district feet west
SINGBHUM, a British district in the lieutenant-governorship of Bengal, lying between 21° 59' and 22° 53' N. lat. and between 85° 2' and 86° 56' E. long. It has an area of 3753 square miles, and is bounded on the N. by the districts of Lohardaga and Manbhtim, on the E. by Midnapur, on the S. by the tributary states of Orissa, and on the W. by Lohardagb, and the tributary states of Chutin, NAgpur. Its central portion consists of a long undulating tract of country, running east and west, and enclosed by great hill ranges. The depressions lying between the successive ridges comprise the most fertile part, which varies in elevation above sea-level from 400 feet near the Subarnarekha on the east to 750 feet around the station of Chaibasa. South of this an elevated plateau of 700 square miles rises to upwards of 1000 feet. In the west of the district is an extensive mountainous tract, sparsely inhabited by the wildest of the Kols ; while in the extreme south-west corner is a still grander mass of mountains, known as "Saranda of the seven hundred hills," rising to a height of 3500 feet. From the Layada range on the north-west of Singbham many rocky spurs strike out into the district, the more prominent of them attaining an elevation of 2900. feet. Among other ranges and peaks are the Chaitanpur range, reaching an elevation of 2529 feet, and the Kapargadi range, a conspicuous ridge rising abruptly from the plain and running in a southeasterly direction until it culminates iu Thai& Hill (2492 feet). The principal rivers are the Subarnarekha, which with its affluents flows through the eastern portion of the district ; the Keel, which rises west of Bauchi, and drains the Saranda region ; and the Baitarani, which touches the southern border for 8 miles. About two-thirds of Singbhttm district is covered with primeval forest, containing some valuable timber trees ; in the forests tigers, leopards, bears, buffaloes, and several kinds of deer abound, and small herds of elephants occasionally wander from the 31eghasani Hills in Morbhanj. The climate is dry, and the hot season is extremely trying, the thermometer frequently registering 106° F. in the shade; the average annual rainfall is about 57 inches.
The census of 1831 disclosed a population of 453,775 (226,681 males and 227,094 females); Hindus numbered 447,810, Mohammedans 2329, and Christians 2988. The only town containing a population of more than 5000 is Chaibasa, the civil station and administrative headquarters of the district, with 6006 inhabitants. The staple crop of Singhhilm is rice, and the other chief crops are wheat, Indian corn, pease, gram, mustard, sugar-cane, cotton, and tobacco. The principal manufactures are coarse cotton cloths, brass and earthenware cooking utensils, and soapstone platters. Cereals, pulses, oil-seeds, stick-lac, and iron comprise the chief exports; and the imports include salt, cotton thread, English cloth goods, tobacco, and brass utensils.
Colonel Dalton, in his Ethnology of Bengal, says that the Singbhilin Rajput chiefs have been known to the British Govern. nient since 1803, when the marquis of Wellesley was governor-general of India ; but there does not appear to have been any intercourse between British officials and the people of the Kolhan previous to 1819. The Hos or Larka Kols, the characteristic aboriginal race of Singbhtim district, would allow no stranger to settle in, or even pass through, the Kollia'm ; they were, however, subjugated in 1836, when the head-men entered into engagements to bear true allegiance to the British Government. The country . remained tranquil and prosperous until 1857, when a rebellion took place among the Kols under Parahat Raj& After a tedious campaign they surrendered in 1859, and the capture of the raja put a stop to their disturbances.