Yellow River

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The Yellow River or Huang He / Hwang Ho (simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: Huáng ; Mongolian: Hatan Gol, Queen river[1][2]) is the second-longest river in China (after the Yangtze River) and the seventh-longest in the world at the estimated length of 5,464 kilometers (3,395 mi)[3][4]. Originating in the Bayan Har Mountains in Qinghai Province in western China, it flows through nine provinces of China and empties into the Bohai Sea. The Yellow River basin has an east-west extent of 1900 km (1,180 mi) and a north-south extent of 1100 km (684 mi). Total basin area is 742,443 km² (290,520 mi²).

The Yellow River is called "the cradle of Chinese civilization", as its basin is the birthplace of the northern Chinese civilizations and was the most prosperous region in early Chinese history. But frequent devastating flooding largely due to the elevated river bed in its lower course, has also earned it the unenviable names "China's Sorrow" and "Scourge of the Sons of Han."[5]

Early Chinese literature refers to the Yellow River simply as He (), the word that has come to mean simply "river" in modern language (in ancient times, however, and were used in the meaning "river"). The first appearance of the name "Yellow River" (黃河) is in the Book of Han (simplified Chinese: 汉书; traditional Chinese: 漢書; pinyin: Hàn Shū) written in the Western Han dynasty (206 BC–AD 9). The name "Yellow River" describes the perennial ochre-yellow colour of the muddy water in the lower course of the river. The yellow color comes from loess suspended in the water.

Sometimes the Yellow River is poetically called the "Muddy Flow" (simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: Zhuó Liú). The Chinese idiom "when the Yellow River flows clear" is used to refer to an event that will never happen and is similar to the English expression "when pigs fly".

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