Celebrating 197th anniversary of British founded Sittwe

Narinjara News, 26 January 2023

A ceremony marking the 197th anniversary of the founding of Sittwe (Akyab) city was organised on Wednesday evening in the capital city.
Mentionable is that Sittwe was founded by the British on 12 January 1826 (5th of Tabodwe month in 1187 according to the Rakhine calendar). The ceremony was planned according to the Rakhine calendar.
“A lighting event along with the Rakhine traditional wrestling in Mizan Ward was also organized by Thaki Mandai Rakhine culture group,” said U Kyaw Zan Maung, an organizer, adding that although the ceremony was brief, it included traditional dances too.

Sittwe (earlier Akyab) was created by the British Governors Patton and Dickenson along with the Arakanese leaders namely Prince Shwe Bang, Day Kyung Kyaw Chee and city chief Aung Kyaw Zang.
British forces occupied Rakhine in 1824 and they realised that the former capital city of Mrauk U was not suitable for administrative initiatives. Hence they moved to the present location and built
In 1826, after the first Anglo-Burmese war, the British transferred the seat of government to Sittwe. During the first 40 years of British rule, the city emerged from a village with 15,536 inhabitants. By 1901, it was the third port of Burma with a population of 31,687
In 1860, the Kolkata-based consulate general of the United States decided to have another consular agency in Sittwe.] During the colonial days, Sittwe earned a bad reputation of being frequently infected by the malaria and cholera diseases. The historical records indicate that Sittwe was no better or worse city than many other locations along the coast.

Sittwe had a high economy during the British era and it also topped the education sector.
After the independence of Myanmar, Sittwe's economy had gone down primarily because of political discrimination as well as the oppressive rule of the Union government in Rangoon.

After the 1962 military coup, the Rakhine State's economy was in a bad shape.
The capital city has 31 wards where 0.2 millions people live. Sittwe continues to be the capital of Arakan State and it preserves the proud cultural tradition of the Rakhine people.
But lately, the city has been plagued by incidents of robbery. The use of illegal drugs among the young people is also reported. The Sittwe residents still demand that it should be modernized and made a progressive city that respects the law of the land.