Hebei was formed in 1928 after the central government dissolved the province of Chihli (直隸), which means "Directly Ruled (by the Imperial Court)".
Beijing and Tianjin Municipalities, which border each other, were carved out of Hebei. The province borders Liaoning to the northeast, Inner Mongolia to the north, Shanxi to the west, Henan to the south, and Shandong to the southeast. Bohai Bay of the Yellow Sea is to the east. A small part of Hebei, Sanhe Exclave, consisting of Sanhe, Dachang Hui Autonomous County, and Xianghe County, an exclave disjointed from the rest of the province, is wedged between the municipalities of Beijing and Tianjin.
Plains in Hebei were the home of Peking man, a group of Homo erectus that lived in the area around 200,000 to 700,000 years ago. Neolithic findings at the prehistoric Beifudi site date back to 7000 and 8000 BC.
During the Spring and Autumn period (722 BC – 476 BC), Hebei was under the rule of the states of Yan (燕) in the north and Jin (晉) in the south. Also during this period, a nomadic people known as Dí (狄) invaded the plains of northern China and established Zhongshan (中山) in central Hebei. During the Warring States period (403 BC–221 BC), Jin was partitioned, and much of its territory within Hebei went to Zhao (趙).
The Qin Dynasty unified China in 221 BC. The Han Dynasty (206 BC – AD 220) ruled the area under two provinces (zhou), Youzhou Province (幽州) in the north and Jizhou Province (冀州 Jì Zhōu) in the south. At the end of the Han Dynasty, most of Hebei came under the control of warlords Gongsun Zan in the north and Yuan Shao further south; Yuan Shao emerged victorious of the two, but he was soon defeated by rival Cao Cao (based further south, in modern-day Henan) in the Battle of Guandu in 200. Hebei then came under the rule of the Kingdom of Wei (one of the Three Kingdoms), established by the descendants of Cao Cao.
After the invasions of northern nomadic peoples at the end of the Western Jin Dynasty, the chaos of the Sixteen Kingdoms and the Northern and Southern Dynasties ensued. Hebei, firmly in North China and right at the northern frontier, changed hands many times, being controlled at various points in history by the Later Zhao, Former Yan, Former Qin, and Later Yan. The Northern Wei reunified northern China in 440, but split in half in 534, with Hebei coming under the eastern half (first the Eastern Wei; then the Northern Qi), which had its capital at Ye (邺), near modern Linzhang, Hebei. The Sui Dynasty again unified China in 589.
During the Tang Dynasty (618–907), the area was formally designated "Hebei" (north of the Yellow River) for the first time. During the earlier part of the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period, Hebei was fragmented among several regimes, though it was eventually unified by Li Cunxu, who established the Later Tang (923–936). The next dynasty, the Later Jin under Shi Jingtang, posthumously known as Emperor Gaozu of Later Jin, ceded much of modern-day northern Hebei to the Khitan Liao Dynasty in the north; this territory, called the Sixteen Prefectures of Yanyun, became a major weakness in the Chinese defense against the Khitans for the next century, since it lay within the Great Wall.
During the Northern Song Dynasty (960–1127), the sixteen ceded prefectures continued to be an area of hot contention between Song China and the Liao Dynasty. The Southern Song Dynasty that came after abandoned all of North China, including Hebei, to the Jurchen Jin Dynasty after the Jingkang Incident in 1127 of the Jin–Song wars.
The Mongol Yuan Dynasty divided China into provinces but did not establish Hebei as a province. Rather, the area was directly administrated by the Secretariat (中書省) at capital Dadu. The Ming Dynasty ruled Hebei as "Beizhili" (北直隸, pinyin: Běizhílì), meaning "Northern Directly Ruled", because the area contained and was directly ruled by the imperial capital, Beijing; the "Northern" designation was used because there was a southern counterpart covering present-day Jiangsu and Anhui. When the Manchu Qing Dynasty came to power in 1644, they abolished the southern counterpart, and Hebei became known as "Zhili", or simply "Directly Ruled". During the Qing Dynasty, the northern borders of Zhili extended deep into what is now Inner Mongolia, and overlapped in jurisdiction with the leagues of Inner Mongolia.
The Qing Dynasty collapsed in 1912 and was replaced by the Republic of China. Within a few years, China descended into civil war, with regional warlords vying for power. Since Zhili was so close to Peking (Beijing), the capital, it was the site of frequent wars, including the Zhiwan War, the First Zhifeng War and the Second Zhifeng War. With the success of the Northern Expedition, a successful campaign by the Kuomintang to end the rule of the warlords, the capital was moved from Peking (Beijing) to Nanking (Nanjing). As a result, the name of Zhili was changed to Hebei to reflect the fact that it had a standard provincial administration, and that the capital had been relocated elsewhere.
