Naga Hills - Encyclopedia

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NAGA' 'HILLS, a district of British India in the Hills division of Eastern Bengal and Assam. It forms part of the mountainous borderland lying between the Brahmaputra valley and Upper Burma. Area, 3070 sq. m.; pop. (1901) 102,402. Towards the N. lie the Patkoi hills, over which British jurisdiction has never been extended; but since 1904 the southern tract, formerly known as the "area of political control," has been incorporated in the district, thus extending its E. boundary from the Dikho to the Tizic river. The whole country forms a wild expanse of forest, mountain and stream. The valleys are covered with dense jungle, dotted with small lakes and marshes. Coal is known to exist in many localities, as well as iron ore and petroleum. The administrative headquarters of the district are at Kohima (pop. 3093), which is garrisoned by two companies of native infantry and a battalion of military police. The DimapurManipur cart-road crosses the hills, connecting Kohima with the Assam-Bengal railway.

Naga means "naked," and is the term applied by the Assamese to the wild tribes of the hills, of which the chief clans are called Angami, Ao, Shota, Sema and Rengma. These tribes have shown extraordinary obstinacy in their resistance to the British arms. Between 1832 and 1849 ten armed expeditions were despatched to chastise them, and from 1866 to 1887 there were eight more, a record which exceeds that of the most turbulent tribes on the North-West Frontier. Since 1892, however, little trouble has been experienced.

See Naga Hills District Gazetteer (Calcutta, 1905).

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