Changes of the Temporal-spatial Distribution of Epidemic Disasters in 770BC-AD1911 China

  • Department of Geography, Central China Normal University, Wuhan 430079, China

Received date: 2003-05-31

  Revised date: 2003-07-31

  Online published: 2003-11-25

Supported by

National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.49401016; National Social Science Foundation of China, No. 97CZS001


Historically China was a country with high epidemic frequency which was as high as 25% during 770BC-AD1911. The changes of the epidemic frequency in historical China had closely corresponded with temperature variations climatically. The high frequency periods of epidemics often occurred in the cold spells whereas the sparse periods usually dropped into the warm spells; the colder the climate was, the more frequent the epidemic was, and the longer the cold spell of climate went on, the longer the climax period of the epidemic lasted. For example, the cold era of the Wei, Jin and Southern & Northern dynasties from the 3rd century through the 6th century was the first epidemic climax, the "little ice age" of the Ming and Qing dynasties from the 14th century through the 19th century formed the second epidemic climax. For the past 3000 years China's epidemic frequency had a long-term increasing tendency due to the increasing older climate trend. The general characters of China's epidemic distribution showed that epidemic prevalence in the cities was more severe than in the countryside, and there were more frequent epidemic disasters in the capital city and its environs, densely populated areas, natural epidemic foci, or frequent natural disaster affected areas. The process of regional development and earth-surface humanization had significant impact on the changes of epidemic geographical distribution, the distributional area of epidemics in China during 770BC-AD1911 was radiated gradually from the middle and lower Yellow River, and the core of epidemics showed a shifting trend both from north to south and from east to west.

Cite this article

GONG Shengsheng . Changes of the Temporal-spatial Distribution of Epidemic Disasters in 770BC-AD1911 China[J]. Acta Geographica Sinica, 2003 , 58(6) : 870 -878 . DOI: 10.11821/xb200306010


[1] Chen Bangxian. Medical Compilation of the Twenty-Six Histories. Beijing: Institute of China Medical History, 1982. 20-385.
[陈邦贤. 二十六史医学史料汇编. 北京: 中国医史文献研究所, 1982. 20-385.]

[2] Chen Gaoyong. Chronicle of the Natural and Man-made Disasters in Historical China. Guangzhou: Ji-Nan University, 1939.
[陈高佣. 中国历代天灾人祸表. 广州: 暨南大学, 1939.]

[3] Institute of History, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. Chronicle of the Natural Disasters and Agricultural Policies in Historical China. Beijing: Agriculture Press, 1988. 372.
[中国社会科学院历史所. 中国历代自然灾害及历代盛世农业政策资料. 北京: 农业出版社, 1988. 372.]

[4] Song Zhenghai. Chronicle of Great Natural Disasters and Abnormal Phenomena in Ancient China. Guangzhou: Guangzhou Education Press, 1992. 545-558.
[宋正海. 中国古代重大自然灾害与异常年表总集. 广州: 广东教育出版社, 1992. 545-558.]

[5] Li Guoxiang, Yang Chang. Volume of Natural Disasters of Classified Compilation of the Ming Memoir. Wuhan: Wuhan Press, 1993. 510-559.
[李国祥, 杨昶. 明实录类纂 (自然灾异卷. 武汉: 武汉出版社, 1993. 510-559.]

[6] Yuan Lin. Northwestern China's History of Disaster and Famine. Lanzhou: Gansu People's Press, 1994. 1507-1527.
[袁林. 西北灾荒史. 兰州: 甘肃人民出版社, 1994. 1507-1527.]

[7] Deng Yunte. Chinese History of Disaster and Famine. Shanghai: The Commercial Press, 1937. 51-61.
[邓云特. 中国救荒史. 上海: 商务印书馆, 1937. 51-61.]

[8] Li Siguang. The statistic of civil wars and the cycle of peace and chaos after the Warring States. In: Chen Gaoyong, Chronicle of the Natural and Man-Made Disasters in Historical China. Guangzhou: Ji-Nan University, 1939. 8 (Appendix)
[李四光. 战国后中国内战的统计和治乱的周期. 见: 陈高佣. 中国历代天灾人祸表. 广州: 暨南大学. 1939. 8 (附录).]

[9] Zhang Zhibin. A preliminary investigation into the factors influencing the outbreak and spread of epidemics in ancient China. Chinese Journal of Medical History, 1990, 20(1): 28-36.
[张志斌. 古代疫病流行的诸种因素初探. 中华医史杂志, 1990, 20(1): 28-36.]

