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Katha

KATHA, a district in the northern division of Upper Burma, with an area of 6994 sq. m., 3730 of which consists of the former separate state of Wuntho. It is bounded N. by the Upper Chindwin, Bhamo and Myitkyina districts, E. by the Kaukkwe River as far as the Irrawaddy, thence east of the Irrawaddy by the Shan State of Mong Mit( Momeik), and by the Shweli River, S. by the Ruby Mines district and Shwebo, and W. by the Upper Chindwin district. Three ranges of hills run through the district, known as the Minwun, Gangaw and Mangin ranges. They separate the three main rivers the Irrawaddy, the Meza and the Mu. The Minwun range runs from north to south, and forms for a considerable part of its length the dividing line between the Katha district proper and what formerly was the Wuntho state. Its average altitude is between 1500 and 2000 ft. The Gangaw range runs from the north of the district for a considerable portion of its length close to and down the right bank of the Irrawaddy as far as Tigyaing, where the Myatheindan pagoda gives its name to the last point. Its highest point is 4400 ft., but the average is between 1500 and 2000 ft. The Katha branch of the railway crosses it at Petsut, a village 12 miles west of Katha town. The Mangin range runs through Wuntho (highest peak, Maingthon, 5450 ft.).

Gold, copper, iron and lead are found in considerable quantities in the district. The Kyaukpazat gold-mines, worked by an English company, gave good returns, but the quartz reef proved to be a mere pocket and is now worked out. The iron, copper and lead are not now worked. Jade and soapstone also exist, and salt is produced from brine wells. There are three forest reserves in Katha, with a total area of 1119 sq. m. The population in 1901 was 176,223, an increase of 32% in the decade. The number of Shans is about half that of Burmese, and of Kadus half that of Shans. The Shans are mostly in the Wuntho subdivision. Rice is the chief crop in the plains, tea, cotton, sesamum and hill rice in the hills. The valley of the Meza, which is very malarious, was used as a convict settlement under Burmese rule. The district was first occupied by British troops in 1886, but it was not finally quieted till 1890, when the Wuntho sawbwa was deposed and his state incorporated in Katha district.

KATHA is the headquarters of the district. The principal means of communication are the Irrawaddy Flotilla steamers, which run between Mandalay and Bhamo, and the railway which communicates with Sagaing to the south and Myitkyina to the north. A ferry-steamer plies between Katha and Bhamo.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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