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Burma (now officially called the Union of Myanmar) was a province of the Bengal Presidency until the establishment of the Burma Office in 1937 after which it was administered separately until independence in 1948.


Places in Burma:


The British annexed parts of Burmese territory after their victory in the 1st Burma War. Lower Burma was annexed in 1852 after the 2nd Burma War. In 1862, these territories were designated the minor province of British India, British Burma. After the 3rd Burma War in 1885, Upper Burma was annexed, and the following year, the province of Burma in British India was created, becoming a major province in 1897. This arrangement lasted until 1937, when Burma began to be administered separately by the Burma Office and the Secretary of State for India and Burma. Burma achieved independence from British rule on January 4, 1948.

FIBIS resources

Extracts from "The Private Letters of William Porter, Gunner, 3rd Batt., Madras Artillery (1826-1857) (Mss Eur. G128, British Library)", including time spent in Burma


Also see

Trek Out of Burma in 1942

Following the Japanese bombing in 1942, half a million refugees attempted to walk to India. Many died.

Historical books online

  • Forgotten Frontier by Geoffrey Tyson, published 1945, may be viewed online on the Digital Library of India website, including as a pdf download. The book is about the escape of refugees from Burma in 1942 and the help provided by the tea planters of Assam in assisting the refugees from north Burma into India.
  • Burma Diary by Paul Geren published 1943 In 1941 Paul Geren agreed to spend two years at Judson College in Rangoon, Burma, as a short-term missionary under the American Baptist Foreign Mission Society. Following the Japanese bombing Professor Geren's classroom became a field hospital as he offered his services as an ambulance driver to Dr. Gordon Seagrave, the famed Burma surgeon. He later trekked to India. From the website ourstory.info



British Library

  • Baptisms, Marriages and Burials for Burma are included in the Bengal returns (N/1) up to 1936. Records for 1937 to 1959 are in a separate series N/10 with a single index for Burma BMBs. These records are part of the digitised India Office Records collection on the commercial website findmypast, and at least the N1 record indexes are available on FamilySearch (both datasets subject to a few exceptions).
  • Burma Gazette IOR/V/11/3406-3694 1875-1952.This publication was one of the Government Gazettes which were the official newspapers of the Government of India and its provincial governments where information, such as appointments, promotions,etc was 'gazetted'.

LDS (Mormon)

The LDS film catalogue has the following entries:


  • FIBIS blog: Book of the month. A comprehensive new edition of Burma Register of European Deaths and Burials, edited by Rosie Llewellyn-Jones, published by BACSA, 2015. Covers burials up to 1948. 212pp
  • From the catalogue of the Centre for Jewish History, New York and available through the American Sephardi Federation:
    • Birth Register Book: Musmeah Yeshua Synagogue Rangoon. Published 1979 In English, records available from 1896 to 1979. In Hebrew, available from 1888
    • Death Register Book: Musmeah Yeshua Synagogue Rangoon. Published 1979. Available from 1888. In Hebrew with Sephardi Script.

Economy and business

The leading British firms in Burma were the Burma Oil Company, which controlled the oil industry, Steel Brothers and Company Limited, which worked in oil, rice and general trading business, the Rangoon Electric Tramway and Supply Company Limited, the Anglo-Burma Tin Company , and the Burma Corporation Limited, which operated the Bawdwin Mines.[2]

Also refer Twentieth century impressions of Burma: its history, people, commerce, industries, and resources by Arnold Wright in Online books below

Recommended Reading

  • The book Old Soldier Sahib by Frank Richards, is about the early 1900s in India and Burma and mentioned in Military reading list. The book was first published in 1936. There is a further 2005 edition, annotated by Krijnen and Langley, with many footnotes and illustrations. "Each page is annotated to give information on Frank Richards’s friends, his officers, the places where he served in India and Burma, dates, events and the language, for example".[3]
  • Details of the book A Soldier’s Story-From the Khyber Pass to the Jungles of Burma: The Memoir of a British Officer in the Indian Army 1933-1947 by John Archibald Hislop, edited by Penny Kocher 2010. There is a review by Richard Morgan of A Soldier’s Story in FIBIS Journal Number 26 Autumn 2011, page 52. For details of how to access this article, see FIBIS Journals. The review may also be read in this link, along with other reviews.
  • The Brewing Storm – 1939-1941 (2013) and Burma Invaded - 1942 (2013), both by Major C M Enriquez, based on his diary. Review by Peter Bailey, page 52 FIBIS Journal Number 33 (Spring 2015)

External links

Library.gif The FIBIS Google Books Library
has books tagged:


