The Next Level Maps
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The river plains of eastern China have been farmed for thousands of years and great industrial cities have grown up in this region. Fewer people live in the more remote areas of the north and west, which include barren deserts and high mountains. China has one of the world's greatest and most ancient civilizations, with a written history that stretches back 3,500 years. Among its many inventions are paper, silk and gunpowder.
In the course of this century China has experienced many changes. After more than 2,000 years as an empire, the country became a republic in 1911. Following an uprising in 1949, China became a communist state.
During the 1990's a transformation took place in China's major cities. Their narrow streets and low houses have been replaced by multi- lane highways and high-rise buildings. In contrast, life has altered little in many rural areas for centuries. Most people are farmers and use traditional methods to cultivate rice on the terraced paddy-fields. The Great Wall snakes across the mountains of north China. Much of it was built over 2,200 years ago to defend the country's northern borders. The total length of the wall is over 6,000 kilometres.