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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 called Kuki Punitive Operations.
"Breaking the spirit of the Kukis: launching the 'largest series of military operations' in the northeastern frontier of India" by Thongkholal Haokip. academia.edu. Chapter 3 from The Anglo-Kuki War 1917-1919: A Frontier Uprising against Imperialism during the First World War, edited by Jangkhomang Guite and Thongkholal Haokip 2019.

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. Archive.org. 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
  • Through the jungle of death : a boy's escape from wartime Burma by Stephen Brookes published 2000. Archive.org Lending Library.
  • Flight by elephant : the untold story of World War Two's most daring jungle rescue by Andrew Martin 2013. 2nd file. Archive.org Books to Borrow/ Lending Library. Tea planter Gyles Mackrell mounted an epic rescue mission, with the aid of a herd of elephants and their mahouts.

Railways and Tramways


British Library

  • Baptisms, Marriages and Burials for Burma are included in the Bengal returns (N/1) up to 1936. Records for 1937 to 1957 are in a separate series N/10 with a single index for Burma BMBs. All these records (subject to a few exceptions) are part of the digitised India Office Records collection on the commercial website Findmypast where however due to the dates of the N/10 record series, for privacy reasons only minimal details may be displayed for baptisms and marriages, although death records should display standard details. The N/1 record indexes are available on FamilySearch, but those for N/10 are not. If you want a full record from the N/10 series, for most people the only option will be to request a copy from the British Library.
  • 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)

Note: Microfilm ordering services ceased 8 September 2017. Microfilms have been digitised, refer individual microfilm catalogue entries. Please take this into account when reading the information below. . See FamilySearch Centres for more details.

The LDS film catalogue has the following entries:


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, published 1910 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:


Burma Campaign Memorial Library, SOAS, London, and Digital catalogue


Historical photographs online

  • Photographs: Burma from a collection "ca. 1889, some photographs later” New York Public Library Digital Collection.

Historical books online

Tenasserim and Martaban Almanac & Directory for 1857 Google Books
Sketches of Oriental Heads by Colesworthey Grant c 1846-1850 HathiTrust Digital Library. (These appear as the second half of a book file Portrait sketches of the public characters of Calcutta by Colesworthey Grant). Includes images of ethnic groups such as Taline [Mon], Karen and Shan.
A Short History of India and of the Frontier States of Afghanistan, Nipal and Burma by J Talboys Wheeler 1899. Printed in London. Archive.org
India and the Frontier States of Afghanistan, Nipal and Burma by J Talboys Wheeler 1899 Printed in New York. Volume I, Volume II Includes a supplementary chapter in Volume II, but otherwise the text is probably the same.
English intercourse with Siam in the seventeenth century by John Anderson 1890, with a Map Archive.org. The province of Tenasserim was then part of the kingdom of Siam.
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
A Short Account of an Expedition to The Jade Mine in Upper Burma by C H E Adamson 1889 from Gill's Historical Index To Gems And Jewelry Online scroll down and click on the link, or direct pdf. gemology.se.
"Burma Rubies" page 153 Precious stones and gems, their history, sources and characteristics by Edwin William Streeter 6th Edition 1898 Archive.org
Thibaw's Queen by H Fielding (later H Fielding Hall) 1899 Archive.org.
Also see Fiction, below.
Monograph on Ivory Carving in Burma by H S Pratt 1901 Archive.org.
Glass Mosaics of Burma with Photographs by Harry L Tilly 1901
Silk in Burma by J P Hardiman 1901
Silverwork of Burma with photographs by P. Klier by Harry L Tilly 1902
Wood-carving of Burma, with photographs by P Klier by Harry L Tilly 1903. Also available Archive.org
Monograph on Iron and Steel Work in Burma by E N Bell (cataloged as Bett) 1907. Also available Archive.org
Elephants and their Diseases. A Treatise on Elephants by Lieut.-Colonel GH Evans , Superintendent, Civil Veterinary Department, Burma 1910. Revised edition. Archive.org
Notes on elephants and their care by the late Mr W Hepburn. 2nd Impression 1919 (first published 1918? or 1913?) Rangoon. Click to a separate digital file for inserts. The author worked as Veterinary Surgeon to the BBTC Ltd (Bombay Burmah Trading Corporation). Digital Library University of Missouri.
Burma From The Earliest Times To The Present Day by J G Scott, 1924 Archive.org version, mirror from 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
  • Report on a visit to some salt workings in the Shwebo and Sagaing Districts, Upper Burma by F W Walker 1921 Digital Repository of GIPE Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics [Pune, India]
  • The Gentleman In The Parlour by W Somerset Maugham 1930 Archive.org, Digital Library of India Collection. Full title: The Gentleman in the Parlour : a record of a journey from Rangoon to Haiphong. "The story of several trips: One up the Irrawady river to Mandalay in Burma, then a trek across the Shan mountains into what was then Siam, after that down the Mekong to Saigon and up then up coast to Hue in Vietnam".
  • The Old Burma Road 1945. Archive.org version, mirror from 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. Archive.org version, mirror from Digital Library of India. 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. Archive.org version, mirror from Digital Library of India.
  • The Geology Of Burma by H L Chhibber (Harbans Lal) 1934 Archive.org
The Mineral Resources Of Burma by H L Chhibber 1934 Archive.org. Both mirrors from Digital Library of India.


  • The Orchid of Fô; or, a Tale from Burma. By S. C. M. 1896 British Library Digital Collection.
  • The Dacoit's Treasure, or, In the Days of Po Thaw : a Story of Adventure in Burma by Henry Charles Moore c 1897 Archive.org. With illustrations.
  • Palace Tales by H. Fielding (later H Fielding Hall) 1900 HathiTrust Digital Library. Traditional tales. For other books by this author, refer above.
  • Burmese Days a novel by George Orwell, first published 1934. 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 online book links, 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.
  • The Glass Palace : a novel by Amitav Ghosh 2001. Archive.org Books to Borrow/Lending Library. The Glass Palace Wikipedia. The story begins story in Mandalay (Burma) in 1885, during the last days of the Konbaung Dynasty, during the 3rd Burma War.
  • The Piano Tuner by Daniel Mason (Daniel Philippe) 2002. Archive.org Books to Borrow/Lending Library. Set in 1886.


  1. Milner, Rowland. Family History Donald Mellican Rootsweb India Mailing List 04 September 1999, now archived. The lost boy was eventually traced, but had died. worldwar2burmadiaries.com, archived.
  2. Google Books snippet search result from Joint international business ventures in the Union of Burma, page 18 by U. Tun Thin 1959.
  3. Old Soldier Sahib: Edited by Krijnen, H J & Langley, D E Review by Maurice Johnson, westernfrontassociation.com, now archived.
    Now no longer available. grumpy. http://www.victorianwars.com/viewtopic.php?f=93&t=7862&p=34986#p34937 Life of the British soldier in India, 1900-1914 Victorian Wars Forum 27 December 2012. Retrieved 2 November 2018.
  4. "An English Girl’s First Impressions of Burmah" July 24, 2012. See the comments for biographical details of the author and information about Remyo(=Maymyo), where she stayed.