Islam in China, 9th-20th Centuries


Islam in China, 9th-20th Centuries


This map shows the penetration of Islam in China. Overall, it took two main routes: from the south-east predominantly Arabs and Persians followed the maritime communications to Canton; from the north-west, predominantly Turks and Persians followed the Silk Road. This spread gave birth to the Hui (Chinese-speaking) Muslim community that is today scattered all over China.

Legend indicates:

  • Limit of the Muslim influence
  • Pao-an, solar and Tunghsiang settlements in Kansu
  • Distribution of the Hui around 1980

Main ethnic groups (in different colors):

  • Uighur [Uyghur]
  • Kirghiz
  • Tatar
  • Kazakh
  • Tajik
  • Ozbek

“Total muslim population at about 16 million of whom approximately one half are scattered Hui.”


An Historical Atlas of Islam – Atlas Historique de l’Islam, Second Edition. Edited by Hugh Kennedy, Tuta sub Aegide Pallas 1683,
Brill, Leiden-Boston-Koeln, 2002, page 68.

Cartography by Marc Bel, Peter van der Donck.


© 2002 Koninklijke Brill NV, The Netherlands. All rights reserved.


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