Myanmar History

Myanmar has a long and complex history. Many peoples have lived in the region and the history began. The first identifiable civilization is that of the Mon. The Mon probably began migrating into the area in about 300 BC. and their first kingdom Suwarnabhumi. was founded around the port of Thaton in about 300 BC. The Pyu arrived in Myanmar in the 7th century and established city kingdoms at Binnaka. Mongamo. Sri Ksetra. and Halingyi. During this period. Myanmar was part of an overland trade route from China to India. By 849. the Burmans had founded a powerful kingdom centered on the city of Bagan and filled the void left by the Pyu. The kingdom grew in relative isolation until the reign of Anawrahta (1044 - 77) who successfully unified all of Myanmar by defeating the Mon city of Thaton in 1057.

After the collapse of Bagan authority. Myanmar was divided once again. The Burmans had restablished themselves at the city of Ava by 1364. where Bagan culture was revived and a great age of Burmese literature ensued. The kingdom lacked easily defendable borders. however. and was overrun by the Shan in 1527. Surviors of the destruction of Inwa eventually established a new kingdom centered on Taungoo in 1531 led by Tabinshwehti (reigned 1531-50). who once again unified most of Myanmar. A popular Burmese leader named Alaungpaya drove the Bago forces out of northern Myanmar by 1753. and by 1759 he had once again conquered Pegu and southern Myanmar while also regaining control of Manipur. He established his capital at Rangoon. now known as Yangon.

Dynasties of the past

The Mon

Humans lived in the region that is now Myanmar as early as 11.000 years ago. The first identifiable civilization is that of the Mon. The Mon probably began migrating into the area in about 3000 BC. and their first kingdom Suwarnabhumi. was founded around the port of Thaton in about 300 BC. Spoken tradition suggests that they had contact with Buddhism via seafaring as early as the 3rd century BC. though definitely by the 2nd century BC when they received an envoy of monks from Ashoka. Much of the Mon's written records have been destroyed through wars. The Mons blended Indian and Mon culture together in a hybird of the two civilizations. By the mid-9th century. they had come to dominate all of southern Myanmar.

The Pyu

The Pyu arrived in Myanmar in the 7th century and established city kingdoms at Binnaka. Mongamo. Sri Ksetra. and Halingyi. During this period. Myanmar was part of an overland trade route from China to India. Chinese sources state that the Pyu controlled 18 kingdoms and describe them as a humane and peaceful people. The Pyu capital of Halingyi fell to the kingdom of Nanchao in the mid-9th century. ending their period of dominance.

The Bagan Kingdom

To the north another group of people. the Burmans began infiltrating the area as well. By 849. they had founded a powerful kingdom centered on the city of Pagan and filled the void left by the Pyu. The kingdom grew in relative isolation until the reign of Anawrahta (1044 - 77) who successfully unified all of Myanmar by defeating the Mon city of Thaton in 1057. Consolidation was accomplised under his successors Kyanzittha (1084-1112) and Alaungsithu (1112-1167). so that by the mid-12th century. most of Southeast Asia was under the control of either the Bagan Kingdom or the Khmer empire. The Bagan kingdom went into decline as more land and resources fell into the hands of the powerful sangha (monkhood) and the Mongols threatened from the north. The last true ruler of Bagan. Narathihapate (reigned 1254-87) felt confident in his ability to resist the Mongols and advanced into Yunnan in 1277 to make war upon them. He was thouroughly crushed at the Battle of Ngasaunggyan. and Bagan resistance virtually collapsed. The king was assassinated by his own son. but the dynasty was soon brought to an end in 1289. when the mongols installed a puppet ruler in Myanmar.

Inwa and Bago

After the collapse of Bagan authority. Myanmar was divided once again. The Burmans had restablished themselves at the city of Inwa by 1364. where Bagan culture was revived and a great age of Burmese literature ensued. The kingdom lacked easily defendable borders. however. and was overrun by the Shan in 1527. To the south. the Mons reestablished themselves at Bago. and under their king. Dhammazedi (reigned 1472-92). entered a golden age as well. becoming a great center of commerce and Therinwada Buddhism.