[10] Xu Haomin, Yin Guanghui. Crust movement and epidemic disease prevalence. Journal of Catastrophology, 1991, 6(2): 69-75.
[徐好民, 尹光辉. 地壳运动与疾疫流行. 灾害学, 1991, 6(2): 69-75.]

[11] Yang Jian, Pan Fengying. Study on epidemic disease hazards from Qin Dynasty to Qing Dynasty in China. Journal of Catastrophology, 1994, 9(3): 76-81.
[杨俭, 潘凤英. 我国秦至清末的疫病灾害研究. 灾害学, 1994, 9(3): 76-81.]

[12] Fan Jiawei. An examination on disease and pestilence in Liusong period of Western and Eastern Jin dynasties: examples in Jiankang area. Historical Geography, 1999, (15): 282-295.
[范家伟. 两晋刘宋时期的疾疫. 历史地理, 1999, (15): 282-295.]

[13] Cao Shuji. Geographical environment and infectious diseases in Song and Yuan dynasties. Historical Geography, 1995, (12): 183-192.
[曹树基. 地理环境与宋元时代的传染病. 历史地理, 1995, (12): 183-192.]

[14] Mei Li, Yan Changgui. A brief survey of the infectious diseases of the Ming Dynasty. Journal of Hubei University (Philosophy and Social Sience), 1996, (5): 80-88.
[梅莉, 晏昌贵. 明代传染病的初步考察. 湖北大学学报 (社科版), 1996, (5): 80-88.]

[15] Xie Gaochao. Epidemic disasters of Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Anhui provinces in early Tongzhi reign. Journal of Teaching and Studying on History, 1996, (2): 18-22.
[谢高潮. 浅谈同治初年苏浙皖的疫灾. 历史教学问题, 1996, (2): 18-22.]

[16] Yu Xinzhong. The impact of epidemic diseases on population in Qing dynastical Jiangnan District. Chinese Journal of Population Science, 2001, (2).
[余新忠. 清代江南瘟疫对人口之影响初探. 中国人口科学, 2001, (2).]

[17] Yu Xinzhong. Knowledge of people in Qing Dynasty on epidemic diseases. Review of Chinese Social History, 2001, (3).
[余新忠. 清人对瘟疫的认识初探. 中国社会历史评论, 2001, (3).]

[18] Yu Xinzhong. Epidemics in Jiangnan during the Jiaqing and Daoguang reigns. Studies of Qing Histroy, 2001, (2): 1-18.
[余新忠. 嘉道之际江南大疫的前前后后. 清史研究, 2001, (2): 1-18.]

[19] Yu Xinzhong. Medical undertaking against epidemic diseases south of the Yangtze River during the Qing Dynasty. Historical Research, 2001, (6): 45-56.
[余新忠. 清代江南疫病救疗事业探析. 历史研究, 2001, (6): 45-56.]

[20] Li Yongchen, Lai Wen. Characteristic of epidemic prevalence in south of Five Ridges before 1911. Journal of Guangzhou University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, 1999, 16(4): 321-324.
[李永宸, 赖文. 岭南地区1911年前瘟疫流行特点. 广州中医药大学学报, 1999, 16(4): 321-324.]

[21] Lai Wen, Li Yongchen. Social background of ancient pestilence in south of Five Ridges. Journal of Nanjing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, 1999, (first issue): 25-28.
[赖文, 李永宸. 岭南古代瘟疫流行的社会背景. 南京中医药大学学报 (社科版), 1999, (创刊号): 25-28.]

[22] Gong Shengsheng. Prevalence and distribution of malaria in China from pre-Qin to Han. Journal of Central China Normal University (Nat. Sci.), 1996, 30(4): 489-494.
[龚胜生. 中国先秦两汉时期疟疾地理研究. 华中师范大学学报(自然版), 1996, 30(4): 489-494.]

[23] Gong Shengsheng. A preliminary study on variations of the distribution of Zhang-disease for the past 2000 years in China. Acta Geographica Sinica, 1993, 48(4): 304-316.
[龚胜生. 二千年来中国瘴病分布变迁的初步研究. 地理学报, 1993, 48(3): 304-316.]

[24] Mei Li, Yan Changgui, Gong Shengsheng. Distribution and changes of pernicious malaria in the Ming and Qing dynasties. Collections of Essays on Chinese Historical Geography, 1997, (2): 33-44.
[梅莉, 晏昌贵, 龚胜生. 明清中国瘴病分布的变迁. 中国历史地理论丛, 1997, (2): 33-44.]

