BURMAH, Emfunr.: ON, called also the EMPIRE OF ANA, an important kingdom of the Indo-Chinese peninsula, formerly of great extent; but by two contests with the British power in India, it lost several provinces, and is now, in its widest sense and including tributary states, comprehended between 19' 29' and 28° n. lat., and 93° and 100° e. long., having an area of about 188,000 sq.m., and a scanty population estimated at from 3,000,000 to 4,000,000. It is bounded on the n. by mountains, separating it from Assam and Thibet; on the e., by China; on the s., by the l3ritish province of Pegu; and on the Iv., by Munnipore and inotintain-ranges dividing it from Tipperah, Chittagong, and Aracan. The Burman empire, as it now exists, has three well-marked divisions: I. Northern B., inhabited chiefly by Singphos, Shans, and other tribes; 2. B. proper; 3. The Eastern Shan tributary states. The area of B. proper, from lat. 24° 11. to the fron tier of Pegu, is 44,430 sq.m., with a population of about 1,200,000.
Physical features.—From the eastern extremity of the great transverse mountain barrier of Northern India, longitudinal ranges strike away southwards, and between two of these the Burman territories are situated. The country slopes from the highland regions of the n. towards the coast, and has been fitly described as "a varied surface of rolling upland, interspersed with alluvial basins and sudden ridges of hill." The principal river, the Irrawaddy (q.v.), having its source amid the snowy moun tains from which descends the Brahmaputra, is the great commercial highway of the country, through the heart of which it takes its course. Passing Amarapura, Ava, and other towns, it enters Pegu, and 90 miles below Prome, divides into an eastern and western branch, the former flowing, past Rangoon, the latter forming the Bassein river. The Kyen-dwen is its principal tributary. To the e. of the Irrawaddy, the Salwecn, after an almost parallel course, enters the British territories in Dearly the same latitude.
Climate.—On the coast, only two seasons are known—the dry and the rainy, which are regulated by the n.e. and the s.w. monsoons; but in B. proper, less rain falls, and
there are three seasons—the cold, the hot, and the rainy. Some showers fall in May or June, but the great rains last from the middle of Aug.•to the end of Oct. The cool season is from the middle of Oct. till the beginning of April, and from this month till the great rains is the hot part of the year, the thermometer ranging from 85' to 100°. The climate is, on the whole, healthy, but the jungles are very pestiferous.
Minerals.—B. has vast fields of mineral wealth, but little enterprise and capital are brought to bear upon them. There are gold mines at Bamo, near the Chinese frontier. Auriferous sand is found in many of the streams. Silver is obtained at Bau-dwen, like- • wise on the confines of China, and also in the Shan country, from whence comes the chief supply of lead. Iron is quarried at Poukpa, a lofty mountain a few miles c. of Pagan. The celebrated ruby mines of B. are situated 60 or 70 m. n.e. from the capi tal and are jealously guarded. Sapphires of great size are found in the same stratum, but arc more rare. The annual value of the gems is estimated at from £12,000 to £15,000 sterling, and they are the property of the king. Wells of the mineral oil, petroleum, are at Ye-nan-gyoung, on the Irrawaddy, above Prome. Marble, noble serpen tine, and amber are likewise found in large quantities.
Vegetable p•oductions.—A. few only of the most striking of these can be noticed. Of the graceful palm-tribe (palmacece), the cocoa-nut, the betel, the palmyra, and the nips, or water-palm, are the most prized. The useful bamboo is widely diffused. The teak, of which B. possesses inexhaustible forests, and the hoptea, are amongst the most valu able of the timber-trees. Forests of pine grow to the eastward of Amarapura. The wood-oil tree is found on the higher Salween, one trunk of which will produce from 30 to 40 gallons of oil every season. The staple fruit of the country is the plaintain or banana, The jack is prized by the natives. The mango reaches the height of 100 ft., and produces a delicious fruit. Rice, wheat, tobacco, indigo, and cotton are cultivated.