Dry Zone

   That part of central Burma located within a "rain shadow" formed by the Arakan Yoma mountain range, which prevents the area from receiving the rains of the southwest monsoon. As a result, rainfall is extremely scarce: about 12.7 centimeters (cm) at Pagan (Bagan) and 83.8 cm at Mandalay, compared to 292.1 cm in the delta of the Irrawaddy [Ayeyarwady] River. Paddy rice cultivation in the Dry Zone is impossible without irrigation. Major crops in the area include oil seeds (sunflower and sesame), cotton, and groundnuts. This harsh environment, semidesert in places and described in the old chronicles as the "parched land," has traditionally been the homeland of the Burmans (Bamars) and the site of their royal capitals, beginning with Pagan in the ninth century and ending with Mandalay between 1857 and 1885.
   See also Agriculture; Climate.

Historical Dictionary of Burma (Myanmar). . 2014.

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