Lost Footsteps
Lost Footsteps

Late Konbaung Myanmar and the English Wars (1824-1885AD)

Historic Events

Kinwun Mingyi’s visit to Calcutta in 1875

A very rare photograph of the Kinwun Mingyi taken during his visit to Calcutta in 1875. This was a turning-point in Anglo-Burmese relations. The ostensible reason for the trip was to meet the Prince of Wales (the future King Edward VII) who was then on a tour of the Indian Empire. But his trip was also a last ditch attempt to repair rapidly deteriorating relations with the British. By 1875, British interference in Burmese internal politics was growing by the...

Read More

“Thangyet Wun” U Myu

A rare portrait of the "Thangyet Wun" U Myu (later styled Mingyi Minhla Maha Sithu Kyaw). U Myu was a scion of an old family of Ava nobility and was one of the first Burmese to be educated in Paris, obtaining a degree in engineering at the the École Centrale des Arts et Manufactures in 1868 and returning for further study in France in the 1870s. He held different posts in Mandalay, leading King Mindon's efforts to build the country's...

Read More

Sir Arthur Phayre and the Myoza of Magwé in Calcutta

Another image of early diplomacy: A watercolour of Sir Arthur Phayre and the Myoza of Magwé in Calcutta 1854. In the early years of his reign, King Mindon tried desperately to persuade the British to return Lower Burma, which had been seized during the Second Anglo-Burmese War (1852-3). In 1854 he sent one of his most powerful ministers the Myoza of Magwé (a minister to the very influential senior queen) as his envoy to the Marquess of Dalhousie, then Governor-General...

Read More

The very first Burmese mission to France

The very first Burmese mission to France was the 1871 mission led by the Kinwun Mingyi. During that mission (which was meant as a signal to the British that they could court other powers in Europe), the Kinwun and his team toured the Louvre, where they looked at the Egyptian mummies, paid their respects at Napoleon's Tomb, and and visited the National Library. At the National Library, they were shown an old map, purported to have been drawn by Marco...

Read More

The "Second Princess", daughter of King Thibaw

The "Second Princess" (Ashin Hteik Su Myat Paya-lat), daughter of King Thibaw was just two years old when she accompanied her parents from Mandalay into exile in 1885. In October 1916 she eloped and married U Khin Maung Lat (a former Mandalay courtier) and together they lived the rest of their lives, apparently peacefully and happily, in Kalimpong (in the Himalayan foothills, near Darjeeling), where they managed a small diary farm. This is a little known photograph of the couple...

Read More

The assassination of the Prince of Kanaung

In August 1866 the course of Burmese history changed forever with the assassination of the Prince of Kanaung (in the photograph).The Kanaung Prince was the younger brother and partner in government of King Mindon. He was also the Crown Prince. Together they set out to transform government, modernise the country, and defend its independence. Under the Kanaung Prince's direction, dozens of students were sent to Europe, including for military training the army was overhauled, modern factories, including for arms and...

Read More

Kolia San Thabue, one of the first students from Burma to the United States

This is a photograph of Kolia San Thabue, one of the first students from Burma to the United States. He was an Pwo Karen from Bassein and arrived in the US sometime in the later 1870s. His entire story is not clear to me but he studied at Chicago University and Kalamazoo College before going on to Michigan State College (now University).  Apparently he ran into financial trouble his sophomore year at Chicago and this photograph is from an appeal...

Read More

“Ameegalay”

A watercolour portrait of "Ameegalay" by the British artist Colesworthy Grant, 1855. "Ameegalay" was the younger daughter of the Sitke of Prome. Colesworthy Grant was the official artist attached to Sir Arthur Phayre's 1855 mission to Amarapura and the court of King Mindon. Prome was one of their stops on the way from Rangoon to Amarapura.

Read More

A favourite daughter of King Mindon: the Princess of Naungmon.

H.R.H. the Princess of Natmauk and Naungmon (Natmauk Naungmon Minthami) is the daughter of HM King Mindon and HM Tharazin Myoza Minbura. Eventually she was raised to Thuriya Mallavadi and then promoted to the title Thiri Padma Devi. Born at the palace in Mandalay in 1859, died during the British occupation. The portrait was taken at Mandalay palace in early 1880s when she was in her 20s.

Read More

The birthday of the Kinwun Mingyi

Today is the birthday of the Kinwun Mingyi (3 February 1822 – 30 June 1908). The Kinwun Mingyi (U Kaung) was Burma (Myanmar)’s leading reformer in the 1870s and early 1880s. He was a scholar, diplomat, and the author of numerous works of literature, history, and jurisprudence. Like many in his generation, his vision was of a modern, independent Burma, that would mix the best of the old and the new, importing the latest ideas and technology, whilst also protecting...

Read More