Belonging to a non-wealthy educated family of Hunan, Zuo Zongtang received an university education, passionned by geography, he conducts agricultural experiments and taught as a tutor in a family of notables (1840-1848). In 1852, recommended by Hu Linyi, he joined the staff of the imperial armies, with the governor of Hunan, then Zeng Guofan. He participated in the repression of Taiping in the central provinces and regains Zhejiang and Fujian, where he was appointed governor general in 1863. His enlightened administration promotes agricultural recovery and the introduction of new crops and techniques. He founded the arsenal of Fuzhou (1866), with a large shipyard and a technical school under the guidance of French engineers. In 1866 he became Governor General of Shanxi and Gansu. He destroys the Nian's insurrection. His glory is to have kept the Empire territories of Central Asia, controlling the revolt of the Muslims in those regions (1869-1877). To finance his campaigns, he persuaded the court to enter the first borrowing from foreign banks.
He also developed the Chinese colonization of this new frontier, transforms his soldiers into laborers, opened arsenals and textile factories. Became Grand Secretary in 1874, he returned to the East as Governor General of Liangjiang in 1881. In 1884 he received the upper hand in military affairs of the Empire with a special mission to defend the maritime Fujian against French attacks.
The geography of China is both marked by natural constraints, an ancient history, a particular political system and a recent opening to the world. China is the third largest country in the world. With over 5000 km of border to border, China has varied landscapes. The eastern half of the country consists of fertile plains, mountains, deserts and steppes. The western half is occupied by depressions, undulating plateaus and massifs, part of the world's highest plateau.
China has over 400 000 historical monuments. On 7 June 2006, the Business Council of State has published the sixth list of historical monuments under the protection of the state. Today, the number of historical monuments under the protection of the State is 2351. According to statistics, in China there are currently more than 7000 historic buildings at the provincial level and 60 000 historical monuments in municipal and district levels. The computer data bank of historical monuments will be built in 2015.