Burma, 1886-1918

Britain, already ruling LOWER BURMA since 1824 / 1852, in 1885 conquered UPPER BURMA in what is referred to as the THIRD ANGLO-BURMESE WAR. The war had started over a trade dispute. Britain gained Chinese acquiescence (Burma technically was a Chinese vassal state). Upper Burma was formally annexed in 1886. The SHAN STATES were declared a part of British India in 1886.
The war unified Burma; the seat of administration was RANGOON, all of Burma was treated as part of British India. The British administration expanded the railroad system and the mines; the cultication of rice for export, especially in the Irawaddy delta, was expanded. Workers ('COOLIES') from India and China were brought in to work the mines and plantations.
In 1891 the population of Burma numbered 7,722,053; the 1901 figure was 10,490,624, the increase partially due to the expansion of the area in which the census was undertaken (inclusion of Shan and Chin states). In 1893 an agreement was signed with Siam, delimiting the borders; in 1900 a similar agreement was signed with China.
By 1889 Burma was pacified.
Since 1897 the administration was headed by a LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR, assisted by a LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL of nine appointed members. A CHIEF COURT was established in 1900. The British administered ANGLO-INDIAN LAW, which was based on British, Hindu and Islamic tradition. Burma being a mainly Buddhist country, the BURMA LAWS ACT of 1898 stipulated that in the cases of succession, inheritance, marriage, caste or any religious usage or institution, Buddhist practises had to be followed. A BURMA CODE was published in 1899.
In 1900, Burma's state revenue amounted to 70,436,240 Rupees, state expenses to 43,081,000 Rupees. The revenue for 1905 was 96,562,298 Rs. versus expenses of 56,660,047 Rs.

Timeline Burma, 1057-2002, from BBC News
History of Myanmar : Colonial Times, from Asia Tours
Article Burma, from Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1911 edition
DOCUMENTS Chief Commissioners (1862-1897), Lieutenant Governors (1897-1923) from World Statesmen by Ben Cahoon
REFERENCE Article : Burma, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1913 p.616 [G]
Article : Burmah, in : International Year Book 1898 pp.143-144, Burma 1899 p.152 [G]
Article : Burma, in : New International Year Book 1916 p.106, 1918 pp.103-104 [G]
Article : Burmah, in : Appleton's Annual Cyclopedia and Register of Important Events 1886 pp.110-121 [G]

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on May 17th 2002, last revised on September 14th 2008

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