Bassein, a district and town in the Irrawaddy division of Lower Burma, in the delta of the Irrawaddy. The district has been reduced to 4127 sq. m., from 8954 sq. m. in 1871, having given up a large tract to the district of Myaungmya formed in 1896.
A mountain range called the Anauk-pet Taungmyin stretches through the district from N. to S. along the coast. The principal river of the district is the Irrawaddy, which debouches on the sea at its eastern extremity through a delta intersected with salt water creeks, among which the Pyamalaw, Pyinzalu, Kyuntôn, and Ngawun Shagègyi or Bassein river rank as important arms of the sea. Irrawaddy and Inyègyi are the only two lakes in the district. The delta of the Irrawaddy forms, wherever cultivable, a vast sheet of rice, with cotton, sesamum, and tobacco as subsidiary crops. In 1901 the population was 391,427.
Bassein, the chief town and port, is the capital of the district and division, and is situated on the eastern bank of the Bassein river, one of the main arteries by which the waters of the Irrawaddy discharge themselves into the sea. It forms an important seat of the rice trade with several steam rice mills, and has great capabilities both from a mercantile and a military point of view, as it commands the great outlet of the Irrawaddy. It fell before the British arms, in May 1852, during the second Burmese war. In 1901 it had a population of 31,864. The vessels of the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company ply between Rangoon and Bassein, etc., by inland waters, and a railway opened in 1903 runs northeastward through the centre of the district, to Henzada and Letpadan.