This article has been extracted from
THE IMPERIAL GAZETTEER OF INDIA , 1908.
OXFORD, AT THE CLARENDON PRESS.
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.
One of the Northern Shan States, Burma, lying between 22 degree 40’ and 23 degree 12' N. and 96° 52' and 97° 28' E., with an area of 778 square miles. It is bounded on the north by Mongmit, on the east by North Hsenwi, and on the south and west by Hsipaw. The State forms a small compact mass of hills with a deeply indented boundary. The Nam Tu river runs through it from north to south, cutting off from the rest a strip on the eastern side, about 10 miles broad and 30 long. This part is fairly level and undulating ; west of the Nam Tu the country is a maze of hill ridges, only the valleys in the south-west having sufficient level ground for lowland rice cultivation. The principal industry of the State is the production and manufacture of tea (see Northern Shan States). Le rice is cultivated in the Mongngaw valley in the south-west of the State, but elsewhere what rice is grown is practically all faimgya. Of the history of Tawngpeng little is known, and such chronicles as exist are almost wholly legendary. Two successive Sawbwas, Hkun Hsa and Hkun Kyan, rebelled against king Mindon, and both paid for their indiscretion with their lives. The next Sawbwa was murdered by a rival, Kwan Kon, who remained on good terms with Mandalay, but was succeeded by Hkam Mong, a weak-minded ruler, who refused to meet the British in 1887, and was deposed. His son. Ton Mong, was put in his place by the Government in 1888. He died in 1897, and was succeeded by the present Sawbwa. The population in 1901 was 22,681, distributed in 274 villages. The majority of the inhabitants are Palaungs, to which race the Sawbwa belongs. They inhabit the hills west of the Nam Tu, and their total in 1901 was about 16,000. The Shan population is confined for the most part to the valleys on either side of the river, and numbers about 5,000. Kachins, to the number of 1,500, are settled on the hills east of the river, and there is a sprinkling of Lisaws, The revenue consists mainly of thathameda and a tax on tea (levied on the bullock-load). In 1903-4 the tea tax brought in Rs. 62,000 ; thnihameda, Rs. 40,000 ; and licence fees of various kinds, Rs. 8,000 ; in all Rs. 1,10,000. The expenditure in that year included Rs. 77,000 devoted to the privy purse, Rs. 13,000 spent on administration and salaries, and Rs. 20,000 tribute to the British Government. The capital of the State is at Namhsan (population, 912), a large village situated about 5,000 feet above the sea at the northern end of one of the main hill ridges. It is the head-quarters of an officer who has been recently stationed in Tawngpeng to supervise the Sawbwa's financial affairs. Other important villages in Tawngpeng are Mongngaw in the south-west, Wingmaii in the west, and Saram a few miles north-west of Namhsan.