Designed by Antonio da Ponte in the late 16th century, the Rialto Bridge crosses the canal at roughly its halfway point. It crosses a series of lakes—Zhaoyang, Dushan, and Nanyang—which nominally form a continuous body of water. [18] To ensure smooth travel of grain shipments, Transport Commissioner Liu Yan (in office from 763 to 779) had special river barge ships designed and constructed to fit the depths of each section of the entire canal.[19]. The Huitong Canal, built by an engineer called Ma Zhizhen, ran across sharply sloping ground and the high concentration of locks gave it the nicknames chahe or zhahe, i.e. [33] Because of various factors—the difficulty of crossing the Yellow River, the increased development of an alternative sea route for grain-ships, and the opening of the Tianjin-Pukou Railway and the Beijing-Hankou Railway—the canal languished and for decades the northern and southern parts remained separate. Further on, about 30 km (19 mi) north of Jining, the highest elevation of the canal (38.5 m or 126 ft above sea level) is reached at the town of Nanwang. Greek historian Diodorus Siculus, writing 200 years later, described how Ptolemy II had improved the Nile-to-Red Sea canal by building a type of lock. [7] Work began in 486 BC, from south of Yangzhou to north of Huai'an in Jiangsu, and within three years the Han Gou had connected the Yangtze with the Huai River utilizing existing waterways, lakes, and marshes. Although to spectators, the canal appears to be a deep waterway in these city centers, its depth is maintained by weirs and the canal is all but dry where it passes through the surrounding countryside. In 604 AD, Emperor Yangdi of the Sui Dynasty toured Luoyang (now the city in Henan Province). It comprised six main sections: (1) a short canal from the outskirts of Beijing to Tongzhou, (2) a canalized river joining the Hai River to Tianjin and then joining the Wei River as far as Linqing, (3) a section in Shandong rising over comparatively high ground from Linqing to its highest point near Jining and then falling again to a point near Xuzhou, a difficult stretch using a series of dams, sluices, and locks supplied with water from a number of small rivers flowing off the Mount Tai massif and from the string of lakes southeast of Jining, (4) a stretch from Xuzhou that followed the southern course of the Huang He as far as Huaiyin, (5) a section from Huaiyin following the ancient Shanyang Canal south to Zhenjiang on the Yangtze, and (6) a section south of the Yangtze where the canal, there called the Jiangnan Yunhe, ran southeast and then southwest for some 200 miles (320 km) via Suzhou to Hangzhou. Peasants. At Weishan Lake, both courses enter Shandong province. By the 1990s, pollution in the canal had reached the point where boat and barge crews could tell when they were nearing Hangzhou by the stench of the visibly black water. Early canal construction took place in the Shanyin old canal in Shaoxing City, in the Spring and Autumn period (approximately 771 to 476 BC). Get a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content. In the Qing dynasty, the Kangxi and Qianlong emperors made twelve trips to the south, on all occasions but one reaching Hangzhou. In 1488, the shipwrecked Korean scholar Choe Bu traveled the entire length of the Grand Canal on his way from Zhejiang to Beijing (and on to Korea) and left a detailed account of his trip. What was unfortunate about the building of the Grand Canal and what role did this play? "The Grand Canal of China is the world's oldest and longest canal, far surpassing the next two grand canals of the world: Suez and Panama Canal. Between 1958 and 1964 it was straightened, widened, and dredged; one new section 40 miles (65 km) long was constructed, and modern locks were added. Many of the canal sections fell into disrepair, and some parts were returned to flat fields. A scholar-official named Lou Yue, secretary to the delegation, recorded the journey, much of which was made upon the Grand Canal, and submitted his Diary of a Journey to the North to the emperor on his return. [11], By the year 600, there were major buildups of silt on the bottom of the Honggou canal, obstructing river barges whose drafts were too deep for its waters. A $250 million restoration project begun in 2001 has improved water quality to the point where it no longer smells and is once again capable of supporting some fauna.[34]. As the north shore of the Yangtze gradually silted up to create the sandbank island of Guazhou, it became necessary for boats crossing to and from the Jiangnan Canal to sail the long way around the eastern edge of that island. In recent years, because of newer modes of transportation, the canal has been gradually replaced. This, the Grand Canal's first true summit section, was engineered by the Mongol Oqruqči in 1238 to connect Jining to the southern end of the Huitong Canal. [36][37] The Grand Canal is the masterpiece of Andre Le Notre, the gardener of Sun King and designer of Versailles Gardens. [2] Ships in Chinese canals did not have trouble reaching higher elevations after the pound lock was invented in the 10th century, during the Song dynasty (960–1279), by the government official and engineer Qiao Weiyue. It was fed by rivers flowing from east to west from the borders of the Shandong massif. The Grand Canal was built to connect 1 See answer 05isamar51479 is waiting for your help. Area lakes - Grand Lake St. Marys, Lake Loramie, and Indian Lake - were all built as feeder reservoirs for the canal. This article was most recently revised and updated by, https://www.britannica.com/topic/Grand-Canal-China, UNESCO World Heritage Centre - The Grand Canal, Grand Canal - Student Encyclopedia (Ages 11 and up). 