Lower Burma, though it is somewhat tortuous immediately below Mandalay. Just below the confluence of the Mali and N’mai rivers the Irrawaddy is from 420 to 450 yds. wide and about 30 ft. deep in January at its deepest point. Here it flows between hills, and after passing the Manse and Mawkan rapids, reaches plain country and expands to nearly 500 yds. at Sakap. At Myitkyina it is split into two channels by Naungtalaw island, the western channel being 600 yds. wide and the eastern 200. The latter is quite dry in the hot season. At Kat-kyo, 5 or 6 m. below Myitkyina, the width is 1000 yds., and below this it varies from 600 yds. to 3 m. at different points. Three miles below Sinbo the third defile is entered by a channel not more than 50 yds. wide, and below this, throughout the defile, it is never wider than 250 yds., and averages about 100. At the “Gates of the Irrawaddy” at Poshaw two prism-shaped rocks narrow the river to 50 yds., and the water banks up in the middle with a whirlpool on each side of the raised pathway. All navigation ceases here in the floods. The defile ends at Hpatin, and below this the river widens out to a wet-season channel of 2 m., and a breadth in the dry season of about 1 m. At Sinkan, below Bhamo, the second defile begins. It is not so narrow nor is the current so strong as in the third defile. The narrowest place is more than 100 yds. wide. The hills are higher, but the defile is much shorter. At Shwegu the river leaves the hills and becomes a broad stream, flowing through a wide plain. The first defile is tame compared with the others. The river merely flows between low hills or high wooded banks. The banks are covered at this point with dense vegetation, and slope down to the water’s edge. Here and there are places which are almost perpendicular, but are covered with forest growth. The course of the Irrawaddy after receiving the waters of the Myit-nge at Sagaing, as far as 17° N. lat., is exceedingly tortuous; the line of Lower Burma is crossed in 19° 29′ 3″ N. lat., 95° 15′ E. long., the breadth of the river here being 3 m.; about 11 m. lower down it is nearly 3 m. broad. At Akauk-taung, where a spur of the Arakan hills end in a precipice 300 ft. high, the river enters the delta, the hills giving place to low alluvial plains, now protected on the west by embankments. From 17° N. lat. the Irrawaddy divides and subdivides, converting the lower portion of its valley into a network of intercommunicating tidal creeks. It reaches the sea in 15° 50′ N. lat. and 95° 8′ E. long., by nine principal mouths. The only ones used by sea-going ships are the Bassein and Rangoon mouths. The area of the catchment basin of the Irrawaddy is 158,000 sq. m.; its total length from its known source to the sea is about 1300 m. As far down as Akauk-taung in Henzada district its bed is rocky, but below this sandy and muddy. It is full of islands and sandbanks; its waters are extremely muddy, and the mud is carried far out to sea. The river commences to rise in March; about June it rises rapidly, and attains its maximum height about September. The total flood discharge is between four and five hundred million metre tons of 37 cub. ft. From Mandalay up to Bhamo the river is navigable a distance of nearly 1000 m. for large steamers all the year round; but small launches and steamers with weak engines are often unable to get up the second defile in the months of July, August and September, owing to the strong current. The Irrawaddy Flotilla Company’s steamers go up and down twice a week all through the rains, and the mails are carried to Bhamo on intermediate days by a ferry-boat from the railway terminus at Katha. During the dry season the larger boats are always liable to run on sandbanks, more especially in November and December, when new channels are forming after the river has been in flood. From Bhamo up to Sinbo no steamers can ply during the rains, that is to say, usually from June to November. From November to June small steamers can pass through the third defile from Bhamo to Sinbo. Between Sinbo and Myitkyina small launches can run all the year round. Above Myitkyina small steamers can reach the confluence at the height of the flood with some difficulty, but when the water is lower they cannot pass the Mawkan rapid, just above Mawme, and the navigation of the river above Myitkyina is always difficult. The journey from Bhamo to Sinbo can be made during the rains in native boats, but it is always difficult and sometimes dangerous. It is never done in less than five days and often takes twelve or more. As a natural source of irrigation the value of the Irrawaddy is enormous, but the river supplies no artificial systems of irrigation. It is nowhere bridged, though crossed by two steam ferries to connect the railway system on either bank. (J. G. Sc.)
IRREDENTISTS, an Italian patriotic and political party, which was of importance in the last quarter of the 19th century. The name was formed from the words Italia Irredenta—Unredeemed Italy—and the party had for its avowed object the emancipation of all Italian lands still subject to foreign rule. The Irredentists took language as the test of the alleged Italian nationality of the countries they proposed to emancipate, which were South Tirol (Trentino), Görz, Istria, Trieste, Tessino, Nice, Corsica and Malta. The test was applied in the most arbitrary manner, and in some cases was not applicable at all. Italian is not universally spoken in South Tirol, Görz or Istria. Malta has a dialect of its own though Italian is used for literary and judicial purposes, while Dalmatia is thoroughly non-Italian though it was once under the political dominion of the ancient Republic of Venice. The party was of little note before 1878. In that year it sprang into prominence because the Italians were disappointed by the result of the conference at Berlin summoned to make a European settlement after the Russo-Turkish War of 1877. The Italians had hoped to share in the plunder of Turkey, but they gained nothing, while Austria was endowed with the protectorate of Bosnia, and the Herzegovina, the vitally important hinterland of her possessions on the Adriatic. Under the sting of this disappointment the cry of Italia Irredenta became for a time loud and apparently popular. It was in fact directed almost wholly against Austria, and was also used as a stalking-horse by discontented parties in Italian domestic politics—the Radicals, Republicans and Socialists. In addition to the overworked argument from language, the Irredentists made much of an unfounded claim that the Trentino had been conquered by Giuseppe Garibaldi during the war of 1866, and they insisted that the district was an “enclave” in Italian territory which would give Austria a dangerous advantage in a war of aggression. It would be equally easy and no less accurate to call the Trentino an exposed and weak spot of the frontier of Austria. On the 21st of July 1878 a noisy public meeting was held at Rome with Menotti Garibaldi, the son of the famous Giuseppe, in the chair, and a clamour was raised for the formation of volunteer battalions to conquer the Trentino. Signor Cairoli, then prime minister of Italy, treated the agitation with tolerance. It was, however, mainly superficial, for the mass of the Italians had no wish to launch on a dangerous policy of adventure against Austria, and still less to attack France for the sake of Nice and Corsica, or Great Britain for Malta. The only practical consequences of the Irredentist agitation outside of Italy were such things as the assassination plot organized against the emperor Francis Joseph in Trieste in 1882 by Oberdank, which was detected and punished. When the Irredentist movement became troublesome to Italy through the activity of Republicans and Socialists, it was subject to effective police control by Signor Depretis. It sank into insignificance when the French occupation of Tunis in 1881 offended the Italians deeply, and their government entered into those relations with Austria and Germany which took shape by the formation of the Triple Alliance. In its final stages it provided a way in which Italians who sympathized with French republicanism, and who disliked the monarchical governments of Central Europe, could agitate against their own government. It also manifested itself in periodical war scares based on affected fears of Austrian aggression in northern Italy. Within the dominions of Austria Irredentism has been one form of the complicated language question which has disturbed every portion of the Austro-Hungarian empire.
See Colonel von Haymerle, Italicae res (Vienna, 1879) for the early history of the Irredentists.