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[four rivers], province (2010 pop. 80,418,200), c.220,000 sq mi (569,800 sq km), SW China. The capital is Chengdu. A naturally isolated region surrounded by mountains, Sichuan is accessible to the rest of China by the Chang River, which flows
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a province in Southwest China, in the basin of the middle Yangtze River. Most of Szechwan Province is within the Szechwan Basin (also called the Red Basin), with the Sino-Tibetan mountains in the western half. Area, 569,000 sq km. Population, 67,960,000 (1970). The capital is Chengtu.
Szechwan is divided into 13 districts, three autonomous national areas, and nine cities under provincial and district jurisdiction, of which four are capitals of corresponding urban territories. The most important cities are Chungking, Chengtu, Tzekung, Luchou, Wutungchiao, Neichiang, Ipin, Nanchung, and Wanhsien.
Economy. The economy is based on agriculture using age-old farming techniques. The relatively isolated location of the province makes connections with the country’s large centers difficult. About 14 percent of Szechwan is cropland, chiefly in the east. Food crops are planted on 83 percent of this land, and industrial crops, on 10 percent. Irrigated rice is the main crop, accounting for one-third of all cropland. South of 31°N lat. there are two rice harvests a year. Other crops grown are corn, wheat, kaoliang (sorghum), barley, legumes, and sweet potatoes.
A number of the agricultural products grown in Szechwan are distributed nationwide; these include tung nuts (in the mountainous eastern part of the province), rape (Chengtu Plain), sugarcane (To River basin), citrus fruits (Yangtze and To river valleys), tea (on the slopes of the mountains surrounding the Szechwan Basin), cotton (middle courses of the Fu and To rivers), and tobacco (Chengtu Plain). Silkworms are also raised, as well as cattle, primarily as draft animals, and hogs and poultry. Szechwan is China’s leading province in the yield of rice, sweet potatoes, rape, and tung nuts and in the number of hogs, poultry, and working livestock.
Minerals extracted in Szechwan include coal (Chungking region), iron ore (Ch’ichiang), salt (Tzekung), phosphates (Leshan), asbestos (Shihmien), petroleum (Nanchung), and gas (Lungch’ang, Chungking, and Tsekung). Handicrafts are produced, and the province has enterprises of the ferrousmetallurgy, machine-building, chemical, textile, lumber, and food-processing industries. Most of the industry is concentrated in a triangular region whose perimeter is marked by the cities of Chungking, Chengtu, and Ipin. There is a hydroelectric power plant on the Lunghsi Ho. The Yangtze and its tributaries are navigable.
K. N. CHERNOZHUKOV
Historical survey. In ancient times Szechwan was settled by Miao and Tibeto-Burmese tribes (Ch’iangs). Settlement by Chinese began in the first millennium B.C. In 316 B.C., Szechwan was conquered by the Chinese Ch’in empire. Peasant uprisings led by Wang Hsiaopo and Li Shun took place in the tenth century.
Szechwan was established as a province in the late 13th century. During the peasant war of 1628–45 a large group of rebels led by Chang Hsienchung operated in Szechwan, as did detachments of rebelling peasants led by the White Lotus Buddhist sect in 1796–1805. A large group of Taiping forces led by Shih Ta-k’ai entered Szechwan in 1863. Armed uprisings by the population against the Manchu (Ch’ing) government took place in Chengtu and other localities in Szechwan in September 1911.
Bases for the support of the Soviet movement and Chinese Red Army were established in several regions of Szechwan in 1933–34. During the war against Japan (1937–45), Szechwan was one of the key rear bases of the Kuomintang government; beginning in late 1938, Chungking was the government’s temporary residence. The People’s Liberation Army of China liberated Szechwan from Kuomintang control in late 1949. In 1955 the former province of Sikang, except for Chamdo District, was annexed to Szechwan.
V. P. ILIUSHECHKIN