Located south of Mandalay in Mandalay Division, the site of a large irrigation complex that has played an indispensable economic role in the development of organized states in Upper Burma. Because rainfall is scarce year-round compared to other parts of Burma, the surpluses of rice necessary to support complex and densely populated societies can only be grown if fields are irrigated. At the end of the Konbaung Dynasty in the late 19th century, irrigated rice fields around Kyaukse totaled 100,000 acres. Their origin is unclear. The irrigation complex was in existence before the Pagan Dynasty, whose kings often used prisoners of war to maintain the tanks and canals. The fields were extended by both Pagan and post-Pagan Dynasty rulers, who had the grain brought by barge up the Zawgyi and Myitnge Rivers to the Irrawaddy (Ayeyarwady) River and then on to the royal capital. Other irrigation works are located at Meiktila, Yamethin, and Minbu. Because Kyaukse is the birthplace of Senior General Than Shwe, chairman of the State Peace and Development Council, it has benefited in recent years from special government-funded projects, especially in agriculture.

Historical Dictionary of Burma (Myanmar). . 2014.

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