Stretchin 3,000 miles (5,000 kilometers) from east to west and 3,400 miles (5,500 kilometers) from north to south, China is a large country with widely varying landscapes. Its territory includes mountains, high plateaus, sandy deserts, and dense forests.
One-third of China’s land area is made up of mountains. The tallest mountains on Earth, Mount Everest, sits on the Yellow Rivers are the most important. At 3,915 miles (6,300 kiloemeters) long, the Yangtze is the world’s third largest river.
China’s diverse habitats are home to hundreds of species of animal and plants. More than 3,800 species of fish and hundreds ofamphibians and reptiles species live in the rivers, lakes, and coastal waters.
China’s forest wildlife is threatened by logging and clear-cutting (clearing the land of all trees) for farmland. Expanding deserts in the north also shrink animal habitats. The Chineses government has created more than 1,200 reserves to protect plant and animal species.
The giant panda lives in the misty mountains of southwest China and nowhere else on Earth. They eat bamboo and usually live near stands of the woody evergreen plant. Pandas have been hunted and only about 1,600 remain in the wild.
China is the home of one of the world’s oldest civilizations, but it has onlyrecently become a “modern” nation. In the last 20 years, China has changed faster than any other country in the world.
Chines history is divided into dynasties, each of which marks the period when a line of emperors ruled. The first empire was the Qin dynasty and began in 221 B.C. The last emperor was overthrown in 1912, and China became a republic. The communist government began its rule in 1949 following a civil war with the Chines Nationalists.
Ancient China was a land of invention. For centuries, China was way ahead of most other countries in sciences and technology, astronomy, and math. The Chinese invented paper, the magnetic compass, [continua]

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