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Accounts of Burma by travellers, diplomats, merchants, soldiers et al

Websites/Multiple Documents

Title: Southesast Asia Visions - a collection of historic travel narratives
Description/subject: Several hundred full-text books covering or with references to Burma. Search for Ava, Burm* Burmah, Burmese, Karen, Kachin, Myanmar etc... Read online or, if you are clever or have special software, you might be able to download. Use the Search Help page at http://dlxs.library.cornell.edu/s/sea/help.php
Language: English
Source/publisher: Cornell University Library
Format/size: html, pdf
Date of entry/update: 17 April 2008


Individual Documents

Title: Palm-leaf Manuscript Record of a Mission Sent by the Myanmar King to the Chinese Emperor in the Mid-Eighteenth Century
Date of publication: December 2008
Description/subject: "...On 16 September 1983, as Chief Librarian of the Universities Central Library (UCL) in Yangon, I acquired an extremely rare palm-leaf manuscript from a Middle School teacher from Pakkoku, U Tin Ngwe (U Tin Ngwe (1931-2004) later became Headmaster of a Middle School in Pakkoku). When U Tin Ngwe brought the manuscript to UCL, he told me that he had acquired it from a Buddhist monastery near Myaing, his birthplace about twenty-five miles northwest of Pakkoku. I first come to know of the existence of this manuscript about five years earlier, in November 1978, while I was in Pakkoku on one of many trips made to various parts of Myanmar in search of rare palm-leaf and paper parabike manuscripts. We used to go on manuscript search trips from the late 1960s to the mid-1980s and found many interesting and rare manuscripts that are now kept in UCL. The palm-leaf manuscript purchased from U Tin Ngwe is a record of a mission sent by the Myanmar king Maha-damá-ya-za-dí-patí (r. 1733-1752) to the Chinese Qianlong Emperor (r. 1736-1795) of the Qing Dynasty..."
Author/creator: U Thaw Kaung
Language: English
Source/publisher: SOAS Bulletin of Burma Research 6, 2008
Format/size: pdf (376K)
Date of entry/update: 03 October 2010


Title: Editorial Introduction to Nicolò de’ Conti’s Account
Date of publication: 20 September 2004
Description/subject: Nicolò de’ Conti did not write about his extensive travels. Our knowledge of him has been filtered through the works of two men to whom he recounted his adventures. A Spanish nobleman, Pero Tafur, was visiting the seashore near the monastery at Mount Sinai in 1437, when Conti arrived there, on his way back to Europe from Asia. Conti was accompanied by his wife, whom he had met and married in India, and by his four children, who were born in the course of his travels. Tafur travelled with the Conti family by caravan to Cairo and then set out for Crete. The wife and two children died in an epidemic in Egypt, and Conti returned with his remaining children to Venice, his native town. In 1439 he went to Florence during a papal visit to that city, and at that time he related the stories of his travels to the papal secretary, Giovanni Francesco Poggio Bracciolini.
Author/creator: Kennon Breazeale
Language: English
Source/publisher: SOAS Bulletin of Burma Research, Vol. 2, No. 2, Autumn 2004,
Format/size: pdf (43K)
Alternate URLs: http://web.archive.org/web/20070612024156/web.soas.ac.uk/burma/2_2.htm
Date of entry/update: 22 September 2004


Title: Robert Talbot Kelly and 'Picturesque' Burma
Date of publication: 1998
Description/subject: Robert Talbot Kelly, through his art and his 1905 publication, Burma Painted and Described, provides a visual and textual account of colonial Burma that was subsequently marketed in England and America. Travelogues served as a form of voyeuristic education about the exotic for the stay-at-home adventurer. Postcolonial scholarship, to some degree assisted by Edward Said's Orientalism, now permits a reanalysis of both the art and the written texts of travel literature for what they say about cultural attitudes during the age of high imperialism, and in particular about Kelly's use of the word picturesque as a literary and artistic descriptor.
Author/creator: Oliver B. Pollak
Language: English
Source/publisher: Journal of Burma Studies Vol. 3 (1998)
Format/size: pdf (1.4MB)
Alternate URLs: http://www.grad.niu.edu/burma/webpgs/abstractsVol3.html (Vol. 3)
Date of entry/update: 10 March 2009


Title: In Farthest Burma
Date of publication: 1921
Description/subject: "The record of an arduous journey of exploration and research through the unknown frontier territory of Burma and Tibet"
Author/creator: Captain F. KINGDON WARD
Language: English
Source/publisher: Seeley, Service & Co. (Publ.)
Format/size: pdf (4.9MB-reduced version; 17.8MB-original)
Alternate URLs: https://ia801602.us.archive.org/29/items/infarthestburmar00ward/infarthestburmar00ward.pdf
Date of entry/update: 19 August 2016


Title: The Soul of a People
Date of publication: 1902
Description/subject: First published in 1899..."This book is about Burma, seen through the eyes of an English gentleman during and after the conquering of Upper Burma by the British towards the end of the 19th century. It describes his impressions of the Burmese people and particularly their religion, Buddhism, which explains so much their strange customs and ways. Written in the excellent English, in choice of words and prose, lost in modern times, that typified the Victorian period".....CONTENTS: LIVING BELIEFS; HE WHO FOUND THE LIGHT—I; HE WHO FOUND THE LIGHT—II; THE WAY TO THE GREAT PEACE; WAR—I; WAR—II; GOVERNMENT; CRIME AND PUNISHMENT; HAPPINESS; THE MONKHOOD I; THE MONKHOOD II; PRAYER; FESTIVALS; WOMEN—I; WOMEN—II; WOMEN III; DIVORCE; MANNERS; 'NOBLESSE OBLIGE'; ALL LIFE IS ONE; DEATH, THE DELIVERER; THE POTTER'S WHEEL; THE FOREST OF TIME..... The Alternate URL has a link to the openlibrary page which offers several editions, in various formats. The OBL link is to the 1902 edition, with the insertion of the first page of the Contents, omitted from the openlibrary 1902 version.
Author/creator: Harold Fielding Hall
Language: English
Source/publisher: Macmillan & Co. via openlibrary.org
Format/size: pdf (2.9MB)
Alternate URLs: http://openlibrary.org/works/OL1104253W/The_soul_of_a_people
Date of entry/update: 23 September 2010


