The Shandong is a province located on the eastern coast of the People's Republic of China. The Shandong has played a major role in Chinese history from the beginning of Chinese civilization along the lower reaches of the Yellow River and served as a pivotal cultural and religious site for Taoism, Chinese Buddhism, and Confucianism. Shandong's Mount Tai is the most revered mountain of Taoism and one of the world's sites with the longest history of continuous religious worship. The Buddhist temples in the mountains to the south of the provincial capital of Jinan were once among the foremost the Buddhist sites in China. The city of Qufu is the birthplace of Confucius, and was later established as the center of Confucianism. The Shandong's location at the intersection of ancient as well as modern north-south and east-west trading routes have helped to establish it as an economic center. After a period of political instability and economic hardship that began in the late 19th century, the Shandong has emerged as one of the most populous (94 million in 2008) and most affluent provinces in the People's Republic of China
Individually, the two Chinese characters in the name "The Shandong" mean "mountain" and "east”. The Shandong could hence be translated literally as "east of the mountains" and refers to the province's location to the east of the Taihang Mountains. A common nickname for Shandong is Qílǔ (simplified Chinese:; traditional Chinese:, after the State of Lu and State of Qi that existed here during the Spring and Autumn Period. The State of Qi was a major power of its era and the State of Lu, a comparatively small state that is renowned for being the home of Confucius.
The province is situated on the eastern edge of the North China Plain and in the lower reaches of the Yellow River (Huang He) and extends out to sea in the form of the Shandong Peninsula. The Shandong borders the Bohai Sea to the north, Hebei to the northwest, Henan to the west, the Jiangsu to the south, and the Yellow Sea to the southeast; it also shares a very short border with Anhui, between the Henan and the Jiangsu.
With its location on the eastern edge of the North China Plain, the Shandong has felt the influence of Chinese civilization since remote antiquity. The earliest dynasties exerted varying degrees of control over western the Shandong, while eastern the Shandong was inhabited by the Laiyi peoples who were considered as the "barbarians". Over subsequent centuries, the Laiyi were eventually sanitized.
During the spring and autumn time and the Warring States stage, local states became increasingly powerful. At this time, the Shandong was home to two powerful states: the state of Qi at Linzi and the state of Lu at Qufu. Lu is noted for being the home of Confucius. The state was, however, comparatively small, and eventually succumbed to the powerful state of the Chu from the south. The state of Qi was, on the other hand, a major power throughout this entire period. The Cities it ruled included Linzi, Jimo (north of modern Qingdao) and Ju.
The Yellow River passes through the Shandong's western areas, entering the sea along the Shandong's northern coast; in its traversal of the Shandong it flows on a levee, higher than the surrounding land, and dividing western the Shandong into the Hai He watershed in the north and the Huai He watershed in the south. The Grand Canal of China enters the Shandong from the northwest and leaves on the southwest. Weishan Lake is the largest lake of the province. The Shandong's coastline is 3000 km long. The Shandong Peninsula has a rocky coastline with cliffs, bays, and islands; the large Laizhou Bay, the southernmost of the three bays of Bohai Sea, is found to the north, between Dongying and Penglai; Jiaozhou Bay, which is much smaller, is found to the south, next to Qingdao. The Miaodao Islands expand northwards from the northern coast of the peninsula.
The Qin Dynasty destroyed the Qi and founded the first centralized Chinese state in 221 BC. The Han Dynasty that followed created 2 zhou in what is now modern the Shandong: Qingzhou Province in the north and the Yanzhou Province in the south. During the division of the 3 Kingdoms the Shandong belonged to the Kingdom of Wei, which ruled over northern China.
After the 3 Kingdoms period, a brief period of unity under the Western the Jin Dynasty gave way to invasions by nomadic peoples from the north. Northern China, including Shandong, was overrun. Over the next century or so the Shandong changed hands several times, falling to the Later Zhao, then Former Yan, then Former Qin, then Later Yan, then Southern Yan, then the Liu Song Dynasty, and finally the Northern Wei Dynasty, the first of the Northern Dynasties during the Northern and the Southern Dynasties Period. The Shandong stayed with the Northern Dynasties for the rest of this period.
In 412, the Chinese Buddhist monk Faxian landed at the Laoshan, on the southern edge of the Shandong peninsula, and proceeded to Qingzhou to edit and translate the scriptures he had brought back from India.
The Sui Dynasty reestablished unity in 589, and the Tang Dynasty (618-907) take the chaired over the next golden age of China. For the earlier part of this period the Shandong was ruled as part of Henan Circuit, one of the circuits (a political division). Later on China splintered into warlord factions, resulting in the 5 Dynasties and 10 Kingdoms period. The Shandong was part of the 5 Dynasties, all based in the north.
The Shandong is mostly flat in terrain. The northwestern, western, and southwestern parts of the province are all part of the vast North China natural. The center of the region is more mountainous, with the Taishan Mountains, Lushan Mountains, and Mengshan Mountains being the most prominent. The east of the region is the hilly Shandong Peninsula extending into the sea; it separates the Bohai Sea in the northwest from the Yellow Sea to the east and south. The highest peak of the Shandong is the highest peak in the Taishan area: Jade Emperor Peak, with a height of 1545 m.