The river we call the Yangtze is known by many other names in China.
Part of the river is called the Kinsha Kiang, or the “river of golden sand”. Another part is known as the Chang Kiang, or “Long River,” which is the official name of the Yangtze.
The name Yangtze is used by the Chinese only for 300 or 400 miles of the river’s length, where it passes through a region once known as Yang. But the Chinese often call the Yangtze simply the “Great River.”
And a great river it is. The Yangtze rises in the mountains of western China and flows about 3,430 miles across the heartland of the nation.
It is the third longest river on earth, only the Nile and the Amazon are longer. The Yangtze is also the most important river in China. It has served as the main “road” for the commerce of that nation for a long time.
Many large cities lie along the Yangtze, including Nanking, the former Chinese capital, and the river empties near Shanghai, China’s largest city. More than 300 million people live in the basin of this river, more people than there are in the entire United States!