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The name Shandong, which means “East of Mountains,” was first officially used during the Jin dynasty in the 12th century. The first is an inland zone bounded by the provinces of Hebei to the north and west, Henan to the southwest, and Anhui and Jiangsu to the south.The second is the Shandong Peninsula, extending some 200 miles (320 km) seaward from the Wei and Jiaolai river plains, with the Bo Hai (Gulf of Chihli) to the north and the Yellow Sea to the south; the peninsula accounts for a large share of the province’s coastline of some 1,575 miles (2,535 km).Climatic variation prevails, however, between the peninsular and inland zones of the province.The inland zone, especially in its northern sections, is subject to the full effect of the winter monsoon, when cold, northwesterly winds continue through December.Such soils are always covered with alluvium or redeposited loess.Their name derives from the appearance of lime concretions that resemble the shape of ginger roots.Four narrow lakes forming part of the Grand Canal system stretch out along this depression and are also linked to a series of saline marshes that separate the fertile margin at the western edge of the central hills from the main sections of the North China Plain to the south and west.Of the two main hill masses, the westernmost (inland) complex is the most extensive.
The interior areas of Shandong are also subject to severe winter and spring dust storms, sometimes followed by droughts, and frequent summer floods.
The inland zone, covering roughly two-thirds of the province’s total area, includes a hilly central region, centred on the famous Mount Tai complex, and a fertile and intensively farmed agricultural area on the north, west, and south, which forms part of the Huang He (Yellow River) basin and the North China Plain.
The provincial capital, Jinan, is situated just northwest of Mount Tai and about 3 miles (5 km) south of the Huang He, which flows from southwest to northeast through the province before emptying into the Bo Hai.
The Shandong Peninsula, by contrast, is entirely an upland area and, with its seaward orientation and indented coastline, has traditionally depended on fishing, mining, and port-related activities. Shandong is dominated by two hill masses to the east-northeast of the Grand Canal and to the south-southwest of the present course of the Huang He.
Long a focal area in the evolution of Chinese civilization and institutions, the province’s natural inland-peninsular division is paralleled by a dual orientation in its past and present political and economic configurations. These hills are formed mainly of ancient crystalline shales and sedimentary rocks on their flanks and of hard, very ancient rocks with granitic intrusions in their core.
(province) of China, lying across the Yellow Sea from the Korean peninsula.