Agricultural Development in Jiangnan, 1620–1850 by Bozhong Li

By Bozhong Li

The writer makes a radical research of adjustments in key components of construction and in styles of enlargement in agricultural creation in China's Yangzi delta in the course of the 3 centuries prior to 1850, leading to a rise in either land and exertions productiveness.

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1959). I believe the cropping index in eastern Jiangnan in the 'normal' years of the 1920s and 1930s would have been somewhere between Buck's figure of 'nearly all' (here we presume it to be 190 per cent) for the 'Yangzi flood plain' and his 167 per cent for the entire 'Yangzi rice-wheat area' which is also Zhang Xinyi's figure for Jiangsu province. I estimate the index to have been 180 per cent. 24 The situation in western Jiangnan is more complicated. In most counties in the hilly and mountainous area, according to 1930s surveys, the multicropping indices were very low.

In weeding, a sort of comb is used which is called a shangba or dangba and looks like a wooden patten spiked underneath with a dozen or so nails in rows, in some cases weeding is done by hand with iron talon-like tubes in which are put the fingers (yunzhua). After harvesting the rice is husked with a man-driven pearling mill (long). Silk production entails two different types of work: moriculture (mulberry cultivation) and sericulture (silkworm raising). The basic work for moriculture is making mulberry fields, transplanting the trees, orchard management and gathering the leaves.

Because the mid-seventeenth century was full of wars, natural disasters and epidemic diseases, the population fell in this period and did not reach 20 million again until the mid-1680s or even 1690s. For the next two and a half centuries, however, the population grew reaching a new high of some 36 million in 1850. 3 per cent a year - during the period between 1620 and 1850. By standards of demographic growth in modern China or most developing countries today, this rate is remarkably low. 6 per cent annual rate of population growth nationally in China between 1650 and 1850.

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