Hainan is the smallest province of the People's Republic of China (PRC). 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 Island was part of Guangdong Province, but in 1988 this resource-rich tropical island became part of the newly created Hainan Province .
The province has an area of 33,920 square kilometres (13,100 sq mi) and is China's southernmost province. Although it comprises some two hundred islands scattered among three archipelagos off the southern coast, 32,900 square kilometres (12,700 sq mi) (97%) of its land mass is Hainan Island, from which the province takes its name. The PRC government claims territories of the province extend to the southern Spratly Islands, Paracel Islands, and other disputed marine territory.
Hainan Province is the largest Special Economic Zone laid out by Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping in the late 1980s.
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