Sikkim, a native state of British India, on the S. slope of the Himalaya range, bounded N. by Thibet, E. by Bhotan, S. by Bengal, and W. by Nepaul, between lat. 27° and 28° 10' N., and Ion. 88° and 89° E.; area, 2,544 sq. m.; pop. about 7,000, principally mountaineers. The surface consists of a series of ranges of the Himalaya mountains, which on the south rise abruptly fr©m the plains to the height of from 6,000 to 10,000 ft., and increase toward the north and northwest, where Kintchinjun-ga, long believed to be the loftiest point on the surface of the globe, attains a height of more than 28,000 ft. above the sea. The mountains are separated by precipitous ravines, nowhere wide enough to form plains. The drainage belongs to the basin of the Ganges, toward which it flows by the Teesta, which rises in Thibet, and pursues a winding course through Sikkim. The mountains are covered with vegetation to the height of 12,000 ft., and at the lower levels it is often very luxuriant. Sikkim abounds in fine timber, producing oak, walnut, chestnut, and cherry at elevations of from 6,000 to 8,000 ft., and saul and sissoo further down. Copper is the chief mineral product.
The soil consists mostly of a rich black mould; and the principal crops are millet, maize, and rice, the last of which has been cultivated to the height of 8,000 ft. above the sea. The aboriginal inhabitants have Mongolian features, and speak a Thibetan dialect. - The Gorkhas conquered Sikkim in 1789, and it becme tributary to them; but during the Nepaul war of 1814 the rajah cooperated with the British, and in 1817, after peace was concluded, his independence was guaranteed, and his dominions were increased by the grant of certain tracts of Nepaulese territory. In 1836 the rajah ceded Darjeeling to the British, for an annual grant of £300, subsequently increased to £600. In 1849 he countenanced some outrages on British subjects, which led to a temporary forfeiture of this allowance, and a further loss of territory. In 1861 he opened his dominions to British trade without restriction, and in 1872 his allowance was increased to £1,200. His capital is Tumloong.