Shan States, Southern, 1908

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Shan States, Southern

This article has been extracted from



Note: National, provincial and district boundaries have changed considerably since 1908. Typically, old states, ‘divisions’ and districts have been broken into smaller units, and many tahsils upgraded to districts. Some units have since been renamed. Therefore, this article is being posted mainly for its historical value.

Shan States, Southern, 1908

A group of Native States in Burma, under the charge of a Superintendent, lying between 19 20' and 22 16' N. and 96 13' and ior 9' E., with an area of about 36,000 square miles. They are bounded on the north by the Northern Shan States, from which they are separated for some distance by the Nam Tu or Myitnge river ; on the east by China ; on the south by China, the French Lao territory, Siam, and Karenni ; and on the west by the Kyaukse, Meiktila, and Yamethm Districts of Upper Burma, and the Toungoo District of Lower Burma.

Physical aspects

With the exception of a tract on the western boundary and the eastern half of the Kengtung State towards the China border, the States lie in the drainage area of the Salween, which aspects roughly bisects them, flowing first in a general southerly course, and then south-west into Karenni. The eastern part of the Kengtung State drains into the Mekong, of which the principal tributaries are the Nam Lwi, the Nam Lin, and the Nam Hkok, the last named flowing for the greater part of its course in Chinese territory. The most noteworthy tributaries of the Salween on its eastern side within the limits of the Southern Shan States are the Nam Hka, forming the northern boundary of the trans-Salween areas, and the Nam Hsim farther south. Its western tributaries are of more importance than its eastern, and their courses are all more or less parallel with that of the Salween itself. The Nam Pang rises in South Hsenwi in the Northern Shan States, and waters the north-eastern cib-Salween States, joining the Sal ween in the Kenghkam State after a general southerly course. The Nam Teng rises in the north in Mongkung and flows south into Mongnaij there it bends eastwards till within 13 miles of the Salween, after which it turns south-west, and eventually joins the Salween about 15 miles above the Karenni boundary, after a course of about 250 miles. West of the Nam Teng is the Nam Pawn. This stream has its source in the hills of Laihka and flows southwards into Karenni, emptying itself finally into the Salween after a course of 300 miles.

At about 20 N. it is joined from the west by the Nam Tamhpak, which rises in the small Hopong State and drains the eastern half of the central division, running parallel with the Nam Pawn, at a mean distance of 20 miles to the west of it, West of the Tamhpak again is the Nam Pilu or Balu ckaung, which waters several of the small Myelat States, enters the Inle Lake, and then leaves it in a southerly direction, draining the southern States of the central division. It finally enters Karenni, where it disappears underground, its waters flowing in unknown channels to the Nam Pawn. A portion of the western States belongs to the Irrawaddy drainage. The Nam Tu or Myitnge runs along the northern boundary, receiving the waters of the Nam Lang, with its tributary the Nam Et, from the south, before entering the Irrawaddy valley. The last two rivers water the whole of the extreme north- western area except the south-western portion of Lawksawk, which is drained by the Zawgyi. This stream has its fountain-head in the Myelat, runs north for some distance in the Lawksawk State, then bends abruptly south-west, traversing the north of Maw, and finally leaves the hills in Kyaukse District to join the Irrawaddy. The Paunglaung river rises in the hills that form the boundary between Yamethin and the Myelat, and emerges on the plains in Yamethin District, where it is renamed the Sittang.

The principal hill ranges, like the rivers, run generally north and south. Along the western boundary is a lofty range towering over the plains of Yamethin and Kyaukse Districts, containing the prominent peaks of Sindaung and Myinmati, near Kalaw, and averaging over 5,000 feet. East of this range lies the Menetaung range in Pangtara, a bold block of hills culminating in a peak known a& Ashe-myin-anauk- myin (7,678 feet) ; and east of that again the Loi Sang range divides the valleys of Yawnghwe and the Tamhpak. Farther east, separating the valleys of the Tamhpak and the Nam Pawn, is a long range terminating in the north of Karenni, and rising to over 8,000 feet in two peaks, Loi Mai and Loi Maw. Beyond the Nam Pawn runs a parallel range, twice exceeding 8,000 feet. Eastward of this system are no well-defined continuous hill ranges, the country up to the Salween consisting of a high plateau cut up by valleys; nor do such

ridges exist in the trans-Salween States, though the country is for the most part very rugged, and lofty hill masses are grouped near the frontiers. The Myelat, east of the high range separating it from Burma proper, is characterized by open rolling downs, large tracts of which are almost treeless and rather dry, the average level of the country being at a considerable altitude. Eastwards of the Myelat the scenery changes from tropical to alpine, the main features being the lateral ranges and intervening valleys described above. The first of these tracts of lowland is the well-watered Yawnghwe valley, which displays alternate expanses of park-like savannah forest and well-tilled land, with the great Inle Lake in its centre. Eastwards of this comes the basin of the Tamhpak, where broad plains of irrigated rice land are backed by grassy downs sloping up to the hills ; and beyond this lies the typical highland strath in which the Nam Pawn runs. Thence to the Salween extends a wide plateau, with its rolling prairies well timbered in parts, broken up in places by outcrops of detached hills,, and varied by stretches of picturesque river scenery along the Nam Teng and Nam Pang.

The only large lake in the States is 'the Inle in Yawnghwe, about 12 miles long and 6 broad, draining by the Nam Pilu river into the Salween. Two smaller lakes are situated in the north-east of Mbngnai and in Hsahtung.

