tribes are the Daingnets (3,400), a probably hybrid people living on
the borders of Chittagong, and speaking a corrupt form of Bengali;
and the Chaungthas (250) and Thets (230), communities of Chin and
Arakanese-Chin origin. The greater part of the non-Arakanese element
is foreign. More than 50o,ooo of the inhabitants are Bengalis, or the
offspring of Bengalis, from the adjacent District of Chittagong. In
190o the population dependent on agriculture was 350,100, or 72 per
cent. of the total. About one-tenth of the total is dependent on
taungya (shifting) cultivation.
The number of Christians in I90o was 720, of whom 230 were
natives. Roman Catholics form nearly half the total. There is a
Roman Catholic mission in Akyab town, which, since i888, has been
under the charge of the Fathers of the Congregation of the Holy
Cross. A convent school founded in I889 in connexion with the
mission has nearly Ioo pupils.
Throughout the whole of the District the conditions of agriculture, so
far as soil and rainfall are concerned, are easy in the extreme. The soils
are loams, more or less sandy, and there are few clays.
Agrictr The land is usually very fertile, and the abundant
rainfall allows even high-lying and sandy ground to yield a good out-
turn in a normal year. The land in the delta and on the banks of the
principal rivers is level, low-lying, and suitable for rice; the higher land
and undulating country at the foot of the hills is better adapted for
garden and miscellaneous crops, and for grazing; while on the hills
themselves only taungya (shifting) cultivation is carried on. On lands
that are occasionally flooded by the tide it is not considered necessary
even to plough. Owing to the abundant rainfall, irrigation is not prac-
tised, except on a very small scale, in the dry season, for the benefit of
gardens which happen to be near a supply of water. In the settled area
the methods of cultivation differ little from those obtaining in other
parts of Lower Burma. Transplanting of rice is practically unknown,
and the seed is sown broadcast on the rich muddy levels.
Two features which make agriculture less profitable than might be
expected are the laziness of the cultivator and the prevalence of cattle-
disease. The amount of labour hired is very great, and in some cases
the Arakanese cultivator even pays a manager to superintend his coolies,
though as a rule he condescends to do his own supervision. The cost
of cultivation in Akyab is higher than in most parts of Lower Burma.
The wasteful system of taungya, or shifting cultivation, still prevails in
the hills, and is responsible for the destruction of a vast amount of
The area under cultivation was 575 square miles in i88r, 877 square
miles in I891, and 953 square miles in 190o. The main agricultural
statistics for 1903-4 are given on the next page, in square miles.