Ningxia, one of China's five ethnic minorities autonomous regions, was founded in 1958. It covers a total area of 66,400 square kilometers and has a population of 6.32 million.
Ningxia governs 5 prefectural-level cities and 22 counties and cities. Located on the northwest Loess highland, with the Yellow River passing through the region，Ningxia enjoys a convenient irrigation system. Together with ample sunshine，Ningxia is one of China's major agricultural areas. Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, established on October 25th, 1958, is bordered by Inner Mongolia to the north and west, Shaanxi to the east and Gansu to the south. Ningxia is narrow from east to west, and long from north to south with a span of 450 kilometers between the north and south. The topography is high in the south and low in the north and drops like a ladder with an average altitude of above 1,000 meters. The plain area accounts for about 26.8% of the area, while mountainous area, hills and tableland take up 73.2%. Ningxia is located in the temperate zone and has distinct seasons. The region is mostly mountains and plains with little truly fertile land.The Chinese Moslems, the Huis, make up 1/3 of the population of the region.Around 1000 AD, the Tangut kingdom of Western Xia was centered in Ningxia, and often in conflist with the Song, Liao, and Jin dynasties. In 189 years the throne changed hands ten times. Eventually it was overrun by the Mongols and absorbed into the Chinese empire of its day. Marco Polo visited it at around that time.