Bactria. Bactria proper was north of the Hindu Kush mountain range and south of the Amu Darya river, covering the flat region that straddles modern-day Afghanistan, Tajikistan and parts of Northern Pakistan. More broadly Bactria was the area north of the Hindu Kush, west of the Pamirs and south of the Tian Shan with the Amu Darya flowing west through the center; the English name Bactria is derived from the Ancient Greek: Βακτριανή, a Hellenized version of the Bactrian endonym Bakhlo. Analogous names include Avestan: Old Persian: Bakhtrish, New Persian: باختر, translit. Bākhtar, Tajik: Бохтар, Pashto: بلخ, translit. Balkh, Uzbek: Балх, Chinese: 大夏. Bāhlīka. According to Pierre Leriche: Bactria, the territory of which Bactra was the capital consisted of the area south of the Āmū Daryā with its string of agricultural oases dependent on water taken from the rivers of Balḵ, Kondūz, Sar-e Pol, Šīrīn Tagāō; this region played a major role in Central Asian history. At certain times the political limits of Bactria stretched far beyond the geographic frame of the Bactrian plain.
The Bactria–Margiana Archaeological Complex is the modern archaeological designation for a Bronze Age culture of Central Asia, dated to c. 2200–1700 BC, located in present-day eastern Turkmenistan, northern Afghanistan, southern Uzbekistan and western Tajikistan, centred on the upper Amu Darya, an area covering ancient Bactria. Its sites were named by the Soviet archaeologist Viktor Sarianidi. Bactria was the Greek name for Old Persian Bāxtriš, in what is now northern Afghanistan, Margiana was the Greek name for the Persian satrapy of Margu, the capital of, Merv, in today's Turkmenistan; the early Greek historian Ctesias, c. 400 BC, alleged that the legendary Assyrian king Ninus had defeated a Bactrian king named Oxyartes in c. 2140 BC, or some 1000 years before the Trojan War. Since the decipherment of cuneiform script in the 19th century, which enabled actual Assyrian records to be read, historians have ascribed little value to the Greek account. According to some writers, Bactria was the homeland of Indo-Iranians who moved southwest into Iran and the northwest of the Indian subcontinent around 2500–2000 BC.
It became the northern province of the Achaemenid Empire in Central Asia. It was in these regions, where the fertile soil of the mountainous country is surrounded by the Turan Depression, that the prophet Zoroaster was said to have been born and gained his first adherents. Avestan, the language of the oldest portions of the Zoroastrian Avesta, was one of the old Iranian languages, is the oldest attested member of the Eastern Iranian languages. Ernst Herzfeld suggested that before its annexation to the Achaemenid Empire by Cyrus the Great in sixth century BC, Bactria belonged to the Medes and together with Margiana, formed the twelfth satrapy of Persia. After Darius III had been defeated by Alexander the Great, the satrap of Bactria, attempted to organise a national resistance but was captured by other warlords and delivered to Alexander, he was tortured and killed. Alexander conquered Sogdiana. In the south, beyond the Oxus, he met strong resistance. After two years of war and a strong insurgency campaign, Alexander managed to establish little control over Bactria.
After Alexander's death, Diodorus Siculus tells us that Philip received dominion over Bactria, but Justin names Amyntas to that role. At the Treaty of Triparadisus, both Diodorus Siculus and Arrian agree that the satrap Stasanor gained control over Bactria. Alexander's empire was divided up among the generals in Alexander's army. Bactria became a part of the Seleucid Empire, named after its founder, Seleucus I; the Macedonians Seleucus I and his son Antiochus I, established the Seleucid Empire and founded a great many Greek towns. The Greek language became dominant for some time there; the paradox that Greek presence was more prominent in Bactria than in areas far closer to Greece can be explained by past deportations of Greeks to Bactria. For instance, during the reign of Darius I, the inhabitants of the Greek city of Barca, in Cyrenaica, were deported to Bactria for refusing to surrender assassins. In addition, Xerxes settled the "Branchidae" in Bactria. Herodotus records a Persian commander threatening to enslave daughters of the revolting Ionians and send them to Bactria.
