Province of Guizhou
Name transcription(s)
 • Chinese贵州省 (Guìzhōu Shěng)
 • AbbreviationGZ / or (pinyin: Qián or Guì)
(clockwise from top)
Map showing the location of Guizhou Province
Map showing the location of Guizhou Province
Coordinates: 26°50′N 106°50′E / 26.833°N 106.833°E / 26.833; 106.833
Named forGui - Gui Mountains
zhou (prefecture)
Largest cityZunyi
Divisions9 prefectures, 88 counties, 1539 townships
 • TypeProvince
 • BodyGuizhou Provincial People's Congress
 • CPC SecretaryXu Lin
 • Congress chairmanXu Lin
 • GovernorLi Bingjun
 • CPPCC chairmanZhao Yongqing
 • Total176,167 km2 (68,018 sq mi)
 • Rank16th
Highest elevation
2,900 m (9,500 ft)
 • Total38,562,148
 • Rank17th
 • Density220/km2 (570/sq mi)
  • Rank18th
 • Ethnic compositionHan - 62%
Miao - 12%
Buyei - 8%
Dong - 5%
Tujia - 4%
Yi - 2%
Undistinguished - 2%
Gelao - 2%
Sui - 1%
 • Languages and dialectsSouthwestern Mandarin
 • TotalCN¥ 1.78 trillion
US$ 258 billion
 • Per capitaCN¥ 52,321
US$ 7,779
ISO 3166 codeCN-GZ
HDI (2019)Increase 0.685[4]
medium · 30th
(Simplified Chinese)
"Guizhou" in Simplified (top) and Traditional (bottom) Chinese characters
Chinese name
Simplified Chinese贵州
Traditional Chinese貴州
Hanyu PinyinGuìzhōu
Zhuang name
Yi name

Guizhou[a] is an inland province in Southwestern China. Its capital and largest city is Guiyang, in the center of the province. Guizhou borders the autonomous region of Guangxi to the south, Yunnan to the west, Sichuan to the northwest, the municipality of Chongqing to the north, and Hunan to the east. The population of Guizhou stands at 38.5 million, ranking 18th among the provinces in China.

The Dian Kingdom, which inhabited the present-day area of Guizhou, was annexed by the Han dynasty in 106 BC.[6] Guizhou was formally made a province in 1413 during the Ming dynasty. After the overthrow of the Qing in 1911 and following the Chinese Civil War, the Chinese Communist Party took refuge in Guizhou during the Long March between 1934 and 1935.[7] After the establishment of the People's Republic of China, Mao Zedong promoted the relocation of heavy industry into inland provinces such as Guizhou, to better protect them from potential foreign attacks.[citation needed]

Guizhou is rich in natural, cultural and environmental resources. Its natural industry includes timber and forestry, and the energy and mining industries constitute an important part of its economy. Notwithstanding, Guizhou is considered a relatively undeveloped province, with the fourth-lowest GDP per capita in China as of 2020. However, it is also one of China's fastest-growing economies.[8] The Chinese government is looking to develop Guizhou as a data hub.[9][10]

Guizhou is a mountainous province, with its higher altitudes in the west and centre. It lies at the eastern end of the Yungui Plateau. Demographically, it is one of China's most diverse provinces. Minority groups account for more than 37% of the population, including sizable populations of the Miao, Bouyei, Dong, Tujia and Yi peoples, all of whom speak languages distinct from Chinese. The main language spoken in Guizhou is Southwestern Mandarin, a variety of Mandarin.


The area was first organized as an administrative region of a Chinese empire under the Tang, when it was named Juzhou (矩州), pronounced Kjú-jyuw in the Middle Chinese of the period.[11] During the Mongol-led Yuan dynasty, the character (ju, "carpenter's square") was changed to the more refined (gui, "precious or expensive").[11] The region formally became a province in 1413, with an eponymous capital then also called "Guizhou" but now known as Guiyang.[11]


Guizhou in 1655.

