The area has abundant rainfall due to the influence of monsoon winds from the Indian Ocean; the annual precipitation is 2,500 mm. Virgin forests cover the mountain slopes, and medicinal herbs, wild animals and mineral deposits abound. Crops grown in the area used to be limited to maize, buckwheat and beans, but after liberation at the mid-20th century rice and potatoes were introduced.
Major area of distribution: Yunnan Province
The Drungs, numbering about 4,700, live mainly in the Dulong River valley of the Gongshan Drung and Nu Autonomous County in northwestern Yunnan Province. Their language belongs to the Tibetan-Myanmese group of the Chinese-Tibetan language family. Similar to the language of the Nu people, their neighbors, it does not have a written form and, traditionally, records were made and messages transmitted by engraving notches in wood and tying knots.
During the Tang Dynasty (618-907), the places where the Drungs lived were under the jurisdiction of the Nanzhao and Dali principalities. From the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) to the end of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), the Drungs were ruled by court-appointed Naxi headmen. In modern times, the ethnic minority distinguished itself by repulsing a British military expedition in 1913.
The Dulong River valley extends 150 km from north to south. It is flanked on the east by Mt. Gaoligong, 5,000 meters above sea level, and on the west by Mt. Dandanglika, 4,000 meters above sea level.