1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Minbu

MINBU, a district and division of Upper Burma. The district has an area of 3299 sq. m., and a population (1901) of 233,377, showing an increase of 8% in the decade and a density of 71 inhabitants to the sq. m. The district may be said to consist of low plain-land towards the Irrawaddy, and of undulating country inland rising higher and higher westwards towards the Arakan hills. Between the plain and the Arakan Yoma range is a distinct line of hills running north and south, and usually called the Nwa-Madaung hills. The submontane valleys are largely cultivated, but are deadly except to those born in them. The chief streams besides the Irrawaddy are the Mon, the Maw, and the Salin, which are largely used for irrigation. At Minbu town the Irrawaddy is 3 miles wide, with many islands and sandbanks. There are considerable fisheries along the Irrawaddy and on the Paunglin lake, which is a lagoon fed from the Irrawaddy. The rights are sold yearly by public auction, and realize an average of £1000. Oil has been discovered near the mud volcanoes of Minbu, but it seems to lie at too great a depth to be profitably worked.

There is a large area of reserved forest in the district. The chief crops raised are rice, gram, millet, beans, peas, sesamum and tobacco. The betel-vine is largely cultivated along the Mon River. The district, which was in a chronically disturbed state before the annexation, was not reduced till two years afterwards, many officers losing their lives, among them Phayre, the first deputy-commissioner. The annual rainfall varies greatly over the district. It is very considerable on and under the Arakan Yomas, and very slight towards the Irrawaddy. The thermometer rises to over 100° in the hot months, and the mean of minimum in December is about 49°. Minbu, the district headquarters, stands on the Irrawaddy. It had a population of 5780 in 1901. The river steamers in the dry season can come no nearer than two miles to the south of the town.

The division includes the districts of Thayetmyo, Pakôkku, Minbu and Magwe. It has a total area of 17,172 sq. m. and a population (1901), of 1,076,280, showing an increase of 8% in the decade and giving a density of 63 inhabitants to the square mile. It bestrides the Irrawaddy.  (J. G. Sc.)