Zhongyuan (), Chungyuan in Wade–Giles, or the Central Plain, also known as Zhongtu or Chungtu (, lit. Central Land), and Zhongzhou or Chungchou (, lit. Central State), is the area on the lower reaches of the Yellow River which formed the cradle of Chinese civilization. It forms part of the North China Plain. In its narrowest sense, the Central Plain covers modern-day Henan - mainland "Zhongyuan", the southern part of Hebei, the southern part of Shanxi, and the western part of Shandong province (Luoyang area is center). A broader interpretation of the Central Plain's extent would add the Guanzhong plain of Shaanxi, the northwestern part of Jiangsu, and parts of Anhui and northern Hubei. Since the beginning of recorded history, the Central Plain has been an important site for Chinese civilization. In the pre-Qin era, present-day Luoyang and its nearby areas were considered the “Center of the World”, as the political seat of the Xia dynasty was located around Songshan and the Yi-Luo river basin. Inscriptions on some bronze objects from this era contain references to the 'Central States' (''Zhongguo''), 'Eastern States', or 'Southern States'. This indicates that the Central Plain, which was referred to as the 'Central States' in these inscriptions, was considered to occupy the center of the world. In a broader context, the term ''Zhongyuan'' refers to Chinese civilization and China proper, regions directly governed by centralized Chinese governments and dynasties. However, when used to describe the Chinese civilization, Zhongyuan often connotes Huaxia and Han cultural dominance. The Dungans, who are Chinese descendants of Hui ethnicity residing in Central Asia and Russia, are believed to have emigrated from Zhongyuan.

See also

* Chungyuan Standard Time * North China Plain * Pearl River Delta * Yangtze River Delta * Yellow River Delta and Bohai Sea * Zhongyuan culture Category:Central China Category:Han Chinese Category:Landforms of Hebei Category:Landforms of Henan Category:Landforms of Shandong Category:Landforms of Shanxi Category:North China Plain Category:Plains of China Category:Regions of China Category:Yellow River {{PRChina-geo-stub