Title: A JOURNEY THROUGH BURMA [IN 1888]
Date of publication: 1888
Description/subject: "...For the amusement and edification of readers of Wachirayan, who were the élite of Bangkok in his day, he began to write an account of his journey. This article takes the reader to Rangoon and then up the Irrawaddy as far as Min-hla. Prince Naris planned to continue the narrative of his river journey from Min-hla to Mandalay and back, adding an account of recent political events leading up to the British annexation of upper Burma. After completing this first article, however, he apparently abandoned the project, and the full account of his journey never materialised. He may, however, have written an official but confidential military and political report when he returned to Bangkok, and that report may be in the archives of the Ministry of Defence...Even though incomplete, it may be of some value to historians. It reflects the attitudes, prejudices and admitted ignorance of the Thai élite vis-à-vis the Burmese at the end of the Burmese monarchy. It may also contain some minor factual observations useful to historical research..."
Author/creator: H.R.H. Prince Naritsara Nuwattiwong
Language: English
Source/publisher: SOAS Bulletin of Burma Research, Vol. 3, No. 1, Spring 2005
Format/size: pdf (49K)
Alternate URLs: http://web.archive.org/web/20070102014547/web.soas.ac.uk/burma/3_1.htm
Date of entry/update: 03 October 2010


Title: FOUR YEARS IN BURMAH - Volume I
Date of publication: 1860
Description/subject: CONTENTS OF VOL. I. CHAPTER I. Sketch of the History of Burmah—War with the Burmese in 1824—Conquered by the British— Negotiations with the Court of Ava—Occupation of the Tenasserim Provinces in 1851 — Naval Expedition to Ava—Arrival in Burmah in 1854 …. CHAPTER II. How I came to go to Burmah — Captain Biden — Voyage in the " Hugh Lindsay" — Masulipatam — Coringa — The Temples of Juggernathpooram—Nautch Girls—Vizagapatam —Munsuorcottah—A shooting party ashore …. CHAPTER III. Description of the Town of Maulmain and its Environs—Picturesque Population—Domestic Manners of the People—Costumes, &c…. CHAPTER IV. My Burmese Preceptor—Intercourse between Europeans and Burmese Women—Plays and Entertainments—Curious Customs and Amusements— Traditions—Creation of the World—Missionaries —Education of Youth.... CHAPTER V. Account of the Great Fire at Maulmain in 1854— Other Fires …. CHAPTER VI. Description of my house—Domestic servants — Marketing — The Bazaar — Articles of food — Prejudices of the people—Cloth merchants — Extortionate shop-keepers…. CHAPTER VII. Law and Police Courts—Magistrates and Judges— Pleaders — Affrays and Police Proceedings — Chinese Passion for Play— Gambling Houses — Heavy punishment and fines — Punishment of a criminal.—Law processes — Delay in administering justice…. CHAPTER VIII. Voyage to Rangoon in the "Nemesis" — Amherst, on the Salween River—The Irrawaddy — Immense alligator— Animals and insects — Mosquito creek—Miseries on arriving at Rangoon — State of affairs there — Journey to the house of Mr. L. — Generous hospitality — Wretched dwellings—Burmese boat races—Accommodations for the spectators—Animated description of the race—A Burmese drama—Dancing girls— Curious scene—Wrestling matches—Extraordinary climate—Excursions about the town—The Great Pagoda described—A fearful prospect— Return to Maulmain....N.B. THE COVERS, THE GOOGLE NOTE, ETC. HAVE BEEN MOVED TO THE END OF THE TEXT AND THE FRONTISPIECE REPOSITIONED … SEE ALTERNATE URL FOR ORIGINAL ORDER.
Author/creator: W. H. Marshall
Language: English
Source/publisher: Charles J. Skeet (publisher) via Google Books
Format/size: pdf (3.7MB) 322 pages
Alternate URLs: http://books.google.com/books?id=dnli6a6HpfgC&printsec=frontcover&dq=four+years+in+burmah&as_brr=1
Date of entry/update: 07 April 2008


Title: FOUR YEARS IN BURMAH - Volume II
Date of publication: 1860
Description/subject: CONTENTS OF VOL. II. CHAPTER I. Ceremonies relating to deceased Priests — Their Bodies embalmed and afterwards burned…. CHAPTER II. The Band Stand—Carriages and other vehicles— Soldiers' barracks—Public ball—Burmese notions Propagation of slander …. CHAPTER III. Natural Productions of Burmah—Beasts—Birds— Insects—Flowers…. CHAPTER IV. Literary Reminiscences—My Newspaper—Printer's Devils and Devils of Printers—My Troubles— General D'Orgoni—Final Secession and Return to Maulmain…. CHAPTER V. Petroleum—The Wells at Rama gong—Mode of procuring the Oil, its Uses, &c….. CHAPTER VI. Execution of two Burmans—Their Story—A Burman Village—English Jurisprudence—The stolen Elephant—The Thief executed—Capital Punishment—Revolting Scene—Reflections…. CHAPTER VII. Visit to the Jail—Description of it—Conversation with a Convict—Weaving and Carpet making —Surprising Agility of a Female—Inspection of the Convicts—Divided into Classes—A noisy Prisoner—Crowded state of the Jail—Its offensive State—The different Wards—Cooking-houses— Granaries, &c.—Anecdote of a French Prince— A Funeral….. CHAPTER VIIL Village of Nyoungbienziek—Visit to the Distillery at the Place—The Goung Gyoup—The Timber Station at Kadoe—Tricks of the Trade—Visit to Martaban…. CHAPTER IX. Determination to quit Burmah—The Law's Delay —Past Government and future Prospects of Burmah—News of the Revolt in Bengal—Sugar Factory at Amherst—Productions and Capabilities of this part of India—Its favourable Climate… CHAPTER X. My Voyage Home in the "Avondhu "—Incident at Amherst—The Andamans and Nicobars— Hurricanes—The Cape of Good Hope—Ascension—The Azores—Whalers—HOME........N.B. THE COVERS, THE GOOGLE NOTE, ETC. HAVE BEEN MOVED TO THE END OF THE TEXT AND THE FRONTISPIECE REPOSITIONED … SEE ALTERNATE URL FOR ORIGINAL ORDER.
Author/creator: W. H. Marshall
Language: English
Source/publisher: Charles J. Skeet (publisher) via Google Books
Format/size: pdf (3.4MB) 307 pages
Alternate URLs: http://books.google.com/books?id=yDdLW1NE1SwC&printsec=frontcover&dq=four+years+in+burmah
http://books.google.com/books/download/Four_years_in_Burmah.pdf?id=yDdLW1NE1SwC&output=pdf&...
Date of entry/update: 07 April 2008