Not much is known of the geology of the Southern Shan States, except along the section east and west of Taunggyi, where the rocks have been classified as follows \ The oldest rocks consist of gneisses with veins of syenite and granite, and are exposed only along the western edge of the plateau. Beyond these, limestone is the pre- vailing lock, the lower portion probably corresponding to the Devonian limestone of the Northern Shan States, but it includes also fossiliferous beds of Permian age which are found east of Taunggyi. Purple sand- stones are either faulted or folded in among the limestones, and may represent the Mesozoic sandstones found between Hsipaw and Lashio. Sub-iecent beds of conglomerate sands and loams occupy longitudinal valleys between the ridges of limestone.

Along the western border runs a belt of tarai forest reaching to about 2,000 feet, of which the most conspicuous constituents are bamboos, Dipterocarpus, Dillenia^ and climbers like Spatholobus and Congea tomentosa. From 2,500 to 4,000 feet the hills are clad with vegetation of a different character and composed of much larger trees, comprising such genera as Schima, Saurauja, Turpinia, Dalbergia, Caesalpinia^ Bauhinia^ Terminalia^ Lagerstroemia, Strychnos^ and Quercus. Several arboreous Compositae are also to be found in this

1 C, S. . Middlemiss, Gen&ral Report, Geological Survey of India , 1899-1900, belt. There is a plentiful undergrowth of shrubs and herbaceous plants; and ferns, mosses, and lichens abound. At an altitude of over 4,000 feet the forest gives place to an open rolling plateau of rounded grassy hills, with scattered clumps of oaks and pines, the vegetation being temperate in character. Species of Ranunculus, Clematis , Viola, Poly gala, Hyperkum, Primula, and Swertta abound, as well as representatives of the more tropical genera, such as Les- pedeza, Codonopsis, Ipomaea, and many Lafo'atae 1 . Further particulars about the vegetation of the States will be found under the head of Forests.

The elephant, bison, tsine or hsaing (Bos sondaicus\ and rhinoceros are met with, as well as the tiger, leopard, and other felidae. Sdmbar, swamp deer, hog deer, and barking-deer are common ; bears are widely distributed ; but the wild dog and the jackal are rare, as also is the serow. Hog are found everywhere, and the gibbon and monkeys of various kinds are numerous. Among snakes the Russell's viper is the commonest, while the hamadryad, cobra, and python are all occa- sionally met with. The harrier and kestrel are often seen, and very rarely the Himalayan eagle. The cuckoo is a regular visitor, and a lark (identical with the English bird) is common. The list of water- fowl, both migratory and indigenous, is large, and among the rarer visitors may be mentioned the wood-snipe and woodcock.

Portions of the States, such for instance as the country about the town of Kengtung and several of the tarai areas, are very unhealthy, but on the whole the climate is fairly temperate and salubrious. In the deeper valleys the weather is humid in the rainy season, and very hot during March and April ; on the uplands the heat during the day in those two months is considerable, but there is always an appreciable drop in the temperature at night In December and January frost is quite common, and even in Mawkmai, one of the lowest valleys, the thermometer has been known to fall to freezing-point. The head- quarters station of Taunggyi has an annual mean temperature of 66. The rainfall throughout is moderate, lessening towards the east. In Taunggyi the annual average is about 60 inches, and at Thamakan (Hsatnonghkam) in the Myelat about 38.


It cannot be said with certainty who were the original inhabitants of the Shan States, but it is probable that the Tai (see NORTHERN SHAN STATES) came into a country already occupied by Was, Palaungs, Yins, Taungthus, and Karens. His t r y At any rate Burmese authority was undoubtedly brought to bear on the Southern Shan States long before permanent control was gained over Hsenwi, which was early in the seventeenth century, when the

3 H. Collett and W. B. Hemsley, 'On a Collection of Plants from Upper Buima and the Shan States,* fourndl of the Linman Society ', Botany, vol. xxvhi Mao Shan kingdom came to an end. In the remoter parts Burmese suzerainty was practically without effect in those early days, but in the nearer States it was an active and oppressive reality which slowly crept eastward, despite the influence of China. Wasted by internecine warfare of the most savage description, and by the rapacity of the Bur- mans, the States in time declined in power. The government of Ava fostered feuds both between the States and within them, so as to keep their rulers too weak for resistance. Risings were put down by calling out troops from the surrounding principalities, who were only too ready to ravage the rebellious area ; in fact, some of the States are but now beginning fully to recover from the effects of those troublous days. The chief centre of Burmese administration in the years preceding the annexation of Upper Burma was Mongnai, the capital of the most powerful chief, where an officer with the title of Bohmumintha had his head-quarters. Troops were kept here and at Paikong, in Karenni, opposite Mongpai, the latter for the purpose of watching the Red Karens. Burmese Residents were appointed to the courts of all the States, but their counsels received but scant attention across the Sal- ween. As at present, the Sawbwas administered their own charges, and exercised powers of life and death, and, what was probably more important, collected taxes. There was no check on oppression, though it was always open to the persecuted subject to remove to another State. After the death of king Mindon Min the administration collapsed, as it did over all the outlying parts of the Burmese domi- nions. The first chief to revolt was the Sawbwa of Kengtung across the Salween, who quarrelled with his suzerain over the appointment of a new Sawbwa to the neighbouring State of Kenghung (now in Chinese territory), massacred the Burmese Resident and staff, and burnt Kenghung. King Thibaw was too weak to retaliate, and the powerful chief of Mongnai joined in the revolt, followed by the Saw- bwas of Mongnawng and Lawksawk. These more accessible States, however, on joining the general rebellion, were overrun by the Bur- mese troops, and the three Sawbwas had to take refuge in Kengtung in 1884. Here the first attempt was made at a Shan coalition with the intention of throwing off the Burmese yoke, and it appears probable that only the unexpected annexation of Burma itself by the British prevented the formation of a powerful Shan kingdom. A leader was selected in the Linbin prince, a nephew of king Mindon, who had escaped the wholesale massacre of the royal family by Thlbaw's ser- vants, and who arrived at Kengtung at the very time when the British expedition was being dispatched to Mandalay. The Burmese troops had been withdrawn, and it was a question of forcing on the States, some more or less unwilling, the ruler the allies had chosen. The Linbin faction crossed the Salween early in 1886 ; Mongnai was attacked, and an unfrocked pongyi named Twet Nga Lu, who had been administering the State since the Sawbwa's flight, was driven out the rightful ruler was restored, and the Lawksawk and Mb'ngnawng chiefs regained their dominions. The allies, who were soon joined by the south-western and many of the Myelat States, next set themselves to the task of persuading or compelling the other States to accept the Linbin prince as their leader.

