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Southwest China () is a region in the south of the
People's Republic of China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies by population, most populous country, with a Population of China, population of more than 1.4 billion ...

People's Republic of China
, traditionally known as Southwest China due to its location in relation to historical
China proper China proper, Inner China or the Eighteen Provinces was a term used by Western writers on the Manchu people, Manchu-led Qing dynasty to express a distinction between the core and frontier regions of China. There is no fixed extent for China pr ...

China proper
. The narrowest concept of Southwest China consists of
Sichuan Sichuan (; , ; alternatively romanized as Szechuan or Szechwan) is a landlocked province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administr ...

Sichuan
,
Chongqing Chongqing ( Sichuanese pronunciation: , Standard Mandarin Standard Chinese, in linguistics known as Standard Northern Mandarin, Standard Beijing Mandarin or simply Mandarin, is a Mandarin Chinese#Subgrouping, dialect of Mandarin that em ...
,
Yunnan Yunnan () is a landlocked Provinces of China, province in Southwest China, the southwest of the People's Republic of China. The province spans approximately and has a population of 48.3 million (as of 2018). The capital of the province is Kun ...

Yunnan
, and
Guizhou Guizhou (; alternately Kweichow) is a landlocked province A province is almost always an administrative division within a country or state. The term derives from the ancient Roman '' provincia'', which was the major territorial and adminis ...

Guizhou
, while wider definitions often include
Guangxi Guangxi (; Chinese postal romanization, alternately romanized as Kwanghsi; ; za, Gvangjsih), officially the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region (GZAR), is an Autonomous regions of China, autonomous region of the People's Republic of China, loca ...

Guangxi
and western portions of
Hunan Hunan () is a landlocked province A province is almost always an administrative division within a country or state. The term derives from the ancient Roman '' provincia'', which was the major territorial and administrative unit of the Roma ...

Hunan
. The official government definition of Southwest China includes the core provinces of Sichuan, Chongqing, Yunnan, and Guizhou, in addition to the
Tibet Autonomous Region The Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) or Xizang Autonomous Region, called Tibet or Xizang for short, is a province A province is almost always an administrative division within a country or state. The term derives from the ancient Roman '' pr ...
which has not traditionally been included as part of the region.


Geography

Southwest China is a rugged and mountainous region, transitioning between the
Tibetan Plateau The Tibetan Plateau (), also known in China as the Qinghai–Tibet Plateau or the Qing–Zang Plateau () or as the Himalayan Plateau in India, is a vast elevated plateau in South Asia, Central Asia and East Asia, covering most of the Tibet Auton ...
to the west and the Chinese coastal hills (东南丘陵) and plains to the east. Key geographic features in the region include the
Hengduan Mountains The Hengduan Mountains () are a group of mountain ranges in southwest China, southwest China that connect the southeast portions of the Tibetan Plateau with the Yunnan–Guizhou Plateau. The Hengduan Mountains are primarily large north-south mo ...
in the west, the Sichuan Basin in the northeast, and the
karst Karst is a topography formed from the dissolution of soluble rocks such as limestone Limestone is a common type of carbonate rock, carbonate sedimentary rock. It is composed mostly of the minerals calcite and aragonite, which are differe ...

karst
ic Yungui Plateau in the east. The majority of the region is drained by the
Yangtze River The Yangtze or Yangzi ( or ) is the longest river in Asia, the third-longest in the world and the longest in the world to flow entirely within one country. It rises at Jari Hill in the Tanggula Mountains (Tibetan Plateau) and flows in a ...
which forms the
Three Gorges The Three Gorges () are three adjacent gorges along the middle reaches of the Yangtze River, in the hinterland of the People's Republic of China. With a subtropical monsoon climate, they are known for their scenery. The "Three Gorges Scenic Ar ...
in the northeast of the region.


History

Portions of Southwest China were incorporated under Chinese influence as early as the 3nd century BCE in the Qin dynasty. Independent states would continue to exert influence within the region, with notable examples being the
Nanzhao Kingdom Nanzhao, also spelled Nanchao or Nan Chao (literally 'Southern Zhao'), was a dynastic kingdom that flourished in what is now southern China Northern China () and Southern China () are two approximate mega-regions within China China ...
in the 8th and 9th centuries CE and the
Dali Kingdom The Dali Kingdom, also known as the Dali State (; Bai language, Bai: Dablit Guaif), was a kingdom situated in modern Yunnan province, China from 937 until 1382. In 1253, it was Mongol conquest of China, conquered by the Mongols but its kings cont ...
in 10th and 11th centuries CE. By the time of the
Ming Dynasty The Ming dynasty (), officially the Great Ming, was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644 following the collapse of the Mongol The Mongols ( mn, Монголчууд, , ''Mongolchuud'', ; ) are an East Asian ethnic group nativ ...

Ming Dynasty
the region was largely pacified and incorporated into the Chinese domain. During the
Second Sino-Japanese War The Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945) was a military conflict that was primarily waged between the Republic of China (1912–1949), Republic of China and the Empire of Japan. The war made up the Chinese theater of the wider Pacific War, Paci ...
, the city of
Chongqing Chongqing ( Sichuanese pronunciation: , Standard Mandarin Standard Chinese, in linguistics known as Standard Northern Mandarin, Standard Beijing Mandarin or simply Mandarin, is a Mandarin Chinese#Subgrouping, dialect of Mandarin that em ...
served as the capital of Chinese resistance to imperial Japanese expansion.


Demographics

The diverse areas of Southwest China carry strong regional identities and have been historically considered more rural than the more developed eastern regions of China. Rapid development since the late 1970s has helped transform many parts of the region with modern advancements. In the early 21st century, Southwest China contained 50% of the country's ethnic minority population which in turn formed 37% of the region's population.
Han Chinese The Han Chinese,
. Huayuqiao.org. Retrieved on 2013-04-26.
Hanzu, or Han peopleZhuangZhuang may refer to: *Zhuang people (or Bouxcuengh people), ethnic group in China *Zhuang languages *Zhuang logogram *Zhuang Zhou, ancient Chinese philosopher *Zhuang (surname) (庄/莊), a Chinese surname {{disambiguation Language and nationality ...
,
MiaoMiao may refer to: * Miao people, linguistically and culturally related group of people, recognized as such by the government of the People's Republic of China * Miao script or Pollard script, writing system used for Miao languages * Miao (Unicode b ...
, Yi, and others. Inhabitants of Southwest China primarily speak a variant of
Mandarin Chinese Mandarin (; ) is a group of Sinitic languages, Sinitic (Chinese) languages natively spoken across most of northern and southwestern China. The group includes the Beijing dialect, the basis of the phonology of Standard Chinese. Because Mandarin ...
known as
Southwestern Mandarin Southwestern Mandarin (), also known as Upper Yangtze Mandarin (), is a Mandarin Chinese language spoken in much of Southwest China, including in Sichuan, Yunnan Yunnan () is a landlocked Provinces of China, province in Southwest China, the ...
. This variant uses the same written language as Mandarin but is only approximately 50%
mutually intelligible In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional areas of linguistic analysis include p ...
with
Standard Chinese Standard Chinese, in linguistics known as Standard Northern Mandarin, Standard Beijing Mandarin or simply Mandarin, is a dialect of Mandarin that emerged as the lingua franca among the speakers of various Mandarin and other varieties of Chi ...
. As of 2012, there were approximately 260 million speakers of Southwestern Mandarin.


Administrative divisions


Cities with urban area over one million in population

; Notes


References

{{Authority control * *
Regions of China {{Cat main, List of regions of China Geography of China Administrative divisions of China Regions of Asia by country, China ...
South China Western China