Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2020, Vol. 75 ›› Issue (11): 2332-2345.doi: 10.11821/dlxb202011005

• Climate and Environment Change • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Spatial distribution of the Tang Po Lakes upon the Central Hebei Plain during the Northern Song Dynasty

DENG Hui(), BU Fan   

  1. College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
  • Received:2019-10-08 Revised:2020-07-10 Online:2020-11-25 Published:2021-01-25
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(41230634)


The Tang Po Lakes, consisting of a great number of small lakes and swamps, which had widely spread upon the Central Hebei Plain during the Northern Song Dynasty, was an awesome geographical landscape in North China in history. It has a significant meaning for understanding the regional environmental change in the North China Plain. The researchers employed an interdisciplinary procedure to unveil the spatial pattern and changing process of the Tang Po system in history. Based on GIS, this paper integrated the traditional historical geographic method, which mainly focused on the scrutiny of all sorts of historical records, with analysis of modern soil survey, archaeological survey, remote sensing images, and the references in the published research. In this way the spatial distribution of Tang Po Lakes on the Central Hebei Plain during the Northern Song Dynasty has been carefully examined and scientifically reconstructed for the first time. The paper showed that the Northern Song government constructed the Tang Po system at the end of the 10th century by fully taking advantage of local natural lakes and swamps originally located in the depression zone of the Central Hebei Plain which adjoined to its northern border, in order to prevent the invasion from the Liao Dynasty in north. In the mid-11th century, the Tang Po system reached its maximum extent, which spanned more than 260 kilometers from the eastern coast to the western mountain foot. The Tang Po system, which was composed of many small lakes, swamps, pits, diches, and even rice paddies, could be divided into nine sub-regions, and watered by the Tanghe River, the Shahe River, the Shenshui River, the Yishui River, the Hutuo River, and the Yuhe River. The whole Tang Po system was deliberately connected and maintained by the complex artificial facilities, such as dams, embankments, reservoirs, sluice gates, and channels. In the early 12th century the Northern Song Dynasty was in decline, the Tang Po system collapsed and was broken into three separate parts which had existed till the late Qing Dynasty. The Tang Po system of the Northern Song Dynasty has ever been the biggest man-made lake system in Chinese history, which had a magnificent impact on the regional water system and local environment of the Central Hebei Plain.

Key words: Central Hebei Plain, Tang Po system, spatial distribution, lake-river system, changing process