This page, on the history of Burma and Myanmar (since 1989) is part of a collection assembling links to historical primary sources that are open on the web. It should be seen as a work in progress, and corrections or suggestions for additions are most welcome. These pages were primarily created for the convenience of students who depend heavily on English language sources and may have limited access to large research libraries or commercial databases. Most of the materials below focus on the colonial period sources up to independence in 1948 or various travel accounts published prior to British colonial rule that available online in digital form.
- Pre-Colonial Burmese Sources in Translation
- Colonial Period Burma Government Reports
- Colonial Period Legal History Sources
- Colonial Period Burma Gazetteers
- Colonial Census Records
- SOAS Burma/Myanmar Collection
- Other Online Collections Related to Burma
- Maps of Burma/Myanmar
- List of Books and Sources Available Online Related to Burma / Myanmar
Pre-Colonial Burmese Sources in Translation
- Duroiselle, Chas, ed. A List of Inscriptions Found in Burma, Part I, 1921.
- Tin, Maung, and G. H. Luce trans. Glass Palace Chronicle of the Kings of Burma, 1923.
- Than Tun, trans. The Royal Orders of Burma 1598-1885, 1983.
- Taw Sein Ko and Tun Nyein, trans. Inscriptions of Pagan, Pinya & Ava, 1899.
- King Wagaru’s Manu Dhammasattham: Text, Translation, and Notes, 1892..
- D. Richardson trans. The Damathat, or the Laws of Menoo, 1847.
Burma Government Reports and Manuals
- Annual Report on the Administration of the Province of British Burma 1867-68
- Report on the Administration of British Burma 1873-74 | 1874-75? | 1875-76 | 1876-77 | 1877-78 | 1878-79 | 1879-80 | 1880-81 | 1881-82 | 1882-83 | 1883-84 | 1884-85 | 1885-86 Lower Burma 1886 Upper Burma
- Report on the Administration of Burma
1885-86 Lower Burma | 1889-90 | 1891-92 | 1892-93 | 1893-94 | 1894-95 | 1895-96 | 1896-97 | 1897-98 | 1898-99 | 1899-1900 | 1900-1901 | 1901-02 to 1906-07 | 1907-08 to 1911-12 | 1912-13 to 1915-16 | 1916-17 to 1918-19 | 1919-20 | 1920-21 | 1921-22 | 1922-23 | 1923-24 | 1924-25 | 1925-26 | 1926-1927 | 1928-29 | 1929-30 | 1930-31 | 1931-32 | 1932-33 | 1933-34 | 1934-35 | 1935-36
- Report on the Administration of the Stamp Revenue 1917
- Report on the Land Revenue Administration of Burma 1902-1909 | 1911-1913 | 1916-1919
- Report on the Revenue Administration of Burma, for the year 1891-92, 1892-1893, 1898-1899 to 1900-1901 (bounded together)
- Report on the Public Health Administration of Burma 1923 | 1924 | 1925 | 1926 | 1927 | 1928 | 1929 | 1930 | 1931 | 1932 | 1933 | 1934 | 1935 | 1936
- Report on the Police Administration of Burma 1899 | 1900 | 1901 | 1902 | 1903 | 1916 | 1918 | 1920
- Local Government Circulars issued from the General Secretariat. 1888 to the 31st March 1915 Vol I (Chronological Index) | Vol II. 1888 to the 31st March 1928 Vol I (Chronological Index) | Vol II?
- Report on the Revision Settlement Operations: Myaungmya and Thongwa District 1902-1903 | Myaungmya District 1916-19 | Pyapôn District 1906-07 | Tharrawaddy District 1900-1901, 1901-1902 | Thaton District 1907-8
- Report on the Settlement Operations being Original Settlement in the Sinbaungwe Township and in parts of the Minhla, Thayetmyo and Allanmyo Townships and Revision Settlement in Parts of the Thayetmyo, Allanmyo and Mindon Townships of the Thayetmyo District 1913-16
- Report of the Village Administration Committee 1941
- British Military Administration Burma Annual Report 1945
- Report Of The State Of Public Health In Burma 1947
- The Burma Subdivisional And Township Office Manual, 1910
- Report on Archaeological Work in Burma 1901-1902 | 1902-1903 | 1903-1904 | 1904-1905
- Report on the Trade and Navigation of Burma 1885-1886 | 1897-1898
- Annual Sanitary Report for Rangoon 1921
- Report on the Working of the Rangoon Municipality 1894-1895 | 1895-1896 | 1896-1897 | 1897-1898 | 1898-1899 | 1899-1900 | 1900-1901 | 1901-1902 | 1902-1903 | 1903-1904 | 1904-1905? | 1905-1906 | 1906-1907 | 1907-1908 | 1908-1909? | 1909-1910
- Report Of The Burma Provincial Banking Enquiry Committee, 1929-30 Vol 1 | Vol 2 | Vol 3
- The Upper Burma Headman’s Manual, 1912
- Burma Village Manual, 1926
- Burma Police Manual, Vol 1 5th edition, 1939 | Vol 2 5th edition, 1940 | Vol 4 5th edition, 1953.
