1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Mandalay

MANDALAY, formerly the capital of independent Burma, now the headquarters of the Mandalay division and district, as well as the chief town in Upper Burma, stands on the left bank of the Irrawaddy, in 21° 59′ N. and 96° 8′ E. Its height above mean sea-level is 315 ft. Mandalay was built in 1856–1857 by King Mindōn. It is now divided into the municipal area and the cantonment. The town covers an area of 6 m. from north to south and 3 from east to west, and has well-metalled roads lined with avenues of trees and regularly lighted and watered. The cantonment consists of the area inside the old city walls, and is now called Fort Dufferin. In the centre stands the palace, a group of wooden buildings, many of them highly carved and gilt, resting on a brick platform 900 ft. by 500 ft., and 6 ft. high. The greater part of it is now utilized for military and other offices. The garrison consists of a brigade belonging to the Burma command of the Indian army. There are many fine pagodas and monastic buildings in the town. The population in 1901 was 183,816, showing a decrease of 3% in the decade. The population is very mixed. Besides Burmese there are Zerbadis (the offspring of a Mahommedan with a Burman wife), Mahommedans, Hindus, Jews, Chinese, Shans and Manipuris (called Kathe), Kachins and Palaungs. Trains run from Mandalay to Rangoon, Myit-kyina, and up the Mandalay-Kunlong railway. The steamers of the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company also ply in all directions. There are twenty bazaars, the chief of which, the Zegyo, was burnt in 1897, and again in 1906, but rebuilt.

The Mandalay District has an area of 2117 sq. m. and a population (1901) of 366,507, giving a density of 177 inhabitants to the square mile. About 600 sq. m. along the Irrawaddy river are flat land, nearly all cultivated. In the north and east there are some 1500 sq. m. of high hills and table-lands, forming geographically a portion of the Shan table-land. Here the fall to the plains averages 3000 to 4000 ft. in a distance of 10 m. This part of the district is well wooded and watered. The Maymyo subdivision has very fine plateaus of 3000 to 3600 ft. in height. The highest peaks are between 4000 and 5000 ft. above sea-level. The Irrawaddy, the Myit-ngè and the Madaya are the chief rivers. The last two come from the Shan States, and are navigable for between 20 and 30 m. There are many canals, most of which have fallen greatly into disrepair, and the Aungbinle, Nanda and Shwepyi lakes also supply water for cultivation. A systematic irrigation scheme has been undertaken by the government. The Sagyin hills near Madaya are noted for their alabaster; rubies are also found in small quantities. There are 335 sq. m. of forest reserves in the district, but there is little teak. The climate is dry and healthy. During May and June and till August strong winds prevail. The thermometer rises to about 107° in the shade in the hot weather, and the minimum in the month of December is about 55°. The rainfall is light, the average being under 30 in.

The Division includes the districts of Mandalay, Bhamo, Myitkyina, Katha and Ruby Mines, with a total area of 29,373 sq. m., and a population (1901) of 777,338, giving an average density of 30 inhabitants to the square mile.  (J. G. Sc.)