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Yúnnán Shěng
Abbreviation : ( Pinyin : Diān)
Capital Kunming

 - Total
 - share in the

Rank 8 out of 33

394,100 km²


 - Total 2016
 - density

Rank 12 of 33

47,710,000 inhabitants
121 inhabitants / km²

Management type province
governor Ruan Chengfa
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About this picture
ISO-3166-2 code CN-YN
District level 8 cities, 8 autonomous districts
District level 66 counties, 29 autonomous counties, 17 city districts, 17 cities
Community level 683 large municipalities, 545 municipalities, 140 nationality municipalities, 175 street districts

Yúnnán , German obsolete: Jünnan , ( Chinese  雲南  /  云南 , Pinyin Yúnnán  - "South of the clouds") is a province in the southwest of the People's Republic of China . At 394,100 square kilometers, it is roughly the size of Germany and the Netherlands combined. In 2015, it was the second poorest province in the People's Republic of China in terms of gross domestic product per capita.


Yunnan is the province that represents the most obvious cultural and geographical differences in China. The province is characterized by a very large biodiversity . The last 250 wild elephants in China live in Yunnan and are under strict conservation. The natural spaces are characterized by the contrast of snow-capped mountains with high mountain vegetation to valleys with subtropical to tropical vegetation.


Several major rivers flow through the province:

  • The Yangtze River (長江 / 长江, Cháng Jiāng), China's largest river, which flows into the East China Sea near Shanghai ,
  • The upper reaches of the Mekong , which is called Lancang Jiang (瀾滄江 / 澜沧江, Láncāng Jiāng) in the Chinese area , which flows through Laos , Cambodia and Vietnam and flows into the South China Sea ,
  • The Red River (元 江, Yuán Jiāng), which flows through northern Vietnam (including Hanoi ) and flows into the South China Sea,
  • The Saluen (怒江, Nù Jiāng), which flows downstream through Myanmar (Burma) and flows into the Andaman Sea.


Yunnan is bordered by the autonomous regions of Tibet and Guangxi and the provinces of Sichuan and Guizhou . The neighboring states are Vietnam , Laos and Myanmar (Burma). The proximity to Southeast Asia ensures diverse cultural influences and interrelationships.


Around 109 BC Chr. Conquered Han -China local rulers in present-day Yunnan and incorporated it loosely to China. Archaeological excavations in Shizhaishan in the 1950s brought important finds to light, so that today the Dian culture in particular is taking shape. According to Chinese sources ( Sima Qian ), the story of Diana begins with the Chu general Zhuang Qiao, who settled in eastern Yunnan and founded the kingdom there (end of the 4th century BC). Around 109 BC Dian was annexed to Han China in a campaign, and the defeated king received titles, seals and military aid against neighboring tribes. Similarly, the Yizhou headquarters was established.

After the end of the Han dynasty, Chinese agents and various local leaders took turns in the rule. In literary terms , the deeds of the Chinese folk hero Zhuge Liang (181–234, represented Shu Han ) and his opponent Menghuo , but in general, Chinese rule in this area remained indirect and weak. Furthermore, there were various migration movements during this period, which were mainly directed to the south, as more and freer land was available there.

With the unification of China under the Sui and Tang , the pressure on today's Yunnan also increased. Among other things, the court wanted to control trade with India, sent troops against the Cuan population and accepted the submission of the local petty princes. In 621 a prefecture was established in Yunnan, but the rule of China only lasted until 750. In the 30s of the 8th century, the local prince Pilugoe eliminated his rivals at a banquet and founded the kingdom of Nanzhao , a multi-ethnic state. This asserted itself militarily against Tang China around 750 (with the backing of Tibet) and then in the 9th century temporarily included parts of Burma, Thailand, Vietnam and even Sichuan. In the 10th century it was re-established as the Kingdom of Dali after repeated dynasty changes by Duan Siping (a member of the Bai ) .

The independence of the state was ended in 1253/4 by the Mongols under Prince Kublai , who allegedly conquered the capital Dali with a minimum of bloodshed and reinstated the king as a vassal . In 1274, Sayyid Adschall Schams ad-Din Umar , a civilian governor came to Yunnan, whose appearance not only marked the final annexation to China, but also the introduction of Islam .

When Mongol rule was overthrown in the mid-14th century, the province of Yunnan initially remained relatively quiet and unnoticed: the Ming did not advance until 1382 and the local Mongol prince Basalawarmi took his own life. In the course of stabilizing their regime, the Ming transplanted millions of unwelcome people from the region around Nanjing to Yunnan, especially to Kunming, at the end of the 14th century . Due to the practice of establishing military colonies ( tuntian ), the Chinese population grew rapidly, preferentially spreading over the valleys and depressions and displacing the native population into the mountains. Nevertheless, the south of the province still remained relatively autonomous (cf. Sipsongpanna ).

