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Chin Hills, Burma

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Chin Hills, Burma

Coordinates: 22 30 N 93 30 E

Maximum elevation: 10,018 feet (3,053 m)

Desperately trying to keep the Taxman at bay for a few more hours, I wound up at my favorite Monday night watering hole with a few friends last night, earnestly discussing the summer foods we enjoyed most. After listening to everyone’s peculiar arguments I found myself championing the mango as the perfect fruit for warmer days ahead. And yet as I tried to explain its versatility as an ingredient and its unrivaled popularity (the National Mango Board claims that more fresh mangos are eaten every day than any other fruit in the world), I realized that I knew precious little about its geographical origins.

As it turns out, this succulent relative of the cashew and the pistachio has been consumed in India for thousands of years, although it didn’t reach the United States until the late nineteenth century. Pinpointing the location of the first mango, when there are hundreds of varieties of the plant today, is not something I wanted to undertake but fortunately others had already agreed on the higher terrain forming the border between India and Burma (Myanmar). Running north-south, the evergreen-clad Chin Hills stretch across much of this tropical zone, and may hide an ancient progenitor in their forested slopes.

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Ben Keene is the editor of Oxford Atlas of the World. Check out some of his previous places of the week.

Recent Comments

  1. Emily

    The Chin Hills-Arakan Yoma montane forests is a tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forest ecoregion in western Myanmar. Surrounded at lower elevations by moist tropical forests, this ecoregion is home a diverse range of subtropical and temperate species, including many species characteristic of the Himalaya, as well as many endemic species.

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