Kachin State

   One of Burma's 14 states and divisions, with an area of 89,042 square kilometers (34,379 square miles) and an estimated population in 2000 of 1.27 million (1983 census figure: 904,794). The state capital is Myitkyina. Kachin State contains three districts (Myitkyina, Bhamo, and Putao), subdivided into 18 townships. The topography is rugged, with several mountain ranges and Burma's highest peak, Hkakabo Razi (5,887 meters or 19,315 feet). The highest peaks in northern Kachin State are snow covered. Lowland areas include the Hukawng Valley and the plains around the towns of Putao, Myitkyina, and Bhamo. The state contains the headwaters of the Irrawaddy (Ayeyarwady) River, which is navigable up to Bhamo, and Indawgyi Lake, Burma's largest. To the south, Kachin State is bounded by Shan State, and on the west by Sagaing Division. It also has a long eastern border with the People's Republic of China and a shorter western one with India.
   Ethnically, the population includes the many subgroups of the Kachin ethnic group, especially the Jingpaws, as well as Shans (Tai) and Burmans (Bamars). Until the early 1990s, when a cease-fire was signed with the State Law and Order Restoration Council, much of the state's territory was controlled by the Kachin Independence Army, one of the best-organized antigovernment insurgencies. The rough terrain limits agricultural potential, except in the plains, but Kachin State is richly endowed with forests (though massive export of logs to China is causing serious deforestation) and has large deposits of jadeite (jade), especially at Hpakant, which finds ready markets in China and among Chinese communities in Southeast Asia. Other exploitable minerals include amber, gold, and iron. Small amounts of opium have been cultivated in Kachin State.

Historical Dictionary of Burma (Myanmar). . 2014.

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