At 1.162 billion people in 1994, and estimates indicating a population of 1.255 billion people by 2000, China has the largest population in the world. Its history is undeniably long, from its beginnings as small settlements along the banks of the Yangtze and Yellow rivers up through the present rule by Jiang Yemin. The "Historical Dictionary of the People's Republic of China" looks at this country during the period of 1949 through 1997; a period marked by political turbulence and transformation but with substantial progress in economic growth, public health, and social-economic infrastructure. The introduction to the "Dictionary" provides a brief history of the country during this time, which is marked by five distinct periods: economic reconstruction and political consolidation (from 1949-1957), The Great Leap Forward (1958-1965), The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (1966-1971), Late Maoism (1972-1977), and the era of reform and political crisis (from 1978-1996). A chronology, one map and two tables add further detail to the work. With selected bibliography, list of acronyms and abbreviations, and spelling and alphabetization notes.