Ganden Sumtseling Monastery in Shangri-La (Zhongdian).

After the southern Ming was overthrown by the Manchu , the successful general Wu Sangui became independent in Kunming and created a kind of kingdom there, which was only re-annexed in 1681.

In the 19th century, the Chinese Empire was shaken by numerous internal unrest, including in Yunnan, where the first Muslim uprisings broke out as early as 1818 and 1834–40. At the same time as the Taiping uprising , there was then a major uprising of the Muslims in 1853 , the so-called Panthay Rebellion . Among the rebels, a certain Du Wenxiu prevailed, who ruled as sultan in Dali and also sent an embassy to Great Britain. But the insurgents could not hold Kunming , and in 1872 Yunnan was finally retaken from the Imperial forces. A million people were killed during this uprising. In the following decades the province never came to rest.

In 1894, George Ernest Morisson , an Australian correspondent for the Times , traveled from Beijing to British- ruled Burma through Yunnan. His book describes his impressions in great detail.

After the fall of the empire and the collapse of the central power that began with it, warlords ruled the province in the first half of the 20th century . Around 1920 Tang Chiyao dominated Yunnan, around 1926 he also controlled the neighboring province of Guizhou . In Guizhou, the Kuomintang national government prevailed after 1935, but in Yunnan, despite the Burma Road, which was strategically important for the nationalists, the regional general Lung Yun remained in power until 1945.


Yi group in costume.

Yunnan is the province of China with the highest ethnic diversity. About 38% of the population of this country, which is divided into small areas by mountain ridges, belong to ethnic minorities . These include the following peoples and ethnic groups: Yi (10.9% of the total population), Bai (3.6%), Hani (3.4%), Dai (2.7%), Zhuang (2.6%), Miao (2.6%), Hui (1.5%), Lisu (1.5%), Lahu (1.1%), Va , Naxi , Mosuo , Yao , Tibetans , Jingpo , Blang , Primi , Nu , Achang , Jino , Mongols , Derung , Manchu , Sui and Bouyei .

By the end of the 19th century, the Hui (Panthay) and other Muslim peoples of China made up over 31% of the then population (3.75 million out of 12 million inhabitants). Today it is only 1.5%.

Of the 55 officially recognized ethnic groups in China, 36 live in Yunnan.

In 2013, the average life expectancy was 69.5 years, which is below the Chinese average.

Population development

Population development in the province since 1964.

year population
1954 census 17,472,737
1964 census 20,509,525
1982 census 32,553,817
1990 census 36,972,610
2000 census 42.360.089
2010 census 45,966,766
Guess 2016 47,710,000

Administrative structure

Yunnan is made up of eight prefecture-level cities and eight autonomous districts :

  • Wenshan Autonomous District of the Zhuang and Miao (文山 壮族 苗族 自治州)
  • Honghe Autonomous District of the Hani and Yi (红河 哈尼族 彝族 自治州)
  • Autonomous District Xishuangbanna of Dai (西双版纳傣族自治州)
  • Chuxiong Autonomous District of the Yi (楚雄彝 族 自治州)
  • Dali der Bai Autonomous District (大理 白族 自治州)
  • Dehong Autonomous District of the Dai and Jingpo (德宏 傣族 景颇族 自治州)
  • Nujiang Autonomous District of Lisu (怒江 傈 傈 傈 自治州)
  • Dêqên Autonomous District of the Tibetans (迪庆 藏族 自治州)

As of December 2016, the above-mentioned 16 administrative units were further subdivided into 16 urban districts , 15 independent cities , 69 districts and 29 autonomous districts . At the end of 2019, there were 17 urban districts, 17 independent cities, 66 districts and 29 autonomous districts.

The following table lists the administrative units.

