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British Economic Development in South East Asia, 18801939

Editor: David Sunderland, formerly at Greenwich University Business School
3 Volume Set: c.1200pp: September 2014 978 1 84893 488 7: 234x156mm: 350/$625

The shift in financial power from the United States to the East has led to increasing academic attention on the history of Asian economies. The booming tiger economies of the late twentieth century have their origins in the colonial period when many of their industries and much of their infrastructure was first established. This primary resource collection focuses on the economic development of the areas of South East Asia with which Britain had a trading relationship Borneo, Brunei, Burma, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. Covering the main period of development (18801939), the economic growth of the region is revealed through a selection of rare documents organized thematically with sections dedicated to agriculture, mining, industry, trade, labour, finance and infrastructure. The collection provides an opportunity to observe the trade and business links for the region as a whole rather than just the stories of individual nations. It charts changes in the growing and processing of key commodities such as tea, rice, coconuts, palm oil, opium and rubber, as well as covering finance, construction and the development of the regions transport and communications systems. The social and economic impact of inward migration from China, Indonesia and India and the effects of white settlement on native populations are also documented. It will be an important resource for those researching Asian history, empire and colonialism and economic history.

Collecting rubber on Malaya, 1928 Mary Evans/Sueddeutsche Zeitung Photo

Brings together almost one hundred rare texts sourced from five archives Documents include government reports, pamphlets, memoranda, newspaper and journal articles and papers given at meetings of campaigning groups

Reflects both Western and Asian perspectives and illuminates the relationship between colonizers and the colonized

Editorial apparatus includes a substantial general introduction, volume introductions, headnotes and endnotes

Consolidated index in the final volume



Volume 1: Agriculture
The abundant nature of South East Asian agriculture offered many opportunities for exploitation by the British. During the period of British involvement in the region agriculture went from a system of subsistence farming to one of highly developed cash crops destined for an international market. Production methods and the economics of agriculture went through a period of exponential change which still has legacies today. This volume collates documents surveying and assessing the potential of rice, timber, rubber and opium amongst other crops. Sources cover both methods of agricultural production and marketing. Editorial matter explores the reasons each crop was cultivated and the differences between indigenous and Western production methods.
Land laws: Grist, D H, Nationality of Ownership and Nature of Constitution of Rubber Estates in Malaya (1933); Watson, R G, The Land Laws and Land Administration of the Federated Malay States (1908); The Land Regulations of British North Borneo, 1894: Approved by the Court of Directors of the British North Borneo Company (1894); Grist, D H, Malaya: Agriculture (1929). Rice: Shaw, G R, Malay Industries. Part 3. Rice Planting (1907); Report of the Rice Cultivation Committee, Volume 1 and 2 (1931), excerpts; Nol-Paton, F, Burma Rice (1912). Rubber: Macfadyen, Eric, Rubber Planting in Malaya (1924). Timber: Cubitt, G E S, Wood in the Federated Malay States: Its Use, Misuse and Future Provision (1920); Annual Report on Forest Administration in Malaya including Brunei (1939); Forestry in Brunei: A Statement Prepared for the British Empire Forestry Conference (1935); Burma Teak (1935); Birch, E W, A Report upon British North Borneo (1903); Notes on forest exploitation and the forestry service in British North Borneo and Dutch N.E Borneo [1937]. Oils: Coghlan, H L, Coconut Industry in Malaya (1924); Report of a Committee Appointed by His Excellency the Officer Administering the Government of the Straits Settlements and High Commissioner for the Malay States to Investigate and Report on the Present Economic Condition of the Coconut and Other Vegetable Oil Producing Industries in Malaya (1934); Grist, D H, Malaya: Agriculture (1929). Tea: Bigia Estates Ltd to Ramsey MacDonald (1932). Opium: Statistical Tables Relating to Excise and Opium in the Province of Burma (1928). Cloves: Kirsepp, G D and Bartlett, C A, Report of a Mission Appointed to Investigate the Clove Trade in India and Burma, Ceylon, British Malaya and the Dutch East Indies (1933). Sugarcane: Economic Survey of the Sugarcane Industry in the East Central, Tenasseria and Northern Agricultural Circles (1926). General: General Cultivation (1924); Notes on Perak with a Sketch of its Vegetable, Animal and Mineral Products (1886). Fishing and animal husbandry: Maxwell, C, Preliminary Report on the Economic Position of the Fishing Industry of the Straits Settlements and Federated Malay States (1919); Winstedt, R, Malay Industries. Part 2 Fishing, Hunting and Trapping (1909); German, R L, Handbook to British Malaya (1927)

