Tangshan (Chinese: 唐山; pinyin: Tángshān) is a largely industrial prefecture-level city in northeastern Hebei province, China. It has become known for the 1976 Tangshan earthquake which measured 7.8 on the Richter scale, flattening much of the city and killing at least 255,000 residents according to official estimates. The city has since been rebuilt, has become a tourist attraction and has among the 10 largest ports in China.
The city of Tangshan is approximately 149 kilometers, 92 miles or 80 nautical miles east by south east of the country's capital city of Beijing. It takes roughly 2 hours by road to get from Tangshan to Beijing and 1 hour by road to reach Tianjin.
Tangshan's prefecture population was 7,577,289 at the 2010 census, with 3,187,171 in the built-up (or metro) area made of the 6 urban core districts.
Tangshan has a long history, with ancient humans living in the area as early as 4,000 years ago. It fell within the territory of the Guzhu Kingdom (1600 BC) at the time of the Shang Dynasty and later became a part of the State of Yan, one of the seven Warring States (403 – 221 BC). During the Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD) it became part of the ancient province of Youzhou. It was under the jurisdiction of Yongping Province and Zunhua State successively during the Qing dynasty (1644–1911).
Tang, Ming and Qing dynasties
Tangshan was a village at the time of the Tang dynasty (619–907) and developed further in agriculture, oil exploitation and ceramics during in the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644).
During the Hundred Days' Reform in the late Qing dynasty, the Kaiping Mining Administration was established in the third year of the Guangxu Emperor (1877). In 1878, Qiaotun town was established at Tangshan and renamed Tangshan Town in 1889. In 1938, Tangshan City was formally founded. The administrative system of Tangshan during the Republic of China Republican era continued to follow the Qing system. In 1929, Zhili Province changed its name to Hebei Province. On January 28, 1939, because of Tangshan's special economic and political position, the Eastern-Hebei Anti-communist Government established Tangshan City which was initially called “Tangshan Municipal Government” and later changed to “Tangshan Municipal Office”. After Japan surrendered in 1945, the Chinese Nationalist Party in Peking (now known as Beijing) took over the political control of Tangshan from Japan and set up an Administration Inspectors Office. In April 1946, it was decided at the 132nd Meeting of the CPC Hebei Provincial Committee to set up Tangshan City and on May 5 of the same year, the Tangshan Municipal government was founded.
Tangshan is located in the central section of the Bohai Economic Rim, facing the Bohai Sea to the south. Lying on the North China Plain, Tangshan is adjacent to the Yan Mountains to the north, borders the Luan River and Qinhuangdao to the east, and to the west adjoins with Beijing and Tianjin. Because of its location in the northeast of Hebei, it is a strategic area and a corridor linking two China's north and northeast regions. The largest river in the prefecture is the Luan River.
Tangshan has a monsoon-influenced, humid continental climate (Köppen Dwa), with cold and very dry winters, and hot, rainy summers. Spring and autumn are short with some rainfall. The monthly 24-hour average temperature in January is −5.1 °C (22.8 °F), and 25.7 °C (78.3 °F) in July, and the annual mean is 11.5 °C (52.7 °F). Close to 60% of the annual precipitation of 610 millimetres (24.0 in) falls in July and August alone. The frost-free period lasts 180−190 days, and the area receives 2,600−2,900 hours of sunshine annually.