Evidence of settlement by humans during the Middle Palaeolithic is indicated by stone artefacts, including Levallois pieces, found during archaeological excavations at Guanyindong Cave. These artefacts have been dated to approximately 170,000–80,000 years ago using optically stimulated luminescence methods.[12]

From around 1046 BC to the emergence of the State of Qin, northwest Guizhou was part of the State of Shu.[7] During the Warring States period, the Chinese state of Chu conquered the area, and control later passed to the Dian Kingdom. During the Chinese Han dynasty (206 BC–220 AD), to which the Dian was tributary, Guizhou was home to the Yelang collection of tribes, which largely governed themselves before the Han consolidated control in the southwest and established the Lingnan province.[7] During the Three Kingdoms period, parts of Guizhou were governed by the Shu Han state based in Sichuan, followed by Cao Wei (220–266) and the Jin dynasty (266–420).[7]

During the 8th and 9th centuries in the Tang dynasty, Chinese soldiers moved into Guizhou (Kweichow) and married native women. Their descendants are known as Lǎohànrén (老汉人), in contrast to new Chinese who populated Guizhou at later times. They still speak an archaic dialect.[13] Many immigrants to Guizhou were descended from these soldiers in garrisons who married these pre-Chinese women.[14]

Kublai Khan and Möngke Khan conquered the Chinese southwest in the process of defeating the Song during the Mongol invasion of China, and the newly established Yuan dynasty (1279–1368) saw the importation of Chinese Muslim administrators and settlers from Bukhara in Central Asia.[7]

In 1600, Hailongtun fortress in Zunyi saw the last battle of the 10-year-long Bozhou Rebellion.

It was during the following Ming dynasty, which was once again led by Han Chinese, that Guizhou was formally made a province in 1413. The Ming established many garrisons in Guizhou from which to pacify the Yao and Miao minorities during the Miao Rebellions.[7] Chinese-style agriculture flourished with the expertise of farmers from Sichuan, Hunan and its surrounding provinces into Guizhou. Wu Sangui was responsible for the ousting the Ming in Guizhou and Yunnan during the Manchu conquest of China. During the governorship-general of the Qing dynasty's nobleman Ortai, the tusi system of indirect governance of the southwest was abolished, prompting rebellions from disenfranchised chieftains and the further centralization of government. After the Second Opium War, criminal triads set up shop in Guangxi and Guizhou to sell British opium. For a time, Taiping Rebels took control of Guizhou, but they were ultimately suppressed by the Qing.[7] Concurrently, Han Chinese soldiers moved into the Taijiang region of Guizhou, married Miao women, and their children were brought up as Miao.[15][16]

More unsuccessful Miao rebellions occurred during the Qing, in 1735, from 1795–1806[17] and from 1854–1873.[18] After the overthrow of the Qing in 1911 and following Chinese Civil War, the Communists took refuge in Guizhou during the Long March (1934–1935).[7] While the province was formally ruled by the warlord Wang Jialie, the Zunyi Conference in Guizhou established Mao Zedong as the leader of the Communist Party. As the Second Sino-Japanese War pushed China's Nationalist Government to its southwest base of Chongqing, transportation infrastructure improved as Guizhou was linked with the Burma Road.[19] After the end of the War, a 1949 Revolution swept Mao into power, who promoted the relocation of heavy industry into inland provinces such as Guizhou, to better protect them from Soviet and American attacks. The 1957 influenza pandemic started in Guizhou and killed a million people around the world. After the Chinese economic reform began in 1978, geographical factors led Guizhou to become the poorest province in China, with a GDP growth average of 9 percent from 1978 to 1993.[19]


Mount Fanjing in Guizhou

Guizhou is a mountainous province, although its higher altitudes are in the west and centre. It lies at the eastern end of the Yungui Plateau.[20] At 2,900 m (9,514 ft) above sea level, Jiucaiping is Guizhou's highest point.[21]

