1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Kachin Hills
KACHIN HILLS, a mountainous tract in Upper Burma, inhabited by the Kachin or Chingpaw, who are known on the Assam frontier as Singphos. Owing to the great number of tribes, sub-tribes and clans of the Kachins, the part of the Kachin hills which has been taken under administration in the Myitkyina and Bhamo districts was divided into 40 Kachin hill tracts (recently reduced to five). Beyond these tracts there are many Kachins in Katha, Möng Mit and the northern Shan States. The country within the Kachin hill tracts is roughly estimated at 19,177 sq. m., and consists of a series of ranges, for the most part running north and south, and intersected by valleys, all leading towards the Irrawaddy, which drains the country. There were 64,405 Kachins enumerated at the census of 1901. Philological investigations show that it is probable that the progenitors of the Kachins or Chingpaw were the Indo-Chinese race who, before the beginnings of history, but after the Môn-Annam wave had covered Indo-China, forsook their home in western China to pour over the region where Tibet, Assam, Burma and China converge, and that the Chingpaw are the residue left round the headquarters of the Irrawaddy and the Chindwin after those branches, destined to become the Tibetans, the Nagas, the Burmans and the Kuki Chins, had gone westwards and southwards. In the middle of the 19th century the southern limit of the Kachins was 200 m. farther north than it is now. Since then the race has been drifting steadily southward and eastward, a vast aggregate of small independent clans united by no common government, but all obeying a common impulse to move outwards from their original seats along the line of least resistance. Now the Kachins are on both sides of the border of Upper Burma, and are a force to be reckoned with by frontier administrators. According to the Kachin Hill Tribes Regulation of 1895, administrative responsibility is accepted by the British government on the left bank of the Irrawaddy for the country south of the Nmaikha, and on the right bank for the country south of a line drawn from the confluence of the Malikha and Nmaikha through the northern limit of the Laban district and including the jade mines. The tribes north of this line were told that if they abstained from raiding to the south of it they would not be interfered with. South of that line peace was to be enforced and a small tribute exacted, with a minimum of interference in their private affairs. On the British side of the border the chief objects have been the disarmament of the tribes and the construction of frontier and internal roads. A light tribute is exacted.