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Zhou may refer to:

Zhou (country subdivision)

Zhou (州) were historical political divisions of China. Formally established during the Han Dynasty, zhou continued to exist until the establishment of the Republic of China—a period of over 2000 years. Zhou were also previously used in Korea ( Korean: , ju), Vietnam ( Vietnamese: ), and .

Zhou is typically rendered by several terms in the English language:

  • The large zhou before the Tang Dynasty and in countries other than China are called "provinces"
  • The smaller zhou during and after the Tang Dynasty are called "prefectures"
  • The zhou of the Qing Dynasty are also called either "independent" or "dependent departments", depending on their level.

The Tang Dynasty also established (, "prefectures"), zhou of special importance such as capitals and other major cities. By the Ming and Qing, became predominant divisions within Chinese provinces. The word was typically attached to the name of each prefecture's capital city, thus both Chinese and Western maps and geographical works would often call the respective cities Hangzhou-fu, Wenzhou-fu, Wuchang-fu, etc.

Following the Meiji Restoration, fu was also used in Japanese for the urban prefectures of the most important cities; today, it is still used in the Japanese names for the Osaka and Kyoto Prefectures.

In modern China, zhou today exists only in the designation " autonomous prefecture" (, zìzhìzhōu), administrative areas for China's designated minorities. However, zhou have left a huge mark on the place names of China, including the province of Guizhou and the major cities of Guangzhou, Fuzhou, Hangzhou, Lanzhou, and Suzhou, among many others. Likewise, although modern Korean, Vietnamese, and Japanese provinces are no longer designated by zhou cognates, the older terms survive in various place names, notably the Japanese islands of Honshu and Kyushu, the Korean province Jeju-do, and Lai Châu in Vietnam.

Zhou (surname)

Zhōu is the Hanyu Pinyin transliteration of the Chinese family name 周, which now ranks as the 10th most common surname in Mainland China, and 71st in South Korea. It has been one of the ten most common surnames in China since the Yuan Dynasty.

In places which use the Wade-Giles romanization such as Taiwan, Zhou is usually spelled as "Chou" (ㄓㄡ), and it may also be spelled "Chiau", "Chau", "Chao", "Chew", "Chow", "Chou", "Cho", "Chu", "Jhou", "Joe", "Jou", "Jue", or "Jow". Zhōu can also stand for another, rare Chinese family name, 洲.

The Korean equivalent is "Joo" or "Ju". In addition, the Vietnamese equivalent is "Châu" or "Chu".

Zhou (Zhang Shicheng's kingdom)

Kingdom of Great or Greater Zhou ( Chinese: 大周, pinyin: Dà Zhōu; 1354–1367), was a state established in 1354 by Zhang Shicheng, one of the leaders of the Red Turban Rebellion. The Kingdom of Dazhou lasted for only 13 years and had only one King.