- Burma Provincial Estimates 1928-29
The Myanmar Law Library offers an extensive online and open access collection of PDF downloads of documents related to the legal history of Burma dating back to the colonial period. Some of these are very heavy files: if you are downloading many of these, consider doing so from the Internet Archive to reduce the burden on the law library, when they are marked as available there. Some of their sources include:
- Burma Law Times Contents Page | Vol 1 1907 | Vol 2 1909 | Vol 3 1910 | Vol 4 1911 | Vol 5 1912 | Vol 6 1913 | Vol 7 1914 | Vol 8 1915 | Vol 9 1916 | Vol 10 1917 | Vol 11 1918 | Vol 12 1919 | Vol 13 1920
- Burma Law Journal Contents Page | 1922 | 1923 | 1924 | 1925 | 1926
- Lower Burma Rulings (IA)
Selected Judgements of Lower Burma 1872-1892 | Printed Judgements of Lower Burma 1893-1900 | 1900-1902 | 1903-1904 | 1905-1906 | 1907-1908 | 1909-1910 | 1911-1912 | 1913-1914 | 1915-1916 (use archive) | 1917-1918 | 1919-1920 | 1921-1922
- Upper Burma Rulings (IA)
1892-1896 Criminal | 1892-1896 Civil | 1897-1901 Criminal | 1897-1901 Civil | 1902-1903 Criminal | 1902-1903 Civil | 1904-1906 Criminal | 1904-1906 Civil | 1907-1909 Civil | 1907-1909 Criminal | 1910-1913 Vol 1 | 1914-1916 Vol 2 | 1917-1920 Vol 3 | 1921-1922 Vol 4 | Index 1892-1917 | Index
- Indian Law Reports Rangoon Series (IA) Contents Page | 1923 | 1924 | 1925 | 1926 | 1927 | 1928 | 1929 | 1930 | 1931 | 1932 | 1933 | 1934 | 1935 | 1936-1937
- Rangoon Law Reports (IA) Contents Page | 1937 | 1938 | 1939 | 1940 | 1941 | 1942 | 1946 | 1947
- Burma Law Reports 1948-1988 – Many of these are in English. The Myanmar Law Reports 1989- are in Burmese.
- All India Reporter, Rangoon Contents Page | 1925 | 1929 | 1930 | 1934
- Burma Acts (English) 1946-1962
- Laws and Regulations of British Burma
- Many more sources available in Burmese
Other legal sources:
- The Burma Gazetteer in Two Volumes (1879-1880). Vol 1, Vol 2.
- Gazetteer of Upper Burma and the Shan States (1900-1901)
Part I: Vol I | Vol II. Part II: Vol I | Vol II | Vol III
- Imperial Gazetteer Of India Provincial Series Burma (1908). Vol 1 | Vol 2
- Gazetteer to Maps of Burma 1944 (with locations referring to Survey of India Burma Sheets plus Lat/Long)
Burma Gazetteer District Volumes
For the following volumes, you may wish to refer to this Wikimedia map based on 1931 colonial period districts:
- Arakan Hills Vol A 1910 | Vol B 1912 | Vol B No 2 1924
- Akyab Vol A 1917 | Vol B No 1 1912 | Vol B No 1 1924
- Amherst Vol A 1913 | Vol B No 19 1913
- Bassein Vol A 1916 | Vol B No 11 1912
- Bhamo Vol A 1912 | Vol B No 27 1913 | Vol B No 28 1925
- Lower Chindwin 1912, Vol B No 33 1913 | Vol B No 34 1925
- Upper Chindwin Vol A 1913 | Vol B No 34 1913 | Vol B No 35 1925
- Hanthawaddy (Syriam) Vol B No 7 1913 | Vol B No 7 1924
- Henzada Vol A 1915 | Vol B No 12 1924
- Insein Vol A 1914 | Vol B No 6 1913 | Vol B No 6 1924
- Katha Vol B No 29 1913 | Vol B No 30 1925
- Kyaukpyu Vol B No 3 1924
- Kyauksè Vol A 1925 | Vol B No 35 1913 | Vol B No 37 1925
- Ma-ubin Vol A 1931 | Vol B No 14 1924
- Magwe Vol B No 25 1913
- Mandalay Vol A 1928 | Vol B No 26 1913 | Vol B No 27 1925
- Meiktila Vol B No 36 1913 | Vol B No 38 1924
- Mergui Vol A 1912 | Vol B No 21 1913