To this end they turned their atten- tion to Kehsi Mansam, Mongkung, and Laihka, which had furnished troops to drive the Mongnai Sawbwa from his kingdom ; the last was ravaged from end to end, and the two former fared nearly as badly. About the same time Mongpan in the south was raided by the Mawk- mai ruler, and the capital was sacked. The Sawbwa of Lawksawk then proceeded to avenge himself on Yawnghwe, to which the former State had been subordinated by the Burmese government when the Sawbwa fled to Kengtung ; but the Sawbwa of Yawnghwe had by this time tendered his allegiance to the British Government, and, with some of the Myelat States behind him, was able to maintain himself against the Linbin confederacy, which had been pressing on him from the north and east. It was not, however, until the arrival of an expedition under Colonel Stedman in 1886 that the investment of Yawnghwe and its Myelat allies ceased. This expedition started from Hlaingdet in Meik- tila District, and encountered some slight opposition from the Lawk- sawk forces ; but beyond this there was no resistance. The submission of Yawnghwe and the Myelat States was obtained without difficulty, and the Superintendent of the Shan States was installed in his charge, a post being established at Fort Stedman on the Inle Lake near Yawnghwe. The submission of these States was followed by that of the south-western States, where there had been trouble with the Red Karens ; and the Superintendent then called on the Sawbwas of Mongnai and Mdngpawn, the most active of the Linbin coalition, to submit to the British Government. They, however, merely withdrew to their territories. Matters were complicated at this stage by the States of Laihka, Mongkung, and Kehsi Mansam, which had suffered at the hands of the Linbin confederacy, and which took the oppor- tunity of making a retaliatory raid on Mongpawn, the Sawbwa of which was the Linbin prince's most influential supporter. The Super- intendent, accordingly, after driving the hostile Sawbwa of Lawksawk out of his State, marched into Mongpawn, and brought about the reconciliation of the chiefs and the submission of the Linbin faction. The prince himself surrendered and was deported; and by June, 1887, all the cis-Salween Shan States had been brought under British rule and were free from disturbance.

The Superintendent in 1887-8 made a tour throughout the States, and received the personal submission of the Sawbwas, settling their relations to the Government and to each other, without a shot being fired. Some trouble was caused by the fSL-fongyt Twet Nga Lu, who in 1888 was able to drive out the Mongnai Sawbwa and establish himself in his capital, but he was eventually shot in the same year. The column which dealt with Twet Nga Lu was called upon to quell disturbances in the Southern Myelat States, which had been brought about by the chief of Yawn- ghwe ; and, after it had settled matters in Mongnai, had to turn its attention to Mawkmai, which had been invaded and reduced^ to vas- salage by Sawlapaw, the chief of Eastern Karenni, or Gantarawadi. Order was re-established in Mawkmai, but in June, 1888, Sawlapaw again attacked the State. He was, however, driven back with very severe loss; and as he refused to surrender, a punitive expedition entered Sawlon, his capital, in 1889 and, on his flight, Sawlawi, his heir, was appointed in his place. Finally, the Kengtung State on the farther side of the Salween submitted in 1890. Considerable diffi- culties arose with Siam about this time concerning certain trans- Salween dependencies of Mawkmai, Mongpan, and Karenni. In 1889-90 an Anglo-Siamese Commission, in which the Siamese govern- ment declined to join at the last moment, partitioned these tracts, and the Siamese garrisons were withdrawn from so much of the country as was found not to belong to Siam. The demarcation of this frontier was finally carried out by a joint Commission in 1892-3. The Anglo- French boundary was settled in 1894-5, when the State of Kengcheng was divided between the two countries, the Mekong forming the boun- dary, and the cis-Mekong portion being added to Kengtung. The boundary of the Kengtung State and China was settled by the Anglo- Chinese Boundary Commission of 1898-9.

The most important pagodas are those at Angteng and Thandaung in Yawnghwe, said to have been built by Dhamma Thawka Min (Asoka) and Anawrata; their annual festivals are largely attended. In the Pangtara State is the Shweonhmin pagoda, a richly gilt shrine in a grotto in the hill-side. The sides and roof of the cave are crowded with statues of Buddha and emblems of the faith. There is a larger attendance at its festival than at any other in the Southern Shan States, except perhaps that of Mongkung. In the Poila State is the Tame pagoda, covered on the upper half with copper plates and much revered. Both the Pangtara and Poila pagodas are said to have been built by Asoka and repaired by Anawrata of Pagan.


The population of the 'Southern Shan States in 1901 was 770,559. Its distribution is given in the table on the next page, which shows P ul t" considerable variation in density of population. The small States of Pangmi and Nawngwawn are as thickly populated as the delta Districts of Lower Burma. With the exception of Yawnghwe, none of the larger Sawbwaships show a high figure, and the average for the States is only about half that for the Province as a whole.

The predominant race are the Shans (see NORTHERN SHAN STATES), who numbered 331,300 in 1901. They inhabit the entire Shan States in varying proportions, forming the greater part of the population of the eastern division, and being the most numerous of the many races inhabiting the Kengtung State across the Salween. In the central division they are not in the majority, the Taimgthus taking their place, and they tend to confine themselves to the valleys, as along the Nam Tamhpak.

