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Wuhan City and river port at the confluence of the Han and Yangtze rivers; capital of Hubei province, central China. Wuhan developed after being declared a treaty port following the Opium Wars of the 19th century. It grew further with the arrival of the railway and China's first modern iron and steel plants in 1891. Wuhan itself was formed in 1950, by the merger of Hankow, Hanyang, and Wuchang. It is now the industrial and commercial hub of central China. Despite being 970km (600mi) from the sea, the port handles many ocean-going vessels. Industries: cotton and textiles, iron, steel, heavy machinery, cement, soap. Pop. (1998) 7,317,900.