TROPICAL GEOGRAPHY ›› 2018, Vol. 38 ›› Issue (3): 356-363.doi: 10.13284/j.cnki.rddl.003055

Previous Articles     Next Articles

Ancient Post Roads in the Nanling Mountains

LIANG Guozhao,TANG Guangliang and LI Xiaoling   

  1. (Guangzhou Institute of Geography,Guangzhou 510070,China)
  • Online:2018-05-05 Published:2018-05-05

Abstract: The Nanling Mountains are a mountain system lying across Southern China, and serve as the dividing ridges between the Yangtze Basin and the Pearl Basin. There were many ancient post roads across the mountains, of which five roads were the most important. The five important ancient post roads were situated on the Five Ridges, and so the Five Ridges have been famous for their post roads. The ancient post roads of the Nanling connected the navigable rivers between the Yangtze and the Pearl systems, and goods from the north could be easily transported to Guangzhou, which was one of the most important departure ports of the ancient Marine Silk Road. Since the Qin Dynasty, the Nanling Mountains have always been called the Five Ridges. However, what and where are the Five Ridges? That has long been a problem. At present the Five Ridges are normally designated as Dayuling, Qitianling, Dupangling, Mengzhuling, and Yuechengling. Some people considered that in addition to the above-mentioned ancient post roads on the Five Ridges, there was another important ancient road on the Yunmenling at the easternmost of the Nanling, connecting the navigable rivers between southern Jiangxi and eastern Guangdong. Some geographers even held that the Nanling Mountains may also be called the Six Ridges. In this paper the historical functions and evolution of the ancient post roads in the Nanling Mountains are discussed. It is found that the main functions of the ancient post roads were merchants’ activities, and the roads played very important roles in the economic and human exchanges between northern and southern ancient China, as well as in the prosperity of the Marine Silk Road. It is also found that in the ancient period of two thousand years the communications of the Nanling had a trend that the traffic core moved from west to east. At first the post road of Yuechengling in the west was the most important, while from the Tang Dynasty to the Qing Dynasty the Dayuling post road in the east became the busiest one.

Key words: Five Ridges, the Nanling Moutains, ancient post road, history traffic geography