In these States and in Loilong they are, however, numerous. In the rest of the Myelat States they are poorly represented. Next in importance from a numerical point of view are the TAUNGTHUS, of whom there were 124,900 in 1901. They abound most in the southern States of the central division, forming the entire hill population there; and they are strongly represented in all but the Northern Myelat States, gathering most thickly on the mountains bordering Burma proper. Considerable numbers of them inhabit the western half of the eastern division, but in the Salween valley and in the north-eastern States they are practically unknown. The DANUS, a race of mixed Burman and Shan origin, and to a large extent speakers of Burmese, numbered 50,900 in 1901. They are the preponderating race in the Northern Myelat States, and are strongly represented in the northern States of the central division. The total in 1901 of the INTHAS (lake-dwellers), who inhabit the valley of the Inle Lake and of the Upper Nam Pilu, was 50,500. The Hkim Shans, numbering 41,500, are practically confined to the Kengtung State beyond the Salween, where too are found the hill-dwelling Kaws or AKHAS (26,000), the Lii Shans (16,200), and the WAS (23,800). The Taungyos (16,500) a hill tribe, who have been hitherto classified with the Taungthus, but who are piobably more closely allied with the Burmans are met with in the centre of the Myelat division; the Karens (18,700) live in the southern States of the central and eastern divisions bordering on KARENNI, and the Muhsbs (15,800) a Tibeto- Burman community who appear to be connected with the Lisaws on the highest hills in the east of the Kengtung State. The PALAUNGS in 1901 numbered 11,800.

They are nowhere thickly distributed, but are spread over all the northern half of the Southern Shan States from Burma proper to the Salween, as well as in parts of Kengtung. The Padaungs (7,800) a Karen community, best known to Europeans by reason of the brass rings with which their women elongate their necks form a large part of the population of Mongpai, a State in the extreme south-western corner, on the Karenni border. Only 12,100 Burmans were enumerated in the States in 1901, although 91,700 persons were returned as ordinarily speaking Burmese. Less important from a numerical point of view are the Riangs or Yins (3,100), a pre-Shan tribe of Mon-Anam extraction, inhabiting the north-eastern cis-Salween States, and very closely allied with the Palaungs ; and the Zayein Karens (4,140) of Loilong, the southernmost State of the Myelat division. There were not quite 1,000 Chinese in 1901, most of whom were born in the States. According to religion, Buddhists in 1901 numbered 696,800, and Animists (mainly trans -Salween non-Shan tribes) 69,900. Comparatively few Musalmans and Hindus are found, Almost the only natives of India are Government servants and fol- lowers. Christians numbered 1,528, of whom 1,483 were natives. The American Baptist Mission has stations at Mo'ngnai, in the eastern division, and at Kengtung. The population dependent upon agricul- ture in 1901 was 524,100, or 68 per cent, of the total; and of this total 262,200 persons, or about half, were dependent almost wholly on taungya (shifting) cultivation.


Cultivation in the Southern Shan States may be grouped under three heads : irrigated crops, ' dry ' field crops, and garden crops. There are no regularly constructed canals ; but advantage is . taken of every stream in the country, and by means of weirs and small distribution channels, or water-wheels where the banks are high, large areas in the valleys are irrigated. Terraced fields also, fed by the waters of mountain brooks, are constructed with great labour wherever the ground allows, and the agricultural conditions are such that in some of the more favoured localities as many as three crops a year are gathered from irrigated land. The 'dry crops,' of which the most important is taungya rice, depend upon the rainfall for the moisture they require. There is nothing peculiar to the Southern Shan States in the methods of taungya cultivation, which have been described in the article on the NORTHERN SHAN STATES. Irrigation in the case of garden cultivation is effected mainly by hand from wells and other sources.

Rice is the staple food-grain ; wheat is also grown, but chiefly for the use of the foreign residents. Potatoes, capsicums, and onions are pro- duced in considerable quantities and exported; and other important crops are maize, millet, beans, sugar-cane, and gram. Cotton is culti- vated over a large area, sesamum and ground-nuts are grown for the oil they produce, and the rhea plant for the sake of its fibre, which is in large demand among the local shoe- and sandal-makers. On the higher ranges the cultivation of thanat trees, the leaves of which are used for cigar-wrappers, is extensive ; and here poppy and indigo are also grown. Cinnamon is found in some of the States. Tobacco is a universal crop, and the Langhkii variety has a wide reputation. The principal garden crops are pineapples, bananas, oranges, limes and citrons, custard-apples, guavas, pomegranates, peaches, and plums ; and English fruits have been tried with success at Taunggyi. In the hotter valleys coco-nut and areca palms flourish. Tea is indigenous, though the leaf is of very poor quality, and coffee has been success- fully grown in Samka and Hsahtung. With the increasing population the area under cultivation is gradually extending, but, except in the Myelat, no reliable statistics of the acreage under crop now and in the past ate available. In the Myelat, exclusive of Loilong, about 40 square miles are cultivated, more than one-third of which is irrigated. The people are timid in regard to experimental cultivation, and in consequence no new varieties have supplanted the indigenous staples.

