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Autonomous region (pop., 2002 est.: 19,050,000), northwestern China. It is bordered by the Kashmir region, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Mongolia, Gansu and Qinghai provinces, and Tibet. China's largest political unit, it covers some 635,900 sq mi (1,646,900 sq km). The capital is Ürümqi. Inhabited since early times by nomad tribes, it is an area of rugged mountains and desert basins. The Silk Road traversed the region. It came under the control of local leaders with the fall of the Han dynasty in the 3rd century AD and was regained by China in the 7th century. It was successively subject to the Tibetans, Uighurs, and Arabs and was conquered by Genghis Khan in the 13th century. Again under Chinese rule during the Manchu dynasty, it was established as Xinjiang province c. 1884. It came under Chinese communist rule in 1949. It was reconstituted as an autonomous region in 1955. It has mineral resources, heavy industry (including iron and steel works), and some agricultural production.
Variants of XINJIANG
Xinjiang or Hsin-chiang conventional Sinkiang in full Uygur Autonomous Region of Xinjiang
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Xinjiang, visit Britannica.com.