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MALDA, a district of India, in the Rajshahi division of Eastern Bengal and Assam. Area, 1899 sq. m.; pop. (1901), 884,030, showing an increase of 8-5 in the decade. The administrative headquarters are at English Bazar (pop. 13,667) near the town of Old Malda. The district is divided into two almost equal parts by the Mahananda river, flowing from north to south. The western tract between the Mahananda and the main stream of the Ganges is an alluvial plain of sandy soil and great fertility. The eastern half is an ekvated region broken by the deep valleys of the Tangan and Purnabhaba rivers and their small tributary streams. The soil here is a hard red clay; and the whole is overgrown with thorny tree jungle known as the kdlal. Agricultural prosperity centres on the Mahananda, where mango orchards and high raised plots of mulberry land extend continuously along both banks of the river. The Ganges nowhere intersects the district, but skirts it from its north-western corner to the extreme south. The Mahananda flows in a deep welldefined channel through the centre, and joins the Ganges at the. southern corner. Its tributaries are the Kalindri on the right, and the Tangan and Purnabhaba on the left bank. The two principal industries are the production of indigo and silk. The first has declined, and so has the second as far as concerns the weaving of piece goods, but the rearing of silkworms and the export of raw silk and silk thread are carried on upon a large scale. No railway touches the district, but the communications by water are good.

Malda supplied two great capitals to the early Mahommedan kings of Bengal ; and the sites of Gaur and Pandua exhibit the most interesting remains to be found in the lower valley of the Ganges. (See GAUR.) The connexion of the East India Company with Malda dates from a very early period. As far back as 1676 there was a factory there. In 1770 English Bazar was fixed upon for a commercial residency, the buildings of which at the present day form both the public offices and private residence of the collector.

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

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