Title: A Narrative of the Mission sent by the Governor-General of India to the Court of Ava in 1855
Date of publication: 1858
Description/subject: CONTENTS: I. JOURNAL OF THE MISSION FROM THE BRITISH FRONTIER TO PAGAN-MYO... II THE REMAINS AT PAGAN... III. JOURNAL FROM PAGAN TO THE CAPITAL... IV. OUR RESIDENCE AT THE CAPITAL... V. THE CITY OF AMARAPOORA... VI. EXCURSIONS IN THE ENVIRONS OF THE CAPITAL... VII. RETURN OF THE MISSION FROM THE CAPITAL TO RANGOON... VIII. NOTES ON THE INTERCOURSE OF THE BURMESE COUNTRIES WITH WESTERN NATIONS UP TO THE PEACE OF YANDABO... IX. NOTICES OF THE HISTORY OF BURMA FROM THE PEACE OF YANDABO (1826) TO THE REVOLUTION OF 1853... X. SOME ACCOUNT OF THE RELIGION OF THE BURMESE... XI. THE MINISTERS OF STATE --MILITARY AFFAIRS -- REVENUES AND CURRENCY... XII. ON THE MAP OF BURMAH -- DESCRIPTIVE GEOGRAPHY -- AND POPULATION... XIII. THE SHAN STATES TRIBUTARY TO BURMA..... APPENDIX. A. NOTES ON THE GEOLOGICAL FEATURES OF THE BANKS OF THE IRAWADI, AND OF THE COUNTRY NORTH OF AMARAPOORA... B. FROM APPENDIX B. TO THE MS. JOURNAL OF MAJOR H. BURNEY, RESIDENT AT AVA, ACCOMPANYING A LETTER DATED 11TH SEPTEMBER, 1830, IN THE FOREIGN OFFICE, CALCUTTA... C. TRANSLATION OF THE BURMESE HYMN CHANTED BY THE BRAHMINS ... D. LETTER FROM THE GOVERNOR-GENERAL TO THE KING OF AVA... E. THE KING'S LETTER TO THE GOVERNOR-GENERAL... F. ON THE PLAN OF BURMESE MONASTERIES... G. ON THE SOURCES OF THE IRAWADI... H. DETAIL OF IMPORTS AND EXPORTS... I. SPECIMENS OF THE REIGNING KING'S EDICTS... J. SPECIMEN OF A BURMESE DRAMA (MAJOR PHAYRE)... K. THE MISSION OF GERARD VAN WUSTHOF TO THE KING OF THE LAOS... L. NOTE ON THE AFFINITIES OF THE INDIAN AND BURMESE STYLES OF ARCHITECTURE. BY JAMES FERGGSSON, ESQ... M. ON THE LANGUAGES SPOKEN IN BURMA AND THE ADJACENT COUNTRIES......THIS IS NOT A PERFECT SCAN...SOME BLANK PAGES AND COVERS HAVE BEEN DELETED FOR THE ELECTRONIC VERSION. SEE ALTERNATE URL FOR THESE PAGES.
Author/creator: Captain Henry Yule
Language: English
Source/publisher: Smith, Elder & Co.
Format/size: pdf (6.5MB) - 462 pages
Alternate URLs: http://books.google.co.th/books?id=13wsAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=%22A+Narrative+of+th...
Date of entry/update: 16 September 2010


Title: ACCOUNT OF THE JOURNEY OF HIERONIMO DI SANTO STEFANO, A GENOVESE (1495-1496)
Date of publication: 1857
Description/subject: Editor’s Note: This translation of Hieronimo di Santo Stefano’s journey to Pegu in 1495-1496 was originally published in India in the Fifteenth Century Being a Collection of Narratives of Voyages to India, edited by R. H. Major, in 1857. The account was written in the form of a letter to Messer Giovan Jacobo Mainer. Only those portions related to Burma have been included in the version below... M.W.C.
Author/creator: Hieronimo di Santo Stefano of Genoa. Translated by R. H. Major
Language: English
Source/publisher: SOAS Bulletin of Burma Research, Vol. 2, No. 2, Autumn 2004,
Format/size: pdf (12.4K)
Alternate URLs: http://web.archive.org/web/20070612024156/web.soas.ac.uk/burma/2_2.htm
Date of entry/update: 22 September 2004


Title: BRIEF EXTRACT FROM THE TRAVELS OF ATHANASIUS NIKITIN, A NATIVE OF TWER
Date of publication: 1857
Description/subject: Editor’s Note: This translation of Athanasius Nikitin’s fifteenth century travels to India was originally published in India in the Fifteenth Century Being a Collection of Narratives of Voyages to India, edited by R. H. Major, in 1857. Nikitin appears to have only included information on Burma which he obtained by word of mouth. His brief references to Pegu are provided below. The reference to Pegu has been standardized, as two different spellings were included in the original translation. M.W.C.
Author/creator: Athanasius Nikitin of Tver.
Language: English
Source/publisher: SOAS Bulletin of Burma Research, Vol. 2, No. 2, Autumn 2004
Format/size: pdf (12K)
Alternate URLs: http://web.archive.org/web/20070612024156/web.soas.ac.uk/burma/2_2.htm
Date of entry/update: 22 September 2004


