The Burmese Empire a Hundred Years Ago, as Described by Father Sangermano, with an Introduction and Notes by John Jardine

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Vincenzo Sangermano (1758–1819) was a Roman Catholic priest, a member of the Barnabite religious order, who served as a missionary in Burma from 1783 to 1806. After initially going to the then-capital city of Ava, he settled in Rangoon, where he completed construction of a church and a college of missionaries. While heading the college, Sangermano undertook pioneering research on the political, legal, and administrative system of the Burmese Empire and on Burmese cosmography, science, religion, and manners and customs. Sangermano based his work on personal observations and inquiries, as well as on rare Burmese and Pali manuscripts that he analyzed and translated. In 1808, Sangermano returned to his native Italy, where he began preparing his research for publication, but he died in 1819 before he could complete his work. His manuscript remained in the hands of the Barnabite order and was published, with the support of the Oriental Translation Fund of Great Britain and Ireland, in 1833. Presented here is the second edition of Sangermano’s book, published in London in 1893, which includes a detailed introduction by John Jardine, a British legal scholar and judge who served in a variety of posts in the British Empire, including that of Judicial Commissioner of British Burma. Sangermano’s work remains a vital source for the study of pre-modern Burma.

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Archibald Constable and Company, Westminster

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xxxix, 311 pages, folded map. 23 centimeters

Last updated: September 29, 2014