Myanmar as Regional Nexus
For some years, previous to the date of the expedition (1868), of which
the progress is narrated in these pages, the attention of British mer-
chants at home and in India has been directed to the prospect of the
overland trade with western China… and a direct interchange of our
manufactures for the products of the rich provinces of Yunnan and Sze-
chuan might well seem to be advantages which would richly repay al-
most any efforts to accomplish this purpose.
In January, 1875, the British mission reached the City of Bhamo, the
point of departure for the great overland trade route between India and
China. The importance both politically and commercially of the reopen-
ing of this route had long been acknowledged by the Indian Government.
—Augustus Ramond Margary, 18762
The traditional patterns of China-Burma trade have been turned on their head. From the middle of the nineteenth century and the Sino-British Opium War of 1842, for a century China was the destination. Opening the great, unexploited markets of southwest China and Yunnan was of importance to the British and part of their rationale for encompassing Burma in the