The founding of the People's Republic of China saw several changes: the region around Chengde, previously part of Rehe Province (historically part of Manchuria), and the region around Zhangjiakou, previously part of Chahar Province (historically part of Inner Mongolia), were merged into Hebei, extending its borders northwards beyond the Great Wall. The capital was also moved from Baoding to the upstart city of Shijiazhuang, and, for a short period, to Tianjin.
On July 28, 1976, Tangshan was struck by a powerful earthquake, the Tangshan earthquake, the deadliest of the 20th century with over 240,000 killed. A series of smaller earthquakes struck the city in the following decade.
In 2005, Chinese archaeologists unearthed what is being called the Chinese equivalent of Italy's Pompeii. The find in question, located near Liumengchun Village (柳孟春村) in Cang County in east-central Hebei, is a buried settlement destroyed nearly 700 years ago by a major earthquake. Another possible explanation may be the four successive floods which hit the area around the time when the settlement met its sudden end. The settlement appears to have been a booming commercial center during the Song Dynasty.
Most of central and southern Hebei lies within the North China Plain. The western part of Hebei rises into the Taihang Mountains (Taihang Shan), while the Yan Mountains (Yan Shan) run through northern Hebei, beyond which lie the grasslands of Inner Mongolia. The Great Wall of China cuts through northern Hebei from east to west as well, briefly entering the border of Beijing Municipality, and terminates at the seacoast of Shanhaiguan in northeastern Hebei. The highest peak is Mount Xiaowutai in northwestern Hebei, with an altitude of 2882 m.
Hebei borders Bohai Sea on the east. The Hai He watershed covers most of the province's central and southern parts, and the Luan He watershed covers the northeast. Not counting the numerous reservoirs to be found in Hebei's hills and mountains, the largest lake in Hebei is Baiyangdian, located mostly in Anxin County.
Hebei has a continental monsoon climate, with cold, dry winters, and hot, humid summers. Temperatures average −16 to −3 °C (3 to 27 °F) in January and 20 to 27 °C (68 to 81 °F) in July; the annual precipitation ranges from 400 to 800 mm (16 to 31 in), concentrated heavily in summer.
Hebei is made up of eleven prefecture-level divisions: all prefecture-level cities:
These eleven prefecture-level divisions are subdivided into 170 county-level divisions (44 districts, 20 county-level cities, 99 counties and 6 autonomous counties). Those are, in turn, divided into 2207 township-level divisions (1 district public office, 937 towns, 979 townships, 55 ethnic townships, and 235 subdistricts).
The politics of Hebei is structured in a dual party-government system like all other governing institutions in mainland China.
The Governor of Hebei is the highest-ranking official in the People's Government of Hebei. However, in the province's dual party-government governing system, the Governor has less power than the Hebei Communist Party of China Provincial Committee Secretary (CPC Party Chief).
In 2014, Hebei's GDP was 2.942 trillion yuan (US$479 billion), ranked 6th in the PRC. GDP per capita reached 40,124 Renminbi. As of 2011, the primary, secondary, and tertiary sectors of industry contributed 203.46 billion, 877.74 billion, and 537.66 billion RMB respectively. The registered urban unemployment rate was 3.96%.
40% of Hebei's labor force works in the agriculture, forestry and animal husbandry sectors, with the majority of production from these industries going to Beijing and Tianjin Hebei's main agricultural products are cereal crops including wheat, maize, millet, and sorghum. Cash crops like cotton, peanut, soybeans and sesame are also produced.
Kailuan, with a history of over 100 years, is one of China's first modern coal mines, and remains a major mine with an annual production of over 20 million metric tonnes. Much of the North China Oilfield is found in Hebei, and there are also major iron mines at Handan and Qian'an. Iron, as well as steel, manufacturing are the largest industries in Hebei, and are likely to remain so as these industries consolidate and Hebei continues to grow as a manufacturing and transportation center for the region.
Hebei's industries include textiles, coal, steel, iron, engineering, chemical production, petroleum, power, ceramics and food.Baoding Hi-Tech Industry Development Zone
Langfang Export Processing Zone
Qinhuangdao Economic & Technological Development Zone
Qinhuangdao Export Processing Zone
Shijiazhuang Hi-Tech Industrial Development Zone
The population is mostly Han Chinese. 55 ethnic minorities are present in Hebei, representing 4.27% of the total population. The most important are Manchu (2.1 million people), Hui people (600000 people) and Mongol (180000 people).
Excludes members of the People's Liberation Army in active service.
Source: Department of Population, Social, Science and Technology Statistics of the National Bureau of Statistics of China and Department of Economic Development of the State Ethnic Affairs Commission of China, eds. Tabulation on Nationalities of 2000 Population Census of China. 2 vols. Beijing: Nationalities Publishing House (民族出版社), 2003. (ISBN 7-105-05425-5)
In 2004, the birth rate was 11.98 births per 1,000 people, while the death rate was 6.19 deaths per 1,000 people. In 2000 the sex ratio at birth was 118.46 males to 100 females.
