三泰虎

历史上,中国靠什么养育了如此庞大的人口

What aspect of Chinese characteristics contributed to its huge population throughout history?

历史上,中国人的什么特点促成了中国如此庞大的人口?

QUORA网站读者评论:

Timothy Chu, vegetarian, search analyst/software engineer

China's population comes from the proximity of three great river systems (Yellow, Yangtze, and Pearl), the introduction of new crops (in China's case, rice in the Song Dynasty), and a stable empire. Historians attribute these river systems and viability of agricultural land to the growth of civilization and populations around the world. And though China has a historically large population, it was comparable if not less than contemporary empires of similar size in Persia and India, from the earliest days of civilization up until the mid 20th century.

There's a curious phenomenon in Chinese population that sheds light on the factors governing China's population. You can see it in the below graph:

中国的人口来自三大河流水系(黄河、长江和珠江),新作物的引进(中国宋朝的水稻),以及稳定的王朝统治。历史学家认为这些河流水系和农业土地的生产能力为全世界文明和人口的增长做出了贡献。尽管中国历史上一直有着庞大的人口,但从文明早期到20世纪中叶,其规模与波斯和印度当代的王朝相当。

中国人口中有一种奇怪的现象,它揭示了控制中国人口的因素。你可以在下面的图表中看到:

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Noe that the Tang dynasty (one of the largest and most prosperous) has a comparable population with the Han, which preceded it by 700 years. China's population holds stable at ~49 million for a thousand years  from 2 AD to 1000 AD.  This occurred in spite of innumerable scientific and cultural advances (including China's Four Great Inventions). So what's the deal? China's population hit its carrying capacity in terms of arable land.

Consider the large spike in 1103. This spike is due to the spread of rice culture from Vietnam. The population surge was confined to China's wet, Southern regions where rice flourished. The decrease in the Yuan is due to the breakdown of the Song Dynasty and the devastating Mongol Wars. The rise in the Ming coincides with the spread of potatoes and other crops from the new world, which opened up previously unused land for agriculture. The increases in the Qing are due to increasing numbers of new world crops being introduced, as well as the spread of rice terracing and improved irrigation techniques.

唐朝(最伟大、最鼎盛的朝代之一)的人口可以与700年前的汉朝相差不大。从公元2世纪到公元1000年,中国人口稳定在4,900万左右。尽管中国人取得了无数的科学和文化进步(包括中国的四大发明)。那么,这是怎么回事呢?在耕地方面,中国的人口达到了其承载能力。

1103年的大穗是一个原因。这是因为越南水稻文化传入中国。人口激增仅限于中国潮湿的南方地区,那里盛产水稻。元朝人口的减少是由于宋朝的倒台和毁灭性的蒙古战争。明朝人口的增加与马铃薯和其他来自新世界的农作物的传播同时发生,人们开辟了以前未开垦的土地用于这些农作物的种植。清代人口的增加是由于从新世界引种作物数量的增加,以及水稻梯田的推广和灌溉技术的改进。

译文来源:三泰虎   http://www.santaihu.com/46583.html        译者:Joyceliu

River Valleys:

Chinese civilization sprang up near two large river valleys, the Yellow River and the Yangtze River. The capital of every main Chinese dynasty except the Yuan and the Qing was located on one of these two rivers. These vast river systems endowed China tremendous agricultural potential., and for most of history most of China's population was concentrated in the areas surrounding these two rivers.

河谷:

中华文明在黄河和长江这两个流域附近兴起。除了元朝和清朝,中国各主要朝代的首都都位于这两条河流之一。这些广阔的河流系统赋予中国巨大的农业潜力,在历史上,大多数中国人口集中在这两条河流的周边地区。

Rice Cultivation

The introduction of new strains of rice from Vietnam caused the population to double from the ~50 million of the Han and Tang dynasties (206 BC - 195 AD and 618 AD- 907 AD respectively ) into the ~118 million of the Song dynasty in 1120 AD.  Rice was able to grow in very wet regions which were previously not suited for agriculture and high caloric output. The population growth of the Song is almost entirely confined to rice growing areas, and the advent of rice shifted the Chinese population center away from the North towards the South near the Yangtze River. The introduction of crops from the New World, such as potatoes and sorghum, had a similar effect

水稻的栽培

越南水稻新品系的引入,使人口从汉唐时期(公元前206年-195年,公元618年-907年)到公元1120年的宋代翻了一番,达到1.18亿。水稻可以生长于非常潮湿,原先不适合开展农业生产的地方。宋朝的人口增长几乎完全局限于水稻种植区,水稻的出现使中国人口重心从北方向长江以南转移。从新大陆引进作物,如马铃薯和高粱,也带来了类似的效果。

Stable Empire

Chinese civilization flourished under the post-Qin dynasties of China, which were by and large stable for hundreds of years. Stable institutions and functional infrastructure allowed China to achieve its full agricultural potential. Additionally, the Confucian mores of most Chinese dynasties emphasized the importance of agriculture and of benevolent policies towards farmers (in the Han dynasty around 0 AD, the emperors believed that if the government was inhumane to his people, it would cause earthquakes!). This meant the government was very concerned for the welfare of farmers, and this can be seen through the writings and transcribed political debates in the Emperor's court from the days of the early Han (~160 BC).

