Note: Sichuan is often misspelled as Szechuan. The old spelling system has been abandoned since then, but old habits persist.
Sichuan is a big inland province in southwest China, is located in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River (Yellow River). It covers 570,000 sq km and has a population of 110 million. To the east of Sichuan are the provinces of Guizhou and Yunnan; to the west is the Tibetan Autonomous Region; and to the north are Qinghai, Gansu and Shanxi provinces. Sichuan is inhabited by over 15 different ethnic groups including Han, Yi, Qiang, Miao, Tujia, Hui, Mongolian, lisu, Manchu, Laxi, Buyi, Bai, Dai and Zhuang.
Sichuan is of great importance to the agricultural production of China, and is the biggest producer of grain and livestock in the country. Sichuan is also considered as one of the prime industrial bases of China. It boasts, at present, 39 of the country's total 40 industrial sectors, with its power, metallurgy, mining, chemicals, space technology, aircraft and electronics sectors occupying important positions in the national industrial structure.
The province is known for its spicy cuisine, which is very tasty, as well as its historical significance. The fabled ancient Shang capital of Anyang, dated back to beyond 2000 B.C., was discovered in this province, and it has been the home of many empires over the millenia. Due to its fertile soil from the Yellow River banks, it is acknowledged as the Cradle of Civilization of the Han. Unfortunately, this province is always the hardest hit when the annual floods arrive. Nonetheless, Sichuan is one of China's most productive provinces as well as one of its fastest growing economies.