Historical books online

Fifty years' reminiscences of India : a retrospect of travel, adventure and shikar by Colonel Pollock, Madras Staff Corps 1896. Southeast Asia Visions, Cornell University. Archive.org version In 1853 the author was appointed to the Madras Sappers and Miners in Burma.
"On the Ruby Mines near Mogok, Burma" by Robert Gordon, C.E with Map showing the position of the Ruby Mines Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society and Monthly Record of Geography, Vol. 10, No. 5, May 1888, pages 261–275, Map page 324. Archive.org
"Burma Rubies" page 153 Precious stones and gems, their history, sources and characteristics by Edwin William Streeter 6th Edition 1898 Archive.org
Burma From The Earliest Times To The Present Day by J G Scott, 1924 is available as a pdf download on the Digital Library of India.
Burma by Sir Herbert Thirkell White 1923 Archive.org. Volume 4 in the series Provincial Geographies of India.
A Burmese Loneliness: a tale of travel in Burma, the Southern Shan States and Keng Tung by Captain C M Enriquez, 21st Punjabis (Burma Military Police: 85th Burma Rifles) 1918 Archive.org.
A Burmese Wonderland : a Tale of Travel in Lower and Upper Burma by Major C M Enriquez, 3-70th Kachin Rifles, Divisional Recruiting Officer, Burma 1922 with a Map of Burma Archive.org
A Burmese Arcady, an account of a long and intimate sojourn amongst the mountain dwellers of the Burmese hinterland and of their engaging characteristics and customs by Major C M Enriquez, [3/70th] Kachin Rifles. 1923. Southeast Asia Visions, Cornell University.
  • Forty years in Burma by Dr J E [John Ebenezer] Marks 1917 Archive.org. He went to Burma in 1859 as a layman for educational purposes in connection with the Society for the Propogation of the Gospel [SPG] at Maulmein. He was ordained Priest in 1866 in Calcutta, and subsequently returned to Burma, as an educational missionary, particularly at St John's College Rangoon, retiring in 1900.
  • Tourist guide and shopping list : where to go, what to see, where to shop in Calcutta and Burma 1920 Southeast Asia Visions
  • Burma Pictures c 1920 Archive.org
  • The Old Burma Road 1945. Pdf download, Digital Library of India. Full title: The Old Burma Road. A journey on foot and muleback. From the diary, notes and reminiscences of Doctor N. Bradley. The author spent many years in China as a medical missionary. This is an account of a journey taken in March, 1930 on the granite slab road along which, 650 years earlier, Marco Polo had ridden with his escort of Kublai Khan's horsemen from Yunnan-Fu to Bhamo.
  • Rangoon riots in 1930 pages 551-553, India in 1930-1931 Government of India 1932 Archive.org
  • Trials in Burma by Maurice Collis 1938 may be read online on the Digital Library of India website, barcode 99999990848901, and is also available as a pdf download, 99999990796111. The author was a member of the Civil Service in Burma, and his autobiography covers the years 1928-1931, particularly his role as District Magistrate of Rangoon, and the riots of 1930. Also see Maurice Collis.
  • The Rebellion In Burma (April 1931-March 1932) 1932. Pdf download, Digital Library of India.
  • Songs of The Survivors, including the Editor’s Preface Google Books. Stories about the Goan community in Burma and the Trek of 1942
  • Burma During Japanese Occupation Volume II 1944. A government Burma Intelligence Bureau report, published at Simla. Pdf file to download, Digital Library of India.
  • Burma under the Japanese : Pictures and Portraits by Thakin Nu, Prime Minister of Burma. Edited and translated, with introduction, by J.S. Furnivall 1954 Archive.org
  • Burma by D G E Hall 1950. Pdf download, Digital Library of India. Contents. Also available in some formats on Archive.org
  • Many editions of the SOAS Bulletin of Burma Research are available on Archive.org. The SOAS Bulletin of Burma Research offers current information on Burma research, activities, and resources at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, as well as information on international Burma research of relevance to Burma scholars in the United Kingdom.
  • History of Services of Gazetted and other Officers serving under the Government of Burma July 1931 Vol I Part II . This Volume is titled Officers of Public Works Department. It is available as a pdf download on the Digital Library of India.
  • Inland Water Transport Board (Irrawaddy Section), published July 1952 or later. Archive.org. Information - Passage regulations, schedules etc. Includes a
  • Novels
    • Burmese Days a novel by George Orwell, first published 1934. eBooks@Adelaide The University of Adelaide Library. Project Gutenberg Australia version The author’s real name was Eric Arthur Blair and the novel is based on his experiences in the Indian Imperial Police in Burma from 1922 to 1927. Orwell was stationed from December 1926 to June 1927 in the northern town of Katha, on which the fictional town of Kyauktada in Upper Burma in the novel is based. For more details, see George Orwell.
    • See Cecil Champain Lowis. Lowis was a member of the Indian Civil Service in Burma until 1912, who wrote more than a dozen novels set in Burma, from 1899 until 1936.


  1. Milner, Rowland Family History Donald Mellican Rootsweb India Mailing List 04 September 1999. Retrieved 20 January 2015
  2. Google Books snippet search result from Joint international business ventures in the Union of Burma, page 18 by U. Tun Thin 1959.
  3. Victorian Wars Forum