Of the Kachins or Chingpaw were the Indo-Chinese race who, before the beginnings of history, but after the Mon-Annam wave had covered Indo-China, forsook their home in western China to pour over the region where Tibet, Assam, Burma and China converge, and that the Chingpaw are the residue left round the headquarters of the Irrawaddy and the Chindwin after those branches, destined to become the Tibetans, the Nagas, the Burmans and the Kuki Chins, had gone westwards and southwards.
The part of the district along the Irrawaddy and Chindwin rivers is alluvial.
It may be described as the emporium of the trade of the Chindwin and Yaw river valleys.
First, there is the highland tract including the hilly country at the sources of the Chindwin and the upper waters of the Irrawaddy, the Upper Chindwin, Katha, Bhamo, Myitkyina and Ruby Mines districts, with the Kachin hills and a great part of the Northern Shan states.
It stretches along both sides of the Irrawaddy from the north of Mandalay to Thayetmyo, and embraces the Lower Chindwin, Shwebo, Sagaing, Mandalay, Kyaukse, Meiktila, Yamethin, Myingyan, Magwe, Pakokku and Minbu districts.
They then form part of a system of ranges which curve north of the sources of the Chindwin river, and with the Kumon range and the hills of the Jade and Amber mines, make up a highland tract separated from the great Northern Shan plateau by the gorges of the Irrawaddy river.
Spurs of the Chin hills run down the whole length of the Lower Chindwin district, almost to Sagaing, and one hill, Powindaung, is particularly noted on account of its innumerable cave temples, which are said to hold no fewer than 446,444 images of Buddha.
From the sea, it is navigable throughout the year, and its chief tributary in Burma, the Chindwin, is also navigable for steamers for 300 in.
The Chindwin, called in its upper reaches the Tanai, rises in the hills south-west of Thama, and flows due north till it enters the southeast corner of the Hukawng valley, where it turns north-west and continues in that direction cutting the valley into two almost equal parts until it reaches its north-west range, when it turns almost due south and takes the name of the Chindwin.
It is a swift clear river, fed in its upper reaches by numerous mountain streams. The Mogaung river, rising in the watershed which divides the Irrawaddy and the Chindwin drainages, flows south and south-east for 180 m.
Coal is found in the Thayetmyo, Upper Chindwin and Shwebo districts, and in the Shan States; it also occurs in Mergui, but the deposits which have been so far discovered have been either of inferior quality or too far from their market to be worked to advantage.
Salt is manufactured at various places in Upper Burma, notably in the lower Chindwin, Sagaing, Shwebo, Myingyan and Yamethin districts, as well as at Mawhkio in the Shan State of Thibaw.
The vessels of the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company now ply to Bassein and to all points on the Irrawaddy as far north as Bhamo, and in the dry weather to Myitkyina, and also on the Chindwin as far north as Kindat, and to Homalin during the rains.
The Singphos are another of the main population of the same race, who occupy in force the hilly country between the Patkai and Chindwin rivers, and are nominally subject to Burma.
With 150,000 inhabitants, and lay midway between the Irrawaddy and Chindwin rivers.
It lies between the Katha, Upper and Lower Chindwin and Mandalay districts.
Harington, of one of the Punjabi regiments, on the Upper Chindwin river.