Title: Extracts from Royal B. Hancock’s Journal at Mergui
Date of publication: 1838
Description/subject: Note: Original editorial note: Mr. Royal B. Hancock and family left Maulmain on 27 November 1837 and arrived at Mergui December 3rd. On the 26th of December, he was joined by Eugenio Kincaid, as stated in former communications. For several months previous to his departure from Maulmain, he had been engaged partly on the printing office, and partly in evangelical labors in Maulmain and its vicinity. December 16, 1837
Author/creator: Royal B. Hancock
Language: English
Source/publisher: SOAS Bulletin of Burma Research, Vol. 3, No. 2, Autumn 2005
Format/size: pdf (127K)
Alternate URLs: http://web.archive.org/web/20070930165556/web.soas.ac.uk/burma/3_2.htm
Date of entry/update: 03 October 2010


Title: “On the Peoples and Cultures of the Kingdom of Burma”
Date of publication: 1829
Description/subject: Notes: The following materials by John Crawfurd have been drawn and organized from his notes to his Embassy account. M.W.C.
Author/creator: John Crawfurd,
Language: English
Source/publisher: SOAS Bulletin of Burma Research, Vol. 3, No. 2, Autumn 2005
Format/size: pdf (158K)
Alternate URLs: http://web.archive.org/web/20070930165556/web.soas.ac.uk/burma/3_2.htm
Date of entry/update: 03 October 2010


Title: Account of Rangoon in the Summer of 1826
Date of publication: 1829
Description/subject: Notes: During his stay at Rangoon in the summer of 1826, Crawfurd drew up his account of this town, although it was not published until he included it in his account of his embassy made to the Burmese court in 1827, which was published in 1829. As Crawfurd explains: “The following account of Rangoon was collected by me while I resided there in civil, charge of Pegu, a period of more than six months.” M.W.C.
Author/creator: John Crawfurd
Language: English
Source/publisher: SOAS Bulletin of Burma Research, Vol. 3, No. 2, Spring 2005
Format/size: pdf (100K)
Alternate URLs: http://web.archive.org/web/20070930165556/web.soas.ac.uk/burma/3_2.htm
Date of entry/update: 03 October 2010


Title: Journal of An Embassy From the Governor-General of India to the Court of Ava
Date of publication: 1829
Description/subject: [IN THE SOAS VERSION] Note: We include below the complete diary portion of John Crawfurd’s account of the embassy he headed to the Burmese court in 1826 and 1827, introduced by Crawfurd’s dedication. This account was originally published (with the misleading attribution of the embassy to 1827). Journal of an Embassy From the Governor-General of India to the Court of Ava, in the Year 1827, by John Crawfurd, Esq., FRS. FLS. FGS., &c. Late Envoy. With an Appendix, Containing a Description of Fossil Remains, by Professor Buckland and Mr. Clift (London: Henry Colburn, New Burlington Street. 1829). M. W. C.
Author/creator: John Crawfurd
Language: English
Source/publisher: SOAS Bulletin of Burma Research, Vol. 3, No. 2, Spring 2005
Format/size: pdf (868K-SOAS version; 11MB, 16MB) -- 324 pages
Alternate URLs: http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs09/Crawfurd-red.pdf
http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs09/Crawfurd-op.pdf
http://web.archive.org/web/20070609092719/web.soas.ac.uk/burma/3.2files/19CrawfurdDiary.pdf
http://books.google.com/books?id=GyYAAAAAQAAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_atb#v=onepage&...
Date of entry/update: 03 October 2010


Title: Account of the Fortifications at Ava in 1827
Date of publication: 1827
Description/subject: "...The city of Ava is surrounded by a brick wall fifteen and a half feet in height, and ten feet in thickness: on the inside of which there is thrown up a bank of earth forming about an angle of forty-five degrees: on the top of this bank there is a terre pleine, in some places, of a good breadth, but in others, so narrow as scarcely to admit the recoil of a gun. The parapet of brickwork is four and ahalf feet in height, and two in thickness, measured across the superior slope..."
Author/creator: M. Montmorency
Language: English
Source/publisher: SOAS Bulletin of Burma Research, Vol. 3, No. 2, Autumn 2005,
Format/size: pdf (279K)
Alternate URLs: http://web.archive.org/web/20070930165556/web.soas.ac.uk/burma/3_2.htm
Date of entry/update: 03 October 2010


Title: AN ACCOUNT OF AN EMBASSY TO THE KINGDOM OF AVA, IN THE YEAR 1795. (Vol. I)
Date of publication: 1827
Description/subject: TO WHICH IS NOW ADDED, A NARRATIVE OF THE LATE MILITARY AND POLITICAL OPERATIONS IN THE BIRMESE EMPIRE. WITH SOME ACCOUNT OF THE PRESENT CONDITION OF THE COUNTRY, ITS MANNERS, CUSTOMS, AND INHABITANTS. IN TWO VOLUMES. VOL. I.... PRINTED FOR CONSTABLE AND CO. 1 8 2 7.
Author/creator: Lieut-Col. Michael Symes
Language: English
Source/publisher: CONSTABLE AND CO. EDINBURGH:
Format/size: pdf (6.4MB)
Date of entry/update: 11 March 2015


Title: AN ACCOUNT OF AN EMBASSY TO THE KINGDOM OF AVA, IN THE YEAR 1795. (Vol. II)
Date of publication: 1827
Description/subject: TO WHICH IS NOW ADDED, A NARRATIVE OF THE LATE MILITARY AND POLITICAL OPERATIONS IN THE BIRMESE EMPIRE. WITH SOME ACCOUNT OF THE PRESENT CONDITION OF THE COUNTRY, ITS MANNERS, CUSTOMS, AND INHABITANTS. IN TWO VOLUMES. VOL. II.... PRINTED FOR CONSTABLE AND CO. 1 8 2 7.
Author/creator: Lieut-Col. Michael Symes
Language: English
Source/publisher: CONSTABLE AND CO. EDINBURGH:
Format/size: pdf (7.8MB)
Date of entry/update: 11 March 2015


