The Mons are the principal Burma branch of the Mon-Khmer. Mon Burmar, Pao , Rakhine, Chin, Kachin, Shan and Kayin inhabit the Mon state. In 1983 the population was about 1637,200 and in 1996 the population was 2.4 million. Majority of the inhabitant are Mons and Bamars.
Mon state has borders with the Bago division in the south of Sittaung River Mouth, Kayin State in the east, Thailand and Tanintharyi Division in the south and Andaman Sea and Gulf of Mottama in the west.
The Mon were one of the earliest distinct groups to occupy Myanmar, moving into the area as early as 1500 B.C, or possibly earlier. The Mon are primarily associated with the historical kingdoms of Dvaravati and Haripunchai; up until the 14th century, outposts of Mon culture continued to spread very far east, including modern Thai.
The Mon converted to Theravada Buddhism at a very early point in their history; unlike other ethnic groups in the region, they seem to have adopted Theravada orthodoxy before coming into contact with Mahayana tendencies, and it is generally believed that the Mon provided the link of transmission whereby both Thais and Cambodians converted from Hindu/Mahayanism to Theravada Buddhism.
The last Mon kingdom was Hongsavatoi - they reconquered much of their lost territory until the energetic Myanmar leader U Aungzeya forced them back and captured the kingdom by 1757. The Mon religious leaders were forced to flee to Siam and the Mon have been harshly repressed from the 1750s to the present day.
They have remained a repressed and defiant group in the country since then. They have risen in revolt against the central Burmese government on a number of occasions, initially under the Mon People's Front and from 1962 through the New Mon State Party.
A partially autonomous Mon state, Monland, was created in 1974 covering Tanintharyi, Bago and Ayeyarwady River.