Nagato Province (長門国 Nagato no kuni), often called Chōshū (長州), was a province of Japan. It was at the extreme western end of Honshū, in the area that is today Yamaguchi Prefecture. Nagato bordered on Iwami and Suō Provinces.
Although the ancient capital of the province was Shimonoseki, Hagi was the seat of the Chōshū han (fief or domain) during the Edo period. Nagato was ruled by the Mōri clan before and after the Battle of Sekigahara.
In 1871 with the abolition of feudal domains and the establishment of prefectures (Haihan Chiken) after the Meiji Restoration, the provinces of Nagato and Suō were combined to eventually establish Yamaguchi Prefecture. At the same time, the province continued to exist for some purposes. For example, Nagato is explicitly recognized in treaties in 1894 (a) between Japan and the United States and (b) between Japan and the United Kingdom.
Historically, the oligarchy that came into power after the Meiji Restoration of 1868 had a strong representation from the Chōshū province, as Itō Hirobumi, Yamagata Aritomo, and Kido Kōin were from there. Other natives famous for their role in the restoration include Yoshida Shōin, Takasugi Shinsaku, and Kusaka Genzui among others.
The Japanese battleship Nagato was named after this province.
- Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric. (2005). "Nagato" in Japan Encyclopedia, p. 684, p. 684, at Google Books.
- US Department of State. (1906). A digest of international law as embodied in diplomatic discussions, treaties and other international agreements (John Bassett Moore, ed.), Vol. 5, p. 759.
- "Nationwide List of Ichinomiya," p. 3; retrieved 2012-11-20.