Title: An Account of Martaban in March and April 1826
Date of publication: 1827
Description/subject: Notes: In the last sections of his account of his mission to Ava in 1827, John Crawfurd included his journal of his visit to Martaban in the previous year, in order to fill a gap in his 1827 narrative. As he explained: “Our return to Bengal having hindered our excursion to the Saluen and Gain rivers, as well as prevented us from visiting other parts of the province, I shall endeavour in some measure to supply the deficiency, by the insertion of the journal of a voyage to Martaban, which, I performed about ten months before the time of which I am now writing. It is as follows…” We reproduce this account on its own here. M.W.C.
Author/creator: John Crawfurd
Language: English
Source/publisher: SOAS Bulletin of Burma Research, Vol. 3, No. 2, Autumn 2005
Format/size: pdf (145K)
Alternate URLs: http://web.archive.org/web/20070930165556/web.soas.ac.uk/burma/3_2.htm
Date of entry/update: 03 October 2010


Title: Geological Account of a Series of Animal and Vegetable Remains and of Rocks, collected by J. Crawfurd, Esq. on a Voyage up the Irawadi to Ava, in 1826 and 1827
Date of publication: 1827
Description/subject: "For the specimens and notes which form the subject of the present communication, the Society is indebted to the zeal and activity of J. Crawfurd, Esq. one of its Fellows, who having occasion to traverse the Burmese Country, on an embassy to Ava, in the years 1826 and 1827, discovered an extensive deposit of organic remains in that unknown and distant region. He has brought home specimens of these remains, both animal and vegetable, as well as of the strata in which they were found, and has with much judgment and liberality presented them to the Geological Society of London, and to several other scientific Societies. It is on an examination of these specimens, and of the notes contained in Mr. Crawfurd’s daily journal, that the observations and descriptions that make up the present memoir arc founded..."
Author/creator: William Buckland,
Language: English
Source/publisher: SOAS Bulletin of Burma Research, Vol. 3, No. 2, Autumn 2005
Format/size: pdf (169K)
Alternate URLs: http://web.archive.org/web/20070930165556/web.soas.ac.uk/burma/3_2.htm
Date of entry/update: 03 October 2010


Title: Quadrupeds and Other Animals of Burma
Date of publication: 1827
Description/subject: Note: The following note has been extracted from the 1829 publication, Journal of an Embassy from the Governor-General of India to the Court of Ava in the Year 1827, by John Crawfurd, the envoy on this mission. It was originally organized within the sixteenth chapter, but has been separated and included here under the present title as its information is self-contained within that chapter and because it has a topical interest to those currently researching the history of animals of Southeast Asia.
Language: English
Source/publisher: John Crawfurd
Format/size: pdf
Date of entry/update: 17 November 2010


Title: Brief Excursion to the Hills to the East of Ava in November 1826
Date of publication: 1826
Description/subject: Note: "The following account by Dr. N. Wallich, who was at that time the Superintendent of the Government Botanical Garden at Calcutta, of his excursion into rural Burma in 1826 was quoted in full in John Crawfurd’s account of his mission, of which Dr. Wallich was a part, to Ava in that year. As Crawfurd explains in his introduction to the entry: “Dr. Wallich returned to-day from a botanical excursion to the range of mountains lying east of Ava, which he performed with the sanction of the Burman Government. The following is the narrative of this short but interesting journey, which was replete with botanical discoveries."” M.W.C.
Author/creator: Dr. N. Wallich
Language: English
Source/publisher: SOAS Bulletin of Burma Research, Vol. 3, No. 2, Autumn 2005,
Format/size: pdf (118K)
Alternate URLs: http://web.archive.org/web/20070930165556/web.soas.ac.uk/burma/3_2.htm
Date of entry/update: 03 October 2010


Title: Empire Birman-Arracan
Date of publication: 1826
Description/subject: Editor’s notes: This brief account of Arracan was originally published in the Bulletin de la Société de Géographie 5.35 & 36 (March-April) in 1826. Thus, its publication dates from the last year of the First Anglo-Burmese War (1824-1826), although it was likely based on information preceding that conflict... M.W.C.
Language: Francais, French
Source/publisher: Bulletin de la Société de Géographie 5.35 & 36 via SOAS Bulletin of Burma Research, Vol. 2, No. 2, Autumn 2004
Format/size: pdf (16K)
Alternate URLs: http://web.archive.org/web/20070612024156/web.soas.ac.uk/burma/2_2.htm
Date of entry/update: 25 September 2004


Title: Note on the Word ‘'Baren' for the British East India Company
Date of publication: 1826
Description/subject: Note: The following brief note has been drawn from Crawfurd’s 1826 Journal. Although brief, it offers an account of the origin of the use of ‘Baren’ that Burmese sometimes used to refer to the British.
Author/creator: John Crawfurd
Language: English
Source/publisher: SOAS Bulletin of Burma Research, Vol. 3, No. 2, Autumn 2005,
Format/size: pdf (93K)
Alternate URLs: http://web.archive.org/web/20070930165556/web.soas.ac.uk/burma/3_2.htm
Date of entry/update: 03 October 2010


Title: Miscellaneous Letters on Burma, 1755-1760, I
Date of publication: 1808
Description/subject: Editor’s Note: "The following letters, and in cases extracts of letters, were reproduced by Alexander Dalrymple in 1808, published in London under the title Oriental Repertory, by William Ballintine for the East India Company. Relevant portions of Dalrymple’s commentary to some letters have also been included." M.W.C. _____
Author/creator: Alexander Dalrymple (ed)
Language: English
Source/publisher: SOAS Bulletin of Burma Research, Vol.3, No. 1, Spring 2005
Format/size: pdf (47K)
Alternate URLs: http://web.archive.org/web/20070102014547/web.soas.ac.uk/burma/3_1.htm
Date of entry/update: 03 October 2010


