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Nagaland

Land of festivals

Nagaland/ˈnɑːɡəlænd/ is a landlocked state in north-eastern India. It is bordered by the state of Arunachal Pradesh to the north, Assam to the west, Manipur to the south and the Sagaing Region of Myanmar to the east. Nagaland's capital city is Kohima and its largest city is Dimapur. It has an area of 16,579 square kilometres (6,401 sq mi) with a population of 1,980,602 per the 2011 Census of India, making it one of the smallest states of India.

Nagaland became the 16th state of India on 1 December 1963. The state has experienced insurgency, as well as an interethnic conflict, since the 1950s. The violence and insecurity have limited Nagaland's economic development.

Agriculture is the most important economic activity, covering over 70% of the state's economy. Other significant economic activity includes forestry, tourism, insurance, real estate, and miscellaneous cottage industries.

The state lies between the parallels of 98 and 96 degrees east longitude and 26.6 and 27.4 degrees latitude north. The state is home to a rich variety of flora and fauna.

History

Antiquity

The ancient history of the Nagas is unclear. Tribes migrated at different times, each settling in the northeastern part of present India and establishing their respective sovereign mountain terrains and village-states. There are no records of whether they came from the northern Mongolian region, southeast Asia or southwest China, except that their origins are from the east of India and that historical records show the present-day Naga people settled before the arrival of the Ahoms in 1228 AD.

The origin of the word 'Naga' is also unclear. A popularly accepted, but controversial, view is that it originated from the Burmese word 'Na-Ka' or 'naga', meaning people with earrings.' Others suggest it means pierced noses. Both naka and naga are pronounced the same way in Burmese.

Before the arrival of European colonialism in South Asia, there had been many wars, persecution and raids from Burma on Naga tribes, Meitei people and others in India's northeast. The invaders came for "head hunting" and to seek wealth and captives from these tribes and ethnic groups. When the British inquired Burmese guides about the people living in the northern Himalayas, they were told 'Naka'. This was recorded as 'Naga' and has been in use thereafter.

British India

With the arrival of the British East India Company in the early 19th century, followed by the British Raj, Britain expanded its domain over the whole of South Asia, including the Naga Hills. The first Europeans to enter the hills were Captains Jenkins and Pemberton in 1832. The early contact with the Naga tribes was characterized by suspicion and conflict. The colonial interests in Assam, such as tea estates and other trading posts suffered from raids from tribes who were known for their bravery and "head hunting" practices. To put an end to these raids, the British troops recorded 10 military expeditions between 1839 and 1850.

In February 1851, at the bloody battle at Kikrüma, people died on both the British side and the Kikrüma (Naga tribe) side; in days after the battle, intertribal warfare followed that led to more bloodshed. After that war, the British adopted a policy of respect and non-interference with Naga tribes.

Despite this, between 1851 and 1865, Naga tribes continued to raid the British in Assam. The British India Government, fresh from the shocks of the Indian Rebellion of 1857, reviewed its governance structure throughout South Asia including its northeastern region. In 1866, the British India administration established a post at Samaguting with the explicit goal of ending intertribal warfare and tribal raids on property and personnel.

In 1869, Captain Butler was appointed to lead and consolidate the British presence in the Nagaland Hills. In 1878, the headquarters were transferred to Kohima — creating a city that remains an important center of administration, commerce, and culture for Nagaland.

On 4 October 1879, G.H. Damant (M.A.C.S), a British political agent, went to Khonoma with troops, where he was shot dead with 35 of his team. Kohima was subsequently attacked and the stockade looted. This violence led to a determined effort by the British Raj to return and respond. The subsequent defeat of Khonoma marked the end of serious and persistent hostility in the Naga Hills.

Between 1880 and 1922, the British administration consolidated their position over a large area of the Naga Hills and integrated it into its Assam operations. The British administration enforced the rupee as the currency for economic activity and a system of structured tribal government that was very different than historic social governance practices.[8] These developments triggered profound social changes among the Naga people. In 1926, it became a part of Pakokku Hill Tracts Districts of Burma until 1948,January 4.

In parallel, since the mid-19th century, Christian missionaries from the United States and Europe, stationed in India, reached into Nagaland and neighbouring states, converting Nagaland's Naga tribes from animism to Christianity.
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