Yangtze River History – Exploration about the River Source
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Yangtze River History – Exploration about the River Source

Yangtze River

Yangtze River History – Pre-Qin Dynasty, Tang Dynasty

In Pre-Qin Dynasty, people regarded one anabranch of Yangtze River – Jialing River as the source of Yangtze River. There was an idea said that "Ming Mountain is the source of Yangtze River". It was proved by Gu Jiegang that the Ming Mountain in ancient articles didn't refer to the Ming Mountain in Sichuan Province, but the source of Jialing River. The geographical Records in Han Shu said that "Suijiu and Shengshui flow out". Suijiu was located in today's Yunnan Province, and Shenshui is today's Jinsha River. But at that time, it did not clearly point out that it is source of the Yangtze River. In Tang Dynasty, with the communication between Han Nationality and Tibetan became more intimate, people become more familiar with the Tongtian River which is an important transportation way, so people only know more about the relationship of Tongtian River and the source of Yangtze River.

Yangtze River History – Ming and Qing Dynasties

In the end of Ming Dynasty, Xu Xiake, who was a famous geographer, ever researched Jingsha River and wrote a work to correct the wrong idea that "the Yangtze River originated from Ming River", and he pointed out the real source of the Yangtze River is Jinsha River. Later, the work of Qi Zhaonan pointed out the source of Yangtze River was located on the Danggula Mountains, western of Yellow River source. This work completely described the source of Yangtze River. Nevertheless, as the limitation of production level and scientific activities at that time, people were not very clear about which is the real source of Yangtze River among these rivers.

Yangtze River History – Modern Times

As the steep terrain, rare air, changeable weather in the Yangtze River source area, so rarely people ever came here and it's hard for people to find the road. As the limitation of objective condition, there was no agreement about the Yangtze River source. Until the early of liberation period, the wrong idea that the Yangtze River originated from the south side of Bayankala Mountain was very popular.

In order to investigate the condition of the Yangtze River, so that the water resource can be well used, Yangtze Basin Program office organized twice investigation in 1976 and 1978, and they proved that the source of the Yangtze River was located in the main peak of Danggula Mountains in Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. Among the Danggula snow mountains, there developed tens modern gorges and glacier. The melting snow water and rain of these mountains converge to the Yangtze River source water system. With the exploration about the source of the Yangtze River developed, Yangtze Cruises industry also got great development.

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