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Burma Collection

History Archive - Burma Collection

Burma, presently known as Myanmar, is a country in Southeast Asia. Myanmar is bordered by India and Bangladesh to its west, Thailand and Laos to its east and China to its north and northeast. Burma is the largest of the mainland Southeast Asian states.

Early civilisations in Myanmar included the Tibeto-Burman-speaking Pyu city-states in Upper Burma and the Mon kingdoms in Lower Burma. In the 9th century, the Bamar people entered the upper Irrawaddy valley and, following the establishment of the Pagan Kingdom in the 1050s, the Burmese language, culture and Theravada Buddhism slowly became dominant in the country. The Pagan Kingdom fell due to the Mongol invasions and several warring states emerged.

In the 16th century, reunified by the Taungoo dynasty, the country was for a brief period the largest empire in the history of Mainland Southeast Asia.[10] The early 19th century Konbaung dynasty ruled over an area that included modern Myanmar and briefly controlled Manipur and Assam as well. The British took over the administration of Myanmar after three Anglo-Burmese Wars in the 19th century and the country became a British colony. Burma was once a province of British India, including the former kingdom of independent Burma, as well as British Burma. It was acquired by the British Indian government in the two wars of 1826 and 1852. It is divided into Upper and Lower Burma, the former being the territory annexed on 1st January 1886. Myanmar was granted independence in 1948, as a democratic nation. Following a coup d'état in 1962, it became a military dictatorship under the Burma Socialist Programme Party.


The province lies to the east of the Bay of Bengal, and covers a range of country extending from the Pakchan river in 9° 55' north latitude to the Naga and Chingpaw, or Kachin hills, lying roughly between the 27th and 28th degrees of north latitude; and from the Bay of Bengal on the west to the Mekong river, the boundary of the dependent Shan States on the east, that is to say, roughly, between the 92nd and 100th degrees of east longitude. The extreme length from north to south is almost 1200 m., and the broadest part, which is in about latitude 21° north, is 575 m. from east to west.

On the N. it is bounded by the dependent state of Manipur, by the Mishmi hills, and by portions of Chinese territory; on the E. by the Chinese Shan States, portions of the province of Yunnan, the French province of Indo-China, and the Siamese Shan, or Lao States and Siam; on the S. by the Siamese Malay States and the Bay of Bengal; and on the W. by the Bay of Bengal and Chittagong. The coast-line from Taknaf, the mouth of the Naaf, in the Akyab district on the north, to the estuary of the Pakchan at Maliwun on the south, is about 1200 m. The total area of the province is estimated at 238,738 sq.m., of which Burma proper occupies 168,573 sq.m., the Chin hills 10,250 sq.m., and the Shan States, which comprise the whole of the eastern portion of the province, some 59,915 sq.m.


It is probable that Burma is the Chryse Regio of Ptolemy, a name parallel in meaning to Sonaparanta, the classic P?li title assigned to the country round the capital in Burmese documents. The royal history traces the lineage of the kings to the ancient Buddhist monarchs of India. This no doubt is fabulous, but it is hard to say how early communication with Gangetic India began.

From the 11th to the 13th century the old Burman empire was at the height of its power, and to this period belong the splendid remains of architecture at Pagan. The city and the dynasty were destroyed by a Chinese (or rather Mongol) invasion (1284 A.D.) in the reign of Kublai Khan. After that the empire fell to a low ebb, and Central Burma was often subject to Shan dynasties. In the early part of the 16th century the Burmese princes of Toungoo, in the north-east of Pegu, began to rise to power, and established a dynasty which at one time held possession of Pegu, Ava and Arakan.

They made their capital at Pegu, and to this dynasty belong the gorgeous descriptions of some of the travelers of the 16th century. Their wars exhausted the country, and before the end of the century it was in the greatest decay. A new dynasty arose in Ava, which subdued Pegu, and maintained their supremacy throughout the 17th and during the first forty years of the 18th century. The Peguans or Talaings then revolted, and having taken the capital Ava, and made the king prisoner, reduced the whole country to submission. Alompra, left by the conqueror in charge of the village of Môtshobo, planned the deliverance of his country. He attacked the Peguans at first with small detachments; but when his forces increased, he suddenly advanced, and took possession of the capital in the autumn of 1753.

