Hubei <<hoo bay>> Province is a manufacturing and agricultural province in central China. The province is a major producer of iron and steel and of motor vehicles. Important crops in Hubei include cotton, rice, tea, and wheat. Wuhan is the capital city. Hubei is also spelled Hupei or Hupeh.
Hubei was once known as the “Province of a Thousand Lakes.” Today, it has fewer than 100 lakes. Hong Lake and Liangzi Lake are two of the largest. The Yangtze River flows through southern Hubei. Three Gorges Dam, the world’s largest dam, spans the Yangtze near the city of Yichang.
For much of its history, the area that is now Hubei lay at the center of various Chinese kingdoms. From the 1200’s to the 1600’s, Hubei and neighboring Hunan formed a single province called Huguang. The Manchus, who conquered China in the 1600′s, officially established Hubei Province in 1664.
Over the centuries, Hubei suffered great damage from Yangtze River floods. One of the worst was the flood of 1931. It killed about 3.7 million people in Hubei and several other provinces. Three Gorges Dam was built partly to control flooding. The dam began to operate at full capacity in 2010. Its reservoir covered many towns and villages in Hubei with water, forcing the people to move.