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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
One of the Birman Gilt War Boats, captured by Capt. Chads, R.N. in his successful expedition against Tanthabeen Stockade
The Palace at Amarapoor with the White Elephant
Portraits of Two Talain Young Ladies Daughters of the Native Judge of Prome
Section of the Ananda Temple at Pagan
Melloon from the British Position
Ground Plan of Three Temples at Pagan
The Conflagration of Dalla on the Tangoon River
"A Daintily-Clad Burmese Lady"
Dagon Pagoda, near Rangoon
In Forest Depths
The Road to Mandalay
Rangoon. The position of part of the Army previous to attacking the Stockades on the 8th of July 1824
Specimens of Humourous Bas-Reliefs on the Pavement of a Monastery at Amarapoora
Title Page
In Nyaung-u
View from the West face of the Great Pagoda, Prome
Map showing relative positions of Amarapoor, Tsagain and Ava from a Survey by Major Grant Allan
The Storming of the Fort of Syriam by a combined force of Sailors, and European & Native Troops, on the 5th August 1824
Jungle on the Lashio Line
The Goekteik Gorge
A Jungle Stream
The King
Scene upon the Terrace of the Great Dagon Pagoda at Rangoon taken near the Great Bell
Loading Teak at Kokogon
View of the Great Pagoda at Mengoon as Shattered by the Earthquake of 1839
Landing-Ghaut at Prome - Low River
Prome, from the South heights
On the Kyouk-mee-Choung
On the Bassein Creek
The attempt of the Birmans to retake the Stockades of Dalla on the night of the 6th September 1824
Mining Camp at "The Rapids"
Portico of the Queen's Golden Monastery-Mandalay
The Audience Hall amd Reception of the Envoy
Bhamo from the Fort
The Pagoda Steps, Rangoon
The Landing-Place at Nyaung-u
The Attack upon the Stockades near Rangoon by Sir Archibald Campbell, K.C.B. on the 28th May 1824
A Dak Bungalow
S.E. View of Dhamayangyee Temple at Pagan
Rafting down the Nan-tu River
Beauty and the Beast
Market-Place at Taungdwingyi
Prome, from the heights occupied by H.M. 13th Light Infantry
Heads of Burmese Notables
Inside View of the Gold Temple on the Terrace of the Great Dagon Pagoda at Rangoon
On the Lower Irrawaddy
Waiting for the Steamer - Early Morning
The Moat at Mandalay
In the Second Defile of the Irrawaddy
Scene upon the Eastern Road from Rangoon looking towards the South
Back Cover
The Home of the Peacock
The Pagoda Steps, Rangoon
View from Brigadier McCregh's Pagoda, Rangoon
At the Well
A Buddha-near Pagan
Map of Burma
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
Elephants clearing a "Pone" of Logs at Kokogon
A Forest Tai
The Ananda Temple - Pagan
The Gold Temple of the principal Idol Guadma, taken from its front being the Eastern face of the Great Dagon Pagoda at Rangoon
View of the Lake and part of the Eastern Road from Rangoon, taken from the Advance of the 7th Madras Native Infantry
The Burmese Drama
The Village of Min-byin
Evening at Thayetmyo
Title Page
Elevation of Thapinyu Temple at Pagan
A Mountain Torrent
Old Pagan
Waterpots for the Travellers Refreshment, a Burmese Charity
Rangoon. The Storming of one of the principal Stockades on its inside on the 8th of July 1824
Entrance to a Burmese Village
Sketch Map of Burma
An Attempt to Represent the Historical Geography of the Burmese Countries at Several Epochs
Fall on the Myit-nge River
On the Sterne River
A Street in Taungdwingyi
Platform of the Shwe Zigon Pagoda - Pagan
A Zeyat - Mandalay
Ferry on the Nan-tu River
Front Cover
In the Bazaar - Bhamo
A Chinese Pawn-Shop-Mandalay
Prayer on the Pagoda Platform - Prome
View of the Shwe Dagon or Great Pagoda of Rangoon
Back Cover
View of the Myit-Nge or Little River and part of the Valley of the Irawadee from the Mountain called Mya Liet
The Market-Place
A Rest-House
A Forest Glade
Express Steamer passing Sagaing
Front Cover - Shrine on the Platform of the Shwe Dagon Pagoda
The River at Pakokku
A Native Boat Sailing Upstream with the Wind


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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