ASSAM, a province at the N. E. ex tremity of British India, stretching in N. lat. between 23° and 28°, and in E. long. between 89° and 97° with an area of 61,471 square miles and a population of about 7,500,000. In 1874 it was formed into a separate administration (including Cachar) under a chief commissioner. It consists of a fertile series of valleys, watered by the Brahmaputra and more than 60 lesser rivers. It is thus very fertile, and abounds in wood. The tea plant is indigenous and Assam's tea culture has become of first importance. The other products are rice, mustard, gold, ivory, amber, musk, iron, lead, pe troleum, and coal. From Bengal, the prin cipal imports are woolens, India fabrics, salt, opium, glass, earthenware, tobacco, betel, etc. The development of the rich coal fields is of increasing importance.
In 1826, at the close of the first Burmese war, Assam was ceded to the British. But it was only in 1838 that the
entire country was placed under British administration. Since then, the province has exhibited a noticeable improvement. The population being rural and agricul tural, the only towns of any size are Gauthati and Sebsagar. The peasantry are indolent, good-natured, and fairly prosperous, short and robust in person, with a flat face and high cheek-bones, and coarse, black hair. A majority of the people are Hindus. One of the most striking features of Assam is the abun dance of wild animals, such as tigers, rhinoceroses, leopards, bears, buffaloes, and elephants. Many people are killed by wild animals, but snakes are most de structive to human life. The forests teem with game, and the rivers with fish.