Sichuan Province is an important agricultural province in south-central China. Its name is also spelled Szechuan. Chengdu is the province’s capital and largest city. Sichuan is one of the largest and most populous provinces in China.
The Sichuan Basin is in the eastern part of the province. It is one of China’s main agricultural regions. Most of the rest of the province is mountainous. Many of the world’s rare giant pandas live in Sichuan.
Sichuan has deposits of many minerals, including iron ore, natural gas, and titanium. The province’s crops include citrus fruits, rice, sugar cane, and wheat. Many farmers raise cattle and hogs. The province’s spicy style of cooking—called Sichuan, Szechuan, or Szechwan cuisine—has become popular throughout the world.
Early inhabitants of Sichuan included the Shu, who lived in the west, and the Ba, who lived in the east. In 316 B.C., the Qin conquered the Shu and the Ba peoples. In 311 B.C., the Qin began to develop Chengdu as an administrative center. In the following centuries, Sichuan was ruled by various Chinese dynasties (families of rulers). It also was independently ruled at times. During the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), Sichuan became a province.