Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2003, Vol. 58 ›› Issue (1): 73-82.doi: 10.11821/xb200301009

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The Relationship of the Yellow River Flood and the Land Use in the Middle Reaches during the Han Dynasties

WANG Shangyi   

  1. Taiyuan Teacher's College, Taiyuan 030012, China
  • Received:2002-03-18 Revised:2002-10-23 Online:2003-01-25 Published:2003-01-25


According to the re-analysis on historical materials and combined with the modern scientific achievements on hydrology, physiognomy and soil erosion, the author puts forth the new viewpoint on the environmental influence resulting from the floods which occurred in the lower reaches and the land use styles in the middle reaches of the Yellow River. (1) Recordation in Hou Han Shu about most of the floods is simple and brief but it is more detailed about Yilo river floods. The river flooded several times then and one of those even emerged some places of the Luoyang city. If the trunk stream of the Yellow River was flooded in, flooding might also occur in the lower reaches. (2) During the 58 years from the river bursting in 11 AD till Wang Jing taming the River in 69 AD, there had been neither dam burst due to channel blockage nor harnessing practices in the lower reaches. Flood deluged arbitrarily. It is obvious that there was no record in detail on flood because of omission on purpose or with on intention. (3) Investigate the record about the flood in the Eastern Han Dynasty one year after another, the author found the frequency of flood in the Eastern Han Dynasty is higher than that in the Western Han Dynasty as well as the situation of the disaster. Wang Jing's river harnessment made the lower reaches stable for 36 years rather than what was previously considered as 800 or 83 years. (4) The population engaged in farming was reduced by more than 3/4 around the middle reaches of the Yellow River in the Eastern Han Dynasty. And a great deal of nomadic tribes immigrated in at that time, and their way of life by substantial damaging natural vegetation led to the aggravation of flood disaster of the lower Yellow River.

Key words: Western Han and Eastern Han dynasties, Yellow River flood, middle reaches of the Yellow River, land use style