Re: flood & Chinese history

Glenn Morton (
Fri, 05 Sep 1997 05:48:49 -0500

At 09:08 PM 9/4/97 -0700, Gordon William Tisher wrote:
>I'll delurk for a moment here to offer $.02 worth of musings: recently I've
>been reading K.C. Wu's _The Chinese Heritage_, a history of the first
>couple millennia of Chinese history, starting about 2700 BC. Among the
>first written records concern the reign of the Emperor Yao, and his
>co-Emperor Shun, who first organized the Chinese to battle a 'Great Flood.'
> It struck me in this account that there was no mention of the waters of
>the sea rising; that in fact the solution the Chinese found to the flood
>was to dig more canals leading to the sea so that the rivers drained
>faster. (I was also fascinated to learn that the ancient Chinese
>worshipped one Almighty Lord of Heaven, but that's another story).

Hi Gordon,

The flood that the Chinese always have to fight is that caused by the Yellow
River. The Yellow River is the siltiest river in the world. Because of
this, it builds its own levies which ultimately causes the river bed to be
15-20 feet ABOVE the surrounding plain. In profile the river looks like:

___ __
| V |
__| |_____farms and cities out here

where the V is the actual river bed.

This fact has caused the Yellow River to claim more human lives than any
other feature on earth. 1500 times over the past 3500 years the Yellow River
has jumped its banks and flooded huge areas of China. Because it sits above
the plain, once it jumps its banks, it takes a lot of work to get it back
into the channel.

Between 602 BC and 1288 AD the Yellow River emptied into the Bo hai Bay near
Tientsin. Then in 1288 it flooded, changed course and actually joined the
Yangtze River. This flooded millions of acres and killed millions. It took 5
centuries before the River was moved north again.

In 1887 the Yellow River flooded large areas of the North Plain and killed
up to 2.5 million people.

Because of this, I doubt that the floods spoken of by your source have
anything to do with Noah.

Personal note: I have been on the banks of the Yellow River at the mouth in
Shan Dong Province. It is indeed as yellow as it can be and it was about
1-1.5 miles wide and moving very rapidly. It was an awesome sight.


Foundation, Fall and Flood