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1911 Encyclopedia Britannica


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Or Canara, the name of two adjoining districts of British India: North Kanara in the presidency of Bombay, South Kanara in that of Madras. Both are on the western coast.

North Kanara District forms part of the southern division of Bombay. The administrative headquarters are at Karwar, which is also the chief seaport. Area, 3945 sq. m.; pop .(190 I), 454,49 0, showing an increase of 2% in the decade. The trade of the interior, which used to pass down to the seaports, has been largely diverted by the opening of the Southern Mahratta railway. Along the coast rice is the chief crop, and coco-nut palms are also important. In the upland there are valuable gardens of areca palms, cardamoms and pepper. Rice and timber are exported, and sandalwood-carving and salt manufacture are carried on. The main feature in the physical geography of the district is the range of the Western Ghats, which, running from north to south, divides it into two parts, a lowland or coast strip (Payanghat), and an upland plateau (Balaghat). The coast-line is only broken by the Karwar headland in the north, and by the estuaries of four rivers and the mouths of many smaller streams, through which the salt water finds an entrance into numerous lagoons winding several miles inland. The breadth of the lowlands varies from 5 to 15 miles. From this narrow belt rise a few smooth, flat-topped hills, from 200 to 300 ft. high; and at places it is crossed by lofty, rugged, densely wooded spurs, which, starting from the main range, maintain almost to the coast a height of not less than moo ft. Among these hills lie well-tilled valleys of garden and rice land: The plateau of the Balaghat is irregular, varying from 150o to 2000 ft. in height. In some parts the country rises into well-wooded knolls, in others it is studded by small, isolated, steep hills. Except on the banks of streams and in the more open glades, the whole is one broad waste of woodland and forest. The open spaces are dotted with hamlets or parcelled out into rice clearings. Of the rivers flowing eastward from the watershed of the Sahyadri hills the only one of importance is the Wardha or Varada, a tributary of the Tungabhadra. Of those that flow westwards, the four principal ones, proceeding from north to south, are the Kali, Gungawali, Tadri and Sharavati. The last of these forms the famous Gersoppa Falls. Extensive forests clothe the hills, and are conserved under the rules of the forest department.

South Kanara District has its headquarters at Mangalore. Area, 4021 sq. m. Pop. (1901), 1,134,713, showing an increase of 7% in the decade. The district is intersected by rivers, none of which exceeds 100 miles in length. They all take their rise in the Western Ghats, and many are navigable during the fair weather for from 15 to 25 miles from the coast. The chief of these streams are the Netravati, Gurpur and Chendragiri. Numerous groves of coco-nut palms extend along the coast, and green rice-fields are seen in every valley. The Western Ghats, rising to a height of 3000 to 6000 ft., fringe the eastern boundary. Forest land of great extent and value exists, but most of it is private property. Jungle products (besides timber) consist of bamboo, cardamoms, wild arrowroot, gall-nuts, gamboge, catechu, fibrous bark, cinnamon, gums, resin, dyes, honey and beeswax. The forests formerly abounded in game, which, however, is rapidly decreasing under incessant shooting. The staple crop is rice. The chief articles of import are piece goods, cotton yarn, oils and salt. Tiles are manufactured in several places out of a fine potter's clay. The Azhikal-Mangalore line of the Madras railway serves the district.

See South Canara District Manual (2 vols., Madras, 1894-1895).

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Bibliography Information
Chisholm, Hugh, General Editor. Entry for 'Kanara'. 1911 Encyclopedia Britanica. 1910.

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