- Minbu Vol B No 24 1913
- Myaungmya Vol B No 13 1912 | Vol B No 13 1924
- Myingyan Vol B No 38 1913 | Vol B No 40 1924
- Myitkyina Vol A 1912 | Vol B No 28 1913 Vol B No 29, No 31 1925 (with Putao District)
- Pakokku Vol A 1913 | Vol B No 23 1913
- Pegu Vol A 1917 | Vol B No 9 1913
- Putao Vol B No 31 1925 (with Myitkyina)
- Prome Vol B No 10 1913
- Pyapôn Vol B No 15 1912 | Vol B No 15 1924
- Rangoon 1868
- Ruby Mines Vol A 1915 | Vol B No 30 1913 (with the Mong Mit State)
- Sagaing Vol B No 32 1913 | Vol B No 33 1925
- Salween Vol A 1910 | Vol B No 17 1913
- Sandoway Vol A 1912 | Vol B No 4 1912 | Vol B No 4 1924
- Shwebo Vol A 1929 | Vol B No 31 1913
- Syriam Vol A 1914
- Tavoy Vol B No 20 1913 | Vol B No 20 1924
- Tharrawaddy Vol A 1920 | Vol B No 8 1912 | Vol B No 8 1924
- Thatôn Vol A 1931 | Vol B No 18 1913 | Vol B No 18 1924
- Thayetmyo Vol A 1911 | Vol B No 22 1913
- Toungoo Vol A 1914 | Vol B No 16 1913
- Yamèthin Vol A 1934 | Vol B No 37 1913 | Vol B No 39 1924
See Burma Library Census section for some entries.
1872 – Report On The Census Of British Burma Taken In August 1872
1881 – Report of the Census of British Burma Taken on the 17th February 1881
- Government of India Census of 1891 Imperial Tables Burma Report Vol. 2, 1892.
- Government of India Census of 1891 Provincial Tables Burma Report Vol. 3 District, Township, Circle, and Village Tables of Lower Burma, 1892.
- Government of India Census of 1891 Provincial Tables Burma Report Vol. 4 District, Township, Circle, and Village Tables of Upper Burma, 1892.
- Census of India, 1891, Vol. II- Imperial Tables, Imperial Series Burma Report, IX and X, 1892.
- Census of India, 1891, Vol. IX- Burma Report, Vol. I- Operation and Results (Imperial Series), Vol. X (Bounded Together), 1892.
- Census of India, 1891, Vol. IX- Burma Report, Vol. I- Operation and Results (Imperial Series), Vol. X (Bounded Together), 1892.
- Census of India 1901 Vol. 12 Burma Part I. Report.
- Census of India 1901 Vol. 12a Burma Part II. Imperial Tables.
- Census of India 1901 Vol. 12b Burma Part III. Provincial Tables. Lower Burma.
- Census of India 1901 Vol. 12c Burma Part IV. Provincial Tables. Upper Burma, The Shan States, and the Chin Hills.
- Census of India 1911 Vol. 9 Burma Part II.–Tables.
- Census of India 1911 Vol. 9 Burma Part I.–Report, 1912.
- Census of India 1921 Vol. 10 Burma Part II.–Tables.
- Census of India 1921 Vol. 10 Burma Part I.–Report.
- Census of India 1931 Vol. 11 Burma Part II.–Tables.
- Census of India 1931 Vol. 11 Burma Part I.–Report.
- Burma News 1897-1970 – Quarterly Paper of the Rangoon Diocesan Association. SOAS has digitized a large number of the issues of this pamphlet and annual reports for the organiztion.
- G. H. Luce Papers – Over a dozen notebooks, including notes in other languages, of the colonial scholar Gordon H. Luce have been digitized and are hosted at SOAS. More on him through the Luce Collection at the National Library of Australia.
- Burma/Myanmar Collection Items – See there list of over a hundred digital materials related to Burma/Myanmar.
- SOAS Bulletin of Burma Research – Bibliography of secondary literature (Archived) – This 2004 bibliography has over two hundred pages of sources related to Burma.