Cattle-breeding is carried on extensively throughout the States. The Taungthus are born cattle and pony breeders ; and in East Yawnghwe and the States in the Htamhpak valley, where they predominate, the rearing of live-stock is freely carried on. Cows are never milked, the calves being allowed to suckle at will; and the village bulls are per- mitted to roam about with the herds. Cattle are not used for plough- work in the Shan States ; but buffaloes are extensively bred in every State for local agricultural work, and in the States of Kehsi Mansam and Mongnawng for export also. Ponies are bred largely in the States of Mongkung, Kehsi Mansam, Mongnawng, and East Yawnghwe, and to a limited extent generally throughout the States ; but unfortunately sufficient attention is not given to the selection of sires. The result is that the ordinary pony now procurable is a very indifferent animal. In some States the chiefs keep Arab stallions, and there is keen com- petition for their foals. The smaller animals are exported to Chieng- mai, where a diminutive animal is preferred, if showy. Two Persian donkey stallions were at one time placed in various parts of the States, but mule-breeding did not prove popular, and the experiment was dis- continued. An indigenous goat, of a small black variety, is bred in the Kengtung State; but otherwise goat-breeding is in the hands of Indian residents, who confine themselves for the most part to imported varieties. Sheep are not indigenous. Several kinds have been tried, but with little success. It seems probable, however, that a hardy breed from the hills in India would do well.

Grazing is abundant both in the rains and in the dry season. At the beginning of the wet season cattle-diseases (anthrax, rinderpest, surra^ glanders, &c.) are nearly always present in some part of the States. Occasionally the disease is imported along the Government cart-road or by the caravans from China, but much is due to carelessness in the grazing of animals on low-lying and swampy ground. Since the engage- ment of trained veterinary assistants at the cost of the chiefs, the live- stock has been better cared for and the segregation of diseased animals is now practised.

The most important fisheries are in the Inle Lake (Yawnghwe), and on the Nam Pilu which drains that piece of water. These fisheries . are of great value, and yield a considerable revenue to the Yawnghwe Sawbwa. Besides supplying the local bazars, salted and dried fish are exported to all parts of the States from the Yawnghwe fishing area. In the lake a close season is observed during the Buddhist Lent. The spawning-beds are carefully preserved and supplied with food, in the shape of rice, ground-nut, and sesamum paste, &c.


Under native rule the right of the paramount power to the forests in the Shan States was always asserted, and the same principle has been followed since annexation. The right to the timber extracted from their States is reserved to the British Government by the Siwbwas' sanads^ and revenue is paid whether the trees are extracted by the Sawbwas themselves or by private contractors. The distribution of the forests in the Southern Shan States is dependent chiefly on the elevation. The average height of the Shan plateau is probably between 2,000 and 3,000 feet above sea-level ; but the hills frequently exceed 7,000 and sometimes 8,000 feet. The lower-lying streams are fringed by a very narrow belt of evergreen forest. This gives place almost at once, higher up, to a dry deciduous forest, frequently of the indaing type. Teak is limited to this deciduous belt, and is rarely found above 3,000 feet. Con- sequently, as even the minor watersheds generally exceed this elevation, teak occurs only in narrow belts parallel to the streams. Other char- acteristic trees of the deciduous forest are : pyingado (Xylia dolabri- formis)) padauk (Pterocarpus macrocarpus)^ pyinma (Lagerstroemta Flos Reginae), in (Dipterocarpus tuberculatiis\ ingyin (Pentacme siam- exsis), thifya (Shorea obtusa\ and thitsl (Melanorrhoea usitata). At from 2,500 to 3,500 feet the deciduous forest may be associated with pines (Pinus Merkusii). This tree is rare west of the Nam Teng, and never forms pure forest. At 3,500 feet Pinus Khasya begins to appear ; and finally at 4,000 feet the deciduous forest disappears, and its place is taken either by pure forest of Pinus Khasya, or by mixed fore%of broad-leaved species, characterized by oaks, chestnuts, and Schimae. At 6,000 feet the pine or oak forests are generally replaced by a dark-foliaged evergreen forest, containing magnolias, Lauriniae, and rhododendrons.

The forests can best be considered in detail with reference to the drainage basins. These are five in number, all containing teak and other valuable timber. In order of their economic importance they may be ranked as follows : the Salween, the Myitnge (or Nam Tu), the Mekong, the Nam Pawn, and the Paunglang or Sittang. In the Salween basin it is said that Mongnawng once contained teak forests. These have now, however, been completely destroyed by reckless over-working. Only the States in the lower course of the Salween and its tributaries, the Nam Pang and Nam Teng, now possess teak ; and working-plans have been prepared for the forests of Kenghkam, Mongnai, and Mongpan, where the teak area exceeds 300 square miles.

Most of these forests have been over-worked ; and the forests of Mawkmai and of the Mongpu and Monghsat sub-States of Kengtung are too exhausted for exploitation at present, though the teak tracts are extensive. The timber extracted from these forests is floated down the Salween to the Kado forest depot above Moulmein. The teak forests in the Nam Tu drainage area are mostly confined to Lawksawk, from which timber is extracted by way of the Nam Lang and the Nam Tu, to be collected at Ava, where the latter stream, there known as the Myitnge, falls into the Irrawaddy. The working of the forests in Kengtung in the Mekong drainage area has been taken in hand recently, but all the timber from this tract is destined for the French market at Saigon. The Nam Pawn drainage area includes the valleys of the Nam Pilu and Nam Tamhpak. It contains but little teak, and the streams are too full of obstructions to be of use for floating timber. The forests of Loilong on the Paunglaung drainage area have been reported as not worth exploiting, owing to their small value and their remoteness. The minor forest products include lac, turpentine, thitsi> thanat leaves, Boehmeria nivea, rubber, Chinese varnish, and canes. Cutch-bearing tracts are said to be fairly common, but have for the most part been ruined by reckless cutting. Details of the export of lac and thitsl (from the Mdanorrhoea usitata) are given below under Commerce and Trade. Turpentine and Chinese varnish (from the Akuritis cordata) could be exported in large quantities, but as yet little business has been done in either commodity. Rubber has been exported from Kengtung, but the cost of carriage is too great to allow of its being sold at a profit. The Boehmeria nivea is said to be common near the Salween ; it is used locally for the manufacture of strong fishing-lines, and is a very valuable product. The wholesale girdling of unmarketable teak, the careless logging of the timber, and the ruinous taungya system of cultivation have done immeasurable damage to the forests of the Shan States, and the ruin brought about by the last-named cause increases annually. The cutch forests have been nearly destroyed by excessive and thoughtless working. The forest revenue from the Southern Shan States in 1904 was Rs. 87,652, to which Kengtung contributed Rs. 34,000, Mawkmai Rs. 18,524, Mongpan Rs. 17,736, and Mongnai Rs. 15,344.