Title: AN ACCOUNT OF AN EMBASSY TO THE KINGDOM OF AVA, SENT BY THE GOVERNOR-GENERAL OF INDIA, IN THE YEAR 1795
Date of publication: 1800
Description/subject: Full text of the Symes account
Author/creator: MICHAEL SYMES
Language: English
Source/publisher: SOAS Bulletin of Burma Research, Volume 4, Issue No. 1, Spring 2006
Format/size: pdf (1.5MB) 150 pages
Alternate URLs: http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs09/4.1Symes-red.pdf
http://eprints.soas.ac.uk/10294/
http://seasiavisions.library.cornell.edu/catalog/sea:328
Date of entry/update: 17 November 2010


Title: CAMMUAZA, or the ceremony used at the Induction of a Birman into the Order of Priesthood, called Phonghi, or Rhahaan (1795)
Date of publication: 1795
Description/subject: Editorial note: "The following account of the induction ceremony for Buddhist monks was included as Appendix V in Michael Symes, An Acount of an Embassy to the Kingdom of Ava, Sent by the Governor-General of India in the Year 1795 (London: W. Bulmer & Co., 496-500). Symes, then a major in the 76th Regiment, made numerous valuable observations on Burmese culture, society, government, and history. While it is clear that he did consult the accounts of other visitors to Burma, most of his material was derived from first-hand observation or from material provided by Burmese acquaintances, and the following account was likely derived from the latter." M.W.C.
Author/creator: Michael Symes
Language: English
Source/publisher: SOAS Bulletin of Burma Research, Vol. 3, No. 1, Spring 2005
Format/size: pdf (26K)
Alternate URLs: http://web.archive.org/web/20070102014547/web.soas.ac.uk/burma/3_1.htm
Date of entry/update: 03 October 2010


Title: Account of the Loss of Negrais
Date of publication: 1791
Description/subject: Note: The following account is one of many of the massacre at Negrais, an island close to Bassein where the English East India Company attempted to establish a factory in the mid-eighteenth century. An introduction for the account has been provided by Dalrymple: It will be necessary, by way of Introduction, to mention that it having been determined to withdraw the settlement at Negrais except three or four people to take care of the teak timbers that had been collected there, and to secure the right of possession, in case it might afterwards be thought proper to resettle at that place. Captain Newton proceeded accordingly to Bengal, where he arrived 14th of May 1759, with thirty-five Europeans, and seventy black people. On 30th of July 1759. The administration at Bengal, thought proper to accept of Captain William Henry Southby’s offer to go to Negrais, to take care of the teak timbers, and accordingly dispatched the Victoria Snow, Captain Walter Alves, to carry Mr. Southby to the Negrais. Captain Alves returned to Bengal in November, and gave the following account of the Settlement at Negrais, being cut off. The papers concerning Negrais, and Captain Alve’s Embassy to Ava [previous issue of the SBBR], with the letters that passed on that occasion, were communicated by my much lamented friend, the late Lord Pigot… Alexander Dalrymple (1791)
Author/creator: Captain Walter Alves,
Language: English
Source/publisher: SOAS Bulletin of Burma Research, Vol. 3, No. 2, Autumn 2005
Format/size: pdf (95K)
Alternate URLs: http://web.archive.org/web/20070930165556/web.soas.ac.uk/burma/3_2.htm
Date of entry/update: 03 October 2010


Title: A VOYAGE TO PEGU
Date of publication: 1789
Description/subject: Editor’s Note: This account was originally composed in French, but translated into English by Francis Magnus and published in Calcutta at the Joseph Cooper Press in 1789, the year of the French Revolution. It was published within the multi-volume travels (Vol. III, book 4, chapter 2) of the Comissary of the Marine, Monsieur Sonnerat, entitled, A Voyage to the East-Indies and China; Performed by Order of Lewis XV. Between the Years 1774 and 1781. Containing A Description of the Manners, Religion, Arts, and Scieneces, of the Indians, Chinese, Pegouins, and of the Islanders of Madagascar; Also Observations on the Cape of Good Hope, the Isles of Ceylon, Malacca, the Phillippines, and Moluccas. As only the account to Pegu is included here, “A French Voyage to Pegu” has been decided upon as the title for this edition... M. W. C.
Author/creator: Monsieur Sonnerat
Language: English
Source/publisher: SOAS Bulletin of Burma Research, Vol. 2, No. 2, Autumn 2004
Format/size: pdf (44K)
Alternate URLs: http://web.archive.org/web/20070612024156/web.soas.ac.uk/burma/2_2.htm
Date of entry/update: 03 October 2010


Title: Notes on Bûraghmah (c. 1755)
Date of publication: 1755
Description/subject: Note: Dalrymple provides some information on Captain George Baker in his introduction to the Oriental Repertory: Captain George Baker’s Observations at Persaim in 1755, his Journal of an Embassy, to the King of the Bûraghmahns, his Character of that King, and the Short Account of the Country are from MSS, which that valuable friend gave to me during the course of our voyage in the Cuddalore [in] 1759: His modest diffidence makes him apprehensive of appearing as an author; but, I doubt not, the publick approbation will shew his apprehensions were groundless. All of the accounts mentioned by Dalrymple have been republished in the SBBR (see volume 3.2 and the present issue). In the collection of notes included below, “The Palace at Pegu” has been extracted from Dalrymple’s introduction. As he explains of the origin of the note, “I find amongst my memos of information, received from Captain Baker, the following account of Pegu, which could not properly be introduced in any other place, and therefore I have inserted it here.” The sections on (1) the Burmans and Mons and (2) the Karens, below, were extracts inserted into the initial anonymous letter included in the Oriental Repertory collection by Dalrymple, indicating with a “B” that Baker was the source of the quotations. Dalrymple, in his introduction to Oriental Repertory, also makes the following observation based on Baker’s accounts which may usefully be included here: It has appeared, in Captain Baker’s Observations, that the Bûraghmah King had risen from his abilities; Simento, King of Pegu, was at first a Goldsmith; so that both competitors were self-raised. M. W. C.
Author/creator: Captain George Baker
Language: English
Source/publisher: SOAS Bulletin of Burma Research, Vol. 3, No. 2, Autumn 2005
Format/size: pdf (87K)
Alternate URLs: http://web.archive.org/web/20070930165556/web.soas.ac.uk/burma/3_2.htm
Date of entry/update: 03 October 2010


