Skip to Content


« Back to Glossary Index

**Historical Development:**
– Yunnan’s history dates back to ancient times, with human settlements existing during the Neolithic period.
– Various kingdoms and dynasties, such as the Dian Kingdom, Qin, Han, and Nanzhao periods, played significant roles in shaping Yunnan’s history.
– The establishment of the Dali Kingdom and the subsequent Ming and Qing dynasties’ rule further influenced the region.
– Notable events like the Panthay Rebellion and the Anti-Muslim massacre during the Ming and Qing dynasties are part of Yunnan’s historical narrative.
– Yunnan’s transformation during the Second Sino-Japanese War and its strategic importance during the conflict highlight its historical significance.

**Geographical and Geological Features:**
– Yunnan is the most southwestern province in China, sharing borders with several regions and countries.
– The province’s geology includes a limestone plateau, karst topography, and mountain ranges, showcasing diverse landscapes.
– Yunnan’s rivers, unique surface formations, and the famous Stone Forest contribute to its geological richness.
– The province’s location at the eastern edge of the Himalayan uplift influences its geological features.
– Yunnan’s mild climate, influenced by mountain slopes, and its diverse paleontological finds add to its geographical appeal.

**Biodiversity and Conservation:**
– Yunnan is renowned for its biological diversity, housing a wide range of plant and animal species.
– The province boasts a high number of endemic plant species and serves as a habitat for rare animals like the Yunnan snub-nosed monkey.
– Yunnan’s designation as a Center of Plant Diversity, Global Biodiversity Hotspot, and Endemic Bird Area underscores its ecological importance.
– The province’s role in biodiversity conservation, including its status as part of the Hengduan Mountain Ecosystem, is globally recognized.
– Yunnan’s unique topography and rich biodiversity make it a priority region for international conservation efforts.

**Economic Resources and Development:**
– Yunnan’s economy is driven by its vast mineral resources, with mining being a prominent industry in the province.
– The region holds significant deposits of minerals like zinc, lead, and tin, contributing to its economic wealth.
– Yunnan’s abundant water resources provide hydro-energy potential, further supporting its economic development.
– The province’s mineral deposits are valued at a substantial amount, with nonmetallic minerals playing a significant role in its economy.
– Yunnan’s economic growth and development are closely tied to its natural resources and industrial sectors.

**Political Landscape and Leadership:**
– The political governance of Yunnan is structured around the Secretary of the CCP Yunnan Committee and the Governor, who oversee various affairs in the province.
– The Governor of Yunnan is elected by the Yunnan Provincial People’s Congress and plays a crucial role in the region’s political leadership.
– Fluctuations in Yunnan’s population over the years reflect changes in demographics and development, impacting the province’s political landscape.
– Political leadership in Yunnan is instrumental in governing the region and addressing economic, social, and foreign policy matters.
– The province’s political dynamics and historical context shape its current governance structure and leadership hierarchy.

Yunnan (Wikipedia)

Yunnan is an inland province in Southwestern China. The province spans approximately 394,000 km2 (152,000 sq mi) and has a population of 48.3 million (as of 2018). The capital of the province is Kunming. The province borders the Chinese provinces of Guizhou, Sichuan, autonomous regions of Guangxi and Tibet, as well as Southeast Asian countries Vietnam, Laos, and Myanmar. Yunnan is China's fourth least developed province based on disposable income per capita in 2014.

Name transcription(s)
 • Chinese云南省 (Yúnnán Shěng)
 • Nuosuꒊꆈ or ꒊꆈꌜ (Yypnuo or Yypnuose)
 • Standard ZhuangYinznanz
 • AbbreviationYN / (Diān) or (Yún)
Map showing the location of Yunnan Province
Map showing the location of Yunnan Province
Coordinates: 25°02′58″N 102°42′32″E / 25.04944°N 102.70889°E / 25.04944; 102.70889
Kingdom of Nanzhao738
Conquered by the Ming Empire1381–1382
Yunnan clique1915–1945
Takeover by the People's Liberation Army1951
(and largest city)
Divisions16 prefectures, 129 counties, 1565 townships
 • TypeProvince
 • BodyYunnan Provincial People's Congress
 • CCP SecretaryWang Ning
 • Congress chairmanWang Ning
 • GovernorWang Yubo
 • CPPCC chairmanLiu Xiaokai
 • Total394,000 km2 (152,000 sq mi)
 • Rank8th
Highest elevation6,740 m (22,110 ft)
 • Total47,209,277
 • Rank12th
 • Density120/km2 (310/sq mi)
  • Rank24th
 • Ethnic composition
 • Languages and dialects
 • TotalCN¥ 2.714 trillion
US$ 420 billion
 • Per capitaCN¥ 57,882
US$ 8,970
ISO 3166 codeCN-YN
HDI (2019)Increase 0.691
medium · 27th
"Yunnan" in Simplified (top) and Traditional (bottom) Chinese characters
Chinese name
Simplified Chinese云南
Traditional Chinese雲南
Literal meaning"South of the colorful clouds"(彩雲之南 / 彩云之南)
Yi name
yyp nuo
Tai Lue name
Tai Lueᦍᦲᧃᧉᦓᦱᧃᧉ
jin naan
Lisu name
ye na
Tibetan name
yun nan
Northern Thai name
Northern Thaiᩅᩥᩮᨴᩉᩁᩣ᩠ᨩ

Yunnan is situated in a mountainous area, with high elevations in the Northwest and low elevations in the Southeast. Most of the population lives in the eastern part of the province. In the west, the altitude can vary from the mountain peaks to river valleys as much as 3,000 m (9,800 ft). Yunnan is rich in natural resources and has the largest diversity of plant life in China. Of the approximately 30,000 species of higher plants in China, Yunnan has perhaps 17,000 or more. Yunnan's reserves of aluminium, lead, zinc and tin are the largest in China, and there are also major reserves of copper and nickel. Historically, the southwestern Silk Road to Bhitargarh in Bangladesh passed through modern Yunnan.

Parts of Yunnan formed the Dian Kingdom during the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC. The Han dynasty conquered the Dian Kingdom in the late 2nd century BC, establishing the Yizhou Commandery in its place. During the chaos of the Three Kingdoms period, imperial Chinese authority in Yunnan got weakened, and much of the region came under the control of the Cuanman. The area was later ruled by the Sino-Tibetan-speaking kingdom of Nanzhao from (738–937), followed by the Bai-ruled Dali Kingdom (937–1253). After the Mongol conquest of the region in the 13th century, Yunnan was conquered and ruled by the Ming dynasty.

From the Yuan dynasty onward, the area was part of a central-government sponsored population movement towards the southwestern frontier, with two major waves of migrants arriving from Han-majority areas in northern and southeast China. As with other parts of China's southwest, Japanese occupation in the north during World War II forced another migration of Han people into the region. These two waves of migration contributed to Yunnan being one of the most ethnically diverse provinces of China, with ethnic minorities accounting for about 34 percent of its total population. Major ethnic groups include Yi, Bai, Hani, Zhuang, Dai, and Miao. Yunnan has also been identified as "the birthplace of tea ... the first area where humans figured out that eating tea leaves or brewing a cup could be pleasant", and as the region of origin of the plant genus Cannabis.

« Back to Glossary Index