Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2022, Vol. 77 ›› Issue (12): 2972-2990.doi: 10.11821/dlxb202212003

• Urbanization and Administrative Divisions • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Spatial and temporal changes and evolution mechanism of county-level administrative division adjustment in the Qing Dynasty

ZHAO Yicai1,2(), WANG Kaiyong1(), HUA Linfu2, WANG Fuyuan1   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Divisional Sustainable Development Modeling, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    2. The Institute of Qing History, Research Center of Historical Geography, Renmin University of China, Beijing 100872, China
  • Received:2021-11-08 Revised:2022-07-07 Online:2022-12-25 Published:2022-12-29
  • Contact: WANG Kaiyong;
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(41871151)


Administrative division is an important part of the national governance system. A systematic analysis of the spatial and temporal change pattern and influencing factors of the adjustment of county-level administrative divisions in the Qing Dynasty can better learn from and give play to the supporting role of administrative divisions in national and local governance. Using the textual research results of the national Qing history compilation project Qing History·Geographical Chronicles, and referring to the Qing Dynasty archives in China's first historical archives collection, Qingshilu, Qinghuidian, Daqingyitongzhi, local chronicles and other historical documents, this paper comprehensively analyzes the overall evolution and adjustment of county-level administrative divisions from 1683 to 1911. The research shows that: (1) There are 9 kinds of adjustment forms of county-level administrative divisions in the Qing Dynasty. The key of the adjustment is the proposal power of the governor, and the governor system is the institutional guarantee for the adjustment and promotion of administrative divisions. (2) The frequency of administrative division adjustment was greatly affected by the governance concept of the supreme ruler, showing fluctuating changes. The Yongzheng period was the absolute peak of administrative adjustment in the Qing Dynasty, the Guangxu and Xuantong periods was a relative peak, and the adjustment of Daoguang to Tongzhi periods was the least. (3) The setting of county-level administrative divisions was the most frequent, followed by the change and splitting of subordinate relations. Level change and consolidation were 2 types with lower adjustment frequency. (4) In the Qing Dynasty, the 4 types of adjustments of upgrading, relocation, abolishment and new establishment were widely distributed in 23 provinces, with the highest uniformity of provincial distribution, and the 4 types of adjustments of renaming, merging, changing affiliation and changing at the same level were concentrated in provinces such as Zhili, Henan and Shanxi. (5) The formation of the adjustment pattern of county-level administrative divisions in the Qing Dynasty was the result of the joint action of many factors. Political consideration was the decisive factor. All this reflected the management concept of clear hierarchy, clear rights and responsibilities, adjusting measures to local conditions and step by step.

Key words: Qing Dynasty, administrative divisions, county-level administrative divisions, adjustment, spatiotemporal characteristics, impact factor