British Burma in the New Century, 1895–1918 by Stephen L Keck

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By Stephen L Keck

British Burma within the New Century attracts upon ignored yet gifted colonial authors to painting Burma among 1895 and 1918, which used to be the apogee of British governance. those writers, such a lot of them 'Burmaphiles' wrote opposed to frequent misperceptions approximately Burma.

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Sample text

In fact, the second volume of The Silken East might be compared with Alfred Russel Wallace’s Malay Archipelago because it ends with a note of deep respect for the country and its peoples. Wallace was more directly critical of Western materialism, but in traversing Burma, studying its peoples under British colonialism and witnessing the modernization of the country, O’Connor appears to have come to a similar conclusion. Nonetheless, for most Britons the Konbaung Dynasty was regarded as violent, corrupt, inept and despotic.

In this instance, it will become evident that British authors were hardly indifferent to social transformation—even if they were connected to a multiplicity of international networks which promoted it. To read the Burmaphiles outside the grain means measuring their writings against what can be found in the archive. The sensitive voices of the Burmaphiles contrast with the candid remarks—sometimes unfriendly about Burmans—which can be found in the official reports which lie in many archives. Most important, perhaps, reading outside the grain should refute the often implicit characterization of British thought as homogenous or monolithic.

The Konbaung Dynasty, which had come to power in the 18th century, had become a significant regional power by the early 36 British Burma in the New Century, 1895–1918 19th century. With Ava as its capital, it was an imperial state which was built upon the conquest and subordination of many of the country’s ethnic groups. Its territorial claims included lands occupied by the Mon, the Karen, the Shan and other peoples. Yet, it would lose three wars to the British Indian empire. The First Anglo-Burmese War (1824–1826) originated as a clash between the two imperial powers, and proved to be difficult for the British to prosecute, but it ended in a decisive defeat of the Konbaung state, which was forced to cede two provinces to the Indian empire.

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