Coal is found in the State of Laihka and in the Myelat, but in neither locality is it worked. Reports on its value are, however, Minerals favourable. Washings for gold are carried on in the stream-beds at various localities, but nothing in paying quantity has- yet rewarded the washers. Silver, lead, and plumbago are mined in a small way in the Myelat, and iron occurs in some quantity in Laihka and Samka, in the former State giving employment to a number of villages. Copper ore, so far as is known, occurs only in the Myelat. In the trans-Salween sub-State of Mongpan, and in Namtok, saltpetre is collected, and mica (of no marketable size) is gathered on the Nam Teng. A few spinels of very poor quality have been found in Mawkmai and elsewhere, but rubies have not been met with, and neither jade nor amber is known to exist. Fine pottery clay is worked in Mongkung, Yawnghwe, and Samka. Laterite is found everywhere, and limestone has been largely employed in building houses and offices in Taunggyi, and is extensively used for metalling Government roads. Lime-burning is a common occupation among the Shans.

Trade and Communications

Cotton-weaving is carried on in practically every house in the States, and all articles of wearing apparel among the poorer classes are woven on the spot from locally grown cotton. In the neighbourhood of the Inle Lake in the Yawnghwe State silk-weaving is an important industry, the silks having a finish superior to those of the Mandalay looms. Embroidery (or more correctly a species of tapestry work) is practised among the Taungthus and Taungyos, being applied mostly to curtains (kalagas) and women's head-dresses.

In gold and silver-work the local goldsmiths are but little, if at all, behind the artificers of Burma ; but, though deft, they lack individuality, for the designs in use are mainly modelled on Burmese originals. The iron-work made locally is for the most part confined to articles of domestic and agricultural utility, such as ploughshares, hoes, axes, choppers, scissors, tongs, and tripods for cooking pots ; and these are made mainly in Laihka, where iron is smelted, though das of very superior quality are forged in Mongkung and Kehsi Mansam, Very little work is done in brass, wood, or ivory. Pottery is a widespread industry. All vessels for domestic use are manufactured ; and in artistic work the potters of Mongkung, Yawnghwe, and Samka have a wide reputation, the glazed work of Hona (Mongkung) and Kyawk- taing (Yawnghwe) being especially popular.

Mat-weaving is a universal employment during seasons of leisure from agricultural operations, but the products are usually rough. Lacquer-work has its centres in the States of Laihka and Mongnai. In the former the industry gives employment to a large number of families near the capital, but the Shan lacquer-work is generally inferior to that of Pagan. Basket-weaving is fairly well distributed through the country, and umbrellas and hats (kamauks) made of bamboo spathes are produced at various towns. In the State of Kengh- kam the manufacture of Shan paper from the bark of a species of mulberry-tree (Broussonetia papyri/era) has assumed considerable proportions.

The chief centres of trade are at Taunggyi, Monghsawk (Fort Stedman), Panglong (in Laihka), Kehsi Mansam, Langhkii (Mawkmai), Samka, and Hsahtung. Most of the chiefs are large traders, and many of their officials follow suit ; at Panglong and Kehsi Mansam and in the Hsahtung State whole communities are entirely dependent on trade, and engage in agriculture only to a limited extent. A con- siderable portion of the internal trade consists of cart traffic from the plains to Taunggyi and Monghsawk. From the former pack-bullocks carry merchandise eastwards; from the latter it is borne southwards by river to Karenni. Internal trade is still largely in the hands of caravan traders, who employ bullock transport.

External trade is with Burma on the one hand, and with China and Siam on the other. The exports to Burma by all routes in 1903-4 were valued at 47-6 lakhs. The value of the forest produce exported to Moulmein and to Ava down the Salween and Myitnge rivers in that year amounted to 10 lakhs, the greater part being teak timber. Nearly 12,000 head of cattle, valued at 7 lakhs, and more than 1,000 ponies and mules, valued at 2 lakhs, were sent down during the year to Burma. Other exports included lac (valued at 6 lakhs), potatoes (0-4 lakh), and other vegetables and fruits (1-5 lakhs); varnishes, provisions of various Jcinds, Shan paper for umbrellas and ornaments, leathern goods, gums and resins (including thits'i)^ turmeric, silk piece- goods, thanatpet (for cigar-wrappers), sesamum and ground-nut oil, iron implements, and lacquered boxes and bowls. The imports from Burma in the same year were valued at 39-6 lakhs ; the main items were European cotton piece-goods (n lakhs), silk goods (3-9 lakhs), dried fish (r-8 lakhs), betel-nuts (1-7 lakhs), salt (1*3 lakhs), cotton twist and yam (1-9 lakhs), petroleum (i lakh), woollen goods (i lakh), apparel, metal- work, sugar, wheat, and drugs of various kinds in smaller quantities. Most of the trade with Burma, whether carried in carts or on bullocks, goes by the Government cart-road from Taunggyi to Thazi, although the bullock-tracks through the Natteik pass to Myittha in Kyaukse District and through Mongpai to Toungoo are also used. A certain amount of trade passes via the Northern Shan States to Upper Burma, being registered at Mayrnyo. To China and Siam the exports are much the same as to Burma; from China the chief imports are straw hats, copper and iron cooking pots, gold- leaf, fur-lined coats, silk, satin, opium-smoking requisites, sulphur, camphor, drugs and other articles; from Siam they include cutch, raw silk, betel-nuts, and kerosene oil. The China and Siam trade is not registered, and statistics of its volume and value cannot be given. The main route of the Chinese trade is through Kengtung and the Northern Shan States, that of the Siamese trade through Mbngpan.