The Taungoo Dynasty

Surviors of the destruction of Inwa eventually established a new kingdom centered on Taungoo in 1531 led by Tabinshwehti (reigned 1531-50). who once again unified most of Myanmar. By this time. the geopolitical situation in Southeast Asia had changed drastically. The Shan gained power in a new kingdom in the North. Ayutthaya (Siam). while the Portugese had arrived in the south and conquered Malacca. With the coming of European traders. Myanmar was once again an important trading center. and Tabinshwehti moved his capital to Bago due to its commercial value. Tabinshwehti's brother-in-law. Bayinnaung (ruled 1551-81) succeeded to the throne and proceeded on a campaign of conquest conquering several states. including Manipur (1560) and even Ayutthaya (1569). His wars stretched Myanmar to the limits of its resources. however. and both Manipur and Ayutthaya were soon independant once again. Faced with rebellion by several cities and renewed Portugese incursions. the Tourngoo rulers withdrew from southern Myanmmar and founded a second dynasty at Inwa. Bayinnaung's grandson. Anaukpetlun. once again reunited Myanmar in 1613 and decisively defeated Portuguese attempts to take over Myanmar. His successor Thalun reestablished the priciples of the old Bagan kingdom. but spent too heavily on religious expenditure and paid to little attention to the southern part of his kingdom. Encouraged by the French in India. Bago finally rebelled against Inwa. further weakening the state. which fell in 1752.

The Konbaung Dynasty

It did not take long for a new dynasty to arise and bring Myanmar to its greates power yet. A popular Burmese leader named Alaungpaya drove the Bago forces out of northern Myanmar by 1753. and by 1759 he had once again conquered Bago and southern Myanmar while also regaining control of Manipur. He established his capital at Rangoon. In 1760. he briefly conquered Tenasserim and marched on Ayutthaya. but his invasion failed and he was killed. His son Hsinbyushin (ruled 1763-76) returned to Ayutthaya in 1766 and had conquered it before the end of the next year. Even China took notice of Myanmar now. but Hsinbyushin sucessfully repulsed four Chinese invasions between 1766 and 1769. Another of Alaungpaya's sons. Bodawpaya (ruled 1781-1819). lost Ayutthaya. but added Arakan (1784) and Tenasserim (1793) to the kingdom as well. In Jaunary 1824. during the reign of King Bagyidaw (ruled 1819-37). a general named Maha Bandula succeeded in conquering Assam. bringing Myanmar face to face with British interests in India.

War with Britain

In response to the continued conquests of Myanmar. the British and the Siamese joined forces against Myanmar in 1824. The First Anglo-Burmese War (1824-26) ended in a British victory. and by the Treaty of Yandaboo. Myanmar lost Assam. Manipur. Arakan. and Tenasserim. As the century wore on. the British began to covet the natural resources of Myanmar and wanted to secure their supply route to Singapore. As a result. they provoked the Second Anglo-Burmese War in 1852. annexing Bago province and renaming it Lower Burma. The war resulted in a revolution in Myanmar. with King Pagin Min (ruled 1846-52) being replaced by his half brother. Mindon Min (ruled 1853-78)). King Mindon tried to modernise the Burmese state and economy to resist British encroachments. and he established a new capital at Mandalay. which he proceeded to fortify. This was not enough to stop the Birtish. however. who claimed that Mindon's son Thibaw Min (ruled 1878-85) was a tyrant intending to side with the French and declared war once again in 1885. conquering the remainder of the country in the Third Anglo-Burmese War.