Guizhou has a humid subtropical climate. There are few seasonal changes. Its annual average temperature is roughly 10 to 20 °C, with January temperatures ranging from 1 to 10 °C and July temperatures ranging from 17 to 28 °C. [citation needed]

Like in China's other southwest provinces, rural areas of Guizhou suffered severe drought during spring 2010. Beginning on 3 April 2010, China's premier Wen Jiabao went on a three-day inspection tour in the southwest drought-affected province of Guizhou, where he met villagers and called on agricultural scientists to develop drought-resistant technologies for the area.[22]

Because of its lesser development compared to many other provinces in China, Guizhou's environment is well-preserved.[23]: 61  As of at least 2023, its environment and favorable climate have been assets in attracting the new, increasingly digital, economy.[23]: 61 


A bird photographed at Caohai.
Grey-backed shrike at Caohai.

The border mountains of Guizhou, Guangxi, and Hunan have been identified as one of the eight plant diversity hotspots in China. The main ecosystem types include evergreen broad-leaved forest, coniferous and broad-leaved mixed forest, and montane elfin forest. Plant species endemic to this region include Abies ziyuanensis, Cathaya argyrophylla, and Keteleeria pubescens.[24] In broad terms, the Yunnan–Guizhou Plateau is one of the vertebrate diversity hotspots of China. At the level of counties, Xingyi is one of nine Chinese vertebrate (excluding birds) diversity hotspots.[25] Animals only known from Guizhou include Leishan moustache toad, Kuankuoshui salamander, Shuicheng salamander, Guizhou salamander, and Zhijin warty newt. [citation needed]

Caohai Lake with its surroundings is a wetland that is an important overwintering site for many birds. It is a National Nature Reserve and an Important Bird Area identified by BirdLife International.[26]

Scientific research

Major scientific research facilities in Guizhou include:


Main articles: Politics of Guizhou and List of provincial leaders of the People's Republic of China

Administrative divisions

Main articles: List of administrative divisions of Guizhou and List of township-level divisions of Guizhou

Guizhou is divided into nine prefecture-level divisions: six prefecture-level cities and three autonomous prefectures:

Administrative divisions of Guizhou
Division code[27] Division Area in km2[28] Population 2010[29] Seat Divisions[30]
Districts* Counties Aut. counties CL cities
520000 Guizhou Province 176,167.00 34,746,468 Guiyang city 17 51 11 9
520100 Guiyang city 8,046.67 4,324,561 Guanshanhu District 6 3 1
520200 Liupanshui city 9,965.37 2,851,180 Zhongshan District 3 1
520300 Zunyi city 30,780.73 6,127,009 Huichuan District 3 7 2 2
520400 Anshun city 9,253.06 2,297,339 Xixiu District 2 1 3
520500 Bijie city 26,844.45 6,536,370 Qixingguan District 1 6 1
520600 Tongren city 18,006.41 3,092,365 Bijiang District 2 4 4
522300 Qianxinan Aut. Prefecture 16,785.93 2,805,857 Xingyi city 6 2
522600 Qiandongnan Aut. Prefecture 30,278.06 3,480,626 Kaili city 15 1
522700 Qiannan Aut. Prefecture 26,191.78 3,231,161 Duyun city 9 1 2
* - including Special district

These nine prefecture-level divisions are in turn subdivided into 88 county-level divisions (14 districts, 7 county-level cities, 55 counties, and 11 autonomous counties and one special district).