Available Books


Image Name
View of the Great Dagon Pagoda at Rangoon and Scenery adjacent to the Westward of the Great Road
The King
Rafting down the Nan-tu River
The Irrawaddy Valley at Meegyoungyai
View of Part of the Small Temple called Sem-Bvo-Koo at Pagan
First Steps
Elevation of the Ananda Temple at Pagan
The Ananda Temple - Pagan
At the Well
Back Cover
Sketch Map of Burma
The Palace at Amarapoor with the White Elephant
A Jungle Stream
Prome, from the heights occupied by H.M. 13th Light Infantry
Platform of the Shwe Zigon Pagoda - Pagan
A Portico of the Palace - Mandalay
In Nyaung-u
The Storming of the Lesser Stockade at Kemmendine near Rangoon on the 10th of June 1824
Scrub Jungle
Horse and Foot Soldiers with Dragon Temple in the Background
View of the Lake and part of the Eastern Road from Rangoon, taken from the Advance of the 7th Madras Native Infantry
Scene from the Upper Terrace of the Great Pagoda at Rangoon, to the South East
On the Bassein Creek
The Combined Forces under Brig. Cotton, C.B. and Captains Alexander, C.B. & Chads, R.N. passing the Fortress of Donabue to effect a junction with Sir Archibald Campbell, on the 27th March 1825
Ground Plan of Three Temples at Pagan
Front Cover
On the Kyouk-mee-Choung
In the Bazaar - Bhamo
The Pagoda Steps, Rangoon
Back Cover
[H.M.S. Larne H.C. Compys] Mercury, Heroine, Carron & Lotus; Transports attacking the Stockades at the entrance of Bassein River on the 26th February 1825
"Domestic Felicity" (from a Burmese Painting)
Rangoon. The position of part of the Army previous to attacking the Stockades on the 8th of July 1824
Scene upon the Terrace of the Great Dagon Pagoda at Rangoon looking towards the North
The Irrawaddy
Specimens of Humourous Bas-Reliefs on the Pavement of a Monastery at Amarapoora
A Forest Tai
Plan of the Irawadee River from Amarapura to Tsampenago
Ferry on the Nan-tu River
In the Second Defile of the Irrawaddy
The Conflagration of Dalla on the Tangoon River
"Pya-shikoh" (from a Burmese Painting)
In the Depths of the Forest
Entrance to the Kuthodau-Mandalay
An Attempt to Represent the Historical Geography of the Burmese Countries at Several Epochs
Upstream with the Wind
Map of Burma
Title Page
Melloon from the British Position
View of the Great Dagon Pagoda and adjacent Scenery taken on the Eastern Road from Rangoon
Title Page Wrapper
[King List]
The Man-pwe Falls from the Railway Company's Bungalow
Dagon Pagoda, near Rangoon
The Gold Temple of the principal Idol Guadma, taken from its front being the Eastern face of the Great Dagon Pagoda at Rangoon
"The Centre of the Universe" - Mandalay
The Hairy Woman
Inside View of the Gold Temple on the Terrace of the Great Dagon Pagoda at Rangoon
Waiting for the Steamer - Early Morning
Front Cover - Shrine on the Platform of the Shwe Dagon Pagoda
View of the Oil Wells at Yenangyoung
View of the Great Pagoda at Mengoon as Shattered by the Earthquake of 1839
A Forest Glade
Waterpots for the Travellers Refreshment, a Burmese Charity
N.E. View of Guadapalen Temple at Pagan
Colossal Guatama
The Moat at Mandalay
The Irrawaddy Banks near Myin-gyan
Jungle at Delanchoon
Net Fishing on the Irrawaddy
A Dak Bungalow
Dawn in the Forest
"A Daintily-Clad Burmese Lady"
S.E. View of Dhamayangyee Temple at Pagan
Landing-Ghaut at Prome - Low River
The Audience Hall amd Reception of the Envoy
View from the West face of the Great Pagoda, Prome
A Street in Taungdwingyi
The Home of the Peacock
View of the Myit-Nge or Little River and part of the Valley of the Irawadee from the Mountain called Mya Liet
View from Brigadier McCregh's Pagoda, Rangoon
Elephants clearing a "Pone" of Logs at Kokogon
The Shwe Dagon from Dalhousie Park
Map showing relative positions of Amarapoor, Tsagain and Ava from a Survey by Major Grant Allan
View of the Shwe Dagon or Great Pagoda of Rangoon
View of the landing at Rangoon of part of the Combined Forces from Bengal and Madras, under the Orders of Sir Archibald Campbell, K.C.B. on the 11th May 1824
The River at Pakokku
One of the Birman Gilt War Boats, captured by Capt. Chads, R.N. in his successful expedition against Tanthabeen Stockade
Entrance to a Burmese Village
The Shwe Dagon from the Bahan Tank
A Buddha-near Pagan
At the Well
Dagon Pagoda, near Rangoon, taken from the Lines of H.M. 13th & 38th Regiments
This New Map of Burma and the Regions Adjacent is Inscribed to Sir Roderick I. Murchison


Map Name
A Narrative of the Mission to the Court of Ava - This New Map of Burma and the Regions Adjacent is Inscribed to Sir Roderick I. Murchison (1858)


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