However, these few examples are not indicative of massive deportations of Greeks to central Asia. Considerable difficulties faced by the Seleucid kings and the attacks of Pharaoh Ptolemy II Philadelphus gave the satrap of Bactria, Diodotus I, the opportunity to declare independence about 245 BC and conquer Sogdia, he was the founder of the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom. Diodotus and his successors were able to maintain themselves against the attacks of the Seleucids—particularly from Antiochus III the Great, defeated by the Romans; the Greco-Bactrians were so powerful that they were able to expand their territory as far as India: As for Bactria, a part of it lies alongside Aria towards the north, though most of it lies above Aria and to the east of it. And much of it produces everything except oil; the Greeks who caused Bactria to revolt grew so powerful on account of the fertility of the country that they became masters, not only of Bactria and beyond, but of In
The Han dynasty was the second imperial dynasty of China, preceded by the Qin dynasty and succeeded by the Three Kingdoms period. Spanning over four centuries, the Han period is considered a golden age in Chinese history. To this day, China's majority ethnic group refers to themselves as the "Han Chinese" and the Chinese script is referred to as "Han characters", it was founded by the rebel leader Liu Bang, known posthumously as Emperor Gaozu of Han, interrupted by the Xin dynasty of the former regent Wang Mang. This interregnum separates the Han dynasty into two periods: the Western Han or Former Han and the Eastern Han or Later Han; the emperor was at the pinnacle of Han society. He presided over the Han government but shared power with both the nobility and appointed ministers who came from the scholarly gentry class; the Han Empire was divided into areas directly controlled by the central government using an innovation inherited from the Qin known as commanderies, a number of semi-autonomous kingdoms.
These kingdoms lost all vestiges of their independence following the Rebellion of the Seven States. From the reign of Emperor Wu onward, the Chinese court sponsored Confucianism in education and court politics, synthesized with the cosmology of scholars such as Dong Zhongshu; this policy endured until the fall of the Qing dynasty in 1911 AD. The Han dynasty saw an age of economic prosperity and witnessed a significant growth of the money economy first established during the Zhou dynasty; the coinage issued by the central government mint in 119 BC remained the standard coinage of China until the Tang dynasty. The period saw a number of limited institutional innovations. To finance its military campaigns and the settlement of newly conquered frontier territories, the Han government nationalized the private salt and iron industries in 117 BC, but these government monopolies were repealed during the Eastern Han dynasty. Science and technology during the Han period saw significant advances, including the process of papermaking, the nautical steering ship rudder, the use of negative numbers in mathematics, the raised-relief map, the hydraulic-powered armillary sphere for astronomy, a seismometer employing an inverted pendulum that could be used to discern the cardinal direction of distant earthquakes.
The Xiongnu, a nomadic steppe confederation, defeated the Han in 200 BC and forced the Han to submit as a de facto inferior and vassal partner, but continued their military raids on the Han borders. Emperor Wu launched several military campaigns against them; the ultimate Han victory in these wars forced the Xiongnu to accept vassal status as Han tributaries. These campaigns expanded Han sovereignty into the Tarim Basin of Central Asia, divided the Xiongnu into two separate confederations, helped establish the vast trade network known as the Silk Road, which reached as far as the Mediterranean world; the territories north of Han's borders were overrun by the nomadic Xianbei confederation. Emperor Wu launched successful military expeditions in the south, annexing Nanyue in 111 BC and Dian in 109 BC, in the Korean Peninsula where the Xuantu and Lelang Commanderies were established in 108 BC. After 92 AD, the palace eunuchs involved themselves in court politics, engaging in violent power struggles between the various consort clans of the empresses and empresses dowager, causing the Han's ultimate downfall.
Imperial authority was seriously challenged by large Daoist religious societies which instigated the Yellow Turban Rebellion and the Five Pecks of Rice Rebellion. Following the death of Emperor Ling, the palace eunuchs suffered wholesale massacre by military officers, allowing members of the aristocracy and military governors to become warlords and divide the empire; when Cao Pi, King of Wei, usurped the throne from Emperor Xian, the Han dynasty ceased to exist. According to the Records of the Grand Historian, after the collapse of the Qin dynasty the hegemon Xiang Yu appointed Liu Bang as prince of the small fief of Hanzhong, named after its location on the Han River. Following Liu Bang's victory in the Chu–Han Contention, the resulting Han dynasty was named after the Hanzhong fief. China's first imperial dynasty was the Qin dynasty; the Qin unified the Chinese Warring States by conquest, but their empire became unstable after the death of the first emperor Qin Shi Huang. Within four years, the dynasty's authority had collapsed in the face of rebellion.
