Jiangxi is centered on the Gan River valley, which historically provided the main north-south transport route of south China. The corridor along the Gan River is one of the few easily traveled routes through the otherwise mountainous and rugged terrain of the south-eastern mountains. This open corridor was the primary route for trade and communication between the North China Plain and the Yangtze River valley in the north and the territory of modern Guangdong province in the south. As a result Jiangxi has been strategically important throughout much of China’s history.
Traditionally known as Gan, Jiangxi was ruled by the Zhou dynasty (722–481 B.C.); it received its present name only under the Southern Song dynasty (A.D. 1127–1280). The province, whose present boundaries date from the Ming dynasty, passed under Manchu rule in 1650.
Jiangxi is one of the earliest bases for the Communists and many peasants were recruited to join the growing people’s revolution. The province was a stronghold for the Communists until they were dislodged in 1934. The famous long march began from Jiangxi. Much of the province was occupied by the Japanese from 1938 to 1945. The People’s Republic of China took it in control in 1949.
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