climate of the province is humid and subtropical. Its climate is characterized by mild and relatively dry, short winters and hot and wet long summers.
How Many Cities in Guangdong Province?
Guangdong province is divided into 4 main regions, that is, Pearl River Delta, Eastern Guangdong, Western Guangdong, and Northern Guangdong. The Pearl River Delta region is the main manufacturing region, responsible for the majority of the exports that come from Guangdong. The eastern region which is east of the Pearl Delta is the coastal area in the east, while the western region forms the coastal area in the west of the Pearl. The Northern region on the other hand is the inland part of the province.
These regions include different cities that make up the province. The major cities to note are as follows:
Guangzhou – this is the capital city of the province and one of its largest cities. It is considered an economic, cultural, and political center of the province.
Shenzhen – also called the boomtown. This city borders Hong Kong. It is considered a special economic zone, where government programs encourage investments. It is also one of the tourist highlights when you visit Guangdong.
Dongguan – the city is located between Shenzhen and Guangzhou. It is considered the center of the garment trade, and light manufacturing as well as electronics.
Zhongshan – this city is the major industrial city in the southwest part of the province. It is also home to the revolutionary father and founder of modern China, Sun Yatsen.
Zhuhai – this is a fast-growing city that borders Macau at the South end of the province. Like Shenzhen, it is also regarded as a Special Economic Zone in the province.
Shantou – this city is located coast and borders Hong Kong to its north. It is also considered a Special Economic Zone that’s rapidly growing.
Zhanjiang – this city is in the western region of the province. It is located near Hainan, which is offshore, across from the Leizhou peninsula.
Qingyuan – this is a coastal city. It is famous among the locals and residents of China. That is because of its hot springs and white-water rafts.
Shaoguan – this is an inland city in the northern region of the province. It is home to the Nan Ling Forest Park, Nanhua temple, and Danxia mountains.
What Is Guangdong Cuisine?
The main cuisine in Guangdong province is Cantonese, also formerly known as Yue cuisine. It is one of the eight main cuisines in China. Given that most of the restaurant owners around China are Cantonese or have a connection to it, this cuisine is also the most popular of the main cuisines in China.
This type of cuisine uses any kind of ingredient from fish to even cats. That is why people often joke that in Guangdong anything is edible, be it walking, crawling, flying, or swimming creature. The main flavors of the dishes are also fresh and mild. The focus is normally on the original flavor and umami of the food. That is why Cantonese chefs use a very light seasoning that you can barely taste. Keeping with the theme of original flavors, the main cooking methods in this cuisine are stir-frying and boiling or steaming.
Some of the best dishes from this cuisine include white cut chicken, which is smooth chicken meat with a mild flavor, cooked without seasoning. Another dish is the clay pot rice, which is rice prepared in a clay pot along with Chinese sausages, beef, mushrooms, and eggs.
What Is Guangdong Famous For?
There is a lot to love about Guangdong province. It is a buzzing province that forms the bridge between Ancient and modern China. Its rich history makes it one of the best places to explore China from ancient temples to modern skyscrapers.
First and foremost, the province is known for shopping. Given that it is the largest manufacturing center in China, you’ll find a lot of wholesale shops where you can buy inexpensive products from electronics to clothes. There are also luxury malls and thousands of large brands shops for those with expensive tastes.
That’s not all, Guangzhou is said to be the city with the most restaurants in the country, and being home to Cantonese cuisine, you’re in for a treat. Guangzhou is also called the city of flowers because you can be sure to find flowers there all year round thanks to its favorable climate. Guangdong is also home to home to many influential celebrities in China, not to mention, China’s number one Exhibition, the Canton Fair held every year in April and October.
Guangdong is a large province with very many interesting destinations and tourist attractions. You can be sure that you will not run out of a new thing to do or new places to explore while in the province.