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The Zanniat tribe are people of western Myanmar (Burma) who are a sub-group of the Chin peoples. The Zanniat tribe has fifty-seven sub-groupings and clans. The group's existence was recorded (along with three of its many sub-groups) in Burma's 1931 census after being absent in the Chin Hills gazette of 1896.[1][2] In 1943, the Zanniat tribal groups of eastern Falam Township were recorded by Henry Stevenson (b. 1903, British colonial service in Burma).[3] The Zanniat may also be known by similar sounding names such as Zahnyiet, Zanniet, Zanngiat and Zannaing.


The capital city or myo (IPA: mjó) of the Zanniat is Webula. The Zanniat tribal lands stretch from the hilly regions around the eastern part of the Manipur river to the plains of the Sagaing region and fall within Falam Township. The Manipuri river, flowing in a south-easterly direction within the Falam township, makes a clear natural boundary of Zanniat lands. The Zanniat tribal land abuts Ngawn tribal land and the Tedim township in the north[4] [5] The land has thick vegetation with fauna. Forests within the area include the Khuanghlum, Lianthar, and Ngalsip forests. The lands encompass thirty-nine villages villages and towns.

Towns and villages in Zanniatland

  1. Congkua
  2. Darbo
  3. Farso (new Lunghawh)
  4. Haitui (inexistence)
  5. Hiangrun (Khua ngaingai)
  6. Hlanzawl (new Khualai)
  7. Hmunli
  8. Kamunchuang (Cang-ai-va)
  9. Kawlfang
  10. Khitam
  11. Khualai
  12. Khuaval
  13. Khumzing
  14. Khupleng
  15. Kimniang
  16. Kuangdon (inexistence)
  17. Lianrih
  18. Locom
  19. Lumbang[6]
  20. Lumte
  21. Lunghawh
  22. Maihol
  23. Mualzawl (later included into greater Webula town)
  24. Murang
  25. Ngaizam
  26. Nimzawl (also new Nimzawl village founded)
  27. Pamunchuang
  28. Ralum
  29. Simcing
  30. Thanghluang
  31. Thawi/Tuphei/Zo (new Lunghawh village)
  32. Thiamthi
  33. Tidil (inexistance)
  34. Tlangphai (also known as Kulzam village)
  35. Tlortang
  36. Tlorzan
  37. Tulung (inexistance)
  38. Vanniam
  39. Webula
  40. Zalang
  41. Zatual
  42. Zultu


Zanniat is one of the Sino-Tibetan languages.[7] Ethnologue lists Zanniat as one of the dialects of Falam language.[8]


Zanniat are the descendants of Zanniat. Zanniat was one of the sons of Chin Lung/ Chin Dung, a Shan Sawbwa (Saopha) of Kalemyo, whose father was Kale Kyitaungnyu, the ruler of Ava kingdom of Burma (Myanmar). Zanniat, Hlawnceu and Thuankai were three brothers who left Kalay or Vingpui (meaning fort in Zanniat language) from conflict, then moved to higher elevation which later known as Chin hills. Zanniat decided to settle down in Runral (The word "Runral" refers to the other side of a river in Zanniat language), a land which is eastern from Manipur river and it became Locom village and the name Locom means to settle in Zanniat language. Some of Zanniat's sons were Phunnim, Sumthang, Laizo, Siahthang, Zanniat (Niat Hang) and the descendants from each son later became clans and families. Thuankai had two sons, named Hlawn Ceu and Phurh Hlum. Phurh Hlum had two wives. The descendants from Phurh Hlum's first wife are known as Nuhma family, meaning previous or first in Zanniat language. Phurh Hlum had a second wife from Locom village and the descendants from his second wife are later known as Nuhnua family, meaning later or second in Zanniat language. One of Phurh Hlum sons was named as Zanniat, to commemorate the great grand father Zanniat and the descendants from this man are later known as Zanniat clan or family, which later cause conflicts in understanding the origin of Zanniat. The descendants comprising from Zanniat and Phurh Hlum, living in eastern side of Manipur river are commonly known as Zanniat people or Zanniat tribe. Among the sons of Zanniat, Laizo descendants live around Lumbang, while Sumthang descendants live around Webulah, Hluansang descendants being Chiefly clans settle in every Central Chin and Maraic tribal villages and in India (Mizoram) and Bangladesh (Chittagong hills tracts. Taisun [Tashon], Lerngo (Hualngo), Torr[9] and Khualsim tribes also later settled with Zanniat tribe. Zanniat people trace their ancestry to the Chin, of Tibeto-Burman descent from origins in Mongolia. The early Chin people settled in the western plains of Sagaing when it was known as "Kauka" or "Vingpui", and later as "Kale". The word "Vingpui" refers to a type of brick fort. Thuankai had a son named Tlaisun (Tashons people)in English) whose later became one of the strongest tribe, founder of Falam or Fahlam, ruling most parts of Chin hills.

Taisun [Tashon] rule

In 1810 A.D Taisun tribe collaborated with Zokhua and Chuncung villages and attacked and Khualai village of Zanniat tribe which resulted whole Zanniat tribe and the land became under the rule of Taisun.[9]

British rule

The British ruled Burma from 1824 to 1948. Traditionally, Zanniat culture emphasized the importance of the rule of the head of a group of any size, from household to nation. The Zanniat did not adapt to British rule and operated a Pau Chin Hau governance avoiding centralised rule or local puppet chiefs.[10]


Traditionally, Zanniat people believed in the existence of a supernatural being called "Pathian". The people also believed in other spiritual beings known as "Khuazing", to whom they offered sacrifices in return for favours and blessings. People also believed in the existence of bad spiritual beings and demons such as "Khawsia". [citation needed]

The first Protestant Christian missionaries reached the Chin Hills on 15 March 1899. They were American Baptist workers, Laura and Arthur Carson.[11][12] In 1906, Thang Tsin became the first Christian among Zanniat people. Roman Catholic missionaries arrived later.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Burma Census 1931 Burma Library website.
  2. ^ The Chin Hills: a history of the people, our dealings with them, their customs and manners, and a gazetteer of their country Vol-1
  3. ^ Stevenson, H. N. C.; Digital Library Of India (1943-01-01). The Economics Of The Central Chin Tribes. The Times Of India Press.
  4. ^ Stevenson, H. N. C.; Digital Library Of India (1943-01-01). The Economics Of The Central Chin Tribes. The Times Of India Press.
  5. ^ Zanniat Land Zanniat website 2011.
  6. ^ "1st Chin Rifles". The Burma Campaign. Retrieved 2 March 2023.
  7. ^ La Polla R. J. and Thurgood G. Sino-Tibetan Languages Routledge, 2016 ISBN 1315399482.
  8. ^ "Chin, Falam" Ethnologue, languages of the world website. Accessed 6 July 2017.]
  9. ^ a b Cary, B. S.; Tuck, H. N. (1896). The Chin Hills, Vol.1. The superintendent, Government Printing, Burma. p. 146.
  10. ^ Scott J. C.The Art of not being Governed Yale University Press, 2009 p212. ISBN 0300156529.
  11. ^ Persecution of Chin Christians in Burma Chin Human Rights Organisation website.
  12. ^ Hre Kio S. A Short History of Christianity in Burma Mount Pleasant Christian Church documents.
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