Ayeyarwady Division or Irrawaddy Division is a division of Burma, occupying the delta region of the Ayeyarwady River (also known as the Irrawaddy River). It is bordered by Bago Division to the north, Bago Division and Yangon Division to the east, and the Bay of Bengal to the south and west. It is contiguous with the Rakhine State in the northwest.
The division lies between north latitude 15° 40' and 18° 30' approximately and between cast longitude 94° 15' and 96° 15'. It has an area of 13,566 sq-miles. The population is over 6.5 million, making it the most populous of Burma’s states and divisions. The average population density per sq mile is 466 persons.
Ayeyarwady Division is flanked by the Rakhine Yoma (Arakan Mountains) range in the west and large areas were cleared for paddy cultivation, leading to its preeminent position as the main rice producer in the country, a position it has retained into the twenty-first century.
The capital city of Ayeyawady division is Pathein.
Chaungtha Beach and Ngwesaung Beach are popular resorts for both foreigners and Burma people. They are located in west side of Ayewarwaddy Division, one hours distance from Pathein city and four hours from Yangon city by road transportation.
Bamar and Karen form the majority of the population, with a small minority of Rakhine in western coastal regions. The majority of the people are Buddhist, with small minorities of Christians and Muslims. Burmese is the lingua franca.
Ayeyarwady Division is heavily forested and wood products are an important component of the economy. The principal crop of Ayeyarwady Division is rice, and the division is called the “granary of Burma.” In addition to rice, other crops include maize, sesame, groundnut, sunflower, beans, pulses, and jute. Fishery is also important; Ayeyarwady Division produces fish, prawn, fish-paste, dry fish, dry prawn, and fish sauce.
Ayeyarwady Division also has considerable tourist potential. The city of Pathein has numerous historic sights and temples. Outside Pathein are the beach resorts of Chaungtha Beach and the lake resort of Inye Lake. Inye lake is located in Kyonpyaw township, 59 miles north east of Pathein. Inye lake is also well-known for fishery, as the major supplier of fresh water fish. Chaungtha is located in Pathein township. However, hotel and transportation infrastructure is still very poorly developed.
The Ayeyarwady delta region was traditionally part of the Mon kingdom. This area fell under Burmese (and occasional Rakhine) rule from the 11th century AD. Its subsequent history mirrors that of the rest of lower Burma.
Burma's state-controlled news media reported that Nargis left more than 66,000 people dead or missing after it struck the Irrawaddy Delta region May 2, unleashing torrential rains, 120 mph sustained winds and a 12-foot tidal wave. Foreign relief official and diplomats have said the death toll could exceed 100,000.
The Ayeyarwady Division consists of five districts:
Pathein is the principal city and capital. It consists of 26 townships and 29 cities. In the townships there are 219 wards, 1912 village groups and 11651 villages.