From Classic Encyclopedia 1911
MEIKTILA, a district and division in Upper Burma. The district is the most easterly of the districts in the dry zone, and has an area of 2183 sq. m. It lies between Kyaukse, Myingyan, Yamethin, and on the east touches the Shan States. It is a slightly undulating plain, the gentle slopes of which are composed of black "cotton" soil and are somewhat arid. The only hills above 300 ft. are on the slopes of the Shan hills. The lake is the chief feature of the district. It is artificial, and according to Burmese legend was begun 2400 years ago by the grandfather of Gautama Buddha. It is 7 m. long, averages half a mile broad, and covers an area of 31 sq. m. With the Minhla and other connected lakes it irrigates a large extent of country.
There are small forest reserves, chiefly of cutch. Large numbers of cattle are bred. The chief agricultural products are rice, sesamum, cotton, peas, maize, millet and gram. Pop. (1901), 252,305. Famines in 1891, 1895 and 1896 led to considerable emigration. The climate is healthy except in the submontane townships. The temperature rises to roo° F. and over between the months of March and June, and the mean minimum in January is about 61°. The rainfall is uncertain (36.79 in. in 18 93, 2 5.59 in 1891). The vast majority of the population are Buddhists. The headquarters town, Meiktila, stands on the banks of the lake, which supplies good drinking water. Pop. (1901), 7203. A wing of a British regiment is stationed here. A branch railway connects it at Thazi station with the Rangoon-Mandalay line, and continues westward to its terminus on the Irrawaddy at Myingyan.
The division includes the districts of Meiktila, Kyaukse, Yamethin and Myingyan, with a total area of 10,852 sq. m., and a population (1901) of 992,807, showing an increase of 10.2% in the preceding decade, and giving a density of 91 inhabitants to the square mile. All but a small portion of the division lies in the dry zone, and cultivation is mainly dependent on irrigation.