AKYAB, a city and district in the Arakan division of Burma. The city is situated at the confluence of the three large rivers Myu, Koladaing and Lemyu, and is the most flourishing city in the Arakan division. Originally it was a mere fishing village, but when the British government in 1826 removed the restrictions on trade imposed by the Burmese, Akyab quickly grew into an important seat of maritime commerce. After the cession of Arakan by the treaty of Yandaboo in that year the old capital of Myohaung was abandoned as the seat of government, and Akyab on the sea-coast selected instead. During the first forty years of British rule it increased from a village to a town of 15,536 inhabitants, and now it is the third port of Burma, with a population in 1901 of 31,687. It contains the usual public buildings and several large rice mills. The chief exports are rice and oil.
The district lies along the north-eastern shores of the Bay of Bengal, with an area of 5136 sq. m. and a population in 1901 of 481,666. It forms the northernmost district of Lower Burma, and consists of the level tract lying between the sea and the Arakan Yoma mountains, and of the broken country formed by a portion of their western spurs and valleys. The forests form a most important feature of Akyab district and contain a valuable supply of timber of many kinds. The central part of the district consists of three fertile valleys, watered by the Myu, Koladaing and Lemyu. These rivers approach each other at their mouths, and form a vast network of tidal channels, creeks and islands. Their alluvial valleys yield inexhaustible supplies of rice, which the abundant water carriage brings down to the port of Akyab at a very cheap rate. The four chief towns are Khumgchu in the extreme north-east of the district; Koladaing in the centre; Arakan, farther down the rivers; and Akyab on the coast, where their mouths converge. This district passed into the hands of the British, together with the rest of Arakan division, at the close of the first Burmese war of 1825–1826.
Akyab was the metropolitan province of the native kingdom of Arakan, and the history of that country centres in it. In 1871 the frontier or hill tracts of the district were placed under a special administration, with a view to the better government of the wild tribes which inhabit them. (J. G. Sc.)