Urban areas

Population by urban areas of prefecture & county cities
# Cities 2020 Urban area[31] 2010 Urban area[32] 2020 City proper
1 Guiyang 4,021,275 2,520,061 5,987,018
2 Zunyi 1,675,245 715,148[b] 6,606,675
3 Liupanshui 818,753[c] 491,438 3,031,602
4 Bijie 695,174 421,342[d] 6,899,636
5 Anshun 685,654 358,920[e] 2,470,630
6 Xingyi 649,497 335,243 part of Qianxinan Prefecture
7 Kaili 519,243 274,922 part of Qiandongnan Prefecture
8 Tongren 423,078 206,147[f] 3,298,468
9 Panzhou 420,894 [g] see Liupanshui
10 Renhuai 361,723 171,005 see Zunyi
11 Qingzhen 350,665 166,916 see Guiyang
12 Duyun 348,954 217,091 part of Qiannan Prefecture
13 Xingren 169,210 [h] part of Qianxinan Prefecture
14 Fuquan 153,763 125,389 part of Qiannan Prefecture
15 Chishui 138,699 80,884 see Zunyi
  1. ^ /ɡwˈ/;[5] Chinese: 贵州; formerly Kweichow
  2. ^ New district established after 2010 census: Bozhou (Zunyi County). The new district not included in the urban area count of the pre-expanded city.
  3. ^ New district established after 2020 census: Shuicheng (Shuicheng County). The new district not included in the urban area count of the pre-expanded city.
  4. ^ Bijie Prefecture is currently known as Bijie PLC after 2010 census; Bijie CLC is currently known as Qixingguan after 2010 census.
  5. ^ New district established after 2010 census: Pingba (Pingba County). The new district not included in the urban area count of the pre-expanded city.
  6. ^ Tongren Prefecture is currently known as Tongren PLC after 2010 census; Tongren CLC & Wanshan SD is currently known as Bijiang & Wanshan after 2010 census.
  7. ^ Panxian County is currently known as Panzhou CLC after 2010 census.
  8. ^ Xingren County is currently known as Xingren CLC after 2010 census.


Xijiang, a Miao settlement in Eastern Guizhou
Bapa Dong, a Dong village in Eastern Guizhou
Zhenyuan, a county in Eastern Guizhou

As of the mid-19th century, Guizhou exported mercury, gold, iron, lead, tobacco, incense and drugs.[33]

Its natural industry includes timber and forestry.[34] Guizhou is also the third largest producer of tobacco in China, and home to the well-known brand Guizhou Tobacco.[35] Other important industries in the province include energy (electricity generation) - a large portion of which is exported to Guangdong and other provinces[35] - and mining, especially in coal, limestone, arsenic, gypsum, and oil shale.[34] Guizhou's total output of coal was 118 million tons in 2008, a 7% growth from the previous year.[36] Guizhou's export of power to Guangdong equaled 12% of Guangdong's total power consumption. Over the next 5 years Guizhou hopes to increase this by as much as 50%.[37]

Historically, Guizhou was a poorer province with lagging development.[23]: 61  The digital economy has grown significantly since 2015 and as of at least 2023 continues to develop Guizhou's growing reputation as a center for big data in China.[23]: 61 


The Beipan River Bridge on the Liupanshui–Baiguo Railway in western Guizhou is the highest railway bridge in the world.

In 2017, Sun Zhigang, the governor of Guizhou, announced plans to build 10,000 kilometres (6,210 mi) of highways, 600 kilometres (370 mi) of inland waterways, 4,000 kilometres (2,500 mi) of high-speed rail lines, and 17 airports in three years, in an effort to boost tourism in the province.[38] Guizhou has continued to develop transportation infrastructure (as well as other infrastructure such as electric, water, and broadband infrastructure) to support the growing big data-related sections of the economy.[23]: 61 


Guizhou's rail network consists primarily of a cross formed by the Sichuan–Guizhou, Guangxi–Guizhou and Shanghai–Kunming railways, which intersect at the provincial capital, Guiyang, near the center of the province. The Liupanshui–Baiguo, Pan County West and Weishe–Hongguo railways form a rail corridor along Guizhou's western border with Yunnan. This corridor connects the Neijiang–Kunming railway, which dips into northwestern Guizhou at Weining, with the Nanning–Kunming railway, which skirts the southwestern corner of Guizhou at Xingyi.[citation needed]

As of 2018, Shanghai–Kunming and Guiyang–Guangzhou high-speed railways are operational. Chengdu–Guiyang high-speed railway is under construction.


