The origins of the Brahma Chicken are a mystery. It is thought to be named after its original the Brahmapootra or Burrampooter river, in India. However, there is no evidence that such fowls were ever seen in the locality. The breed appears to have developed in the United States from birds imported from Shanghai,China, which were thus known as "Shanghai" birds - the Brahma was the principal meat breed in the US from the 1850s until about 1930. Brahmas were first exported to England in December 1852, when George Burnham sent nine "Grey Shanghaes" to Queen Victoria as a gift. The Dark Brahma variety was developed by English breeders from this stock, and later re-exported to the United States.
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