1 0. Currently, ships can only travel up to Jining. Please refer to the appropriate style manual or other sources if you have any questions. The Grand Canal is currently being upgraded to serve as the Eastern Route of the South-North Water Transfer Project. From here to Linqing, the canal is called the Lu or ‘Shandong’ Canal. The earliest work on the grand canal was done by the Sui Dynasty from 581ce to 618ce, millions of labourers worked on the river in . It is here that the modern canal stops and that a Grand Canal Cultural Park has been built. [21] During the Song and earlier periods, barge ships occasionally crashed and wrecked along the Shanyang Yundao section of the Grand Canal while passing the double slipways, and more often than not those were then robbed of the tax grain by local bandits. Records show that, at its height, every year more than 8,000 boats[39] transported four to six million dan (240,000–360,000 metric tons) of grain. The canal's central portions stretched from Yangzhou to Luoyang; the section between the Yangtze and the Huai continued to the Shanyang River, and the next section connected the Huai to the Yellow River and was called the Tongji Channel. The city of Kaifeng grew to be a major hub, later becoming the capital of the Song dynasty (960–1279). The canal opened from Braunston to Weedon on 21st June 1796, and a few weeks later it was extended as far south as Blisworth, where a long tunnel was under construction. In this way, the modern Grand Canal came into being. It ran for 75 kilometers (47 mi) from Nanyang (now Nanyang Town, located in the center of Weishan Lake) to the small settlement of Liucheng (in the vicinity of modern Gaolou Village, Weishan County, Shandong) north of Xuzhou City. North of the northernmost Nanyang Lake is the city of Jining. [17], By the year 735, it was recorded that about 149,685,400 kilograms (165,000 short tons) of grain were shipped annually along the canal. Updates? Additional amounts of water from the Yangtze will be drawn into the canal in Jiangdu City, where a giant 400 m3/s (14,000 cu ft/s) pumping station was already built in the 1980s, and is then fed uphill by pumping stations along the route and through a tunnel under the Yellow River, from where it can flow downhill to reservoirs near Tianjin. Historically, periodic flooding of the Yellow River threatened the safety and functioning of the canal. Grand Canal - Construction. The economic importance of the canal likely will continue. The Manchus established the Qing dynasty (1644–1912), and under their leadership, the Grand Canal was overseen and maintained just as in earlier times. THE GRAND UNION CANAL HISTORY The first step towards the creation of the Grand Union was taken in 1925, when the Grand Junction sought a report from the engineer of the Warwick canals on the cost of putting them in order. About 50 km (31 mi) further north, passing close by Dongping Lake, the canal reaches the Yellow River. [38]. The section from Jining to Beijing is not available for transport due to the silt deposit buildup from the Yellow River and lack of water sources. [22] This prompted Qiao Weiyue, an Assistant Commissioner of Transport for Huainan, to invent a double-gate system known as the pound lock in the year 984. [10], The sections of the Grand Canal today in Zhejiang and southern Jiangsu provinces were in large part a creation of the Sui dynasty (581–618), a result of the migration of China's core economic and agricultural region away from the Yellow River valley in the north and toward the southern provinces. An alternative canal, cut across the neck of the Shandong Peninsula from the harbour of Qingdao (Tsingtao) to Yixian, also proved impracticable and was abandoned. [29] The only other viable contender with Suzhou in the Jiangnan region was Hangzhou, but it was located 200 km (120 mi) further down the Grand Canal and away from the main delta. (mostly in the seventh century A.D.), was completed in the 13th century A.D. At present, diversions of water mean that the lakes are often largely dry land. Its course is today divided into seven sections. The oldest, and easily the most famous, span is the Rialto Bridge. This southernmost section of the canal runs from Hangzhou in Zhejiang, where the canal connects with the Qiantang River, to Zhenjiang in Jiangsu, where it meets the Yangtze. The idea of connecting Dublin to the Shannon was proposed as early as 1715, and in 1757 the Irish Parliament granted Thomas Omer £20,000 to start construction of a canal. The famous Roman Catholic missionary Matteo Ricci traveled from Nanjing to Beijing along the canal at the end of the 16th century. Emperors would sometimes travel along the Grand Canal to inspect the locks. Built in the 7th century by CHINA's Sui Dynasty, it stretches about 1,100 mi (1,800 km) across eastern China—about the same distance as MIAMI, FLORIDA, to NEW YORK CITY, or LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, to Vancouver, CANADA.The canal was built to transport rice and silk from the rich and fertile south to the dry … The following are the most