The predominant religions in Hebei are Chinese folk religions, Taoist traditions and Chinese Buddhism. According to surveys conducted in 2007 and 2009, 5.52% of the population believes and is involved in ancestor veneration, while 3.05% of the population identifies as Christian, mostly of the Catholic Church. Local worship of deities in the region began to organise into "benevolent churches" as a reaction to Catholicism in the Qing dynasty.
The reports didn't give figures for other types of religion; 90.61% of the population may be either irreligious or involved in worship of nature deities, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism and folk religious sects. Zailiism is a folk religious sect that originated in Hebei. There is a presence of Tibetan Buddhist schools in the province.
Hebei has the largest Catholic population in China, with 1 million members according to the local government. and 1.5 million Catholics according to the Catholic Church. The province is considered as the center of Catholicism in China. The town of Donglu, where an apparition of the Virgin Mary was reported to have occurred in 1900, is reportedly "one of the strongholds of the unofficial Catholic Church in China".
A large number of Catholics in Hebei remain loyal to the Pope and reject the authority of the Catholic Patriotic Church. Four of Hebei's underground bishops have been imprisoned in recent years: Bishop Francis An Shuxin of Donglu since 1996; Bishop James Su Zhimin since October 1997; and Bishops Han Dingxiang of Yongnian who died in prison in 2007 and Julius Jia Zhiguo of Zhengding since late 1999. In 2003 there were 350.000 Protestants and 580.000 Muslims according to government statistics. According to a survey, as of 2010 Muslims constitute 0.82% of the population of Hebei.
Dialects of Mandarin are spoken over most of the province, and most Mandarin dialects in Hebei are in turn classified as part of the Ji Lu Mandarin subdivision. Regions along the western border with Shanxi, however, have dialects that are distinct enough for linguists to consider them as part of Jin, another subdivision of Chinese, rather than Mandarin. In general, the dialects of Hebei are quite similar to and readily intelligible with the Beijing dialect, which forms the basis for Standard Chinese, the official language of the nation. However, there are also some distinct differences, such as differences in the pronunciation of certain words that derive from entering tone syllables (syllables ending on a plosive) in Middle Chinese.
Traditional forms of Chinese opera in Hebei include Pingju, Hebei Bangzi (also known as Hebei Clapper Opera), and Cangzhou Kuaiban Dagu. Pingju is especially popular: it tends to be colloquial in language and hence easy to understand for audiences. Originating from northeastern Hebei, Pingju has been influenced by other forms of Chinese opera like Beijing opera. Traditionally Pingju makes use of just a xiaosheng (young male lead), a xiaodan (young female lead), and a xiaohualian (young comic character), though it has since diversified with the use of other roles as well.
Quyang County, in central Hebei, is noted for its Dingzhou porcelain, which includes various vessels such as bowls, plates, vases, and cups, as well as figurines. Dingzhou porcelain is usually creamy white, though it is also made in other colours.
Hebei cuisine is typically based on wheat, mutton and beans.
Well-known people born in Hebei Province include:Feng Dao (881-954), Confucian minister
Yan Yuan (1635–1704), Confucian philosopher
Chi Jushan (1876–1962), playwright and scholar
Hebei is served by Hebei Television.
Because Hebei surrounds Beijing and Tianjin, all the numerous important railway lines radiating out of these two cities pass through Hebei. The Beijing–Guangzhou Railway is one of the most important: it passes through many major cities such as Baoding, Shijiazhuang, Xingtai and Handan on its way south to Henan. Other important railways include the Beijing–Kowloon Railway, Beijing–Shanghai Railway, Beijing-Harbin Railway, Beijing–Chengde Railway, Beijing–Tongliao Railway, Beijing-Baotou Railway and Fengtai–Shacheng Railway. High-speed rail lines crossing the province include the Beijing-Shanghai High-Speed Railway, Beijing-Guangzhou High-Speed Railway and Shijiazhuang–Taiyuan High-Speed Railway. Future high-speed rail lines from Beijing and Tianjin to Northeast China and Northwest China will traverse northern Hebei.
During the Eleventh Five-Year Plan, Beijing and Hebei were collaborating on a new passenger railway. The RMB 82.6 billion network will add 844 kilometers to the system. Current railway systems for Hebei trains are also being upgraded and will soon be able to travel at speeds of between 160 and 200 kilometers per hour.
As of the early 2013, railway schedule systems listed 160 passenger train stations within the province.
