1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Rangpur

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[ 892 ]

RANGPUR, or Rungpore, a town and district of British India, in the Rajshahi division of Eastern Bengal and Assam. The town is situated on the little river Ghaghat. Pop. (1901) 15,960. There are a high school, a normal school and an industrial school. The earthquake of the 12th of June 1897 destroyed many of the public buildings and diverted the drainage channels.

The District of Rangpur, with an area of 3493 sq. m., is one vast plain. The greater part of it, particularly towards the east, is inundated during the rains, and the remainder is traversed by a network of streams which frequently break through their sandy banks and plough for themselves new channels over the fields. The river system is constituted by the Brahmaputra and its tributaries, chief of which are the Tista, Dharla, Sankos and Dudhkumar. The climate is generally malarious, owing to the numerous stagnant swamps and marshes filled with decaying vegetable matter. The annual rainfall averages 82 in. About three-fourths of the district is under continuous cultivation. Spare land can hardly be said to exist — even the patches of waste land yield a valuable tribute of reeds and cane. The staple crops are rice, oil-seeds, jute and tobacco. In 1901 the population was 2,154,181, showing an increase of 4.3% in the decade. Nearly two-thirds are Mahommedans. The Eastern Bengal railway has two branches, one of which crosses the district to the Brahmaputra, and the other runs north towards Assam.

The tract comprised within the district of Rangpur was formerly the western outpost of the ancient Hindu kingdom of Kamrup, which appears to have attained its greatest power and prosperity under Raja Nilambar, who was treacherously overthrown by Ala-uddin Hosain of Bengal at the close of the 15th century. Rangpur passed to the East India Company in 1765 under the firman of the emperor Shah Alam. Since then a great number of changes have taken place in the jurisdiction, in consequence of which the district area has been much diminished.