Sikkim State in n India, bounded by Tibet, China (n and ne), Bhutan (se), India (s), and Nepal (w); the capital is Gangtok (1991 pop. 25,024). The terrain is generally mountainous, rising to Mount Kanchenjunga, at 8591m (28,185ft), the world's third-highest peak. The original inhabitants of the area were the Lepcha, but after the 17th century the Rajas of Tibet ruled Sikkim. By 1816 it fell under British influence, and after British withdrawal from India in 1947, Sikkim gained independence. Political unrest led to the country becoming an Indian Protectorate in 1950, and it was made an associate state in 1975. Agriculture is the main source of income, with maize, rice, barley, fruits, tea, and cardamom among the main crops; the tourist industry is growing. Area: 7096sq km (2734sq mi). Pop. (2001) 540,493.
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