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|Elevation||140 m (460 ft)|
The Kabaw Valley (Meitei: ꯀꯕꯣ ꯇꯝꯄꯥꯛ) is a highland valley in northern Burma (Myanmar), western Sagaing division. The valley is the home of a number of ethnic minorities including the Meitei (Kathe and Paona), the Zo, the Mizo, the Kadu and the Kanan.
Kabaw valley, historically, was the border region between Awa ( in present Burma ) and the Manipur Kingdom ( Earlier known as Kangleipak or Meitrabak). King Khomba (1432–1467) of Kangleipak was the conqueror of [[Tamu, Myanmar|Tamu]], a border town in kabow valley, now in Myanmar. King Kiyamba (1467–1508), son of King Khomba, was known as the "Conqueror of Kabaw Valley", as he along with his friend, Chaopha Khe Khomba, the king of Pong (Shan Kingdom) of present Myanmar, conquered Kyang, a Shan kingdom in the Kabow Valley of present Myanmar.
It first came under the Burmese rule in 1560 when Toungoo Dynasty invaded the border valley. Many Shan people fled into Manipur, unable to defend themselves from the Burmese and the Chinese invaders. King Khagemba (1597–1652) of Kangleipak, known as the "Conqueror of the Chinese" (khagi: China, Ngamba: conqueror), consolidated and expanded his father's kingdom of Meitrabak, later successfully defending it from foreign invaders such as the Muslims, the Kachari and the Awas.
Everything was recorded in the meitei sacred book "The Puyas" known as the Cheitharol Kumbaba, or the royal chronicle of Manipur, started recording from 33 AD. But after the reign of King Khagemba, the Cheitharol Kumbaba was reformed by adding months in the events recorded, making the dates more accurate.
The reign of King Charairongba (1697–1709) became the transition period from traditional Meitei culture to a Hinduised Meitei society. There were continual trade contacts and social relationships between Manipur and Burma. In 1702, the Toongoo dynasty of Awa (Burma) sent emissaries asking for the hand of a Meitei Princess. Charirongba gave his daughter, Chakpa Makhao Ngambi, in marriage to the then Burmese King who constructed several laishangs/ temples for Meitei deities such as Panthoibi, Sanamahi, today converted into Buddhist temples.
King Pamheiba (1709-1748), the successor of Charairongba, rose to prominence as a fierce military conqueror. His reign can be divided into three phases. The first phase (1710–17) focused on internal consolidation of the hill tribes. Phase two (1728–33) involved war against the Burmese kingdom of Awa. And, the third and final phase (1745–48) saw a war against Tripura, now in northeast India. As a result, Pamheiba extended his kingdom from the Kabow Valley in the east as far as Nongnang (Cachar) and Takhel (Tripura) in the west. Starting in 1724, he began frequent raids of Upper Burma until 1749.
The Konbaung Dynasty recovered the Kabaw valley from Manipur in 1756. In 1758, the Burmese king Alaungpaya invaded Manipur. In 1759, King Maramba aka Gourashyam (1953-1958), gave up the throne in favour of his brother Chingthang Khomba aka Bhagayachandra who restored normalcy in the kingdom and tried to regain the lost glory of Manipur. In 1764, the new Burmese king Hsinbyushin invaded Manipur again through the Kabaw Valley. The Meitei forces were defeated at Tamu and the king fled to the Ahom kingdom in Assam. He regained the throne of Kangleipak in 1768 with help of the then Ahom king Rajeshwar and went on to rule for more than 30 years, signing a treaty with the British East India Company in 1762. Manipur remained a rebellion-prone tributary, prompting the Burmese to send expeditions in 1764–1765, 1768–1770, and 1775–1782. Manipur became a Burmese territory again in 1814, and was taken back in 1819 after a rebellion. There were a number of wars during this era between the Manipuris, the Burmese and the British.
