The very first Burmese mission to France
The very first Burmese mission to France was the 1871 mission led by the Kinwun Mingyi - it was meant as a signal to the British that Burma could court other powers in Europe.
During that mission, the Kinwun Mingyi and his team toured the Louvre, where they saw the Egyptian mummies, paid their respects at Napoleon's Tomb, and visited the National Library. At the National Library, they were shown an old map, purported to have been drawn by Marco Polo in the 13th century, that featured Pagan. The Kinwun Mingyi and his team were amazed that "Europeans had been visiting Burma for so many centuries". It made them realize how narrow were the views in Burma, isolated from the rest of the world.
The first Burmese to come to France was probably Maung Thoo (U Aung Thu in Burmese), who arrived in 1859 to study at St Cyr, France's top military academy. He later become a colonel in Mandalay commanding the Cassay (Kathe) Horse. Fluent in French, he assisted the Kinwun during this mission.
The drawings from a French magazine shows the Kinwun Mingyi and Maung Thoo during the 1871 diplomatic mission.
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