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(; [Postal map spelling] : Hupeh ) is a central [province] of the [People's Republic of China] . Its abbreviation is 鄂 ( [pinyin] : È), an ancient name associated with the eastern part of the province since the [Qin Dynasty] . The name Hubei means "north of the lake", referring to Hubei's position north of [Lake Dongting] . The capital of Hubei is [Wuhan] .

Hubei borders [Henan] to the north, [Anhui] to the east, [Jiangxi] to the southeast, [Hunan] to the south, [Chongqing] to the west, and [Shaanxi] to the northwest. The high-profile [Three Gorges Dam] is located in [Yichang] , in western Hubei.

A popular unofficial name for Hubei is Chu ,, after the powerful [state of Chu] that existed here during the [Eastern Zhou Dynasty] .

By the [Spring and Autumn Period] (770 BC - 476 BC), Hubei was home to the powerful [state of Chu] . Chu was nominally a tributary state of the [Zhou Dynasty] , and it was itself an extension of the Chinese civilization that had emerged some centuries before in the north; but it was also culturally unique, and was a powerful state that held onto much of the middle and lower [Yangtze River] , with power extending northwards into the [North China Plain] .

Detail of an embroidered silk gauze ritual garment from a 4th century BC, Zhou era tomb at Mashan, Hubei province, China.

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