Two former rebel leaders, Xiang Yu of Chu and Liu Bang of Han, engaged in a war to decide who would become hegemon of China, which had fissured into 18 kingdoms, each claiming allegiance to either Xiang Yu or Liu Bang. Although Xiang Yu proved to be a capable commander, Liu Bang defeated him at Battle of Gaixia, in modern-day Anhui. Liu Bang assumed the title "emperor" at the urging of his followers and is known posthumously as Emperor Gaozu. Chang'an was chosen as the new capital of the reunified empire under Han. At the beginning of the Western Han known as the Former Han dynasty, thirteen centrally controlled commanderies—including the capital region—existed in the western third of the empire, while the eastern two-thirds were divided into ten semi-autonomous kingdoms. To placate his prominent commanders from the war with Chu, Emperor Gaozu enfeoffed some of them as kings. By 157 BC, the Han court h
Lop Nur or Lop Nor is a former salt lake, now dried up, located between the Taklamakan and Kumtag deserts in the southeastern portion of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. Administratively, the lake is in Lop Nur town known as Luozhong of Ruoqiang County, which in its turn is part of the Bayingolin Mongol Autonomous Prefecture; the lake system into which the Tarim River and Shule River empty is the last remnant of the historical post-glacial Tarim Lake, which once covered more than 10,000 km2 in the Tarim Basin. Lop Nur is hydrologically endorheic— it is landbound and there is no outlet; the lake measured 3,100 km2 in 1928, but has dried up due to construction of dams which blocked the flow of water feeding into the lake system, only small seasonal lakes and marshes may form. The dried-up Lop Nur Basin is covered with a salt crust ranging from 30 to 100 cm in thickness. Lop Nur has been used as a nuclear testing site, since the discovery of potash at the site in the mid-1990s it is the location of a large-scale mining operation.
There are some restricted areas under military management and cultural relics protection points in the region, which are not open to the public. From around 1800 BC until the 9th century the lake supported a thriving Tocharian culture. Archaeologists have discovered the buried remains of settlements, as well as several of the Tarim mummies, along its ancient shoreline. Former water resources of the Tarim River and Lop Nur nurtured the kingdom of Loulan since the second century BC, an ancient civilization along the Silk Road, which skirted the lake-filled basin. Loulan became a client-state of the Chinese empire in renamed Shanshan. Faxian went by the Lop Desert on his way to the Indus valley, followed by Chinese pilgrims. Marco Polo in his travels passed through the Lop Desert, the famous explorers Ferdinand von Richthofen, Nikolai Przhevalsky, Sven Hedin and Aurel Stein visited and studied the area, it is likely that Swedish soldier Johan Gustaf Renat had visited the area when he was helping the Zunghars to produce maps over the area in the eighteenth century.
The lake was given various names in ancient Chinese texts. In Shiji it was called Yan Ze, indicating its saline nature, near, located the ancient Loulan Kingdom. In Hanshu it was called Puchang Hai and was given a dimension of 300 to 400 li in length and breadth, indicating it was once a lake of great size; these early texts mentioned the belief, mistaken as it turns out, that the lake joins the Yellow River at Jishi through an underground channel as the source of the river. The lake was referred to as the "Wandering Lake" in the early 20th century due to the Tarim River changing its course, causing its terminal lake to alter its location between the Lop Nur dried basin, the Kara-Koshun dried basin and the Taitema Lake basin; this shift of the terminal lake caused some confusion amongst the early explorers as to the exact location of Lop Nur. Imperial maps from the Qing Dynasty showed Lop Nur to be located in similar position to the present Lop Nur dried basin, but the Polish geographer Mikołaj Przewalski instead found the terminal lake at Kara-Koshun in 1867.
Sven Hedin visited the area in 1900-1901 and suggested that the Tarim river periodically changed its course to and fro between its southbound and northbound direction, resulting in a shift in the position of the terminal lake. The change in the course of the river, which resulted in Lop Nur drying up, was suggested by Hedin as the reason why ancient settlements such as Loulan had perished. In 1921, due to human intervention, the terminal lake shifted its position back to Lop Nur; the lake measured 2400 km2 in area in 1930-31. In 1934 Sven Hedin went down the new Kuruk Darya in a canoe, he found the delta to be a maze of channels and the new lake so shallow that it was difficult to navigate in a canoe. In 1900 he had walked the dry Kuruk Darya in a caravan. In 1952 the terminal lake shifted to Taitema Lake when the Tarim River and Konque River were separated through human intervention, Lop Nur dried out again by 1964. In 1972, the Great West Sea Reservoir was built at Tikanlik, water supply to the lake was cut off, all the lakes for the most part dried out, with only small seasonal lakes forming in local depressions in Taitema.