The recent expressway boom in China has not left Hebei behind. There are expressways to every prefecture-level city of Hebei, totalling to approximately 2,000 kilometers. The total length of highways within Hebei is around 40,000 kilometers.
There are a number of ports along the Bohai Sea, including Qinhuangdao (the second busiest in China with a capacity of over 100 million tons), Huanghua, and Jingtang. Shijiazhuang's Zhengding Airport is the province's center of air transportation, with domestic and international flights. Parts of Hebei will also be served by the new Beijing Daxing International Airport in Beijing, which is currently under construction and expected to be completed by 2017.
The east end of the Ming Great Wall is located on the coast at Shanhaiguan (Shanhai Pass), near Qinhuangdao. Informally known as the "First Pass of The World" (天下第一關), Shanhaiguan was the place where Ming general Wu Sangui opened the gates to Manchu forces in 1644, beginning nearly 300 years of Manchu rule; Shanhai Pass also marks the psychological entrance / exit of Manchuria, so that for centuries Manchuria was known as "outside the Pass" or "east of the Pass". Beidaihe, located near Shanhaiguan, is a popular beach resort well known as a former meeting place for top governmental officials.
The Ming Great Wall crosses the northern part of Hebei.
The Chengde Mountain Resort and its outlying temples are a World Heritage Site. Also known as the Rehe Palace, this was the summer resort of the Manchu Qing Dynasty emperors. The Chengde Resort was built between 1703 and 1792, and consists of a palace complex, a large park area composed of lakes, pavilions, causeways, bridges, etc., and a number of Tibetan Buddhist and Han Chinese temples in the surrounding area.
There are Qing Dynasty imperial tombs at Zunhua (Eastern Qing Tombs) and Yixian (West Qing Tombs). The Eastern Qing Tombs are the resting place of 161 Qing emperors, empresses, and other members of the Qing imperial family, while the West Qing Tombs have 76. These are also part of a World Heritage Site.
The Zhaozhou, or Anji Bridge, built by Li Chun during the Sui Dynasty, is the oldest stone arch bridge in China, and one of the most significant examples of pre-modern Chinese civil engineering.
Baoding, the old provincial capital, contains the historical Zhili Governor's Residence.
Xibaipo, a village about 90 km (56 mi) from Shijiazhuang, in Pingshan County was the location of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the headquarters of the People's Liberation Army during the decisive stages of the Chinese Civil War between May 26, 1948 and March 23, 1949, at which point they were moved to Beijing. Today, the area houses a memorial site.
Sports teams based in Hebei include:
National Basketball League (China)
Hebei Springs Benma
Chinese Basketball Association
There are no teams based in Hebei.
Chinese Football AssociationHebei Elite F.C.
Hebei Zhongji F.C.
Shijiazhuang Ever Bright F.C.
Under the national Ministry of Education:North China Electric Power University (华北电力大学/華北電力大學)
Under other national agencies:Central Institute for Correctional Police (中央司法警官学校/中央司法警官學院)
Chinese People's Armed Police Force Academy (中国人民武装警察部队学院/中國人民武裝警察部隊學院)
North China Institute of Science and Technology (华北科技学院/華北科技學院)
Under the provincial government:Chengde Medical College (承德医学院/承德醫學院)
Handan College (邯郸学院/邯鄲學院)
Hebei Agricultural University (河北农业大学/河北農業大學)
Hebei Engineering University (河北工程大学/河北工程大學)
Hebei Institute of Architecture and Civil Engineering (河北建筑工程学院/河北建築工程學院)
Hebei Medical University (河北医科大学/河北醫科大學)
Hebei Normal University (河北师范大学/河北師範大學)
Hebei Normal University of Science and Technology (河北科技技师学院/河北科技師範學院)
Hebei North University (河北北方学院/河北北方學院)
Hebei Physical Educational Institute (河北体育学院/河北體育學院)
North China University of Science and Technology (华北理工大学/華北理工大學)
Hebei University (河北大学/河北大學)
Hebei University of Economics and Business (河北经贸大学/河北經貿大學)
Hebei University of Technology (河北工业大学/河北工業大學)
Hebei University of Science and Technology (河北科技大学/河北科技大學)
Hengshui University (衡水学院/衡水學院)
Langfang Teacher's College (廊坊师范学院/廊坊師範學院)
North China Coal Medical College (华北煤炭医学院/華北煤炭醫學院)
Shijiazhuang College (石家庄学院/石家莊學院)
Shijiazhuang Railway Institute (石家庄铁道学院/石家莊鐵道學院)
Shijiazhuang University of Economics (石家庄经济学院/石家莊經濟學院)
Tangshan College (唐山学院/唐山學院)
Tangshan Teacher's College (唐山师范学院/唐山師範學院)
Xingtai University (邢台学院/邢台學院)
Yanshan University (燕山大学/燕山大學)