Disease and Demography in Colonial Burma

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By Judith L. Richell

Disease and Demography in Colonial Burma is an examination of the factors that shaped demographic change in Burma between 1852 and 1941.

Despite increasing contemporary interest in the historical demography of the non-European world, there has been little detailed exploration of Burma's extensive but problematic population records. Judith Richell developed a demographic framework for Burma by analysing late nineteenth century and early 20th century census data, and used this information to analyse population change within the country. Colonial Burma experienced relatively high rates of mortality, and Richell related this phenomenon to nutrition, the development of sanitary and health services, the impact of migration from India, and agricultural change. She also assessed infant, child and adult mortality, the incidence of endemic diseases such as beri beri and malaria, and outbreaks of plague and cholera as well as the influenza pandemic of 1918. The data the author collected and her discussion of these topics provide an exceptionally valuable resource for scholars interested in Burma, demography and public health in Southeast Asia.


Judith L. Richell's interest in Burma was sparked during her undergraduate years at Hatfield Polytechnic (now the University of Hertfordshire), where she was student of Victor Lieberman. The research on this book was carried out while she was a doctoral student at the History Department of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.


Publication Year: 2006
352 pages, 279mm x 216mm
ISBN: 978-9971-69-301-5, Paperback

NUS Press and NIAS Press