Wuhan, China, the capital of Hubei province and the largest city in central China. It was formerly three separate cities—Hankou, Wuchang, and Hanyang. Wuhan is at the junction of the Han and Yangtze rivers, some 690 miles (1,100 km) south of Beijing.
Wuhan is one of China's leading centers of industry, commerce, and transportation. Products include iron and steel, heavy machinery, railway cars, textiles, and chemicals. China's main north-south railway line runs through the city. Oceangoing ships reach Wuhan's port by way of the Yangtze. Wuchang, oldest of the three cities, dating back to at least 200 B.C., is the cultural and educational center of Wuhan.
Hankou was one of several cities that the Western powers forced China to open to foreign trade in 1860. British, German, Russian, French, and Japanese settlements were soon established there. One of China's earliest iron-and-steel works was built at Hanyang in 1890. The Chinese republican revolution began in Wuchang with an army mutiny in 1911. Japanese troops occupied the three cities, 1938–45. The municipality of Wuhan was established in 1950.