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State (pop., 2008 est.: 594,000), northeastern India. In the eastern Himalayas, Kanchenjunga, the third highest peak in the world, forms part of its western border with Nepal. It is also bordered by the Tibet Autonomous Region of China, Bhutan, and West Bengal state and has an area of 2,740 sq mi (7,096 sq km); the capital, Gangtok, is the state's largest settlement. As an independent country, it fought prolonged wars in the 18th and 19th centuries with Bhutan and Nepal. It first came under British influence in 1817, though it remained a semiautonomous princely state between British India and Tibet. It became an Indian protectorate in 1950 and, in 1975, a state of India. It is one of India's smallest states. It exports agricultural products and is one of the world's main producers of cardamom. Its mineral resources include copper, lead, zinc, coal, and iron ore.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Sikkim, visit Britannica.com.