The loss of water to the lower Tarim River Valley led to the deterioration and loss of poplar forests and tamarix shrubs that used to be extensively distributed along the lower Tarim River Valley forming the so-called'Green Corridor'. In 2000, in an effort to prevent further deterioration of the ecosystem, water was diverted from Lake Bosten in an attempt to fill the Taitema Lake; the Taitema Lake however had shifted 30 to 40 kilometres westwards during the past 40 years due in part to the spread of the desert. Another cause of the destabilization of the desert has been the cutting of poplars and willows for firewood; the Kara-Koshun dried basin may be considered part of the greater Lop Nur. On 17 June 1980, Chinese scientist Peng Jiamu disappeared while walking into Lop Nur in search of water, his body was never found, his disappearance remains a mystery. 3 On June 1996, the Chinese explorer Yu Chunshun died. China established the Lop Nur Nuclear Test Base on 16 October 1959 with Soviet assistance in selection of the site, with its headquarters at Malan, about 125 km northwest of Qinggir.
The first Chinese nuclear bomb test, code
The Western Regions or Xiyu was a historical name specified in the Chinese chronicles between the 3rd century BC to the 8th century AD that referred to the regions west of Yumen Pass, most Central Asia or sometimes more the easternmost portion of it, though it was sometimes used more to refer to other regions to the west of China as well, such as the Indian subcontinent. Because of its strategic location astride the Silk Road, the Western Regions have been significant since at least the 3rd century BC, it was the site of the Han–Xiongnu War until 89 AD. In the 7th century, the Tang campaign against the Western Regions led to Chinese control of the region until the An Lushan Rebellion; the region became significant in centuries as a cultural conduit between East Asia, the Indian subcontinent, the Muslim world and Europe, such as during the period of the Mongol Empire. One of the most significant exports of the Western Regions was Buddhist texts the Mahayana sutras, which were carried by traders and pilgrim monks to China.
The Tang dynasty monk Xuanzang crossed the region on his way to study in India, resulting in the influential Great Tang Records on the Western Regions upon his return to the Tang capital of Chang'an. Before the onset of Turkic migrations, the peoples of the region were Indo-Europeans divided into two linguistic groups, the Saka and the Tocharians; the peoples of oasis city-states of Khotan and Kashgar spoke Saka, one of the Eastern Iranian languages, whereas the people of Kucha and Turfan spoke the Tocharian language. The language of the native people of Loulan has yet to be understood or determined. Hexi Corridor History of the Han dynasty Kingdom of Khotan Kingdom of Shule Sogdia Turkestan Protectorate of the Western Regions Protectorate General to Pacify the West Ethnic groups in Chinese history Yap, Joseph P; the Western Regions and Han, from the Shiji and Hou Hanshu. ISBN 978-1792829154
Silk Road transmission of Buddhism
Buddhism entered Han China via the Silk Road, beginning in the 1st or 2nd century CE. The first documented translation efforts by Buddhist monks in China were in the 2nd century CE under the influence of the expansion of the Kushan Empire into the Chinese territory of the Tarim Basin under Kanishka; these contacts brought Gandharan Buddhist culture into territories adjacent to China proper. Direct contact between Central Asian and Chinese Buddhism continued throughout the 3rd to 7th century, well into the Tang period. From the 4th century onward, with Faxian's pilgrimage to India, Xuanzang, Chinese pilgrims started to travel by themselves to northern India, their source of Buddhism, in order to get improved access to original scriptures. Much of the land route connecting northern India with China at that time was ruled by the Kushan Empire, the Hephthalite Empire; the Indian form of Buddhist tantra reached China in the 7th century. Tibetan Buddhism was established as a branch of Vajrayana, in the 8th century.