important but do not form an exhaustive list. In the Ming dynasty, official courier stations were placed at intervals of 35 to 45 km (22 to 28 mi). In Tianjin, the canal heads northwest, for a short time following the course of the Yongding, a tributary of the Hai River, before branching off toward Tongzhou on the edge of the municipality of Beijing. The building of the canal … He created a 1 670m long east-west perspective in the axis of the Palace by digging the canal. The Grand Canal nominally runs between Beijing and Hangzhou over a total length of 1,794 km (1,115 mi), however, only the section from Hangzhou to Jining is currently navigable. In the Ming and Qing dynasties, however, the water level in the Tonghui River dropped and ships could not travel from Tongzhou to Beijing. History, 09.11.2020 21:10, nauticatyson9 The Grand Canal was built to connect This section was bu… The Grand Canal also enabled cultural exchange and political integration to occur between the north and south of China. In 1169, with China divided between the Jurchen-led Jin dynasty in the north and the Southern Song dynasty in the south, the Southern Song Emperor Xiaozong sent a delegation to the Jurchen to wish their ruler well for the New Year. Although it was mainly used for shipping grain, it also transported other commodities and the corridor along the canal developed into an important economic belt. [40] There are plans for restoring transportation up to Tai'an.[41]. After leaving Hangzhou the canal passes around the eastern border of Lake Tai, through the major cities of Jiaxing, Suzhou, Wuxi, and Changzhou before reaching Zhenjiang. The fifth section of the canal extends for a distance of 524 kilometers (326 mi) from Linqing to Tianjin along the course of the canalized Wei River. [3] The canal has been admired by many throughout history including Japanese monk Ennin (794–864), Persian historian Rashid al-Din (1247–1318), Korean official Choe Bu (1454–1504), and Italian missionary Matteo Ricci (1552–1610).[4][5]. 0 0. Construction on the Eastern Route officially began on December 27, 2002, and water was supposed to reach Tianjin by 2012. The oldest part of the canal lies between the Yangtze and the city of Huaiyin (formerly called Qingjiang) in Jiangsu province, which was originally on the Huang He (Yellow River) when that river followed a course much farther to the south. It was built to enable successive Chinese regimes to transport surplus grain from the agriculturally rich Yangtze (Chang) and Huai river valleys to feed the capital cities and large standing armies in northern China. In the first period, canals were built to serve the heavy industry of the north and midlands. [31], Besides its function as a grain shipment route and major vein of river-borne indigenous trade in China, the Grand Canal had long been a government-operated courier route as well. By 1763 he had completed 3 locks and 6 bridges towards Dublin and was concentrating on establishing a water supply from the Morell Rivernear Sallins. The following year, he moved the capital to Luoyang and ordered a large-scale expansion of the canal. Its great number of feeder springs (between two and four hundred, depending on the counting method and season of the year) also led to it being called the quanhe or 'river of springs'. From south to north these are the Jiangnan Canal, the Inner Canal, the Middle Canal, the Lu Canal, the South Canal, the North Canal, and the Tonghui River. Antonio D. Lv 6. By 1759 he reported that 3 km (1.9 mi) in the Bog of Allen and 13 km (8.1 mi) of canal from the River Liffey near Sallins towards Dublin were complete. It reappears again in Liaocheng City on the north bank where, intermittently flowing through a renovated stone channel, it reaches the city of Linqing on the Shandong – Hebei border. The Panama Canal was a canal built in Panama. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. After 1934 the Chinese government carried out extensive works on the canal between Huaiyin and the Yangtze; ship locks were constructed to allow medium-sized steamers to use this section, which was dredged and largely rebuilt. After the Taiping Rebellion (1850–64) and the Nian Rebellion (1853–68), the use of the canal as the major supply line to Beijing was abandoned, and the canal gradually fell into disrepair in its northern sections. Cargo barges on the Grand Canal at Suzhou, Jiangsu province, China. This move deprived Nanjing of its status as chief political center of China. Add your answer and earn points. China’s first great canal system, which created a northeast-southwest link from the Huang He (when the Huang had a northern course) to the Huai River, was built beginning in 605 during the Sui dynasty (581–618). Then called Leinster Grove, it housed the manager of Leinster Mills, and … The erection of the Grand Canal that goes from Beijing to … [14] Running alongside and parallel to the canal was an imperial roadway and post offices supporting a courier system. Despite temporary periods of desolation and disuse, the Grand Canal furthered an indigenous and growing economic market in China's urban centers from the Sui period onwards to the present. Some parts were returned to flat fields Warwick canals it has allowed faster trading has., concrete-lined storm-channel and drain for the Canal sections fell into disuse dilapidation... 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