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 • Indawgyi Lake
Geography Demographics Telephone
Capital: Myitkyina
Location: Northwestern
Area: 89,041 km2
Population: 1,200,000
Density:13.4/ km2
Ethnicities: Kachin,Bamar,Shan,
Chin, Naga, Indians Chinese
Calling code
Town and Districts
General Information
The Kachin State , is the northernmost state of Myanmar. It is bordered by China to the north and east; Shan State to the south; and Sagaing Division and India to the west. It lies between north latitude 23o27' and 28o25' longitude 96o0' and 90o44'. The area of Kachin State is 34,379 sq. miles. The capital of the state is Myitkyina. Other important towns include Bhamo.
The Kachin State has Myanmar?s highest mountain, Hkakabo Razi, at 5889 meters in height, forming the southern tip of the Himalayas, and Myanmar?s largest lake, Indawgyi Lake.
The Burmese government under Aung San reached the Panglong Agreement with the Shan, Kachin, and Chin peoples on 12 February 1947. The agreement accepted "Full autonomy in internal administration for the Frontier Areas" in principle and envisioned the creation of a Kachin State by the Constituent Assembly. Kachin State was formed in 1948 out of the British Burma civil districts of Bhamo and Myitkyina, together with the larger northern district of Puta-o. The vast mountainous hinterlands are predominantly Kachin, whereas the more densely populated railway corridor and southern valleys are mostly Shan and Bamar. The northern frontier was not demarcated and until the 1960s Chinese governments had claimed all of Kachin State as Chinese territory since the 18th century. During the Konbaung era, roughly 75% off all Kachin jadeite ended up in China, where it was prized much more highly that the local Chinese nephrite.
Kachin troops formerly formed a significant part of the Burmese army. With the unilateral abrogation of the Union of Burma constitution by the Ne Win regime in 1962, Kachin forces withdrew and formed the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) under the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO). Aside from the major towns and railway corridor, Kachin State has been virtually independent from the mid 1960s through 1994, with an economy based on smuggling, jade trade with China and narcotics. After a Myanmar army offensive in 1994 seized the jade mines from the KIO, a peace treaty was signed, permitting continued KIO effective control of most of the State, under aegis of the Myanmar military. This ceasefire immediately resulted in the creation of numerous splinter factions from the KIO and KIA of groups opposed to the peace accord, and the political landscape remains highly unstable.
Currently, the Kachin Independence Organization is supporting the Burmese regime's sham National Convention. While the KIO in private does not believe that elections will ever happen, its agreements with the government have led to what it considers a better situation than the alternative of continued war. In public, the KIO is hoping to participate in future election after constitution has completed that guaranteed Burmese military regime 25% of reserved seats in central puppet government, according to Gauri Zau Seng, vice-Chairman of KIO/KIA.
Traditional Kachin society was based on shifting hill agriculture. Political authority was based on chieftains who depended on support from immediate kinsmen. Considerable attention has been given by anthropologists of the Kachin custom of maternal cousin marriage, wherein it is permissible for a man to marry his mother?s brother?s daughter, but not with the father?s sister?s daughter.?Traditional religion was animist, but missionary activity since the British period have converted the vast majority of the population to Christianity .
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