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.
(Burmese, Kyaington). — A division of the Southern Shan States, Burma, and a State under a Sawbwa, residing at the capital, Kengtung. It is the largest Native State in Burma, having an area of about 12,000 square miles, and is situated between 20 degree 4' and 22 degree 10' N. and 98 degree 28' and 101 degree 9' E., lying, with the exception of a small area between the mouth of the Nam Hka river and the Takaw ferry, entirely east of the Salween. On the north it is bounded by the newly drawn Chinese frontier ; on the east by China ; on the south by the French Lao territory and Siam ; and on the west by the Southern Shan States of Mongpan, Mongnai, and Mongnawng, and the Northern Shan State of Manglon, from which it is separated by the Nam Hka river. It includes the dependencies of Hsenyawt, Hsenmawng, Monghsat, Mongpu, and Western Kengcheng. A good deal of the early history of Kengtung is purely legendary. It is clear, however, that the State has suffered much in the past at the hands of the Siamese and the Chinese, both of whom invaded it several times be- tween the middle of the eighteenth and the middle of the nineteenth century. Some of the main features of the history of Kengtung since the annexation of Upper Burma are given in the article on the Southern Shan States. The country is broken and mountainous, the hill ranges having a general north and south tendency ; about two-thirds of it lies in the basin of the Mekong, and about one-third in the basin of the Salween, the watershed being a hill range varying from 5,000 to 7,000 feet in height.
The climate in the valleys is extremely enervating during the rains ; dense fogs prevail in the cold season, and the valleys are much hotter than their altitude would lead one to expect, while the daily range of temperature is large. Rice is the staple, but fruit of all kinds is cultivated in the gardens, while on the uplands cotton is the main crop. On the highest hills poppy is grown in addition to iaungya rice and sesamum, and tea is cultivated for local consumption. There are rich forests, the revenue from which amounted in 1904 to Rs. 34,000. The population of the State in 1901 was 190,698, of whom 139,735 were returned as Buddhists and 50,039 as Animists. The people are Shans (Hkiin and Lii), or belong to a variety of hill tribes, of which the most important are the Kaws or Akhas, the Muhsos, and the ^^'A.s (Tai Loi, &c.). Divided by languages, 57,058 persons spoke Shan, 42,160 Hkiin (the language of the Kengtung valley), 27,652 Akha, 19,380 Lii (the language of the valley between Kengtung and the Mekong), and 44,448 other ver- naculars, such as Palaung, Kachin, and Lisaw. The population in 1 90 1 was distributed in 2,338 villages, the only urban area of any size being the capital, Kengtung (population, 5,695). The revenue, chiefly from thathameda, amounted in 1903-4 to i-i lakhs. The expenditure included Rs. 30,000 paid as tribute to the British Govern- ment, Rs. 24,000 spent on miscellaneous administrative charges, Rs. 33,500 devoted to the salaries of officials, Rs. 18,000 to the privy purse, and Rs. 4,350 to public works.