During the British Ruling

Britain made all of Burma a province of India in 1886 with the capital at Rangoon. Traditional Myanmar society was drastically altered by the ending of the monarchy and the separation of church and state. Though war officially ended after only a couple of weeks. resistance continued in northern Myanmar until 1890. with the British finally resorting to a systematic destruction of villages and appointment of new officials to finally halt the guerilla activity. The economic nature of society also changed drastically. After the opening of the Suez Canal. the demand for Burmese rice grew and vast tracts of land were opened up for cultivation. However. in order to prepare the new land for cultivation. farmers were forced to borrow money from Indian moneylenders at high interest rates and were often eveicted for failure to pay back the loan. Imported Indian labor ended up with most of the jobs. and whole villages became lawless dens full of the unemployed. While the Burmese economy grew. all the power and wealth was in the hands of several British firms and the Burmese people did not reap the rewards.

A new generation of Burmese leaders arose in the early twentieth century from amongst the educated classes that were permitted to go to London to study law. They came away from this experience with the belief that the Burmese situation could be improved through peaceful protest and negotiations. Peaceful strikes in the early 1920s led to a constitutional reform in 1923 that created a partialy elected legislature with limited powers. but some people began to feel that the rate of change was not fast enough and the reforms not expansive enough. Some of these dissatisfied students founded a new group called Thakin (an ironic name as thakin means "master" in the Burmese language. and this was the term that students were required to use when addressing their British professors. whom they were coming to resent). A peasant rebellion led by Saya San that started in 1930 and lasted for two years gave the Thakin their chance. Though they did not actually participate in the rebellion. they did win the trust of the peasants and displaced the older generation of London-educated elites at the head of the Burmese nationalist movement. They staged a strike in 1936. which was notable because it was during this strike that Thakin Nu and Aung San joined the movement. The British seperated Burma from India in 1937 and granted the colony a new constitution calling for a fully elected assembly. but many Burmese felt that this was just a ploy to exclude them from any further Indian reforms. Ba Maw served as the first prime minister of Burma. but he was forced out by U Saw in 1939. who served as prime minister from 1940 to 1942. Burmese nationalists saw the outbreak of World War II as an opportunity to extort concessions from the British in exchange for support in the war effort. but the British would have none of it. issuing an arrest warrant for Aung San. who escaped to China. The Japanese offered him support. and he briefly returned to Burma to enlist the aid of twenty-nine young men who went to Japan with him to receive military training as the so-called "Thirty Comrades." The Japanese quickly declared Burma independant. and when they occupied Bangkok in December 1941. Aung Sang announced the formation of the Burma Independence Army (BIA) in anticipation of Japanese liberation. The Japanese duly moved into Burma in 1942 and disbanded the BIA. forming the smaller Burma Defense Army in its place with Aung Sang still at the head. Ba Naw was declared head of state. and his cabinet included both Aung Sang and Thakin Nu. It soon became apparent that Japanese promises of independence were merely a sham and that Ba Maw was just a puppet. As the war turned against the Japanese. they declared Burma a fully sovereign state in 1943. but this was just another facade. Disillusioned. Aung San began negotitations with Lord Mountbatten in October 1943 and officially joined the Allies with his renamed Burma National Army (BNA) in March 1945. During this period. Anung San sucessfully created a broad-based coalition of political parties called the Anti-Fascist Organization. renamed the Anti-Fascist People's Freedom League (AFPFL). to govern the country. The Japanese were routed from Burma in May 1945. The defeat of the Japanese brought a military administration and demands to try Aung San as a traitor for his early collaboration with the Japanese. Lord Mountbatten realized that this was an impossibility considering San's hold on the BNA and his popular appeal and sent the conciliatory Sir Hubert Rance to head the administration. who was able to win back the trust of both San and the general populace. After the war ended. the former civilian governor returned. and San was duly arrested. This nearly touched off a rebellion. but the British backed off and sent Rance back to restore order and faith. Negotiations began for Burmese independence. which were completed sucessfully in January 1947. The agreement left both the communist and conservative branches of the AFPFL dissatisfied. however. sending the communists underground and the conservatives into opposition. Another who was dissatisfied by the agreement was U Saw. who felt that Aung San had conceded to much in the negotiations. Consequently. he engineered the assassination of Aung San and nearly his entire cabinet in July. Thakin Nu was asked to form a new cabinet. and he presided over Burmese independence on January 4. 1948.