Volume 2: Mining, Industry and Trade

One of the driving forces of colonialism was the need for raw materials and traded goods for Western industry and consumer markets. The South East Asian mining sector was governed by British demand as well as the techniques that were available, whilst indigenous industries were substantially undermined by cheap Western imports. Manufacturing was gradually replaced by the processing of primary exports and the beginnings of service industries. Sources cover the major mined minerals, the extraction methods used, patterns of ownership and legislation, the business landscape and the major industries. Trade between the regions had a major effect on the economic growth of Britain, India and South East Asia. The types of goods that were traded evolved over time, as did the methods of exchange and the commercial relationships that developed across ethnic groups. Treaties were drawn up to facilitate exchange, and the monopolistic operations of the shipping companies arguably increased trading costs. Documents cover all forms of exchange and a wide variety of goods as well as information on treaties and trading agreements.
Mining Gold: Golden Raub: A Series of Articles on the Raub Gold Mines and their Prospects (1897). Oil: Noetling, Fritz, Report on the petroleum industry in Upper Burma from the end of the last century up to the beginning of 1891. Confidential. Coal: Cowie Harbour Coal Co. Ltd. Report on the Silimpopon Coal Mines and Property (1926); Labuan. Lease of coal mines in the island of Labuan dated 14th November, 1889. Salt: The salt industry of Amherst district, Journal of the Burma Research Society (1929). Tin and general: Greig, G E, Mining in Malaya (1924); Report on the Mineral Production of Burma (1939); Notes on Perak with a Sketch of its Vegetable, Animal and Mineral Products (1886); Report on mining in Malaya. Industry Industries: The Manufacturing Industries of the British Empire Overseas (1931/2); Winstedt, R, Malay Industries. Part 1. Arts and Crafts (1909); Arnold, G F, On cotton fabrics and the cotton industry of Burma (1897); The lacquerware industry of Burma, Journal of the Burma Research Society (1919); Johnson, W B J, Preliminary memorandum on conditions in pineapple factories in Malaya and Minutes of a meeting held at the Gardeners Club, Singapore at 2.30pm on April 17th, 1936 between pineapple packers and officers of the Agricultural Department; Quality products of the Ho Ho Mills. Coconut oil for local consumption, The Malayan Tribune Memento; Tampenis cement tile works, The Malayan Tribune Memento; Steel castings for all purposes. Machinery making in the tropics, The Singapore Free Press Exhibition Supplement (1932); Worlds biggest tin smelters. Growth of Straits Trading Co., The Singapore Free Press Exhibition Supplement (1932). Methods of business: Strickland, C F, Report on Co-operation in Malaya (1929); Memorandum on Business Methods and Trading Regulations in Siam (1917). Trade: Report on the Maritime Trade and Customs Administration of Burma for the Official Year 1924/5 (1925); Alexander, C S, British Malaya: Malayan Statistics (1928); Foreign Trade and Navigation of the Port of Bangkok for the Years 1918/9 (1919); Maitri, Phya Kalyan (ed.), Siam: Treaties with Foreign Powers, 19201927 (1928); Return of Imports and Exports, Straits Settlements (1889); Report of SubCommittee with respect to Exports to Germany and Austria from the Straits Settlements (1914); Report of the Commission on the Eastern Shipping or Straits Homeward Conference as Affecting the Trade of the Colony (1902); Alexander, C S, British Malaya: Malayan Statistics (1928); A pioneer shipping agency. History of Mansfield & Co., The Singapore Free Press Exhibition Supplement (1932).

