Natural environment and History of Anhui
Map of Huizhou Area
The ancient Huizhou Prefecture was located in southern Anhui Province, south of the Yangtze River. This is a stretch of hilly land 220 kilometers from north to south and 390 kilometers from east to west. The chains of mountains in the region are mostly more thatn 1,300 meters above sea level, while the coves and basins are small in size and number. The largest basin, Ditunxi, is merely 100 square kilometers in size. This is where the city of Huangshan is located.
The mountains have producced many rivers. These converge into two big rivers--the Xin'an River that flows from west to east and empties into the Qiantang River, and the Yangtze River that runs from the east to west. these are the water channels that link the region to other parts of the nation.
Hui means nice in Chinese. And the landscapes of the region are nice. Many famed scholars of previous times visited there and left behind masterpieces of written comments. For example, the Northern Song Dynasty poet Su Shunqin wrote:"The views along the way in Xin'am are leasant; the clouds are slight and the dusk rain falls at a slant. I won't stop the horse ar such a beautiful sight; and my heart has already gone home with the rushing river." The chains of mountains are a mixed blessing as they block the way and make living there more difficult. The jurisdiction pattern in Huizhou underwent many changes throughout history. It belonged to three kingdoms, the Wu, Yue, and Chu during the Spring and Autumn and Warring States periods(476-221 BC).
Shexian County was established in the Qin dynasty9221-209 BC) under the jurisdiction of Zhangjun Commandery. In 208, during the Eastern Han dynasty(25-220), the warlord Sun Quan divided it into four counties, Shixin, Xiding, Liyang, and Xiuyang, and put them all under the Xindu Prefecture. Then in 280, under the Western Jin Dynasty(265-316), Xindu was renamed Xin'an. during the Sui Dynasty (581-618) in 589, a Shezhou Prefecture was founded that ruled Haining, Yixian, and Shexian counties, with Haining as the capital. By 769, during the Tang Dynasty, Shezhou had grown into a prefecture of six counties, Shexian, Xiuning, Yixian, Jixi, Wuyuan, and Qimen. In 1121, during the reign of the Song Dynasty Emperor Huizong, the name Shezhou was changed to Huizhou and it remained so in the following centuries. In 1949 Wuyuan County was moved into the jurisdiction of Jiangxi Province. In 1988 Huizhou Prefecture was replaced by the city of Huangshan. Jixi County became part of the neighboring Xuancheng Prefecture, and the other four counties remained under the newborn city of Huangshan.
The jurisdictional pattern of the six counties in the region took shape back in 679, and Huizhou remained a prefecture from 1121 to 1988. As that has now been abolished, the Huizhou referred to in this chapter is an historical region.