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Geographical Notes

Nature volume 29, page 462 | Download Citation

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Abstract

ALTHOUGH the Chefoo Convention made with China in 1876 has never been ratified, we are now reaping various advantages from its provisions. With the object of exploring South-Western China, and of watching the possibilities of the development of trade in these regions, it was arranged that an English Consular Agent was to reside at Chung-King in Sze-chuan on the upper waters of the Yang-tse. The officers who have held this post for the past six years have travelled widely through Yunnan, Sze-chuan, Kweichow, and other provinces, and have made most valuable contributions to the geography of China by the reports which have been published by them. Thus we have Mr. Colborne Baber's explorations in South-Western China published by the Royal Geographical-Society, Mr. Parker's papers in the China Review, which we have already noticed, and now Mr. Hosie has made two reports, which have recently been published as Parliamentary Papers. The last of these deals with a journey of nearly 2000 miles from Chung-King to Cheng-tu, the provincial capital of Sze-chuan, thence by Tali in Yunnan to Yunnan-Fu, the capital of this province, returning to Chung-King by another route. The traveller does not think much of the European maps of these districts, for on p. 58 we find him complaining that “the number of mistakes in these maps, whether as regards boundary lines, names of places, &c., not to mention omissions, is truly alarming. As fairly accurate native maps are procurable, the occurrence of such mistakes as the above is astonishing.” Mr. Hosie also gives some account of the aboriginal tribes, who usually avoid the frequented routes, as as they are afraid of being taken by the Chinese. He saw several Lolos, and a Si-fan or “tame wild man,” as he is called by a kind of Hibernicism, as well as representatives of several other frontier tribes. There can be little doubt that in a short time, with these able and energetic English officers travelling far and wide from Chung-King as a centre, the geography of the south-western corner of China will be as well known to us as that of the districts adjoining the coast.

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https://doi.org/10.1038/029462a0

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