Province (pop., 2002 est.: 86,730,000), upper Yangtze River (Chang Jiang) valley, southwestern China. It is bordered by Qinghai, Gansu, Shaanxi, Guizhou, and Yunnan provinces, Chongqing municipality, and the Tibet Autonomous Region. It has an area of 188,000 sq mi (487,000 sq km) and encompasses the central depression called the Sichuan (or Red) Basin; its capital is Chengdu. Sichuan is one of China's most densely populated and ethnically diverse provinces. It was among the first areas to be settled by the Chinese (5th century BC). From the Zhou dynasty (1046–256 BC) until the Song dynasty (AD 960–1279), it was administered through various political subdivisions. It was established as a province during the Qing dynasty (1644–1911/12). It is China's leading producer of rice, corn (maize), sweet potatoes, cattle, and pigs. The most industrialized province of southwestern China, it is a centre for coal mining, petroleum refining, and chemical production. Sichuan's spicy cuisine is renowned worldwide.

Variants of SICHUAN

Sichuan or Ssu-ch'uan conventional Szechwan

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