The Grandeur and Rise of Burma In Colonial Asia

The Golden Letter from King Alaungphaya to King George II contains a trade proposal, composed of gold and rubies, which reflects Burma's rise in power in the 18th century.

By UNESCO Memory of the World

The Golden Letter of the Burmese King Alaungphaya to King George ll of Great Britain, view 2 (18th century) by King AlaungphayaUNESCO Memory of the World

Golden Letter from Burma to Great Britain

The Golden Letter from Burmese King Alaungphaya to King George II of Great Britain contains a trade proposal granting the English a base, providing them with a strategic advantage over the rival French interest, in exchange for military support against Alaungphaya’s enemies.

The Golden Letter of the Burmese King Alaungphaya to King George ll of Great , view 1 (18th century) by King AlaungphayaUNESCO Memory of the World

Gold and Rubies

The text is engraved on pure gold and the gold leaf is decorated with 24 rubies. It was delivered in an ivory box, in which the letter was rolled. It’s the sole surviving golden letter from Burma.

George Ii - King Of England 1683-1760 (George Augustus)LIFE Photo Collection

English-French Rivalry under King George II

The trade proposal reflects the shift of English-French rivalry from within Europe and North America to southern Asia and the rise of Burma as a new regional power.

The Golden Letter of the Burmese King Alaungphaya to King George ll of Great Britain, view 3 (18th century) by King AlaungphayaUNESCO Memory of the World

It’s a key document for the early colonial history of Asia.

The Golden Letter of the Burmese King Alaungphaya to King George ll of Great Britain, view 4 (18th century) by King AlaungphayaUNESCO Memory of the World

Regional Power of Burma

The Letter documents the rise and the importance of one of the most important rulers in Burmese history who assumed a position as an equal of a Western colonial power and acted with self-confidence. 

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UNESCO's Memory of the World Programme is an international initiative launched to safeguard the documentary heritage of humanity against collective amnesia, neglect, the ravages of time and climatic conditions, and willful and deliberate destruction.
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