Hainan is the smallest and southernmost province of the People's Republic of China . The name "Hainan" also refers to Hainan Island , the main island of the province. Hainan is located in the South China Sea, separated from Guangdong's Leizhou Peninsula to the north by the shallow and narrow Qiongzhou Strait.
For centuries Hainan was part of Guangdong Province then in 1988 the island became part of the newly created Hainan Province.
There are a total of eight major cities and ten counties in Hainan Province. Haikou on the northern coast of Hainan Island is the capital whilst Sanya is a well-known tourist destination on the south coast. The other major cities are Wenchang, Qionghai, Wanning, Wuzhishan, Dongfang and Danzhou.
Hainan has a tropical moist monsoonal climate. Its annual temperature change is within a range of less than 15 °C (27 °F). The coldest months are January and February when the temperatures drop to 16 to 21 °C (61 to 70 °F); the hottest months are July and August, and the temperatures are 25 to 29 °C (77 to 84 °F). Except for the mountainous regions in the central part of the island, the daily average temperature in Hainan is above 10 °C (50 °F).
Hainan Island first entered written Chinese history in 110 BC, when the Han Dynasty established a military garrison there following the arrival of General Lu Bode. In 46 BC the Han court decided that the conquest was too expensive and abandoned the island. Around that time, Han people together with military personnel and officials began to migrate to Hainan Island from mainland China. Among them were the offspring of those who were banished to Hainan for political reasons. Li people are the original inhabitants of Hainan. They are believed to be the descendants of the ancient Yue tribes of China, who settled on the island between 7 and 27 thousand years ago. The Li people mainly reside in the nine cities and counties in the middle and southern part of Hainan – the cities of Sanya, Wuzhishan and Dongfang, the Li autonomous counties of Baisha, Lingshui, Ledong, Changjiang, and the 'Li and Miao Autonomous Counties of Qiongzhong and Baoting'. Some others live elsewhere on Hainan with other ethnic groups in Danzhou, Wanning, Qionghai, Lingshui and Tunchang.
Under the Yuan Dynasty (1206–1368) the island became an independent province then in 1370 was placed under the administration of Guangdong by the ruling Ming Dynasty. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, large numbers of Han Chinese from Fujian and Guangdong began migrating to Hainan, pushing the Li into the highlands in the southern half of the island. In the eighteenth century, the Li rebelled against the Qing government, which responded by bringing in mercenaries from the Miao people regions of Guizhou. Many of the Miao settled on the island and their descendants live in the western highlands to this day. During the 17th and 18th centuries, explorers referred to the island as "Aynam" which remains the pronunciation of its name in the local Hainanese dialect. In 1906, the Chinese Republican leader Sun Yat-sen proposed that Hainan should become a separate province although this did not happen until 1988
The population of the province is 8 671 518. The Hainanese – 84%, the Li (Hlai) – 14,7%, the Miao – 0,7 %, and the Zhuang – 0,7%.