Wade-Giles romanization, Ssu-ch'uan, Pinyin Sichuan sheng (province) in the People's Republic of China, located in the upper Yangtze River valley in the southwestern part of the country. Second largest of China's provinces, it is bordered by the Tibetan Autonomous Region to the west, Tsinghai province to the northwest, the provinces of Kansu and Shensi to the north, Hupeh and Honan to the east, and Kweichow and Yunnan to the south. The provincial capital is Ch'eng-tu. With the exception of the upper Huang Ho valley provinces, Szechwan was the first area of China to be settled by the Chinese. From as early as the Chou dynasty (1122221 BC) up until the Sung and Southern Sung dynasties (AD 9601279), it was administered through various political subdivisions. Szechwan was established as a province during the Ch'ing dynasty (16441911). Not until 1935, after being divided into various types of independent military zones during the troubled early years of the Chinese Republic (19111930), was the province unified under the Nationalist government. During the Sino-Japanese War (193745), the province served as the seat (at Chungking) of the Nationalist government; the Japanese never penetrated the area. Szechwan is bordered on all sides by lofty highlands. In the eastern region of the province an extensive depression, known as either the Szechwan or the Red Basin, and its peripheral highlands dominate. The land slopes toward the centre of the basin from all directions. In western Szechwan the landforms include a plateau in the north and mountains in the south. The climate in the eastern basin is milder than expected, due to its being sheltered from cold polar air masses by the surrounding mountains. The growing season lasts all year. The east is noted for its frequent fogs, many cloudy days, a relative absence of wind, and high relative humidity. In the west, mountains also provide shelter, evidenced by the snowcapped peaks and the mild weather in the valleys below. There is heavy snowfall in the mountains during winter, but precipitation is lower than in the east. Szechwan is one of the most densely populated provinces and has one of the most diversified ranges of ethnic groups in all China. These include the Han, or Chinese; the Yi (Lolo); the Tibetans; the Miao, the Hui (Chinese Muslims); and the Ch'iang. Most of the non-Chinese have remained strongly independent and maintained their traditional way of life. There are three major linguistic groups: the Chinese speak southern Mandarin; the Tibetans and Yi speak Tibeto-Burman; and the Muslims speak southern Mandarin but use Turkish or Arabic in their religious services. The population, which has an average density of over 700 persons per square mile, is unevenly distributed. About 95 percent of the people live in the eastern part of the province. Most of the population is rural, living in hilly regions where farmsteads are scattered through small and irregularly terraced fields and are often surrounded by groves of banyan, cypress, mimosa, palm, or bamboo trees. One of the outstanding features of urban settlement is the concentration of cities on river terraces. There are no fewer than 15 cities, with the most populous located along the Yangtze River from Feng-chieh to I-pin. The flood hazard is always great and many houses are perched on poles and posts. The largest city is Chungking, located in the southeast and considered the most important trading, transportation, industrial, and cultural centre in southwestern China. Other major cities in the province are Ch'eng-tu, the capital; Tzuking; I-pin; Nan-ch'ung; Ya-an; K'ang-ting; and Hsi-ch'ang. Although Szechwan is usually classified as a rice region and leads all of China in the production of rice, corn (maize), and sweet potatoes, it is also a prominent producer of wheat, rapeseed, kaoliang (sorghum), barley, soybeans, millet, and hemp and other fibre crops. Principal cash crops include sugarcane, cotton, tobacco, silk, hemp, and tea. It also leads the nation in total number of cattle and pigs raised. It is the only region in China in which both water buffalo of South China and oxen of North China are found together. Pig bristles from Szechwan are of international repute and have been an important foreign trade item for years. Szechwan is second only to Manchuria as a lumber region. Much of its original forest cover still exists, with a predominance of spruce, fir, and birch trees. Mineral deposits are abundant and varied. The production of brine salt is the most extensive mining activity. Szechwan has become the most industrialized province of southwestern China. The most important industries are iron and copper smelting, the production of machinery and electric power, coal mining, petroleum refining, and the manufacture and processing of chemicals, textiles, and food. For centuries travel into the province has been extremely difficult; it is one of the most urgent problems facing Szechwan, where water transportation is vital. The Yangtze River is the backbone of the system: steamboats of 1,000-ton capacity can negotiate its waters, and smaller steamers travel it and its tributaries throughout the year. Railways are important for the transport of bulky products. Roads are extremely difficult to build and maintain because of the terrain. There is a constant threat of landslides, and the presence of steep slopes and hairpin turns make road construction hazardous and costly. There is air service to many parts of the province. Area 219,700 sq mi (569,000 sq km). Pop. (1983 est.) 100,220,000. Chinese (Wade-Giles) Ssu-ch'uan, (Pinyin) Sichuan, sheng (province) of China. It is located in the Upper Yangtze Valley in the southwestern part of the country. The second largest of the Chinese provinces, it covers an area of 220,100 square miles (570,000 square kilometres). Szechwan is bordered by the provinces of Kansu and Shensi to the north, Hupeh and Hunan to the east, and Kweichow and Yunnan to the south and by the Tibet Autonomous Region to the west and the province of Tsinghai to the northwest. It is the most populous province in China. The name Szechwan means Four Streams and refers to the four main tributaries of the Yangtze River, which flows through the province. The capital, Ch'eng-tu, is located in the centre of the province. From economic, political, geographical, and historical points of view, the heart and nerve centre of Szechwan is in the eastern basin area, commonly known as the Szechwan, or Red, Basin. Its mild and humid climate, fertile soil, and abundant mineral and forestry resources make it one of the most prosperous and economically self-sufficient regions of China. The area has been seen by some as China in a microcosm and is often viewed as a country within a country. The Chinese call the basin Tien Fu Chih Kuo, which literally means Heaven on Earth.
Meaning of SZECHWAN in English
Britannica English vocabulary. Английский словарь Британика. 2012