See also: List of unrecognized ethnic groups of Guizhou

Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.
1912[39] 9,665,000—    
1928[40] 14,746,000+2.68%
1936-37[41] 9,919,000−4.84%
1947[42] 10,174,000+0.23%
1954[43] 15,037,310+5.74%
1964[44] 17,140,521+1.32%
1982[45] 28,552,997+2.88%
1990[46] 32,391,066+1.59%
2000[47] 35,247,695+0.85%
2010[48] 34,746,468−0.14%
2020[49] 38,562,148+1.05%

In 1832, the population was estimated at five million.[33]

Guizhou is demographically one of China's most diverse provinces. Minority groups account for more than 37% of the population and they include Miao (including Gha-Mu and A-Hmao), Yao, Yi, Qiang, Dong, Zhuang, Bouyei, Bai, Tujia, Gelao and Sui. 55.5% of the province area is designated as autonomous regions for ethnic minorities. Guizhou is the province with the highest fertility rate in China, standing at 2.19 (urban: 1.31; rural: 2.42).[50]

Major autonomous areas within Guizhou, excluding Hui.
The long-horn tribe, one of the small branches of Miao living in the twelve villages near Zhijin County, Guizhou. The wooden horns remain daily attire for most women.
The Dong village of Zhaoxing


Religion in Guizhou[51][note 1]

  Christianity (0.99%)
  Other religions or not religious people[note 2] (67.83%)

The predominant religions in Guizhou are Chinese folk religions, Taoist traditions and Chinese Buddhism. According to surveys conducted in 2007 and 2009, 31.18% of the population believes and is involved in ancestor veneration, while 0.99% of the population identifies as Christian, decreasing from 1.13% in 2004.[51]

Wumiao (Temple of the God of War) dedicated to Guandi in Anshun.

The reports did not give figures for other types of religion; 67.83% of the population may be either irreligious or involved in worship of nature deities, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, folk religious sects, and small minorities of Muslims. There are significant ethnic minority populations (the Miao and the Buyei) who traditionally follow their autochthonous religions.


Main article: Guizhou cuisine


Guizhou is the home of the well-known Chinese liquor Moutai,[52] as well as Lao Gan Ma.


The province has many covered bridges, called Wind and Rain Bridges. These were built by the Dong people.[citation needed]

The southeastern corner of the province is known for its unique Dong minority culture. Towns such as Rongjiang, Liping, Diping and Zhaoxing are scattered amongst the hills along the border with Guangxi.[citation needed]

Three recommended forms

The World Bank's "Strategic Environmental Assessment Study: Tourism Development in the Province of Guizhou, China" (May 25, 2007)[53] points to three different forms of tourism that should be fostered and developed in Guizhou: Nature-based, heritage-based and rural. Heritage-based tourism provides ethnic minority groups with an opportunity to preserve their unique heritage while still making a living.[clarification needed]

Colleges and universities

Main article: List of universities and colleges in Guizhou


Notable people

See also


  1. ^ The data was collected by the Chinese General Social Survey (CGSS) of 2009 and by the Chinese Spiritual Life Survey (CSLS) of 2007, reported and assembled by Xiuhua Wang (2015)[51] in order to confront the proportion of people identifying with two similar social structures: ① Christian churches, and ② the traditional Chinese religion of the lineage (i. e. people believing and worshipping ancestral deities often organised into lineage "churches" and ancestral shrines). Data for other religions with a significant presence in China (Buddhism, Confucianism, deity worships, Taoism, folk religious sects, Islam, religions practiced by ethnic minorities, et al.) was not reported by Wang.
  2. ^ This may include:



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Works cited

  • Wilkinson, Endymion (2012). Chinese History: A New Manual. Harvard-Yenching Institute Monograph Series 84. Cambridge, MA: Harvard-Yenching Institute; Harvard University Asia Center. ISBN 978-0-674-06715-8.