ABSTRACT

Nestled in a river valley, a highland city depends on the arable land adjacent to it and the roads and waterways connecting it to the world beyond the hills and mountains, beyond the reach of one's eyes. Though sitting on valley floors, there are chiefly two types of highland cities: those immediately surrounded by relatively flat land (e.g., fig. 2.1), hence largely dependent on rice for subsistence; and those surrounded by hilly land (e.g., fig. 2.2), hence largely fed by such dry crops as maize and sweet potatoes. What the cultivated land, mountains, and rivers can provide for them together with their own skills and sweat would determine the size of the city's population and the denizens' standards of living. There are no available records, meaningful or reliable, of the land progressively brought under cultivation in the forty years since the commercialization movement began, in spite of fairly reasonable records of the demographic changes on the high-lands. It is known that trees were felled and sold in great quantities, an indication that population increases made land reclamation imperative, but it seemed to be a situation of first-come first-served, a free-for-all. A fierce struggle for survival must have been waged until the warlords' rule became more stabilized, toward the end of the 1920s. 1