But from about this time, the Silk Road transmission of Buddhism began to decline with the Muslim conquest of Transoxiana, resulting in the Uyghur Khaganate by the 740s. By this time, Indian Buddhism itself was in decline, due to the resurgence of Hinduism on one hand and due to the Muslim expansion on the other, while Tang-era Chinese Buddhism was repressed in the 9th century, but not before in its turn giving rise to Korean and Japanese traditions. Buddhism was brought to China via the Silk Road. Buddhist monks travelled with merchant caravans on the Silk Road; the lucrative Chinese silk trade along this trade route began during the Han Dynasty with the establishment by Alexander the Great of a system of Hellenistic kingdoms and trade networks extending from the Mediterranean to modern Afghanistan and Tajikistan on the borders of China. The powerful Greco-Bactrian Kingdoms in Afghanistan and the Indo-Greek Kingdoms practiced Greco-Buddhism and formed the first stop on the Silk Road, after China, for nearly 300 years.
See Dayuan. The transmission of Buddhism to China via the Silk Road started in the 1st century CE with a semi-legendary account of an embassy sent to the West by the Chinese Emperor Ming: It may be assumed that travelers or pilgrims brought Buddhism along the Silk Roads, but whether this first occurred from the earliest period when those roads were open, ca. 100 BC, must remain open to question. The earliest direct references to Buddhism concern the 1st century AD, but they include hagiographical elements and are not reliable or accurate. Extensive contacts however started in the 2nd century CE as a consequence of the expansion of the Greco-Buddhist Kushan Empire into the Chinese territory of the Tarim Basin, with the missionary efforts of a great number of Central Asian Buddhist monks to Chinese lands; the first missionaries and translators of Buddhists scriptures into Chinese were either Parthian, Sogdian or Kuchean. In the middle of the 2nd century, the Kushan Empire under king Kaniṣka from its capital at Purushapura, India expanded into Central Asia and went beyond the regions of Kashgar and Yarkand, in the Tarim Basin, modern Xinjiang.
As a consequence, cultural exchanges increased, Central Asian Buddhist missionaries became active shortly after in the Chinese capital cities of Loyang and sometimes Nanjing, where they distinguished themselves by their translation work. They promoted both Mahāyāna scriptures. Thirty-seven of these early translators of Buddhist texts are known. An Shigao, a Parthian prince who made the first known translations of Hīnayāna Buddhist texts into Chinese Lokakṣema, a Kushan and the first to translate Mahāyāna scriptures into Chinese An Xuan, a Parthian merchant who became a monk in China in 181 Zhi Yao, a Kushan monk in the second generation of translators after Lokakṣema. Kang Meng-hsiang, the first translator from Kangju Zhi Qian, a Kushan monk whose grandfather had settled in China during 168–190 Zhi Yueh, a Kushan monk who worked at Nanjing Kang Senghui, born in Jiaozhi close to modern Hanoi in what was the extreme south of the Chinese empire, a son of a Sogdian merchant Tan-ti, a Parthian monk Po Yen, a Kuchean prince Dharmarakṣa, a Kushan whose family had lived for generations at Dunhuang An Fachiin, a monk of Parthian origins Po Srimitra, a Kuchean prince Kumārajīva, a Kuchean monk and one of the most important translators Dharmakṣema, scholar who brought Mahāyāna Mahāparinirvāṇa-sūtra to China Fotudeng, a Central Asian monk who became a counselor to the Chinese court Bodhidharma, the founder of the Chan school of Buddhism, the legendary originator of the physical training of the Shaolin monks that led to the creation of Shaolin kung fu.
According to the earliest reference to him, by Yang Xuanzhi, he was a monk of Central Asian origin whom Yang Xuanshi met around 520 at Loyang. Throughout Buddhist art, Bodhidharma is depicted as a rather ill-tempered, profusely bearded and wide-eyed barbarian, he is referred to as "The Blue-Eyed Barbarian" in Chinese Chan texts. Five monks from Gandhāra who traveled in 485 CE to the country of Fusang, where they introduced Buddhism. Jñānagupta, a monk and translator from Gandhāra Śikṣānanda, a monk and translator from Udyāna, Gandhāra Prajñā (c. 81
Hanyu Pinyin abbreviated to pinyin, is the official romanization system for Standard Chinese in mainland China and to some extent in Taiwan. It is used to teach Standard Mandarin Chinese, written using Chinese characters; the system includes four diacritics denoting tones. Pinyin without tone marks is used to spell Chinese names and words in languages written with the Latin alphabet, in certain computer input methods to enter Chinese characters; the pinyin system was developed in the 1950s by many linguists, including Zhou Youguang, based on earlier forms of romanizations of Chinese. It was published by revised several times; the International Organization for Standardization adopted pinyin as an international standard in 1982, was followed by the United Nations in 1986. The system was adopted as the official standard in Taiwan in 2009, where it is used for international events rather than for educational or computer-input purposes, but "some cities and organizations, notably in the south of Taiwan, did not accept this", so it remains one of several rival romanization systems in use.
