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. Myanmar was known to the West ever since western explorers had heard of it. Marko Polo was the earliest known westerner who discovered Myanmar and introduced to the West.

   Mandalay

The new capital city site was 66 km2 (25.5 sq mi) in area, surrounded by four rivers. Like most former capitals of Burma, Mandalay was founded on the wishes of the ruler of the day. On 13 February 1857, King Mindon founded a new royal capital at the foot of Mandalay Hill, ostensibly to fulfill a prophecy on the founding of a metropolis of Buddhism in that exact place on the occasion of the 2,400th jubilee of Buddhism.Mandalay was to be the last royal capital of the Konbaung Dynasty, the last independent Burmese kingdom before its final annexation by the British Empire. Mandalay ceased to be the capital on 28 November 1885 when the conquering British sent Thibaw Min and his queen Supayalat into exile, ending the Third Anglo-Burmese War.

 

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   Bagan

Title of the PresentationThe History of Bagan …The kingdom of Bagan began its ascendancy under King Anawrahta in the 11th century, though there was construction at the site in previous centuries. Two factors led to Bagan’s rapid growth. First, the Burmese defeated the rival Mon kingdom in battle under King Anawrahta, allowing him to consolidate his power as their ruler. Second, King Anawrahta converted to Buddhism and had a sudden need for temples, and lots of them.The century that followed is remembered as the Golden Age of Burmese Temple Building and also earned Bagan the nickname ”Land of a Thousand Pagodas.” By the end of the 13th century, more than 4,000 religious structures were built in and around the kingdom’s capital city.

 

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   Yangon

The name ‘Yangon’ is a combination of the words yan [enemies] and koun [run out of]. It has also been translated as ‘the end of strife’. The name Rangoon came from the British pronunciation of Yangon. In the early 11th century (1028–1043CE) the Mon dominated Lower Burma. Yangon was a small Mon fishing village centred on the Shwedagon Paya, and was called Dagon. However, King Alaungpaya conquered Dagon in 1755, renamed it Yangon. The British captured Yangon during the First Anglo-Burmese War of 1824–26, but it was returned to Burmese administration after the war.Then the British again seized Yangon, and all of Lower Burma in the Second Anglo-Burmese War of 1852, and established Yangon as the political and commercial center of British Burma. The British laid out the new city on a grid plan constructed on a delta, with the Pazundaung Creek on the east, and the Yangon River on the west.

 

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  Nay Pyi Taw

Naypyidaw has a short history. It was founded on a greenfield site near Pyinmana, about 320km north of the old capital, Yangon. Construction started in 2002. At least 25 construction companies were hired by the military government to build the city, including Asia World and Htoo Ltd.It is not known why the capital was moved, but according to The Guardian, Than Shwe did it as a “vanity project”. Naypyidaw is more centrally located than the old capital, Yangon. It is also a transportation hub located adjacent to the Shan, Kayah, and Kayin states. It was felt by governmental and military leaders that a stronger military and governmental presence nearby might provide stability to those chronically turbulent regions. The official explanation for moving the capital was that Yangon had become too congested and crowded with little room for future expansion of government offices. 

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  Taunggyi

Prior to  British colonisation , Taunggyi was a small village of a few huts. The area lay on a wide shoulder of the Sittaung Hills of the Shan Hills and was populated by the  Shan people  at the time. The signs of the original village of Taunggyi are long gone, but nearby villages can still be discerned quite easily. During British occupation, the town became the chief city and capital of the Southern Shan States. Taunggyi’s modern development began in 1894, when the British moved their administrative offices from Maing Thauk on the eastern shores of  Inle Lake  to the higher elevation of Taunggyi, for health and geographical reasons. Although geographically within the state of Yawnghwe, the town was denoted as a “notified area” by the British, exempt from the Sawbwa’s administration. By 1906, there existed a thousand houses. Because of civil unrest throughout the Shan States during the early 1900s, Taunggyi served as the chief garrison for military police. Taunggyi also served as a supply centre for the Shan States, and catered to persons of many nationalities.

 

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Cover photo by https://www.sampantravel.com/about-myanmar/history