1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Garo Hills

GARO HILLS, a district of British India, in the hills division of Eastern Bengal and Assam. It takes its name from the Garos, a tribe of doubtful ethnical affinities and peculiar customs, by whom it is almost entirely inhabited. The Garos are probably a section of the great Bodo tribe, which at one time occupied a large part of Assam. According to the census of 1901 they numbered 128,117. In the 18th century they are mentioned as being frequently in conflict with the inhabitants of the plains below their hills, and in 1790 the British government first tried to reduce them. No permanent success was achieved. In 1852 raids by the Garos were followed by a blockade of the hills, but in 1856 they were again in revolt. Again a repressive expedition was despatched in 1861, but in 1866 there was a further raid. A British officer was now posted among the hills; this step was effective; in 1869 the district was constituted, and though in 1871 an outrage was committed against a native on the survey staff, there was little opposition when an expedition was sent in 1872–1873 to bring the whole district into submission, and there were thereafter no further disturbances.

The district consists of the last spurs of the Assam hills, which here run down almost to the bank of the Brahmaputra, where that river debouches upon the plain of Bengal and takes its great sweep to the south. The administrative headquarters are at Tura. The area of the district is 3140 sq. m. In 1901 the population was 138,274, showing an increase of 14% in the decade. The American missionaries maintain a small training school for teachers. The public buildings at Tura were entirely destroyed by the earthquake of June 12, 1897, and the roads in the district were greatly damaged by subsidence and fissures. Coal in large quantities and petroleum are known to exist. The chief exports are cotton, timber and forest products. Trade is small, though the natives, according to their own standard, are prosperous. They are fair agriculturists. Communications within the district are by cart-roads, bridle-paths and native tracks.