The word Hànyǔ means'the spoken language of the Han people', while Pīnyīn means'spelled sounds'. In 1605, the Jesuit missionary Matteo Ricci published Xizi Qiji in Beijing; this was the first book to use the Roman alphabet to write the Chinese language. Twenty years another Jesuit in China, Nicolas Trigault, issued his Xi Ru Ermu Zi at Hangzhou. Neither book had much immediate impact on the way in which Chinese thought about their writing system, the romanizations they described were intended more for Westerners than for the Chinese. One of the earliest Chinese thinkers to relate Western alphabets to Chinese was late Ming to early Qing dynasty scholar-official, Fang Yizhi; the first late Qing reformer to propose that China adopt a system of spelling was Song Shu. A student of the great scholars Yu Yue and Zhang Taiyan, Song had been to Japan and observed the stunning effect of the kana syllabaries and Western learning there; this galvanized him into activity on a number of fronts, one of the most important being reform of the script.
While Song did not himself create a system for spelling Sinitic languages, his discussion proved fertile and led to a proliferation of schemes for phonetic scripts. The Wade–Giles system was produced by Thomas Wade in 1859, further improved by Herbert Giles in the Chinese–English Dictionary of 1892, it was popular and used in English-language publications outside China until 1979. In the early 1930s, Communist Party of China leaders trained in Moscow introduced a phonetic alphabet using Roman letters, developed in the Soviet Oriental Institute of Leningrad and was intended to improve literacy in the Russian Far East; this Sin Wenz or "New Writing" was much more linguistically sophisticated than earlier alphabets, but with the major exception that it did not indicate tones of Chinese. In 1940, several thousand members attended a Border Region Sin Wenz Society convention. Mao Zedong and Zhu De, head of the army, both contributed their calligraphy for the masthead of the Sin Wenz Society's new journal.
Outside the CCP, other prominent supporters included Sun Fo. Over thirty journals soon appeared written in Sin Wenz, plus large numbers of translations, some contemporary Chinese literature, a spectrum of textbooks. In 1940, the movement reached an apex when Mao's Border Region Government declared that the Sin Wenz had the same legal status as traditional characters in government and public documents. Many educators and political leaders looked forward to the day when they would be universally accepted and replace Chinese characters. Opposition arose, because the system was less well adapted to writing regional languages, therefore would require learning Mandarin. Sin Wenz fell into relative disuse during the following years. In 1943, the U. S. military engaged Yale University to develop a romanization of Mandarin Chinese for its pilots flying over China. The resulting system is close to pinyin, but does not use English letters in unfamiliar ways. Medial semivowels are written with y and w, apical vowels with r or z.
Accent marks are used to indicate tone. Pinyin was created by Chinese linguists, including Zhou Youguang, as part of a Chinese government project in the 1950s. Zhou is called "the father of pinyin," Zhou worked as a banker in New York when he decided to return to China to help rebuild the country after the establishment of the People's Republic of China in 1949, he became an economics professor in Shanghai, in 1955, when China's Ministry of Education created a Committee for the Reform of the Chinese Written Language, Premier Zhou Enlai assigned Zhou Youguang the task of developing a new romanization system, despite the fact that he was not a professional linguist. Hanyu Pinyin was based on several existing systems: Gwoyeu Romatzyh of 1928, Latinxua Sin Wenz of 1931, the diacritic markings from zhuyin. "I'm not the father of pinyin," Zhou said years later. It's a lo
Korla is the second largest city in Xinjiang, is, administratively, a county-level city and the seat of the Bayingolin Mongol Autonomous Prefecture, larger than Great Britain and is the largest Chinese prefecture. Korla is known for its "fragrant" pears. Korla is 200 kilometres southwest from Ürümqi, due to the intervening Tian Shan, the road distance is greater; the Iron Gate Pass leading to Karasahr is about 7 kilometres north of the city and, as it was defended, playing an important part in protecting the ancient Silk Roads from raiding nomads from the north. The Kaidu River known as the Konqi River or Kongque River, flows through the center of Korla, a unique feature amongst cities in Xinjiang. While the literal meaning of the Chinese name "Kongque River" is "Peacock River", the name originates from a semantically distorted transliteration of the Uyghur name "Konqi Darya" which means "Tanner's River". Korla has a cold desert climate with extreme seasonal variation in temperature; the monthly 24-hour average temperature ranges from −7.0 °C in January to 26.4 °C, the annual mean is 11.66 °C, still warmer than most locales at the same latitude further east in the country.