It is true that for many centuries, China did have some of the most advanced agricultural practices in the world for much of history; nevertheless, this was not a chief driver of population as the most upvoted answer to this question asserts.

稳定的王朝统治

中国文明在秦朝以后繁荣昌盛,几百年来基本稳定。稳定的制度和功能完备的基础设施使中国充分发挥了农业潜力。此外,大多数中国朝代的儒家习俗都强调了农业的重要性和对农民的仁政(大约在公元0世纪左右的汉朝,皇帝认为如果政府对他的人民不仁,会引发地震!)这意味着政府非常关心农民的福祉,这可以从汉初(公元前160年)皇帝宫廷的著作和誊写的政治辩论中看出。

的确,在许多世纪里,中国确实有一些历史上最先进的农业耕种技术;然而,正如对这个问题最被质疑的回答所断言,这并非人口增长的主要驱动力。

 

Julien Benney, studied at RMIT University

Essentially, the factor that causes China’s huge population is a combination of three factors that rarely meet:

1.sizeable areas of extremely fertile soils that could support rural population densities higher than many cities in Australia and the United States

2.these fertile soils occurring in a climate with a hot and humid period that allowed for very high-yielding cereals

3.the existence of mammals with strong enough herd structures for domestication to allow for easy plowing

从本质上说,造成中国庞大人口的因素是三个因素的罕见结合:

1.广阔的极富肥沃土壤,可以供养人口密度高于澳大利亚和美国许多城市的农村人口

2.这些肥沃的土壤出现在气候炎热湿润、谷物产量极高的时期。

3.具有足够强大的畜群结构以便驯化适合耕作的哺乳动物

These two factors are a direct result of the continuing uplift and erosion by ice of the Himalayas, which has created via cycles of loess deposition and erosion the extremely fertile soils of Northern China.

Whereas the median level of available phosphorus in soils throughout geological history has been around 5 parts per million, the average in Northern China is twenty to thirty times that level (one hundred to 150 parts per million). The figures are similar for key chalcophile nutrients like zinc and copper (except in dry areas where they become less available but still abundant). As a result, nutritious plants could be grown to very high yields highly sustainably for virtually no chemical inputs (aside from animal waste) as the soils renew themselves so consistently.

这两个因素是喜马拉雅山冰层持续抬升和侵蚀的直接结果,它通过黄土沉积和侵蚀的循环创造了中国北方极富肥沃的土壤。

然而在整个地质历史中,土壤有效磷的平均水平约为百万分之5,华北地区的平均水平达到20-30倍水平(百万分之100-150)。这些数字与锌和铜等关键亲铜营养素相似(除了干旱地区,虽然较少但仍然丰富)。因此,由于土壤不断自我更新,几乎不需要使用化学品(除了动物粪便),植物可以可持续地高产量生长。

 

Andy Lee Chaisiri, a fan of the swords

Chinese technology was 1,000+ years ahead of everyone else (in certain fields)

中国技术比其他国家领先1000年(在某些领域)

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Like this, but with horses and rice.

Imagine if today's crops suddenly became 30x more productive, that would cause a population boom, right? Agriculture is how human populations exploded in size compared to hunter-gatherer civilizations. So let's talk about some of those tools of agriculture and how population booms were achieved in an era of horse and plow:

Seed Drill: "What if we planted the seeds under the soil?"

像这样,但是换成马和大米。

想象一下,如果今天的农作物突然增产30倍,那会引起人口激增,对吧?与狩猎采集文明相比,农业带来了人类人口爆炸式的增长。因此,让我们来谈论一下这些农业工具,以及在马和犁的时代如何实现人口激增:

播种机:“如果我们把种子埋在土壤里会怎么样?”

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Seed drills are tools that bury seeds at a correct depth in a timely manner. Planting seeds at a good depth increases the chances of an individual seed sprouting, without being eaten by birds. The use of seed drills also allows for planting in nice orderly rows with good spacing so the sprouting plants have enough room to draw nutrients from the soil without mutually starving each other. Not every grain will germinate, but using seed drills to plant crops in rows increases the chances of any individual grain germinating. This allows you to eat more grains because you know only a small quantity is needed to replant fields.

Chinese were using metal multi-tubed seed drills as early as 200BCE. Seed drills make an appearance in Europe in 1566CE, about 1700 years after their appearance in China.

播种机是可以在正确的土壤深度高效播种的工具。在适宜的深度播撒种子会增加种子萌发的机会,还不会被鸟类吃掉。播种机的使用也让植株保持良好的队列和间距,使发芽植物有足够的空间从土壤吸取养分而不互相争抢营养。不是每粒谷物都会发芽,但是用播种机成排地种植庄稼会增加每粒谷物发芽的机会。这会让您吃到更多的谷物,因为你知道来年播种时只需要少量的谷子。

早在公元前200年,中国就采用金属多管播种机。播种机在公元1566年才在欧洲出现,比它们在中国的出现晚了1700年。

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