- SOAS Bulletin of Burma Research – Issues from this journal from 2003-2008 are online.
Other Online Collections Related to Burma
- Southeast Asia Visions – This digital collection at Cornel University includes hundreds of digitized books related to Southeast Asia. Many, but by no means all, of the books related to Burma are listed below and it is well worth exploring their collection.
- Burmese Album – This collection of photographs is hosted by Colgate University. “An album of sepia albumen photographs taken in Burma by the expatriate German photographer Philip Adolphe Klier.” Read more about this collection here.
- Burma and British India album, circa 1900s – A collection of photographs from an album made available by The Wolfsonian – Florida International University.
- Burma Library – “Classified and annotated links to more than 60,000 full text documents on Burma/Myanmar”. See for example the history subsection.
- The Anglo-Burmese Library – This organization, which requires membership for access to its member-only collection of documents, preserves records of families in colonial-era Burma and maintaining a list of 1942 evacuation and casualties. The library has a non-member area with a limited number of materials.
- Digital Bodleian – The Boldeian library at Oxford, has several digitized materials related to Burma.
- Pathé Films – This archive of film clips has several dozen clips from Burma.
- Digital South Asia Library – This collection, based at the University of Chicago is especially useful for the period when Burma was treated by the British as part of its administration of India, up to 1937.
- Medical History of British India – This National Library of Scotland collection includes the Annual reports on the working of the Harcourt Butler Institute of Public Health, Rangoon 1927-1940. It also has reports related to Vaccination in Burma 1889-1933. See more on the catalogue entry for the institute reports, and the entry for the vaccination reports.
- Wellcome Trust Archives – The Wellcome trust has over five under digital items related to Burma, including copies of some of the vaccination reports available in the NLS above.
- British Library Digital Collections related to Burma – Use the “Available Online” feature of the catalogue to identify online materials in the British Library. There are, for example, hundreds of images from Rangoon/Yangon and broader Burma. See also the extensive collection of photographs made available on Flickr by the British Library.
- Burma during Special Plague Duty – An album of over forty photographs. “(George) Harley Newcombe was on Special Plague Duty in Burma in 1906, This album is marked “Wishing you very many happy returns of THE DAY Sept 23 1906 Harley”
- Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek – This library has an extensive collection of materials related to Burma including digital versions of many documents not easily found online elsewhere but see also their photos related to burma as well as several thousand Burma tagged objects in general.
- British Museum – There are many images of items relating to burma in the British Musem’s digital collections.
- Photographs taken by my greatgrandfather in Burma circa 1920 – A collection of photographs by P Mashall who worked for the Bombay Burma Trading Corporation in the teak lumber industry.
- UK National Archives Flickr Photographs – Over one hundred photos related to Burma from the UK National Archives.
- Chronology of the Press in Burma (Archived) – The Irrawaddy has a nice timeline history of the press in Burma. So far, I have not found a digital archive for any of the colonial period newspapers.
- Burma/Myanmar Bibliographic Project – This extensive bibliography, edited by Siegfried M. Schwertner includes a huge range of primary and secondary sources in West-European languages.
- Researching Colonial Burma on the Internet – The historian of colonial Burma Jonathan Saha wrote up a post on his Colonizing Animals blog with lots of tips on finding information about Burmese history online. Many of these links have been added here. See also his many posts on Burmese history for engagement with primary sources in both English and Burmese language.
- Perry-Castañeda Library Burma (Myanmar) Maps – An excellent collection of historical maps related to Burma.
- Old Maps Online
- David Rumsey Map Collection – Many of these are linked from Old Maps Online above but sometimes easier to find through the David Rumsey home page.
- Sketch Plan of Rangoon 1853
- Plan of Rangoon and the Vicinity 1827
Library Guides and Link Collections
List of Books and Sources Available Online Related to Burma / Myanmar
The button below will display a list of over 200 mostly published sources related to Burma. With a few exceptions, they are linked to an online open access version of the work. Most of these are available on the Internet Archive, but some of these links take you to Google Books or the digital collections of various libraries and archives. Click the button to display the latest version of the list of sources:
Contributors: Konrad M. Lawson. I would very much welcome other contributors to join in this effort. Please expect significant updates to this new page, especially during the fall of 2021. Please do help out: What are digital collections and resources that should be added to this page? You can reach Konrad at firstname.lastname@example.org or @kmlawson on Twitter.
See also our other Primary Source guides.
Last Updated: 3 September, 2021.