The Land of Human Origin

Pondaung Primate

Pondaung is a geographical region in Myanmar lying partly in the Sagaing and partly in Magway Divisions. It has become well known world wide due to the discovery of fossilized remains of anthropoid primate some years back by both Myanmar and foreign geologists. Teams of experts on the subject from the United States. France and Japan have made research trips to this area with the cooperation of the Office of the Strategic Studies of the Ministry of Defence and geologists of various Universities of the Ministry of Education and discovered substantial forsilized remains not only of the anthropoid primate but also of some wild fauna and flora.

After laboratory tests and analysis of their finds and scientific discussions at international fora. a consensus has been reached that "Pondaung anthropoid primate fossils are 40 million years older than than their Egyptian counterparts which . were once censidered the oldest".

The Pondaung Primates Today. Myanmar has found the most reliable proof of 'Human Origin'. Scientists believe that human originated from primates. or people simply call them monkeys. The word 'primate' generally refers to mammals which have both hands and legs and being the most intelligent among all other living beings. Therefore. to trace the human origin. scientists had to look into the earliest evidence of anthropoid primates. The discovery of many fossilized remains of Pondaung primates within the past few years. made this theory firmer. and also confirmed by French. Japanese. and other international scientists.

The Pondaung area is situated in the northwestern part of central Myanmar which consists two ranges named Pondaung and Ponnyadaung of over 3000 feet high. lying in a North-South direction. It has been a famous fossil site for The eastern range is Pondaung and the western range is Ponnyadaung. These two ranges are composed of the rocks of the Pondaung Formation. The formation is almost entirely composed of massive quartz sandstones. brown on the weathered surface. but of a greenish tint in fresh stream sections. As of today. scientists found 4 different groups of primates: Pondaungia. Amphipithecus. Myanmarpithecus. and Bahinia. History Myanmar has a long and complex history. Many peoples have lived in the region and the history began. The first identifiable civilization is that of the Mon. The Mon probably began migrating into the area in about 300 BC. and their first kingdom Suwarnabhumi. was founded around the port of Thaton in about 300 BC.

The Pyu arrived in Myanmar in the 7th century and established city kingdoms at Binnaka. Mongamo. Sri Ksetra. and Halingyi. During this period. Myanmar was part of an overland trade route from China to India. By 849. the Burmans had founded a powerful kingdom centered on the city of Bagan and filled the void left by the Pyu. The kingdom grew in relative isolation until the reign of Anawrahta (1044 - 77) who successfully unified all of Myanmar by defeating the Mon city of Thaton in 1057. After the collapse of Bagan authority. Myanmar was divided once again. The Burmans had restablished themselves at the city of Ava by 1364. where Bagan culture was revived and a great age of Burmese literature ensued. The kingdom lacked easily defendable borders. however. and was overrun by the Shan in 1527. Surviors of the destruction of Ava eventually established a new kingdom centered on Taungoo in 1531 led by Tabinshwehti (reigned 1531-50). who once again unified most of Myanmar. A popular Burmese leader named Alaungpaya drove the Bago forces out of northern Myanmar by 1753. and by 1759 he had once again conquered Bago and southern Myanmar while also regaining control of Manipur. He established his capital at Yangon. The Golden Land Myanmar is known as the Golden Land by many foreign countries. Due to rich cultural heritage from time to time. and also because of the religious believes. the country has many golden pagodas all over the country. Many Myanmar kings and queens had donated gold to pagodas they had donated. As an event. Queen Shin Saw Pu was the first to gild the Shwe Dagon Pagoda. She went on the scales and let them take her weight which was a bout 40 kg.(90 lbs). She donated that weight in gold. The pagodas are usually named with 'Shwe' which means gold or golden in Myanmar.

