Scinde, Or Sindh Sinde, an administrative division or commissionership of the province of Bombay in British India, bounded N. by Be-loochistan and the Punjaub, E. by Rajpoota-na, S. by the great western Runn of Cutch and the Indian ocean, and W. by the Indian ocean and Beloochistan; area, 54,403 sq. m.; pop. in 1872, 1,730,323. The sea coast, 150 m. in length, is low and swampy, except at its N. extremity, and at high water the shore is overflowed for a considerable distance inland. The interior is a vast and arid plain of sand and shingle, traversed throughout its entire length by the river Indus, with a belt of fertility on each side. Sinde and the Indus bear a striking resemblance to Egypt and the Kile. (See Indus.) The Hala hills extend along the W. frontier, but the most elevated points do not exceed 1,500 ft. above the sea. The E. part of Sinde is to a great extent desert, and covered with shifting sand hills, but affords some pasturage, more particularly for camels. In the north there are extensive tracts of jungle, now utilized as government fuel reserves.
Upper Sinde and Lower Sinde are the respective designations of the northern and southern portions of the division, which comprises politically the collectorates of Kurrachee and Shikarpoor on the W. side of the Indus, the collectorate of Hydrabad and the frontier district of Upper Sinde, bordering the river on the east, the native state of Khyerpoor between them, and the political superintendency of Thur and Parkur in the S. E. corner. The chief towns are Kur-rachee, the seaport of the Indus, Hydrabad, the capital, Sukkur, Shikarpoor, and Larkha-na, all organized municipalities except the first. The climate is hot, subject to sudden and great changes of temperature, and remarkably dry. Its aridity is due to the fact that the S. W. monsoon does not blow over Sinde, where the normal yearly rainfall is less than 15 inches, although the dews are exceedingly heavy. At Hydrabad the mean temperature of the six hottest months is 98°, but in winter frost is not unknown. In December, January, and February, a temperature of 32° F. at dawn is not unfrequently followed by a midday temperature of from 75° to 86° in the shade, at Kurrachee. Upper Sinde is tolerably healthful, and many of the natives attain a great age; but in the lower country, particularly toward the mouth of the Indus, there is much malaria and fever.
Salt is the chief mineral product of the country, and alum, which is used to clarify the water of the Indus for drinking, occurs in considerable quantities. The soil of the delta of the Indus is a light clay mixed with sand, and the whole valley is fertilized by the annual inundation of the river; but away from the streams the surface is for the most part a sandy desert, or consists of vast tracts overspread with acacia-like trees, salvadora, and a leafless caper shrub. The forests of Sinde comprise the babul (acacia Arabica), the tamarisk, and the Euphrates poplar, and border the Indus at various points, having formerly been the favorite hunting grounds of the ameers; they cover an area of 350,000 acres. Irrigation is essential to cultivation, and the canals for that purpose are kept up at great expense, owing to the accumulation of silt. The only perennial canal in the division is above Sukkur, and is 24 m. long; all the others are inundation canals. Cotton is now grown experimentally, and sugar cane and tobacco succeed well, besides rice, wheat, barley, mustard, and the other common crops of such a climate; but the methods of agriculture are inferior and carelessly applied. The zemindari land revenue system prevails, under which the land is cultivated on shares.
The fauna of Sinde is remarkable for number and variety. Tigers and leopards, hyaenas and jackals, buffaloes, hog-deer, antelopes, and wild boars are prominent among the mammals. Among the very numerous species of birds are two eagles, bustards, falcons, partridges, quails, snipe, cormorants, herons, flamingoes, pelicans, and wild ducks of many sorts. ' The fresh waters yield the gavial, a so-called river porpoise which weighs upward of 200 lbs., and many varieties of fish; while pearl oysters are abundant along the coast. The common insects are locusts, ants, mosquitoes, and black flies. - The Sindi-ans are tall, well made, and handsome, and the women are remarkably good-looking. They are made up of mixed races, principally Jats and Beloochees, the proportion of Mohammedans to other sects in the population being as four to one. The people are described as idle, exceedingly immoral, ignorant, and bigoted. Wool raising is an important industry. Some manufactures are carried on in the principal towns, and the people are very ingenious workmen. Coarse silk goods are made from materials imported from Persia and China, and a peculiarly soft and durable leather, several different kinds of cloth, earthenware, and cutlery are manufactured.
The foreign trade in 1872-'3 was worth nearly £1,000,000, comprising exports valued at £657,094, and imports worth £324,250; and the coast trade was valued at £2,640,561. Some traffic is carried on with Cabool through the Bolan pass, but in Lower Sinde there are no regular highways, as the constantly shifting sand renders it difficult to maintain them. A railroad connects Kurrachee and Hydrabad, and the Indus valley line, which is to unite it with the railway system of India, is in process of construction. The government of Sinde is administered by a special commissioner. - Khyerpoor, the only native state in the division, extends 120 m. in length and 70 m. in width, between the Indus on the west and the Raj-poot state of Jessulmeer on the east, and is a great alluvial plain watered by six canals and having an area of 6,109 sq. m. - When Alexander the Great invaded India, Sinde was ruled by Hindoo princes, who had extended their conquests over all the countries lying between the Indus and the Ganges. Little is known of Sinde from that time till about A. D. 715, when it was conquered by a Mohammedan army sent from Bassorah; but these invaders did not long hold it.
It was subsequently governed by a Rajpoot tribe for nearly three centuries, and was then conquered by Mahmoud of Ghuzni, whose successors held it until they were overthrown by the house of Ghore. About 1225 it fell under the dominion of the rulers of Delhi, who held it for upward of a century. They wore succeeded by native princes, and about 1520 the country became subject to Shah Beg Argoon of Can-dahar. In 1592 it was incorporated with the Mogul empire under Akbar, in 1739 with the Persian under Nadir Shah, after whose death it reverted to the former, and in 1756 passed by dowry to the ruler of Cabool, remaining a nominal dependency of Afghanistan, though governed by native princes, till 1786, when a Belooche chief named Moor Futteh Ali obtained supremacy and divided the country into three independent states, each under several rulers known as ameers. Under these chiefs the government was a military despotism, and the relations between them and the English East India company were never very friendly.
About the beginning of the present century the company's agent was violently expelled, and a large amount of property in his custody confiscated. Subsequently several treaties were made; and in 1838, to facilitate the operations of its army in the contemplated Afghan war, the company extorted concessions from the ameers by which Sinde was made virtually one of its dependencies. The disasters of the British in Afghanistan having encouraged the ameers to commit hostile acts. a military force was sent thither under Sir Charles Napier, who, after concluding a treaty with the ameers of Lower Sinde. found himself compelled to take the field; the result was the brilliant victory of Meeanee (Feb. 17, 1843), the rapid conquest of the country, and the establishment of British authority. (See Na-pier, Sir Charles James.) The rajah of Khyerpoor was allowed to retain his possessions, on account of his fidelity to the English. Sinde was constituted a commissionership in 1843.