Yellow River

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Calque of Chinese 黃河黄河 (literally “yellow (color) river”); the large amount of sand in the river makes the river appear yellow.

Proper noun[edit]

Yellow River

  1. A river in northern China which flows for 5,463 km (3,000 miles) to the Yellow Sea.
    • 1625, Samuel Purchas, Pvrchas His Pilgrimes[1], volume III, London, OCLC 219967499, page 340:
      That Riuer of Nanquin which I called (Yamſu or) Ianſu, the ſonne of the Sea, goeth Northward to Nanquin, and then returning ſomewhat Southward, runneth into the Sea with great force ; fortie myles from which it paſſeth by Nanquin. And that from hence to Pequin there might bee paſſage by Riuers, the Kings of China haue deriued a large Channell from this to another Riuer, called the Yellow Riuer, ſuch being the colour of that troubled water. This is the other famous Riuer of that Kingdome, in greatneſſe and note, which ariſesth without the Kingdome to the Weſt, out of the Hill Cunlun, conjectured * to bee the ſame whence Ganges ariſeth, or one neere to it.
    • 1669, John Nievhoff, John Ogilbt, transl., An Embassy from the Eaſt-India Company of the United Provinces, to the Grand Tartar Cham Emperour of China[2], London: John Macock, OCLC 561227535, pages 235-236:
      Firſt of all, There are in China two famous large Rivers, namely Kiang, and the Yellow River.
      . . .
      The Yellow River, by ſtrangers ſo called from the colour of the water, occaſioned by the Yellowneſs of the ground, is named Hoang in the Chineſe Language, and ſeems at firſt to be very Mooriſh ; but the ſwiftneſs and great force of its running, makes it appear the quite contrary; for with ſo incredible a ſwiftneſs does this River run, that no Ships are able to Sail up againſt its Stream, but are drawn up againſt the ſame by the main ſtrength of a great number of Track-men: which may proceed from its being contracted within ſo narrow bounds ; for in ſome places it is but half a mile broad, and in others a little broader, but in a continued courſe, for in length it extends above 800 miles.
    • 1697, William Vincent, “From NICÆA to the MOUTH of the INDUS”, in The Voyage of Nearchus[3], London: T. Cadell jun. and W. Davies, page 72:
      If the cities and towns of China ſtand as thick throughout the empire, as on the canals navigated by the Engliſh, from the Yellow River to Pekin, it does not appear how there can be ſpace for agriculture to feed them.
    • 1747, A New General Collection of Voyages and Travels[4], volume IV, London: Thomas Astley, page 135:
      UNDER the firſt Dynaſty of the Tang, the Banks of the Yellow River having tumbled down, there were found three 'thouſand three hundred Pieces of Money with three Feet; but the Characters were defaced.
    • 1798, Complete View of the Chinese Empire[5], London, page 400:
      After passing a short stage, through low lands with very different prospects, a succession of good towns and villages, numerous vessels, and crowds of people, indicated the vicinity of the Yellow River, into which the canal falls with a gentle force.
      November 2d, the yachts came to the spot where the canal joins the Yellow River.
      The Yellow River runs at this place with such rapidity that the Chinese sailors deemed it necessary to offer a sacrifice to its Guardian Spirit for a safe passage.
    • 1802 July, Joseph Hager, “The Monument of Yu, or most ancient Inscription of China”, in The Critical Review[6], volume XXXV, London, page 288:
      The history of the monument is as follows. In the 61st year of the reign of Yao, there happened so great and general a deluge in the empire of China, that the Yellow River, surmounting its banks, was confounded with the waters of two others, and, overwhelming the plains, became, as it were, a vast sea ; insomuch that the hills were covered ; it surpassed the mountains ; and appeared to extend to the clouds. The evils which this deluge occasioned exceeded the powers of description ; the chief necessaries of life were wanted, the people were reduced to misery, and the sovereign was overcome by dejection.
    • 1894, William Woodville Rockhill, Diary of a Journey Through Mongolia and Tibet in 1891 and 1892[7], Smithsonian Institution, page 84:
      Just before crossing the Yellow River to reach Fei-tzŭ-ch'uan,* where we proposed spending the night, we passed through the ruins of what must have been a prefectural city (Hsien).
    • 1941, Edgar Snow, The Battle for Asia, New York: Random House, page 26:
      As we rode slowly over the Lunghai Line toward Sianfu, across the brown sun-baked plains of Northern Honan, soon to be flooded when the Chinese breached the Yellow River dikes to stop the advancing Yellow Horde, we passed many troop trains en-route to the front.
    • 1973 June 10, “Engineers hold annual conference”, in Free China Weekly[8], volume XIV, number 22, Taipei, page 1:
      Engineers Day was proclaimed in memory of the Emperor Yu the Great, the legendary monarch believed to have been born in 2200 B.C., who is credited with having tamed the Yellow River after his father had failed in a effort to do so.
    • 2001, Kim Dramer, The Yellow River[9], Franklin Watts, →ISBN, page 7:
      China's Yellow River, or Huang he, is named for the yellow, sandy silt it carries in its water. This silt, called loess, is almost as fine as flour. Over thousands of years, the northwestern wind blowing from the Gobi Desert has deposited hundreds of fee of loess over northern China. As the Yellow River flows through China, it sweeps away the fine, yellow silt and carries it downriver.
    • Although Peter Koester told him that the pictures he'd been able to send back to New York—including shots of a Chinese victory at the walled town of Taierhchwang, unprecedented coverage of one of Chiang Kai-shek's cabinet meetings, and a series showing peasants fleeing the defensive flooding of the Yellow River—were "first class . . . technically, reportagewise, better than your Spanish work," Capa was having a difficult time of it.
    • 2020, Stephen Chen, “Prehistoric ancestors of modern-day Chinese favoured rice over millet, study says”, in South China Morning Post[11]:
      The Yellow River has long been regarded as the cradle of Chinese civilisation. The early occupants established a complex culture, which included making painted ceramics, and were the first people in the world to grow millet, the study said.