There are as yet no railways, but a light railway on the 2 feet 6 inch gauge is projected, to connect the main Rangoon-Mandalay line with Taunggyi. A few good roads have been constructed. The principal land highway is the Thazi-Taunggyi road (105 miles in length). This thoroughfare starts from Thazi on the Burma Railway, and the first 41 miles of it are in Burma. It then passes through the Hsamonghkam State for 34 miles, then through the Yawnghwe State for 30 miles, and ends at Taunggyi. It is metalled and bridged for its entire length, and is very largely used by carts and mule and bullock caravans. A count taken at a given point showed that about forty carts passed that point daily. There are ten furnished inspection bungalows at suitable inter- vals along the route. The Sinhe-Fort Stedman branch road (14 miles) is an unmetalled cart-road branching off near the 92nd mile of the Thazi-Taunggyi road, It has good timber bridges and lies entirely in the Yawnghwe State, A furnished inspection bungalow is situated at Mawlikhsat, 3 miles from its junction with the Thazi-Taunggyi road, and another at Fort Stedman, 107 miles from Thazi.

The Taunggyi- Wanpong cart-road (69 miles) forms part of the proposed Taunggyi- Kengtung cart-road. It is unmetalled but bridged, and the first 12 miles will probably be metalled shortly. It passes through the following States: Yawnghwe (io-| miles), Hopong (18^ miles), Mo'ng- pawn (2i| miles), Laihka (9 miles), and Mongnai (9! miles); and five furnished inspection bungalows stand on it. The Wanpong-Takaw cart- road as far as Kyusawk (48 miles) is a continuation of the Taunggyi- Wanpong cart-road towards Kengtung. It is unmetalled but bridged, and has four inspection bungalows. The whole of it is in the Mongnai State. The mule : road from Fort Stedman to Kengtung starts from near the io5th mile of the Sinhe-Fort Stedman branch road, close to Fort Stedman, and 21 miles farther on joins the Taunggyi- Wanpong cart-road near Hopong ; it then leaves the latter highway at Mongpawn and goes 77 miles to Hsaikao and thence to Kengtung. It passes through the following States : Yawnghwe (20^ miles), Hopong (i mile), Mongpawn (6 miles), Mongnai (64 miles), and Kenghkam (7 miles) ; and five inspection bungalows are situated along it. Feeder roads (bridged but not metalled), constructed by the chiefs, connect Lawk- sawk, the States in the Nam Tamhpak valley, Karenni, Laihka, Mo'ng- kiing, Kehsi Mansam, Mongnai, Mongnawng, and Mawkmai with the Government cart-road. Similar tracks travel north and south of the Thazi-Taunggyi road through the Myelat States.

With the exception of the Nam Pilu, none of the rivers of the States is navigable for any great distance, the Salween itself being too much obstructed by rapids. Country boats navigate the Nam Pilu between Loikaw, Fort Stedman (the mart for Karenni), Samka, and Mongpai. There are nine ferries across the Salween, three across the Nam Pang, four across the Nam Teng, and two across the Nam Pawn. The ferries at Hko-ut (on the Nam Teng), Kenghkam (on the Nam Pang), and the Ta Kaw (on the Salween) are on the main road to Kengtung, and are subsidized by Government, The other ferries are kept up by the chiefs, and small tolls are levied.

A daily postal service plies between Thazi, Hsamonghkam, Fort Stedman, and Taunggyi, mule transport being used. Weekly services are maintained between Fort Stedman and Loikaw in Karenni, and between Taunggyi and Loilem, Mongnai, and Kengtung. Letter-boxes are placed at several of the chief places throughout the States and their contents are collected periodically, this subsidiary postal service being maintained by the chiefs.

The rainfall of the States is, on the whole, ample and reliable, the population is sparse, and the soil is not infertile. Thus, except for a scarcity of food-grains in Laihka, in 1889, caused by the ravages of the troops of the Linbin confederacy, when several people died of want of food, there has been no famine in the country within recent years.


The Southern Shan States are administered by a Superintendent and Political officer (a member of the Burma Commission) at Taunggyi, with Assistant Superintendents at Kengtung, in charge

of the Kengtung state ; at Thamakan or Hsamongh- kam, in charge of the Myelat division and Yawnghwe (16 States) ; at Taunggyi, in charge of the central division (9 States); at Loilem, in charge of the eastern division (12 States) ; and at Taunggyi as head- quarters Assistant and treasury officer. A sub-treasury officer and head-quarters magistrate resides at Kengtung. A certain amount of control is exercised by the Superintendent and Political officer over the KARENNI States, which do not form part of British India and are not dealt with in the present article.

Under the supervision of the Superintendent and Political officer and his Assistants, the chiefs known as Sawbwas, Myozas, and Ngwe- gunhmus control their own States, exercising revenue, civil, and crimi- nal jurisdiction therein. There are in all 9 Sawbwas, 18 Myozas, and ii Ngwegunhmus.

The system of criminal and civil justice administration in force throughout the greater part of the Southern Shan States is the same as that obtaining in the NORTHERN SHAN STATES. In the Myelat States the administration of criminal justice more resembles that of Burma proper. The chiefs have all been appointed first or second class magistrates under the Code of Criminal Procedure, and the law in force is practically that of Upper Burma. The administration of civil justice in Taunggyi, and in the stations of Kengtung and Fort Stedman, is vested exclusively in the Superintendent and Assistant Superintendents. The Gambling, Excise, Cattle Trespass, and certain other Acts have been specially extended to the civil station of Taunggyi.