Title: Observations at Persaim and in the Journey to Ava and Back in 1755
Date of publication: 1755
Description/subject: Editorial Note: "The following materials from Captain George Baker’s diaries and other records and notes were originally published in Alexander Dalrymple’s Oriental Repertory in 1808. Baker has left numerous other reports, many found in the Records of Fort St. George for the period. These latter materials will be published in later editions of the SBBR. Baker’s account is especially useful for being one of the few firsthand accounts written by a European, of Alaunghpaya, the founder of the Konbaung Dynasty." M.W.C.
Author/creator: Captain George Baker
Language: English
Source/publisher: SOAS Bulletin of Burma Research, Vol. 3, No. 1, Spring 2005
Format/size: pdf (261K)
Alternate URLs: http://web.archive.org/web/20070102014547/web.soas.ac.uk/burma/3_1.htm
http://eprints.soas.ac.uk/10288/
Date of entry/update: 17 November 2010


Title: Short Account of the Bûraghmah Country
Date of publication: 1755
Description/subject: "The Bûraghmah country, it is certain, has heretofore been frequented by many Europeans, particularly English, whose residence, in it, has undoubtedly afforded them much greater opportunities of giving better accounts of it, than what I can pretend to do; yet, as these gentlemen are now mostly defunct, and perhaps no account of theirs extant, I will say a few words towards it, for the satisfaction of such as have not themselves seen it..." N.B. This extract is undated -- the date of 1755 given in the date field is approximate.
Author/creator: Captain George Baker
Language: English
Source/publisher: SOAS Bulletin of Burma Research, Vol. 3, No. 2, Autumn 2005
Format/size: pdf
Alternate URLs: http://web.archive.org/web/20070930165556/web.soas.ac.uk/burma/3_2.htm
Date of entry/update: 03 October 2010


Title: Account of Pegu and the Voyage to Cambodia and Siam in 1718
Date of publication: 1727
Description/subject: Note: "Captain Alexander Hamilton collated an account of his voyage to Cambodia and Siam in 1718 with accounts of his experiences in Pegu and elsewhere on earlier travels, as well as information he had gathered about certain other locations (such as Arakan) in his A New Account of the East Indies (Edinburgh, 1727). While the original account also included accounts of parts of the Malay world and “Cochinchina,” these have been excluded from the following text. The account begins with a brief account of Chittagong and concludes with eastern mainland Southeast Asia. The best biographical account of Hamilton is that by William Foster in his introduction to the 1930 reprint of the text (London, Argonaut Press)." M.W.C....Includes sections on Chittagong, Arakan, Pegu, Mergui, Tenasserim and The Andamans,
Author/creator: Captain Alexander Hamilton
Language: English
Source/publisher: A New Account of the East Indies (Edinburgh, 1727). via SOAS Bulletin og Burma Research 4.2 (Autumn 2006)
Format/size: pdf (483K)
Alternate URLs: http://web.archive.org/web/20071010121234/web.soas.ac.uk/burma/4_2.htm
Date of entry/update: 03 October 2010


Title: AN ACCOUNT OF PEGU IN 1586-1587
Date of publication: 1625
Description/subject: Tippera and Bengala in 1585...Journey to Pegu in Late 1586...Dala and Syriam...The Old Town of Pegu...The New Town of Pegu...The Royal Elephants...The King and the Nobles...Commodities Suitable for Pegu...Pagodas and Monks...Chiangmai...Capelan...Body Adornment...Justice...Departure from Pegu, January 1587...Brief Return to Pegu and Departure from Southeast Asia...Commodities of the East...Return to London.
Author/creator: Ralph Fitch
Language: English
Source/publisher: SOAS Bulletin of Burma Research, Vol. 2, No. 2, Autumn 2004,
Format/size: pdf (52K)
Alternate URLs: http://web.archive.org/web/20070612024156/web.soas.ac.uk/burma/2_2.htm
Date of entry/update: 03 October 2010


Title: ACCOUNT OF THE KINGDOME OF PEGUE (1608)
Date of publication: 1615
Description/subject: Editor’s Note: The account of Henri de Feynes de Monsart was translated anonymously into English and published in London in 1615, for Thomas Dawson by William Arondell under the title of An Exact and Curious Survey of all the East Indies, even to Canton, the chiefe Cittie of China: All duly performed by land, by Monsieur de Monsart, the like whereof was never hetherto, brought to an end. The original edtion is available in at least four copies in the British Library... M. W. C.
Author/creator: Henri de Feynes de Monsart
Language: English
Source/publisher: SOAS Bulletin of Burma Research, Vol. 2, No. 2, Autumn 2004
Format/size: pdf (14K)
Alternate URLs: http://web.archive.org/web/20070612024156/web.soas.ac.uk/burma/2_2.htm
Date of entry/update: 03 October 2010


Title: CERTAINE WORDS OF PEGU LANGUAGE (1603)
Date of publication: 1603
Description/subject: Editor’s Note: This world list was included in the back matter of A True and Large Discourse of the Voyage of the Whole Fleete of Ships Set forth the 20 of Aprill 1601 by the Government and Assistants of the East Indian Marchants in London, to the East Indies, published for Thomas Thorpe by William Alpley of London in 1603. Curiously, the mission, which did come across ships in the Straits of Melaka, does not appear to have visited Pegu. There is no indication in the text of how or where the world list was obtained. It may be possible the it was gathered from Peguan traders on ships encountered at sea or in a local trading port... M.W. C.
Language: English
Source/publisher: SOAS Bulletin of Burma Research, Vol. 2, No. 2, Autumn 2004
Format/size: pdf (14K)
Alternate URLs: http://web.archive.org/web/20070612024156/web.soas.ac.uk/burma/2_2.htm
Date of entry/update: 03 October 2010


