The Himalo-Chinese or Transgangetic province shows the characteristics of its avifauna also far away to the eastward in Formosa, Hainan and Cochin China, and again in a lesser degree to the southward in the mountains of Malacca and Sumatra.
The Kwang-tung coast abounds with islands, the largest of which is Hainan, which forms part of the prefecture of K`iung-chow Fu.
The southern and eastern portions of Hainan are mountainous, but on the north there is a plain of some extent.
Canton, Swatow, K`iung-chow (in Hainan), Pakhoi, San-shui are among the treaty ports.
HAINAN, or, as it is usually called in Chinese, K`iung-chow fu, a large island belonging to the Chinese province of Kwang-tung, and situated between the Chinese Sea and the Gulf of Tong-king from 20° 8' to 17° 52' N., and from 108° 32' to 111° 15' E.
From the peninsula of Leichow on the north it is separated by the straits of Hainan, which have a breadth of 15 or 20 m.
The ordinary cattle of Hainan are apparently a cross between the little yellow cow of south China and the zebu of India.
Hainan forms a fu or department of the province of Kwangtung, though strictly it is only a portion of the island that is under Chinese administration, the remainder being still occupied by unsubjugated aborigines.
The inhabitants of Hainan may be divided into three classes, the Chinese immigrants, the civilized aborigines or Shu-li and the wild aborigines or Sheng-li.
It was in 111 B.C. that Lu-Po-Teh, general of the emperor Wuti, first made the island of Hainan subject to the Chinese, who divided it into the two prefectures, Tan-urh or Drooping Ear in the south, so-called from the long ears of the native "king," and Chu-yai or Pearl Shore in the north.
For a long time Hainan was the refuge of the turbulent classes of China and the place of deportation for delinquent officials.
From the 15th to the 19th century pirates made the intercourse with the mainland dangerous, and in the 17th they were considered so formidable that merchants were allowed to convey their goods only across the narrow Hainan Strait.