Frontier Areas

   Historically, those areas of Burma outside of Burma Proper where the British colonial government allowed local rulers, such as the sawbwas of the Shans and the Karenni, considerable autonomy under the surveillance of British residents. In 1922, the Burma Frontier Service was established, separate from the officials who administered Burma Proper. Following implementation of the Government of Burma Act (1935), the Frontier Areas were divided into Excluded and Partially Excluded Areas (or "Part I" and "Part II" areas). The former remained entirely outside the authority of the elected legislature, being the responsibility of the governor, while the latter were the responsibility of the legislature and, in some cases, could elect representatives. Geographically and ethnically, "Frontier Areas" refers to the upland and mountainous areas surrounding the central lowlands, bordering India, China, Thailand, and Laos, which are inhabited by ethnic minorities, such as the Shans, Chins, Kachins, and Karennis. Comprising about 40-45 percent of the land area of modern Burma, the Frontier Areas included the Shan States and Wa districts, the Karenni states, the Karen hills, the Arakan Hill Tracts, the Chin Hills, the Kachin Hills, the Naga Hills, and a number of smaller jurisdictions.
   Burmese nationalists have accused the British colonialists of separating the country into Burma Proper and Frontier Areas, zones that had little opportunity for political association, in order to "divide and rule." The British claimed that the Frontier Areas, lacking modern economic or social development, required a period of special tutelage before achieving equal status and integration with Burma Proper.

Historical Dictionary of Burma (Myanmar). . 2014.

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