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Timeline History

Important Events
in Myanmar

Important Events
in the World

. 3.9 billion
years ago
Oldest rocks of the earth. Precambrian time
Pondaung Man, the earliest primates known today, resided in Pondaung, northern Myanmar. Other traces of early human settlements are also found. 40 Million
years ago
.
. 1 Million
years ago
Traces of Java Man, Indonesia
. 900,000
years ago
Peking Man, China
. 600,000
years ago
Lantian man, China
. BC 3300 Writing developed in Sumeria
. BC 3100 Egypt united
. 3000 Birth of Greece
. BC 2500 Begining of Indus Valley civilization
. BC 2590 Great pyramid of Giza built
Hanlin Pyu City State, Beikthano (Vishnu) Pyu City State, Thuwunna Bonmi (Ramanya) City State came into existance BC 2000 .
. BC 1500 Jewish religion emerges
. BC 1220 Olmec civilization rises in Mexico
. BC 800 Etruscan culture rises in Italy
. BC 750 Sparta rises as military power
Tharay Kittarar (Srikittra) Pyu City State founded. BC 1000 .
. 566-480 Life of Buddha and the emergence of Buddhism
. 459-331 Rise and fall of Persian Empire
Waytharlee Kingdom founded BC 518 .
. BC 509 Monarchy ended in Rome and became a republic
. BC 479 Death of Confucious
. BC 250 Maya civilization emerges
. BC 221-214 Great Wall of China built
. BC 51-30 Reign of Queen Cleopatra VII
. 30 Roman captured Egypt
. BC 44 Julius Ceaser assisinated
. 1 AD Birth of Jesus Christ
. 27 Death of Christ
. 100 Paper invented in China
. 330 Christianity becomes religion of Roman Empire
. 476 Fall of Rome
Bagan Dynasty began as a city-state. 107 .
. 571-632 Life of prophet Mohammed
. 800 Rise of Ghana in W. Africa
The First Myanmar Empire founded after King Anawrahtar organized the whole country into a single soverign. 1044-1077 .
. 1066 William the Conqueror, Duke of Normandy, defeated Anglo- Saxons and founded today's England, which resulted the birth of English language.
The earliest Myanmar script carved on stone by Prince Yarza Komer. 1100 .
Bagan Dynasty fall. Many pagodas in Bagan were destroyed as a source of bricks to build forts urgently, in defending Genghis Khan's troops from Mongolia. 1287 .
Founding of the Second Myanmar Empire, Hantharwaddy (Bago) Dynasty 1287 .
. 1300 Gunpowder revolution
Pinya Dynasty founded. 1309 .
Sagaing Dynasty established. 1315 .
Innwa Dynasty founded. 1364 .
TaungNgoo Dynasty established. 1486 .
Founding of the Third Myanmar Empire, Konbaung Dynasty. 1752 .
First Anglo-Burmese War 1824-26 .
. 1839-42 First Opium War, China
Second Anglo-Burmese War, where General Bandoola died. King Mindon nationalized petroleum production. 1852 .
Industrial revolution took place during King Mindon's reign. Sent fact-finding missions and trainees to the West. 1853-1878 .
. 1868-1912 Industrial revolution broke out in Japan during Meiji period. Sent fact-finding missions and trainees to the West.
The first Myanmar ambassador to Europe, Kinwun Mingyee U Kaung travelled to Europe, with King Mindon's steamer ship called Yaynanyinthar. 1876? .
Third Anglo-Burmese War. Great Britain captured the whole part of Myanmar. 1885 .
David Sime Cargill founded BOC (Burmah Oil Company) investing 1.5 million Sterling pounds, and later up to 18 million pounds. 1886 .
70,000 barrels of petroleum produced. 1888 .
Standard Oil Company, the first American oil company in Myanmar, began its operation. 1901 .
5,000,000 barrels of petroleum produced. 1910 .
. 1914-18 The First World War
. 1939 Siam officially changed the country's name to Thailand.
Drove out British. Japanese invaded 1940 .
Myanmar was the 14th largest petroleum producer in the whole world. 1915 .
. 1939-45 The Second World War
40 million Sterling pounds worth of petroleum-related machineries (including 2 refinery plants) destroyed by the British before their withdrawl to India. 1942 .
. 1945 Birth of the United Nations. The first atomic bomb tested.
Drove out Japanese. Allied Forces came in. General Aung San assasinated. 1947 .
Founding of the Fourth Myanmar Union, Union of Burma, after independence on 4th January from British. Myanmar joined The United Nations as 59th member. 1948 The world's first computer invented.
Revolutionary Council took over 1962 .
Became a socialist republic. The flag changed. The emblem changed. The national anthem unchanged. 1974 The first personal computer by Altair launched, followed by another version by Apple, 1977.
SLORC took over. The first multi-purpose .language software "Ava Burmese Font" for Macintosh by John Okell. 1988 .
The name of the country, Burma changed to Myanmar 1989 .
Multi-Party General Elections held in Myanmar. 1990 .
The first multi-purpose. language software "Pioneer Myanmar Font" for MS-Windows by WinMyanmar Systems. 1992 .
The official government website "myanmar.com" launched. 1994 The usage of internet began to spread widely to public, and internet revolution began.
Myanmar joined ASEAN 1996 .
SLORC changed name to SPDC. The first email service became available. 1997 .
. 2000 Y2K-problem will disturb older computer systems.
Birth of Myanmar Information and Communication Technology Park (MICT Park)
"mict-park.com.mm"
2001

