Sichuan (Szechuan) Province

 

The Sichuan Province is located in the southwest of China and is a thriving cultural and industrial region. Home to over 80 million Chinese, Sichuan represents China’s 4th largest province in terms of population and 5th largest in size. The province’s capital, Chengdu is one of China’s premiere economic and industrial centers.

Brief History

During the Qin Dynasty, Sichuan was the first area to be unified due to the importance of food and resources in the Sichuan basin. The basin became the starting point for the Qin emperor’s conquest to unite all of China. 

The Tang and Song Dynasties represented the next major time of prominence in the Sichuan basin. Sichuan culture began to flourish during this era as evidenced by rapid growth of trade and the carving of the giant Le Shan Buddha. Sichuan also became China’s center of key resources during this period as food, porcelain, and paper money was exported to the rest of the country.

The giant Le Shan Buddha

Post-Mongol rule, the province experienced turmoil with rebellions and massacres of scholars and officials. Up to 90% of the Sichuan basin’s population was exterminated at this time. It wasn’t until the Qing Dynasty that order was restored in the area. Slowly, Sichuan regained cultural relevance thanks to an influx of diverse foreigners who brought new languages, cuisine, and religious influence. By 1926, however, many foreigners were ousted due to an anti-Christian sentiment experienced throughout the entire nation.

Geography

Sichuan has two very distinct geographic segments. In the East, the province is mostly covered by fertile farming land known as the Sichuan basin. Western Sichuan hosts numerous mountain ranges, which form the eastern part of the Tibetan Plateau. The mountains indicate the presence of plate tectonics that run through the center of the province, creating the Longmen Shan fault. This fault was the cause of a devastating earthquake in 2008, which killed nearly 70,000 people.

Urban centers were devastated by the 2008 earthquake


Economy

Sichuan has been known historically for its abundance of agricultural production. Because of the fertile Sichuan basin, the province boasts very high output of rice and wheat. Sichuan is China’s largest producer of pork and second largest producer of silk. Agriculture accounted for a large portion of the province’s $340B 2011 GDP, but industry is quickly becoming Sichuan’s most notable job creator.

Chengdu and Mianyang are the two major industrial centers of the Sichuan province and specialize in textile manufacturing. Investors have given rise to coal, iron, steel, and energy industries in the area, and with China’s largest natural gas reserves, Sichuan high-capital ventures are expected to continue to trend upwards.

Cuisine

The local food is a point of pride for the Sichuan people. Hot peppers and spiciness are an integral part of the Sichuanese diet. Dishes are usually abundant with flavor to represent the abundance of agricultural capabilities within the province. The most popular meals include cooked pork with chili sauce and shredded pork with chili sauce and fish flavor.

Hot peppers are a significant part of most dishes

Sichuan food emphasizes variety

Sources

http://www.china.org.cn/english/imperial/26133.htm

http://www.gochengdoo.com/en/blog/item/1739/sichuan_history_a_brief_overview

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sichuan

This entry was posted in Topic Briefs on China, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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