Disease and Demography in Colonial Burma

by Judith Richell

Richell_cover.jpg
341 pp., illustrated
NIAS Monographs # 103
Available from NIAS Press in Europe




Paperback - 2006, Available
ISBN 978 87 91114 70 0, £17.99


• Will be of considerable interest to scholars studying not just Burma but also neighbouring countries, notably Thailand, Indonesia, Malaya and India.
• Contains material that will be valuable for researchers concerned with historical demography, epidemiology, public health and public administration in colonial times.
• General readers interested in the history of disease and its treatment, or the experiences of local populations under colonial regimes in Asia, will find it highly informative.


This important study examines population trends in Burma during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, looking in particular at public health and the epidemiology of disease. In developing this material, the author also presents a wide-ranging social history of modern Burma, relating the history of particular diseases to cultural beliefs and practices, as well as population movements, developments in agriculture and irrigation, nutritional trends, and the deployment of government servants and military personnel.

The study uncovers much new information about Burma that will be of considerable interest to a wide range of scholars. It also contains material relating to historical demography, epidemiology, public health, and public administration in colonial times. But what will be especially striking to all readers is will be Richell’s account of the indifference of the British to the health needs of their Burmese subjects, not least the refusal to im-plement the simplest of measures to reduce the appalling death toll.

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