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MIDNAPORE, a town and district of India, in the Burdwan division of Bengal. The town is 68 m. W. of Calcutta; it has a station on the Bengal Nagpur railway. Pop. (1901), 33,140. It is an important centre of trade, being the terminus of a navigable canal to Calcutta, and also the junction for the Sini branch of the Bengal-Nagpur railway. There are manufactures of brass and copper wire. It has an American mission, a municipal college, and a public library founded in 1852.

The DISTRICT OF MIDNAPORE has an area of 5186 sq. m. The general appearance is that of a large open plain, of which the greater part is under cultivation. In the northern portion the soil is poor, and there is little wood. The country along the western boundary, known as the Jungle Mahals, is undulating and picturesque; it is almost uninhabited. The eastern and south-eastern portions are swampy and richly cultivated. The chief rivers of the district are the Hugli and its three tributaries, the Rupnarayan, the Haldi and the Rasulpur. Th Midnapore high-level canal used also for irrigation runs almost due east and west from the town of Midnapore to Ulubaria on the Hugli 16 m. below Calcutta, and affords a continuous navigable channel 53 m. in length. There is also a tidal canal for navigation, 26 m. in length, extending from the Rupnarayan river. The district is traversed as well by the Bengal-Nagpur railway towards Orissa, with a branch to Chota Nagpur. The jungles in the west of the district yield lac, tussur, silk, wax, resin, fire-wood, charcoal, etc., and give shelter to large and small game. The principal exports are rice, silk and sugar; and the chief imports consist of cotton cloth and twist. Salt, indigo, silk, mats and brass and copper utensils are manufactured. Both silk and indigo are decaying industries. The population in 1901 was 2,789,114, showing an increase of 6% in the decade.

The early history of Midnapore centres round the ancient town of Tamluk, which in the beginning of the 5th century was an important Buddhist settlement and maritime harbour. The first connexion of the English with the district dates from 1760, when Mir Kasim ceded to the East India Company Midnapore, Chittagong, and Burdwan (then estimated to furnish one-third of the entire revenue of Bengal) as the price of his elevation to the throne of Bengal on the deposition of Mir Jafar.

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

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