Schuān Shěng
Abbreviations: 川 or 蜀 (pinyin: Chuān or Shǔ)
Missing image
Sichuan is highlighted on this map

Origin of Name 四 s - four
川 chuān - rivers
literally "four rivers"; see text for further explanation
Administration Type Province
Capital and
Largest City
CPC Sichuan Committee Secretary Zhang Xuezhong
Governor Zhang Zhongwei
Area 485,000 km² (5th)
Population (2002)
 - Density
86,730,000 (3rd)
179/km² (21st)
GDP (2003)
 - per capita
545.6 billion (9th)
6270 (26th)
Major Nationalities (2000) Han - 95%
Yi - 2.6%
Tibetan - 1.5%
Qiang - 0.4%
Prefecture-level divisions 21
County-level divisions 181
Township-level divisions 5144
ISO 3166-2 CN-51

Sichuan (Template:Zh-cpw; non-standard transliteration: Szechwan) is a province in central-western China with its capital at Chengdu.



The territory of the province and its vicinity were the cradle of unique local civilizations, which can 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 cultural and administrative centres where two rival kingdoms were established.

Shu's existence was unknown until a 1986 archaeological discovery at a small village named Sanxingdui (三星堆 Sān Xīng Duī) in Guanghan (廣漢 Guǎng Hn) County. Believed to be an ancient city of the Shu Kingdom, the excavations yielded invaluable archaeological information.

Although the Qin Kingdom destroyed the civilizations of Shu and Ba, the government accelerated the technological and agricultural advancements comparable to that of the Huang He (Yellow River) Valley. The Dujiangyan irrigation system, built in 3rd century BC under the inspection of Li Bing (李冰 Lǐ Bīng), was the symbol of modernization of that period. Composed of a series of dams, it redirected the flow of Min Jiang, a major tributary of 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 is surrounded by the Himalayas to the west, Qinling Range to the north, and mountainous areas of Yunnan to the south, its climate is often heavily foggy. Since Yangtze 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 was the refuge of Chinese governments throughout history. A few independent regimes were founded; the most famous was Shu Han of the Three Kingdoms. The Jin Dynasty first conquered Shu Han on its path of unification. During the Tang Dynasty, it was a front against Tibet. The Southern Song Dynasty established coordinated defense against the Mongolian Yuan Dynasty in Sichuan and Xiangyang, which proved successful as Mongke Khan died of illness in Sichuan.

The line of defence was finally broken through after the first use of firearms in history during the six-years siege of Xiangyang. Foggy climate hindered the accuracy of Japanese bombing of the basin and Chongqing where the capital of Republic of China had moved to during World War II.

Sichuan's borders 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 current immediate administrative divisions of Sichuan consist of 18 prefecture-level cities and 3 autonomous prefectures:


The area lies in the Sichuan basin and is surrounded by the Himalaya to the west, Qinling Range to the north, and mountainous areas of Yunnan to the south. The Yangtze River flows through the basin and thus is upstream to areas of eastern China. The Minjiang River, in central Sichuan is a tributary of the upper Yangtze River, which it joins at Yibin.

The climate is often heavily foggy. Several cities are quite polluted and seldom get sunny days.

Bordering provinces: Chongqing Municipality, Tibetan Autonomous Region, 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.

Sichuan's nominal GDP for 2003 was about 545 billion Yuan (about 66 billion USD) and a per capita of 6270 RMB (757 USD).


The majority of population is Han Chinese, who are found scattered throughout the province. Significant minorities of Tibetans, Yi, Qiang and Naxi reside in the western portion, which used to be part of historic Tibet's Kham region.



UNESCO World Heritage Sites:

Miscellaneous topics

Professional sports teams in Sichuan include:

Colleges and universities

See also

Province-level divisions administered by the People's Republic of China Missing image
Flag of the People's Republic of China

Provinces¹: Anhui | Fujian | Gansu | Guangdong | Guizhou | Hainan | Hebei | Heilongjiang | Henan | Hubei | Hunan | Jiangsu | Jiangxi | Jilin | Liaoning | Qinghai | Shaanxi | Shandong | Shanxi | Sichuan | Yunnan | Zhejiang
Autonomous Regions: Guangxi | Inner Mongolia | Ningxia | Tibet | Xinjiang
Municipalities: Beijing | Chongqing | Shanghai | Tianjin
Special Administrative Regions: Hong Kong | Macau
¹ See also: Political status of Taiwan

es:Sichuan eo:Siĉuano fr:Sichuan ko:쓰촨 성 ja:四川省 fi:Sichuan zh:四川


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