Volume 3: The Building Blocks of Development: Governance, Transport and Human and Financial Capital
A variety of systems of governance were applied to South East Asia during its time under colonial influence: direct rule, crown colony, federated and unfederated state, chartered company rule and informal rule. This volume presents sources on the infrastructure of government. Transport formed a vital part of British imperial governance. Rail, road, sea and air were all utilized for travel and communication networks. Sources reveal the planning, construction, operation and limitations of the railways, the arrival of the automobile and road system, the construction of ports, the appearance of civil aviation and the development of telegraph and postal services. Labour was also of paramount importance in operating the new mines and plantations. New opportunities for work created economic migration, and these immigrant communities were kept apart from the native workers through occupational, institutional and geographical segregation. Sources reflect the daily lives of native and migrant workers, their working conditions, pay and health. Development of these colonies was facilitated through the creation of banking and currency systems and financed by taxation, state loans issued on the London market, government, cooperative and private sector credit schemes and private investment.
Governance: Robson, J H M, Notes and Suggestions Regarding the Administration of the Federated Malay States (1917); Report of the Commission Appointed By His Excellency The High Commissioner For The Malay States To Enquire Whether Any Action Should Be Taken By The Government To Give Protection Or Assistance To The Rubber Industry (1918). Transport Railways: Fifty years of Railways in Malaya, 18851935 (1935). Roads: Goldsmith, H E, Road Construction and Maintenance in the Tropics (1917); Alexander, C S, British Malaya: Malayan Statistics (1928) [roads and motor vehicles]; Annual report of the Public Works Department for the year 1937 [Malaya], Appendix E: Roads; Nankivell, K, A Report on Highways (1936). Airlines: Report on the development and progress of civil aviation in Malaya up to and including the year 1937. Ports: Allen, D F, Report on the Major Ports of Malaya (1931); A Short History of the Port of Singapore, Singapore Manufacturers Exhibition (1932); Memorandum on the Proposed Singapore Harbour Improvement Scheme Drawn up by a Member of the Committee of the Singapore Chamber of Commerce (1904). Other forms of communication: Alexander, C S, British Malaya: Malayan Statistics (1928), [telegraph, postal service]; Agreement between the Government of the Straits Settlements and the British India Steam Navigation Company Limited for a Homeward and Outward Mail Service for the Straits Settlements (1904); Growth of the postal service, The Singapore Free Press Exhibition Supplement (1932); Notes on Perak with a Sketch of its Vegetable, Animal and Mineral Products (1886).

Human Capital Immigration: Marjoribanks, N E and Marakkayar, A K G, Report on Indian Labour Emigrating to Ceylon and Malaya (1917); Indians in Malaya; Lawson Blythe, W, Methods and Conditions of Employment of Chinese Labour in the Federated Malay States (1938); Letter headed Chinese immigration scheme from President, the British North Borneo Co. (1923). Workforce size, distribution and structure: Garry, A N M, Report on the Census of the State of North Borneo (1931) [occupations by race]; Vlieland, C A, British Malaya: A Report on the 1931 Census (1932) [all races by industry]. Wages and working conditions: Alexander, C S, British Malaya: Malayan Statistics (1928) [prices, wages]; Standard wages for Indian labourers in Malaya; Memorandum regarding the provision of housing and hospital accommodation for labour in Burma enclosure in Copy of a letter from Honble Mr H Tomkins ICS Secretary to the Government of Burma, Medical Department, to the Secretary of the Government of India, Department of Commerce (1920); Gerrard, P N, On the Hygienic Management of Labour in the Tropics. An Essay (1913); Proceedings and Report of the Commission Appointed to Inquire into the Cause of the Present Housing Difficulties in Singapore (1918). Financial Capital Private sector finance: German, R L, Handbook to British Malaya (1927); Elementary Business Practice in the Straits Settlements and Federated Malay States (1923); Alexander, C S, British Malaya: Malayan Statistics (1928) [loans to planters]. Currency: Average Prices, Declared Trade Values, Exchange and Currency, Volume and Average Volume of Imports and Exports, Market Prices and Cost of Living (1930); Average Prices, Declared Trade Values, Exchange and Currency, Volume and Average Volume of Imports and Exports, Market Prices and Cost of Living (1939); Anthonisz, J O, Currency Reform in the Straits Settlements (1915). Public Finances: Straits Settlements Government Loan. Issue of 4 percent Five Year Convertible Bonds Sufficient to Raise 5,000,000; Estimates of the Revenue and Expenditure, Federated Malay States, 1916 (1917).

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