Title: ACCOUNT OF PEGU
Date of publication: 18 June 1588
Description/subject: Editor's Note: ...The account reproduced below attempts to provide as complete a version of Federici’s account of Pegu as possible, based on the Hakluyt and Purchas editions, but checked for major errors against the original Hickok translation. The text included below only includes the sections relevant to Burma and Southeast Asia, for information on trade in India and the Middle East, the reader is directed to the Voyages or Hakluytus Posthumus, or the Hickok original (the latter may be republished here in a later issue)... M.W.C....Cæsar Frederick to the Reader...A Voyage to the East Indies, and Beyond the Indies, &c....Sumatra...Malacca...Pegu’s Conquest of Siam...Tenasserim...Difficulties of Journey...Martaban...Dealings with the Retor at Martaban...Voyage to City of Pegu...City of Pegu...Royal Elephants in Pegu...Armies of the King of Pegu...The Wealth of the King of Pegu...Justice in Pegu...Death and Property in Pegu...Commerce in Pegu...Duties and Currency in Pegu...Manner of Dress at Pegu4...A Typhoon...Sundiva Island and Arakan...Commodities of India...Return to Pegu...Commerce of the East Indies...End of Voyage
Author/creator: Cesar Fedrici of Venice. Translated from the Italian by Master Thomas Hickock
Language: English
Source/publisher: SOAS Bulletin of Burma Research, Vol. 2, No. 2, Autumn 2004
Format/size: pdf (114K)
Alternate URLs: http://web.archive.org/web/20070612024156/web.soas.ac.uk/burma/2_2.htm
Date of entry/update: 03 October 2010


Title: Early Fifteenth Century Travels in the East
Date of publication: 1579
Description/subject: From Ceylon to Sumatra and the Andaman Islands...Tenasserim...Bengal and the River Ganges...Arakan and Crossing the Mountains to Ava...Specialty Shops with Lascivious Things...Elephants of War in Burma...Manner of Catching and Taming Elephants in Burma...Marriage, Tattooing, and Religion in Burma...Fruits of Burma...Buffaloes and Oxen in Upper Burma...Cathay...Departure from Ava
Author/creator: Nicolò de’ Conti of Venice. Translated by John Frampton in the late sixteenth century. Notes by Kennon Breazeale
Language: English
Source/publisher: SOAS Bulletin of Burma Research, Vol. 2, No. 2, Autumn 2004
Format/size: pdf (77K)
Alternate URLs: http://web.archive.org/web/20070612024156/web.soas.ac.uk/burma/2_2.htm
Date of entry/update: 03 October 2010


Title: THE LUSIAD, OR, PORTUGALS HISTORICALL POEM (Tenth Canto, STANZA. 1.)
Date of publication: 1572
Description/subject: Editor’s Note: "Luís Vaz de Camões (c. 1524-1580), the famous Lisbon poet, composed Os Lusiades in 1572 to glorify the expedition and exploits of Vasco da Gama in the Indian Ocean. It is a lengthy and epic poem, consisting of ten cantos, the portion relating to mainland Southeast Asia limited to a portion of the last of these. Only this portion is reproduced below. The chief utility of this information for the historian is that it helps us to understand how much, by 1572, Portuguese at home knew about the region. Some information is of special interest, such as the reference to the Gwe..."
Author/creator: Luís Vaz de Camões Translated by Richard Fanshaw (1655)
Language: English
Source/publisher: SOAS Bulletin of Burma Research, Vol. 2, No. 2, Autumn 2004
Format/size: pdf (20K)
Alternate URLs: http://web.archive.org/web/20070612024156/web.soas.ac.uk/burma/2_2.htm
Date of entry/update: 03 October 2010


Title: THE ITINERARY OF LUDOVICO DI VARTHEMA OF BOLOGNA FROM 1502 TO 1508
Date of publication: 1510
Description/subject: Editor’s Note: Ludovico di Varthema of Bologna has left us an account of India and Burma from the very first decade of the sixteenth century, prior to the largescale of the First Taung-ngu Dynasty that would follow in the decades ahead. It thus provides a valuable insight into a period for which many foreign sources are not available. The original account, in Italian, was published at Rome on the 6th of December 1510 at the request of Lodovico de Henricis da Corneto of Vicenza by Stephano Guillireti de Loreno and Hercule de Nani, both of Bologna. The translation followed here was made by John Winter Jones in 1863, edited by G. P. Badger, and published under the title of “The Itinerary of Ludovico di Varthema of Bologna from 1502 to 1508,” the same title we use in the text below. Only material relevant to Burma has been included in the following text. Additional editorial changes include additional paragraph breaks and the addition of subject headers for clarification... M.W.C.
Author/creator: Ludovico di Varthema. Translated by John Winter Jones
Language: English
Source/publisher: SOAS Bulletin of Burma Research, Vol. 2, No. 2, Autumn 2004
Format/size: pdf (46K)
Alternate URLs: http://web.archive.org/web/20070612024156/web.soas.ac.uk/burma/2_2.htm
Date of entry/update: 03 October 2010


Title: THE TRAVELS OF MARCO POLO, THE VENETIAN (1298)
Date of publication: 1298
Description/subject: Editor’s note: Marco Polo was the frst Western traveller to speak of Burma (Mien). His late thirteenth century account has been translated numerous times, one of the most popular editions being Henry Yule’s (tr.) The Book of Ser Marco Polo the Venetian Concerning the Kingdoms and Marvels of the East in the nineteenth century and the revision of this translation by Henri Cordier in the early twentieth. The Yule- Cordier edition of 1903 is widely available in reprint. Less widely available is the present translation made by W. Marsden from Ramusio’s collection of travels published in 1818 and re-edited by Thomas Wright in September 1854, published as The Travels of Marco Polo, the Venetian. (London: Henry G. Bohn). Polo’s account of events in Burma can be dated to the early-mid 1290s, for he returned to Venice in 1295, although the Travels were not put into writing until 1298. The version below has been made from the copy in the British Library... M.W. C.
Author/creator: Marco Polo of Venice, Translated by W. Marsden, Re-edited by Thomas Wright
Language: English
Source/publisher: SOAS Bulletin of Burma Research, Vol. 2, No. 2, Autumn 2004,
Format/size: pdf (41K)
Alternate URLs: http://web.archive.org/web/20070612024156/web.soas.ac.uk/burma/2_2.htm
Date of entry/update: 03 October 2010