Yunnan Administrative Map # region Chin. Hanyu pinyin administrative
Yunnan admin.svg
- District-free cities -
1 Kunming 昆明市 Kūnmíng Shì Chenggong 21,473 6,670,000
2 Qujing 曲靖 市 Qǔjìng Shì Qilin 29,855 6,042,000
3 Yuxi 玉溪 市 Yùxī Shì Hongta 15,285 2,360,000
4th Baoshan 保山 市 Bǎoshān Shì Longyang 19,637 2,578,000
5 Zhaotong 昭通 市 Zhāotōng Shì Zhaoyang 23,021 5,424,000
6th Lijiang 丽江 市 Lìjiāng Shì Gucheng 21,219 1,279,000
7th Pu'er 普洱 市 Pǔ'ěr Shì Simao 45,385 2,602,000
8th Lincang 临沧 市 Líncāng Shì Linxiang 24,469 2,507,000
- Autonomous Districts -
9 Dehong 德宏 傣族 景颇族 自治州 Déhóng Dǎizú Jǐngpōzú Zìzhìzhōu Mang 11,526 1,270,000
10 Nujiang 怒江 傈 僳 族 自治州 Nùjiāng Lìsùzú Zìzhìzhōu Lushui 14,703 541,000
11 Dêqên 迪庆 藏族 自治州 Díqìng Zàngzú Zìzhìzhōu Shangri-La 23,870 407,000
12 dali 大理 白族 自治州 Dàlǐ Báizú Zìzhìzhōu dali 29,459 3,540,000
13 Chuxiong 楚雄彝 族 自治州 Chǔxióng Yízú Zìzhìzhōu Chuxiong 29,258 2,730,000
14th Honghe 红河 哈尼族 彝族 自治州 Hónghé Hānízú Yízú Zìzhìzhōu Mengzi 32,930 4,645,000
15th Wenshan 文山 壮族 苗族 自治州 Wénshān Zhuàngzú Miáozú Zìzhìzhōu Wenshan 32,239 3,603,000
16 Xishuangbanna 西双版纳 傣族 自治州 Xīshuāngbǎnnà Dǎizú Zìzhìzhōu Jinghong 19,700 1,163,000

Biggest cities

The population figures are based on the 2010 census and refer to the actual urban settlement. In 2014, 41.7% of the population lived in cities or urban areas.

rank city Residents rank city Residents
1 Kunming 3,278,777 6th Yuxi 306.879
2 Xuanwei 584.076 7th Baoshan 263,380
3 Qujing 468,437 8th Zhaotong 255.861
4th dali 367.122 9 Fuyuan 249,312
5 Chuxiong 331.991 10 Anning 242.151


Brick tea

In 2015, Yunnan's economy was ranked 23rd among the provinces of China with a GDP of 1.37 trillion yuan ($ 220 billion). The GDP per capita was 31,265 yuan (US $ 4,707 / PPP : US $ 9,002) per year (ranking 30th among the Chinese provinces). The level of prosperity in the province was thus roughly on par with Jamaica and was only 58% of the Chinese average.

Tea is one of the most famous products produced. The famous Pu-Erh tea got its name after the city of Pu'er . Black teas from Yunnan are almost exclusively exported , but do not achieve as high prices on the international markets as teas from the neighboring province of Sichuan . Coffee has also been grown in Yunnan since the end of the 19th century, with the area occupied by coffee plantations reaching almost 25,000 hectares .

Yunnan plans to build a 3 GW solar park by 2016  . The contract was awarded to Yingli Green Energy .


Tourist centers in Yunnan are Dali , Naxi City Lijiang , Shangri-La , Shilin and Jinghong in Xishuangbanna .

The old town of Lijiang (. 13th century) is a UNESCO - World Heritage Site since 1997.

The Shilin Stone Forest , 120 kilometers southeast of Kunming , is the province's greatest attraction. The bizarre karst landscape was created by tectonic movements and erosion in the limestone. The rock formations, which are up to 30 meters high, rise up into the sky like towers.


The asteroid (2230) Yunnan , discovered on October 29, 1978, has been named for the province since 1981.


Web links

Commons : Yunnan  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. IFAW aktuell ( Memento of December 6, 2008 in the Internet Archive ), quarterly journal of the ifaW (Internationaler Tierschutz-Fonds), 2nd quarter 2006, p. 3
  2. ^ Günter Kettermann: Atlas zur Geschichte des Islam , p. 127 (Islam in China). Darmstadt 2001
  3. To Australian in China
  4. ^ Meyers Konversationslexikon, Volume 4, p. 47 (China, population) and p. 51 (religions). fifth edition, Leipzig / Vienna 1897
  5. Open Doors. 03/11, Open Doors Switzerland, Romanel-sur-Lausanne 2011, p. 9.
  6. 中国 统计 年鉴 -2013. Retrieved May 6, 2018 .
  7. China: Provinces and Major Cities - Population Statistics, Maps, Charts, Weather, and Web Information. Retrieved May 6, 2018 .
  8. 2016 年 贵州 省 行政 区划 (“Administrative Division of Guizhou Province in 2016”)., December 2, 2016, accessed July 28, 2019 (Chinese).
  9. ^ Yunnan (China): Prefectural Division, Major Cities & Counties - Population Statistics, Maps, Charts, Weather and Web Information. Accessed March 10, 2018 .
  10. ^ National Data. Retrieved December 4, 2017 .
  11. Coffees of the World - Volume 1: Yunnan ( Memento from March 18, 2009 in the Internet Archive )
  13. Minor Planet Circ. 6059

Coordinates: 24 ° 29 '  N , 101 ° 52'  E