Three Kingdoms Map Era of Disunity 3. The State of Shu 1046 to 316 BC

The State of Shu was an ancient state in what is now Sichuan, China. Shu was based on the Chengdu Plain, in the western Sichuan basin with some extension northeast to the upper Han River valley. To the east was the Ba tribal confederation. Further east down the Han and Yangtze rivers was the State of Chu. To the north over the Qinling Mountains was the State of Qin. To the west and south were tribal peoples of little military power. This independent Shu state was conquered by the state of Qin in 316 BC, but in subsequent periods in Chinese history the Sichuan area continued to be referred to as Shu. Recent archaeological discoveries at Sanxingdui and Jinsha suggested to be sites of Shu culture indicate the presence of a unique civilization in this region before the Qin conquest.

Before 316 BC the Sichuan Basin was isolated from what was then China, which was centered in the Yellow River basin to the northeast. The discovery of Sanxingdui in 1987 was a major surprise since it indicated a major semi-Chinese culture that was previously unknown. Circa 2050-1250 BC the site of Sanxingdui 40 km north of Chengdu appears to have been the center of a fairly extensive kingdom. Objects found in two treasure pits are in a style distinct from the 'Chinese' style from further north. This culture is suggested by many archaeologists to be that of the Shu kingdom.

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