A History of the Anglo-Burmese Community

Dean Burnett


Throughout the former colonial world, in many instances what are referred to as 'hybrid communities' have evolved. In Africa, Oceania, Asia and the Americas, different groups were born of mixed relations between the colonists and indigenous peoples. In Asia, such groups, commonly known as Eurasians, developed in differing ways. These peoples were regarded varyingly from society to society. Often seen as a privileged class in comparison with the other native peoples, with the current trend in ethnic and postcolonial studies, ethnographers, historiographers and sociologists frequently class Eurasians as living in some kind of 'hiatus' with allegiances to no one and to nowhere. However, it can be said that these peoples were more loyal to their countries of birth and origin than has been believed. In Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia (the former French Indochina), Eurasians evolved from mixed relations between the natives and French rulers. In the Philippines, Mestizos and Amerasians were born of Spanish and Filipino, and American and Filipino miscegenation. Throughout the Indian Subcontinent, Anglo-Indians emerged from mixed relations between the British and other Europeans with Indians, whilst in Sri-Lanka, Eurasians and Burghers emerged as the descendants of Singhalese and Portuguese, Dutch and British unions. In Indonesia, Dutch-Indonesians emerged, descended from colonial Dutch and Javanese miscegenation. In Burma, the Eurasian community evolved through mixed relations between the British and other settlers of European origin with the local Burmese populace, and this community came to be known in two ways: as either the Anglo-Burmans or the Anglo-Burmese.

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