With the help from the Burmese kingdom of Awa, Marjit invaded Manipur in 1813 and defeated his brother King Chaurajit (1803-1813). He then ascended the throne in 1813 and ruled for six years (1813–1819). The new king of Awa, Bagyidaw, invited King Marjit of Manipur to attend his coronation ceremony and to pay homage to him. King Marjit refused to attend the coronation, which offended the Burmese king, who then sent a large force under the command of General Maha Bandula to humble Marjit. Marjit was defeated and fled to Cachar. Meitrabak was then brought under the brutal rule of Awa for the seven years between 1819 and 1826, which is known as Chahi Taret Kuntakpa (7 years devastation )in the history of Meitrabak. The flight of King Marjit from Meitrabak and the conquest by Awa in 1819 marks the end of the mediaeval period in the history of Manipur.
In the early nineteenth century, after being dislodged from Meitrabak, Manipur princes made Cachar a springboard for the reconquest of the territory. In 1819, three Manipuri princes occupied Cachar Kingdom and drove King Govinda Chandra out to Sylhet in present Bangladesh. The kingdom of Cachar, divided between Govinda Chandra and Chaurajit in 1818, was repartitioned after the flight of Govind Chandra among the three Meitrabak princes. King Chaurajit ruled the eastern portion of Cachar bordering Meitrabak from Sonai. King Gambhir Singh was given the land west of Tillain hill and his headquarters was at Gumrah. King Marjit Singh ruled Hailakandi from Jhapirbond. King Gambhir Singh (1826–1834) with the 500 strong Meetei Levy and with the help from the British East India Company, succeeded in expelling the Burmese of Awa from Meitrabak beyond the Ningthi Turel (Chindwin River). He ruled the country from Langthabal and died on 9 January 1834, to be succeeded by his infant son Chandrakirti / Ningthem Pishak (1834–1844).
After the First Anglo-Burmese War (1824–1826), Burma ceded Manipur to the British but the exact border remained in dispute. The British claimed the entire Kabaw valley. However, in 1830, the British, with the assistance of Henry Burney, agreed that Kabaw valley was not part of historical Manipur, and redrew the border in favor of the Burmese. Nonetheless, some in Manipur still claim that the Kabaw Valley belongs in Manipur. The treaty of yadanbo made sure that the Burmese King must pay Kabaw valley compensation tax to the Manipuri King.
Manipur was merged in the Indian union in 1949, during the reign of the last king, Bodhachandra, just two year after getting independence from the British rule for 57 years (1891-1947). In 1952, India first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru completely gifted the Kabaw valley to the Burmese government as a token of peace. In 1950, a social leader of Manipur, Hijam Irabot visited Burma and negotiated with the Burmese army political fraction, coming with an agreement to stop the Burmese tax to Manipur government and let Manipur have Kabaw valley. But, the compensation tax is no longer paid and the valley is under Myanmar territory now.
At the north end of the valley, lies the Manipuri town of Humine, with the first Burmese town being Zedi. The region is mixedly inhabited by the Meeteis, Nepalis, kukis/ chins, kados, kanans,etc.
- Kabaw Valley, Myanmar (Burma)
- Thant Myint-U (2001). The Making of Modern Burma. Cambridge University Press. pp. 15–16. ISBN 9780521799140.
- Lt. Gen. Sir Arthur P. Phayre (1967). History of Burma (2 ed.). London: Susil Gupta. pp. 233–234.
- Hall, D. G. E. (1950) "Chapter XIII: The First Residency and the Annexation of Pegu (1826-1855)" Burma Archived 2005-05-19 at the Wayback Machine Hutchinson University Library, London, p. 108, OCLC 513262
- Bečka, Jan (1995) Historical Dictionary of Myanmar Scarecrow Press, Metuchen, New Jersey, p. 56, ISBN 0-8108-2840-5
- "Kabaw Valley was an Integral Part of Manipur: BJP State Unit" The Sangai Express 7 March 2011, the Newmai News Network, Imphal, Manipur, India
- "Burma 1:250,000 topographic map, Series U542, Paungbyin, NG 46-16" U.S. Army Map Service, November 1955
- Tarapot lists the towns of Kahambat, Woktong, Tammu, Mungsa and Samjok at Tarapot, Phanjoubam (2003) Bleeding Manipur Har-Anand Publications, New Delhi, India, page 222, ISBN 81-241-0902-8, but aside from Tammu being Tamu, identification of them is difficult.