Arakan (Rakhine) State
- One of Burma's 14 states and divisions, it has an area of 36,778 square kilometres (14,200 square miles) and a population estimated at 2.7 million in 2000 (1983 census figure: 2,045,559). Ethnically, the majority of the population are Arakanese (Rakhines), who are Buddhists and share strong cultural and linguistic affinities with the Burmans (Bamars), though Arakan (Rakhine) was an independent state until subjugated by King Bodawpaya in 1784. However, there is a large minority of Rohingyas, who are Muslim, as well as Chins and Burmans. The state capital is Sittwe (Sittway, known during the British colonial period as Akyab). Recognized as a state by the Constitution of 1974, it contains five districts (Sittwe, Maungdaw, Buthitaung, Kyaukpyu, and Sandoway [Thandwe]), subdivided into 17 townships.Arakan State is elongated, extending in a northwest-southeast direction. To the northwest it shares a short international boundary with Bangladesh, defined by the Naaf River. Chin State lies to the north, Magwe (Magway) and Pegu (Bago) Divisions to the east, and Irrawaddy (Ayeyarwady) Division to the southeast and south. The Arakan coast, fronting the Bay of Bengal, is fringed with islands, of which the largest are Ramree (Yanbye) and Cheduba (Man-aung). The Arakan Yoma separates the state from central Burma. The state's major river, the Kaladan, reaches the sea at Sittwe. The state is a major grower of rice, and the abundance of paddy explains the rise of early kingdoms in the region. Fishing and fisheries are also economically important. Abundant natural gas resources are found in Burmese territorial waters off the coast, in the Bay of Bengal.
Historical Dictionary of Burma (Myanmar). Donald M. Seekins . 2014.
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