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Kachin State

Kachin State (kəchĭnˈ) [key], state (1983 pop. 903,982), 33,903 sq mi (87,809 sq km), extreme N Myanmar. It is a mountainous region bounded on the NW by India and on the N and E by China and traversed by tributaries of the Ayeyarwady River. Myitkyina, the capital, and Bhamo are the chief towns. Rice and sugarcane are grown, jade and amber mined, and timber and bamboo cut. The state is sparsely populated; Jinghpaw-speaking Kachins constitute the largest group. They maintain tribal forms of organization under chiefs, practice shifting cultivation, and are mostly animists or Christians.

The territory was never subject to the Burman kings, and after the establishment of British rule it was governed directly, not as part of British Burma. The territory was invaded (1945–47) by the Chinese, but a border agreement was signed between Myanmar and China in 1960. Antigovernment insurgents, active in Kachin State since Myanmar achieved independence in 1948, signed a cease-fire agreement with the government in 1993, but the truce with the largest Kachin militia broke down in 2010 and fighting resumed between the group and government forces.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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