Encyclopedia > Sichuan

  Article Content


Sichuan (四川, pinyin si4 chuan1, previously spelled Szechuan or Szechwan) is a province in central-western China with its capital at Chengdu.

Sichuan Sheng
Province Abbreviation(s): 川 chuan1 or 蜀 shu3
Capital Chengdu
 - Total
 - % water
Ranked 5th
480,000 km²
 - Total (as of year 2000)
 - Density
Ranked 4th
Administration Type Province

Table of contents


The territory of the province and its vicinity were the cradle of unique local civilizations, which could be dated to at least 15th century BC (i.e. later years of Shang Dynasty). Beginning from 9th century BC, Shu[?] (today Chengdu) and Ba (today Chongqing City) emerged as the cultural and administrative centres where two rival kingdoms were established. Their distinctive cultures were doubted until the discovery at a small village named Sanxingdui[?] (三星堆 san1 xing1 dui1) at Guanghan (廣漢 guang3 han4) County in 1986. Believed to be an ancient city of the Shu Kingdom, excavations yielded invaluable archaeological information which was destroyed by Qin's conquest.

Although the Qin Kingdom destroyed the civilizations of Shu and Ba, the government accelerated the technological and agricultural advancements comparable to that of the Huanghe Valley. Dujiangyan (都江堰 du1 jiang2 yan4), irrigation system built in 3rd century BC under the inspection of Li Bing (李冰 li3 bing1) was the symbol of modernization of that period. Composed of a series of dams, it redirected the flow of Chang Jiang (The Yangtze River) to fields and relieved the damage of seasonal floods. The construction and various other projects greatly increased the harvest of the area which thus became the main source of provision and men for Qin's unification of China.

Various ores especially iron were abundant. Adding to its significance, the area was also on the trade route from Huang He Valley to foreign countries of the southwest, especially India.

Military importance matches the commercial and agricultural values. As the area is actually a basin and surrounded by the Himalayas to the west, Qinling Range to the north and mountainous areas of Yunnan to the south, climate is often heavily foggy. Since Chang Jiang flows through the basin and thus is upstream to areas of eastern China, whoever controlled the area could easily sail navies downstream. Therefore the area was always the base of numerous ambitious militarians and refuge of Chinese governments throughout history. A few independent regimes were founded; the most famous was Shu Han of the Three Kingdoms. Jin Dynasty first conquered Shu Han on its path of unification. During Tang Dynasty, it was a front against Tibet. The Southern Song Dynasty eastablished a joint system of defense with Xiangyang against the Mongolian Yuan, which proved successful as Mongke Khan died of illness in Sichuan. The line of defence was finally broken through after the first use of firearm in history during the six years siege of Xiangyang. Foggy climate hindered the acuuracy of Japanese bombing of the basin and Chongqing where the capital of Republic of China had moved to during World War II.

Sichuan's border have remained relatively constant for the past 500 years. This changed in 1997 when the city of Chongqing as well as the surrounding towns of Fuling[?] and Wanxian[?] were formed into the new Chongqing Municipality. The new municipality was formed to spearhead China's effort to develop its western regions as well as to coordinate the resettlement of refugees from the Three Gorges Dam project.


The area is actually a basin and is surrounded by the Himalayas to the west, Qinling Range to the north and mountainous areas of Yunnan to the south. Chang Jiang flows through the basin and thus is upstream to areas of eastern China.

Climate is often heavily foggy.

Bordering provinces: Chongqing Municipality, Tibet, Qinghai, Gansu, Shaanxi, Guizhou and Yunnan.


The Three Gorges Dam, the largest dam ever constructed, is being built on the Yangtze River in nearby Hubei province to control flooding in the Sichuan Basin, neighboring Yunnan province, and downstream. The plan is hailed by some as a Chinese effort to shift towards alternate energy sources and to further develop its industrial and commercial bases but others have criticised it for its potential harmful effects, such as massive resettlement of refugees, loss of archeological sites, and ecological damage.




UNESCO World Heritage Sites:

Miscellaneous topics

External links

All Wikipedia text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

  Search Encyclopedia

Search over one million articles, find something about almost anything!
  Featured Article
Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

... rights perspective to these documents than had been enshrined in the British Bill of Rights or the United States Bill of Rights. It is because of this similarity with ...

This page was created in 27.7 ms