[25] Jiang Ling, Gong Shengsheng. Rule and changes of epidemic of schistosomiasis in the Yangtze river valley in modern China. Chinese Journal of Medical History, 1998, 28(2): 263-265.
[蒋玲, 龚胜生. 近代长江流域血吸虫病的流行变迁规律. 中华医史杂志, 1998, 28(2): 263-265.]

[26] Li Yushang. The cholera prevalence in China during 1817-1821. Historical Geography, 2001, (17): 316-336.
[李玉尚. 霍乱在中国的流行1817-1821. 历史地理, 2001, (17): 316-336.]

[27] Liu Yunpeng, Tan Jian'an, Shen Erli. Atlas of Plague and Environment of People's Republic of China. Beijing: Science Press, 2000.
[刘云鹏, 谭见安, 沈尔礼. 中华人民共和国鼠疫与环境图集. 北京: 科学出版社, 2002.]

[28] Xian Weixun. History of the Plague Prevalence. Guangzhou: Epidemic Prevention Center of Guangdong Province, 1988. 90-243.
[冼维逊. 1988. 鼠疫流行史. 广州: 广东省卫生防疫站, 1988. 90-243.]

[29] Yang Linsheng, Chen Rugui, Wang Wuyi et al. The temporal-spatial distribution of the plague foci since 1840 in China. Geographical Research, 2000, 19(3): 243-248.
[杨林生, 陈如桂, 王五一 等. 1840年以来我国鼠疫的时空分布规律. 地理研究, 2000, 19(3): 243-248.]

[30] Li Hairong, Yang Linsheng, Wang Wuyi et al. Medical geographical evaluation on 150 years plague epidemic. Progress in Geography, 2001, 20(1): 73-80.
[李海蓉, 杨林生, 王五一 等. 150年来中国鼠疫医学地理评估. 地理科学进展, 2001, 20(1): 73-80.]

[31] Jiang Ling, Shi Yun, Gong Shengsheng. Distribution and spread of plague in the Yangtze river valley in modern times. Endemic Diseases Bulletin, 1998, 12(3): 39-41.
[蒋玲, 石云, 龚胜生. 长江流域近代鼠疫分布及流行特征研究. 中华流行病杂志, 1998, 12(1): 39-41.]

[32] Cao Shuji. Plague prevalence and social change of North China: 1580-1644. Historical Research, 1997, (1): 17-32.
[曹树基. 鼠疫流行与华北社会变迁1580-1644. 历史研究, 1997, (1): 17-32.]

[33] Cao Shuji, Li Yushang. The impact of plague prevalence on society of modern China. In: Center of Historical Geography of Fudan Universty, Natural disaster and historical structure of China society. Shanghai: Fudan University Press, 2001. 133-167.
[曹树基, 李玉尚. 鼠疫流行对近代中国社会的影响. 见: 复旦大学历史地理研究中心, 自然灾害与中国社会历史结构. 上海: 复旦大学出版社, 2001. 133-167.]

[34] Li Yushang, Cao Shuji. Plague prevalence and social change of Yunnan province in the 18-19th century. In: Center of Historical Geography of Fudan Universty, Natural Disaster and Historical Structure of China Society. Shanghai: Fudan University Press, 2001. 168-209.
[李玉尚, 曹树基. 18~19世纪的鼠疫流行与云南社会变迁. 见: 复旦大学历史地理研究中心, 自然灾害与中国社会历史结构. 上海: 复旦大学出版社, 2001. 168-209.]

[35] Li Yushang. The responding mechanism to plague in modern China. Historical Research, 2002, (1): 114-127.
[李玉尚. 近代中国的鼠疫应对机制. 历史研究, 2002, (1): 114-127.]

[36] Li Yushang. Observation on and naming to plague in folk people and medical practitioners of modern China. Chinese Journal of Medical History, 2002, 32(3): 173-178.
[李玉尚. 近代民众和医生对鼠疫的观察和命名. 中华医史杂志, 2002, 32(3): 173-178.]

[37] Benedict C. Bubonic Plague in Nineteenth-century China. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1996.

[38] IIJIMA Wataru. Plague and Modern China: Institutionalization of Public Health and Social Change. Tokyo: Kembun Shuppan, 2000.25-55.
[飯岛. 近代中国. 东京: 研文出版, 2000. 25-55.]

[39] Zhu Kezhen. A preliminary research of climate change in China for the past 5000 years. Journal of China Science, 1973, (2): 224-256.
[竺可桢. 中国近五千年来气候变迁的初步研究. 中国科学, 1973, (2): 224-256.]