Considering the vast area of the Southern Shan States there is remarkably little crime ; cattle-theft is the most common offence, especially in the northern States of the eastern division and in Western Karenni. The civil courts of the chiefs are freely applied to, succession cases being numerous, and litigation between timber traders is com- mon. Appeals from decisions in the civil courts of the chiefs lie to the Superintendent, and to Assistant Superintendents when so empowered specially by notification.

Budgets for the different States are submitted annually for the sanction of the Superintendent. These budgets show only purely State revenue, and do not include the income from forests in cases where chiefs are the lessees under Government. The principal source of revenue is thathameda. Land tax is collected in many States in kind, the rate varying from State to State, and is a cess on the number of baskets of seed sown. All near relatives of the chiefs are exempted from taxation, as are the majority of the officials, both ministers and circle officers, and the headmen of villages. Many families, mostly resident near the chief towns, hold land free for services performed for the chief, such as tilling the chiefs private lands, acting as seivants in various capacities, liability to be called on to swell the chief's retinue as occasion requires, and to serve as local police or as body-guards. Many such tenures are hereditary.

The chiefs control the excise and opium arrangements in their charges in accordance with the terms of their sanads ; but they are prohibited from permitting opium, spirits, fermented liquor, and other articles liable to customs duties or excise to be sent into Burma from their States, except in accordance with the rules made by the Govern- ment and on payment of the duties prescribed by those rules. Generally the chiefs administer revenue matters according to local rules and customs, which have been modified only to the extent of limiting their power to alienate communal lands and to grant land to persons who are not natives of the Shan States.

In 1903-4 the total revenue raised in the various States, apart from forest revenue credited to the British Government, amounted to 7-9 lakhs, made up as follows: from the Myelat division, i-r lakhs; from the central division (including Yawnghwe), 3-3 lakhs; from the eastern division, 2-4 lakhs; and from Kengtung, i-i lakhs. The tribute to the British Government is fixed for periods of five years. The actual collections in 1903-4 were: from the Myelat division, Rs. 60,500; from the central division (including Yawnghwe), 1-2 lakhs; from the eastern division, i lakh ; and from Kengtung, Rs. 30,000.

The chiefs are responsible for the maintenance of law and order in their States, and the village and circle headmen form the real police of the country, assisted by a few retainers. The civil police force consists of only 70 men, under an Assistant District Superintendent and a head constable. It is recruited locally, and there is no difficulty in obtaining men to serve, for the pay is higher than in Burma. The men are armed with cut-down Sniders, and 14 of them are mounted. Half of the force is stationed at Taunggyi, the rest at Loilem, Thama- kan (Hsamonghkam), Loikaw (in Karenni), and Kengtung. Their duties are to investigate such cases as the Superintendent or his Assistants may direct, and to furnish escorts and patrols. With the preservation of order in the States they are not concerned. A military police battalion has recently been formed for the Southern Shan States, which has displaced the troops that formerly composed the garrisons at Fort Stedman and Kengtung. It consists of ten companies nine and a half companies of Indians (Sikhs, Gurkhas, and Punjabi Musalmans) and half a company of Shans. It is officered by a commandant and five assistant commandants, and is distributed at all the principal stations. There are no jails in the States, only lock-ups at the head- quarters, in which short-term convicts are confined. Long-term pri- soners are sent to the Meiktila jail to serve out their sentences.

Education in the States is backward. Considering the large num- ber of hill tribes, it is not surprising that the proportion of literate persons in 1901 was only 3-6 per cent. (7 males and 3 females). Indigenous teaching does, however, exist. To every village of any size is attached a Buddhist monastery, and there such smattering of letters as the priests can give is imparted. The ordinary peasant is, however, for the most part unlettered ; for the period of novitiate in the monastery rarely exceeds a single Lent, and, except in the more richly endowed pongyi-kyaimgs^ the monks themselves can scarcely be termed literate. Shan is naturally the language taught in the religious schools; but in the Taungthu districts Taungthu is the medium, although it does not possess an alphabet of its own. In the Western States the Burmese characters are adopted, and in the Eastern the Shan. Among the Inthas in the Yawnghwe State Bur- mese alone is taught ; and at all the chief places in the larger States monasteries are managed by pongyis literate in Burmese, who teach that language. Very few details regarding the number of monastic schools are available, but it has been calculated that there were 294 in the Myelat in 1903. Lay schools do not exist except in the haws (palaces) of several of the wealthier chiefs, where the chiefs children and relations receive a rudimentary education.

Schools are maintained in connexion with the American Baptist Mission at Mongnai, where Shan is taught in addition to English. In 1901 a school for the sons of Shan chiefs was opened by Govern- ment at Taunggyi, with a staff of one head master and three assistant- masters. Admission to this institution is confined to sons and relatives of chiefs, their officials, and respectable commoners. At the begin- ning of 1905 the school contained 70 pupils. The education given is Anglo-vernacular (Burmese), and Shan is not taught,

There are hospitals at Taunggyi, Hsamonghkam, Loilem, and Kengtung; and dispensaries at Kuheing in Mongnai, and at Kalaw on the Taunggyi-Thazi road. These contain accommodation for 52 in-patients, of whom 691 were treated in 1903. The out-patients treated during the same year numbered 22,129, and the total of operations was 255. The income of these hospitals, derived (with the exception of Rs. 473 subscribed at Taunggyi and Hsamonghkam) from Provincial funds, amounted to Rs. 11,000.

In 1903-4 the number of persons successfully vaccinated was 6,083, representing 7 per 1,000 of population.

[Sir J. G. Scott, Upper Burma Gazetteer > 5 vols. (Rangoon, 1900-1).]

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