Precipitation totals only 57 millimetres annually, falls in summer, as compared to an annual evaporation rate of about 2,800 mm. The frost-free period averages 210 days; the period between April and October resemble subtropical climates, but the continental nature is facilitated by the rapid drop of temperatures going into winter. Korla has long been the biggest centre in the region after Karashahr itself, having abundant water and extensive farmlands, as well as controlling the main routes to the south and west of Karashahr. Due to the discovery of oil in the Taklamakan Desert, Korla is now both more populous and far more developed than Karashar. Korla is home to a huge operational center for PetroChina's exploration in Xinjiang. Korla is known for its production of fragrant pears, which are well known in the region for their sweetness and flavor. Korla is served by the national highways G218, G314, the Southern Xinjiang Railway and the Korla Airport; as of July 7, 2009, there was no internet connections and all international telephone communication was cut within the entire province of Xinjiang, including the city of Korla.
On October 1, 2009, a partial relaxing of the internet allowed some Chinese websites to function, but only as "readable" and not "writable". As of February, 2010, the province is still cut from global communications, tourists from outside of the province and from abroad have complained of a lack of ability to keep in touch with family and friends outside the province. In May, 2010, internet access was restored to the province; the city had 430,000 inhabitants in 2007, increasing with 20,000 people every year, majority of whom were Han Chinese, with a large minority of Uyghurs and smaller numbers of Mongols and Huis. Korla was known as Yuli during the Han Dynasty. Yuli is said in the Hanshu or'History of the Former Han', to have had 1,200 households, 9,600 individuals and 2,000 people able to bear arms, it mentions that it adjoined Shanshan and Qiemo to the south. In 61 CE, the Xiongnu led some 30,000 troops from 15 kingdoms including Korla and Kucha in a successful attack on Khotan. In 94 CE, the Chinese general Ban Chao sent soldiers to punish the kingdoms of Yanqi, Weixu and Shanguo.
"He sent the heads of the two kings of Yanqi and Yuli to the capital where they were hung in front of the residences of the Man and Yi princes in the capital. Chao appointed Yuan Meng, the Yanqi Marquis of the Left, king; the kings of Yuli and Shanguo were all replaced."After the rebellion of the "Western Regions", only the kings of Korla and Hoxud refused to submit to the Chinese. Ban Yong, the son of Ban Chao, along with the Governor of Dunhuang and defeated them; the 3rd century Weilüe records that Korla and Shanwang were all dependencies of Karashahr. In May, 1877 Yakub Beg, the Muslim ruler of Kashgaria, died here, prompting the reconquest of Kashgaria by the Qing dynasty. Francis Younghusband, passed through "Korlia" in 1887 on his overland journey from Beijing to India, he described it as being prosperous and the country round about well-cultivated, with more land under cultivation than any other town he had passed. Maize seemed to be the major crop but rice was grown. There was a small Chinese town, about 400 yards square with mud walls about 35 feet high and with a ditch.
There were none at the gateway. A mile south was the Turk town, it had one main street about 700 yards long. "The shops are somewhat better than at Karashar, but not so good as at Turfan." The detailed histories listed under Kashgar and Yarkand. Hill, John E.. Through the Jade Gate to Rome: A Study of the Silk Routes during the Later Han Dynasty, 1st to 2nd Centuries CE. BookSurge, South Carolina. ISBN 978-1-4392-2134-1. Mallory, J. P. and Mair, Victor H. 2000. The Tarim Mummies: Ancient China and the Mystery of the Earliest Peoples from the West. Thames & Hudson, London. Stein, Aurel M. 1921. Serindia: Detailed rep