The mezankoorie moth of the Assamese, Antheraea mezankooria, yields a valuable cocoon, as does also the Atlas moth, Attacus atlas, which has an omnivorous larva found throughout India, Ceylon, Burmah, China and Java.
The term Abor is an Assamese word, signifying "barbarous" or "independent," and is applied in a general sense by the Assamese to many frontier tribes; but in its restricted sense it is specially given to the above tract.
Amongst native-born Assamese during the decade there was a serious decrease in Nowgong and some other districts, due to kalaazar and other diseases.
The Assamese are an interesting race, of distinct origin from the neighbouring Bengalis.
Hinduism has also impressed its language upon the province, and the vernacular Assamese possesses a close affinity to Bengali, with the substitution of s for the Bengali ch, of a guttural h for the Bengali h or sh, and a few other dialectic changes.
But with the development of the country the Assamese tongue asserted its claims to be treated as a distinct vernacular, and a resolution of government (1873) re-established it as the language of official life and public business.
The habits of life of the Assamese peasantry are pre-eminently domestic. Great respect is paid to old age; when parents are no longer capable of labour they are supported by their children, and scarcely any one is allowed to become a burden to the public. They have also in general a very tender regard for their offspring, and are generous and kind to their relations.
In medieval history, the Assamese were known to the Mussulman population as a warlike, predatory race,- who sailed down the Brahmaputra in fleets of innumerable canoes, plundered the rich districts of the delta, and retired in safety to their forests and swamps.
The following details will suffice for the history of a struggle in which no great political object was attained, and which left the Assamese still the same wild and piratical people as when their fleets of canoes first sallied forth against the Bengal delta.
In 1638, during the reign of the emperor Shah Jahan, the Assamese descended the Brahmaputra, and pillaged the country round the city of Dacca; they were expelled by the governor of Bengal, who retaliated upon the plunderers by ravaging Assam.
During the civil wars between the sons of Shah Jahan, the king of Assam renewed his predatory incursions into Bengal; upon the termination of the contest, Aurangzeb determined to avenge these repeated insults, and despatched a considerable force for the regular invasion of the Assamese territory (1660-1662).
A writer of the Mahommedan faith says: - "Whenever an invading army has entered their territories, the Assamese have sheltered themselves in strong posts, and have distressed the enemy by stratagems, surprises and alarms, and by cutting off their provisions.