The territory of the province and its vicinity were the cradle of unique local civilizations, which can be dated back to at least the fifteenth century BC (i.e. the later years of Shang Dynasty). Beginning from the ninth century BC, Shu (today Chengdu) and Ba (today Chongqing City) emerged as cultural and administrative centers where two rival kingdoms were established.
Shu’s existence was unknown until an archaeological discovery in 1986 at a small village named Sanxingdui in Guanghan County. It is believed to be an ancient city of the Shu Kingdom, where excavations have yielded invaluable archaeological information.
Although the Qin Dynasty happened to destroy the civilizations of Shu and Ba, their cultures were preserved and inherited by people in Sichuan until today. The Qin government accelerated the technological and agricultural advancements of Sichuan making it comparable to that of the Huang He (Yellow River) Valley. The Dujiangyan Irrigation System, built in the 3rd century BC under the inspection of Li Bing, was the symbol of modernization of that period.
Various ores were abundant. Adding to its significance, the area was also on the trade route from Huang He Valley to foreign countries of the southwest, especially India.
Military importance matches the commercial and agricultural values. As the area is actually a basin and is surrounded by the Himalayas to the west, the Qinling Range to the north and mountainous areas of Yunnan to the south, its climate is often heavily foggy. Since the Yangtze flows through the basin and thus is upstream to areas of eastern China, navies could be easily sailed downstream. Therefore the area was bases of numerous ambitious militarians and refuges of Chinese governments throughout history.
Sichuan’s borders have remained relatively constant for the past 500 years. This changed in 1997 when the city of Chongqing as well as the surrounding towns of Fuling and Wanxian was formed into the new Chongqing Municipality.
Beichuan Qiang Aut. County(北川羌族自治县)
Mabian Yi Aut. County(马边彝族自治县)
Muli Tibetan Aut. County(木里藏族自治县)
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