The Land of Human

Pondaung Primate

 

Myanmar Primates
The Land of Human Origin

These fossils are between 49 million and 33 million years old. Found in Pondaung. Myanmar.

Australopithecus anamensis male

Australopithecus afarensis female

Australopithecus afarensis male
(This skull was reconstructed from nearly 60 fossil fragments unearthed in 1992)

 

Australopithecus boisei male
(Earliest known stone tools)

Homo habilis female
(Earliest known stone tools)

Homo erectus female
(Earliest known stone tools)

Homo erectus male
(Uncovered in 1960)

 

Archaic Homo sapiens male
(Earliest evidence of controlled fire)

Neandetral male
(Earliest evidence of shelters)

Earliest evidence of modern humans in Africa

 

Earliest known 
burials

 

Anatomically modern Homo sapiens Qafzeh

 

Earliest firm evidence of humans in Australia

 

 

Earliest known cave paintings
(Found in 1961 among other remains of a young adult male who would have stood about five feet ten inches tall)

 

Most recent ice age ends
Earlist evidence of humans in Americas

 

bone_1

 

Years Before Present

40-Million
4.5-Million
4-Million
3.5-Million
3-Million
2.5-Million
2-Million
1.5-Million
1-Million
500.000
0
150.000
125.000
100.000
75.000
50.000
25.000
5.000

Myanmar Empires

Throughout Myanmar's long history. depending on the outlook of leadership. economic strength. and military might. Myanmar Empire grew and shrank a couple of times in this region. which is now China. India. Bangladesh. Laos. and Thailand.
About A.D 1500
me1500
About A.D 1580
me1580
About A.D 1800
me1800s
About A.D 1822
me1822
About A.D 1856
me1856


 

Travel Agents

Myanmar Maps

map

Exploration

mountain

 

Airlines

Air Ballooning

bob

Hotels

Festivals & Events

 

Myanmar Gallery

Sample image

Myanmar Hotel Reservation


Elephant Camps

elephant-camp

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