Sind or Sindh (sĭnd) [key], province (1998 pop. 29,991,161), c.50,000 sq mi (129,500 sq km), SE Pakistan, roughly coextensive with the lower Indus River valley and bounded by India on the east and south and by the Arabian Sea on the southwest. Karachi is the capital. The province takes its name from the river, which was known as the Sindhu. Despite some hilly and desert areas, it consists mainly of the alluvial plain and delta of the Indus River. Hot and arid, the region depends almost exclusively on irrigation for agriculture. Watered by the great Sukkur and Kotri barrages, it supports wheat, rice, millet, cotton, oilseed, sugarcane, fruits, and some tobacco. There are also sheep and cattle breeding and poultry farming. The great majority of the population engages in agriculture, but Hyderabad is a leading Pakistani industrial center. The region is noted for handicrafts, especially lacquer ware, mirror embroidery, and tile work. Fishing is important in coastal areas. The chief language is Sindhi.

Sind may have been the site of the subcontinent's earliest civilization (see Indus valley civilization). The region was taken (5th cent. B.C.) by Darius I of Persia, invaded (325 B.C.) by Alexander the Great, annexed (c.3d cent. B.C.) by the Maurya empire, overrun (165 B.C.) by the Huns, and ruled (1st-2d cent. A.D.) by the Kushan dynasty. The Arab invaders of Sind in 711 were the first permanent Muslim settlers on the subcontinent; Sind remained under direct or nominal Arab rule until the 11th cent., when it passed to the Muslim Turkic Ghaznavids. Arab religious, social, and cultural influences remain strong. Although briefly incorporated into the Mughal empire by Akbar (who was born in Sind), the region remained for centuries under local Muslim dynasties. Emirs of Sind, who were of Baluch descent, held power in the late 18th and early 19th cent. until Sir Charles Napier, the British general, defeated them in 1843. The British made Karachi the capital and administered Sind as part of the Bombay presidency until 1937, when it became an autonomous province. After Pakistan became independent in 1947, Karachi was made the national capital, and Sind's capital was shifted to Hyderabad. From 1955 to 1970, Sind was part of West Pakistan prov.; it became a separate province again in 1970, with Karachi the capital. Sind became the new home of hundreds of thousands of Muslims displaced by the 1947 partition.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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