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. 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.

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Bernard Town and an old British cemetery

There are three WWII British Cemeteries in Myanmar maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission: one near the Hanthawaddy Roundabout in Yangon, another in Htauk Kyant along the highway between Yangon and Bago, and the third in Thanbyuzayat in Mon State. But near Mogok and next to Bernard Town is an overlooked British cemetery with the graves of about 20 British soldiers who fell not during World War II but 50 years earlier. After the British annexed the whole of Myanmar in 1885, several rebellions broke out that were not completely suppressed until the 1890s. The soldiers buried here most likely fell in this remote region. Bernard Town, once known in Burmese as Ywa Thar Yar, was named after the commissioner of upper Burma, Sir Charles Bernard. Now that foreigners are allowed to travel to Mogok after applying for permission, perhaps some visitor will be able to locate a long-lost ancestor.

Chief Minister Kinwun Mingyi & Delegation to Britain

1871: the first Burmese embassy to the UK arrives in the hope of a peace treaty with Queen Victoria. Seated L-R: Royal Secretary Naymyo Mindin Thurayn Maung Cheint; the Pangyet Wundauk Maha Minkyaw Raza Maung Shwe O, Chief Minister the Kinwun Mingyi (leading the embassy); the Pandee Wundauk Maha Minhla Kyawhtin Maung Shwe Pin (educated in Calcutta). Standing in back: Major A.R. McMahon, British Agent at Mandalay (I think) and Edmund Jones, Burmese Consul at Rangoon (both fluent in Burmese).

Min Thu Wun

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Min Thu Wun (Burmese: မင်းသုဝဏ်; 10 February 1909 – 15 August 2004) was a Burmese artist, essayist and researcher who propelled another age abstract development called Khit-San (Testing the Times) in Burma. He is the father of Htin Kyaw, leader of Myanmar since 2016.

Kawleikgyin Ne Win

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Kawleikgyin Ne Win (Burmese: ကောလိပ်ဂျင်နေဝင်း, 1 October 1928 – 2 June 1983) was a two-time Burmese Academy Award winning Burmese film actor and director. Conceived Ne Win, he was given his well known moniker after his fruitful presentation film, Kawleikgyin (The Collegian), so as not to be mistaken for the late Burmese strongman of a similar name, Gen. Ne Win.


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Zawgyi (Burmese: ဇော်ဂျီ, conceived Thein Han (သိန်းဟန်, 12 April 1907 - 26 September 1990) was a recognized and driving Burmese artist, creator, abstract history specialist, commentator, researcher and scholastic. He was one of the pioneers of the Hkit san (Testing the Times) development in Burmese writing hunting down another style and substance before the Second World War, alongside Theippan Maung Wa, Nwe Soe and Min Thu Wun. His first hkit san poetry,Padauk container (Padauk blossom), was distributed in Hantha Kyemon handout.

Myat Paya Lat

Myat Paya Lat
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Theippan Maung Wa

Theippan Maung Wa
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Theippan Maung Wa (Burmese: သိပ္ပံမောင်ဝ 5 June 1899 – 6 June 1942) was a Burmese author, and one of the pioneers of the Hkit San scholarly development. The development scanned for another style and substance in Burmese writing before the Second World War beginning with Hkit san ponbyin (Experimental Tales, 1934, 1938).

Nanmadaw Me Nu

The Queen's Brick Monastery
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Ludu U Hla

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Ludu U Hla (Burmese: လူထုဦးလှ; 19 January 1910 – 7 August 1982) was a Burmese writer, distributer, recorder, folklorist and social reformer whose productive compositions incorporate an extensive number of way breaking true to life works. He was hitched to kindred essayist and columnist Ludu Daw Amar.

Kinwun Mingyi U Kaung

U Kaung at age 50
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Ludu Daw Amar

Portrait of Ludu Daw Amar in her youth
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Mahasi Sayadaw

The Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw
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Thakin Kodaw Hmaing

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Thakin Kodaw Hmaing (Burmese: သခင်ကိုယ်တော်မှိုင်း, 23 March 1876 – 23 July 1964) is viewed as one of the best Burmese artists, essayists and political pioneers in the twentieth century history of Burma. He is viewed as the Father of Burmese patriot and peace developments and also an artistic virtuoso.

Mingun Sayadaw

statue of Mingun Sayadaw
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Queen Supayalat

Queen Supayalat next to King Thibaw Min and her sister Princess Supayagyi

Ledi Sayadaw

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Ledi Sayadaw U Ñanadhaja (Burmese: လယ်တီဆရာတော် ဦးဉာဏဓဇ, 1 December 1846 – 27 June 1923) was a compelling Theravada Buddhist friar. He was perceived from a youthful age as being produced in both the hypothesis (Abhidharma) and routine of Buddhism as was respected as being academic. He composed many books on Dhamma in Burmese and these were open even to a genuine layman, thus he was in charge of spreading Dhamma to all levels of society and restoring the conventional routine of vipassana contemplation, making it more accessible for renunciates and laypeople alike.

Crown Prince Kanaung

Crown Prince Ka Naung was a son of King Tharrawaddy Min and Chief Queen Min Myat Shwe, a grand daughter of Hsinbyushin. Prince Ka Naung was the younger brother of King Mindon, one of the most well-known kings in the history of Myanmar. After the Second Anglo-Burmese War, they overthrew their half brother Pagan Min (1848-1853) which put Mindon on the throne. Kanaung became the Heir Apparent in 1853.

Mogok Sayadaw U Vimala

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U Vimala (Burmese: မိုးကုတ်ဆရာတော် ဦးဝိမလ, normally known as the Mogok Sayadaw; 27 December 1899 - 17 October 1962) was a famous bhikkhu and vipassanā contemplation ace of Theravada Buddhism.

Dr. M Shaw Loo

The First Myanmar Medical Doctor graduated in USA. Dr. M Shaw Loo has to be the first medical doctor from Myanmar. He was the son of U Shwe Thet and Daw Phwar. They descendants of Mon race and were Christians. It was the time when the First British-Myanmar war was going on, in 1824. Young Shaw Loo lived in Mawlamyine, Mon State with his parents.  

Taunggwin Sayadaw

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The Taunggwin Sayadaw U Visuddha Silacaraha (တောင်ခွင်ဆရာတော် ဦးဝိသုဒ္ဓ သီလာစာရဟာ) was the last Buddhist friar to hold the workplace as Thathanabaing of Burma. The workplace was annulled after his demise in 1938 and no successor was ever named.

U Thant, United Nations' Secretary General

U Thant , who filled in as Secretary-General of the United Nations from 1961 to 1971, was going the world body when Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold was murdered in an air crash in September 1961.