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Keng Tung

KENG TUNG, the most extensive of the Shan States in the province of Burma. It is in the southern Shan States' charge and lies almost entirely east of the Salween river. The area of the state is rather over 12,000 sq. m. It is bounded N. by the states of Mang Lon, Mong Lem and Keng Hung (Hsip Hsawng Panna), the two latter under Chinese control; E. by the Mekong river, on the farther side of which is French Lao territory; S. by the Siamese Shan States, and W. in a general way by the Salween river, though it overlaps it in some places. The state is known to the Chinese as Meng Keng, and was frequently called by the Burmese " the 32 cities of the Gon " (Hkon). Keng Tung has expanded very considerably since the establishment of British control, by the inclusion of the districts of Hsen Yawt, Hsen Mawng, Mong Hsat, Mong Pu, and the cis-Mekong portions of Keng Cheng, which in Burmese times were separate charges. The " classical " name of the state is Khemarata or Khemarata Tungkapuri. About 63% of the area lies in the basin of the Mekong river and 37% in the Salween drainage area. The watershed is a high and generally continuous range. Some of its peaks rise to over 7000 ft., and the elevation is nowhere much below 5000 ft. Parallel to this successive hill ranges run north and south. Mountainous country so greatly predominates that the scattered valleys are but as islands in a sea of rugged hills. The chief rivers, tributaries of the Salween, are the Nam Hka, the Hwe L6ng, Nam Pu, and the Nam Hslm. The first and last are very considerable rivers. The Nam Hka rises in the Wa or Vtt states, the Nam Hslm on the watershed range in the centre of the state. Rocks and rapids make both unnavigable, but much timber goes down the Nam Hslm. The lower part of both rivers forms the boundary of Keng Tung state. The chief tributaries of the Mekong are the Nam Nga, the Nam Lwe, the Nam Yawng, Nam Lin, Nam H6k and Nam K6k. Of these the chief is the Nam Lwe, which is navigable in the interior of the state, but enters the Mekong by a gorge broken up by rocks. The Nam Lin and the Nam K6k are also considerable streams. The lower course of the latter passes by Chieng Rai in Siamese territory. The lower Nam H6k or Mg Huak forms the boundary with Siam.

The existence of minerals was reported by the sawbwa, or chief, to Francis Gamier in 1867, but none is worked or located. gold is washed in most of the streams. Teak forests exist in Mong Pu and Mong Hsat, and the sawbwa works them as government contracts. One-third of the price realized from the sale of the logs at Moulmein is retained as the government royalty. There are teak forests also in the Mekong drainage area in the south of the state, but there is only a local market for the timber. Rice, as elsewhere in the Shan States, is the chief crop. Next to it is sugar-cane, grown both as a field crop and in gardens. Earth-nuts and tobacco are the only other field crops in the valleys. On the hills, besides rice, cotton, poppy and tea are the chief crops. The tea is carelessly grown, badly prepared, and only consumed locally. A great deal of garden produce is raised in the valleys, especially near the capital. The state is rich in cattle, and exports them to the country west of the Salween. Cotton and opium are exported in large quantities, the former entirely to China, a good deal of the latter to northern Siam, which also takes shoes and sandals. Tea is carried through westwards from K5ng Hung, and silk from the Siamese Shan States. Cotton and silk weaving are dying out as industries. Large quantities of shoes and sandals are made of buffalo and bullock hide, with Chinese felt uppers and soft iron hobnails. There is a good deal of pottery work. The chief work in iron is the manufacture of guns, wnich has been carried on for many years in certain villages of the Sam Tao district. The gun barrels and springs are rude but effective, though not very durable. The revenue of the state is collected as the Burmese thathameda, a rude system of income-tax. From 1890, when the state made its submission, the annual tributary offerings made in Burmese times were continued to the British government, but in 1894 these offerings were converted into tribute. For the quinquennial period 1903-1908 the state paid Rs. 30,000 (2000) annually.

The population of the state was enumerated for the first time in 1901, giving a total of 190,698. According to an estimate made by Mr G. C. Stirling, the political officer in charge of the state, in 1897- 1898, of the. various tribes of Shans, the Hktln and Lti contribute about 36,000 each, the western Shans 32,000, the Lem and Lao Shans about 7000, and the Chinese Shans about 5000. Of the hill tribes, the Kaw or Aka are the most homogeneous with 22,000, but probably the Wa (or Vii), disguised under various tribal names, are at least equally numerous. Nominal Buddhists make up a total of 133,400, and the remainder are classed as animists. Spirit-worship is, however, very conspicuously prevalent amongst all classes even of the Shans. The present sawbwa or chief received his patent from the British government on the gth of February 1897. The early history of Keng Tung is very obscure, but Burmese influence seems to have been maintained since the latter half, at any rate, of the 16th century. The Chinese made several attempts to subdue the state, and appear to have taken the capital in 1765-66, but were driven out by the united Shan and Burmese troops. The same fate seems to have attended the first Siamese invasion of 1804. The second and third Siamese invasions, in 1852 and 1854, resulted in great disaster to the invaders, though the capital was invested for a time.

Kertg Tung, the capital, is situated towards the southern end of a valley about 12 m. long and with an average breadth of 7 m. The town is surrounded by a brick wall and moat about 5 m. round. Only the central and northern portions are much built over. Pop. (1901), 5695. It is the most considerable town in the British Shan States. In the dry season crowds attend the market held according to Shan custom every five days, and numerous caravans come from China. The military post formerly was 7 m. west of the town, at the foot of the watershed range. At first the headquarters of a regiment was stationed there; this was reduced to a wing, and recently to military police. The site was badly chosen and proved very unhealthy, and the headquarters both military and civil have been transferred to Loi Ngwe Long, a ridge 6500 ft. above sea-level 12 m. south of the capital. The rainfall probably averages between 50 and 60 in. for the year. The temperature seems to rise to nearly 100 F. during the hot weather, falling 30 or more during the night. I n the cold weather a temperature of 40 or a few degrees more or less appears to be the lowest experienced. The plain in which the capital stands has an altitude of 3000 ft. (J. G. Sc.)

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

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