The Firsts in Myanmar

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first computer myanmar

A computer operator uses the ICL 1902S as a visiting United Nations official watches on.

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The First Ambassador

The first Ambassador known in Myanmar history was Shin Ditha Par Mauk, a Buddhist monk, going to the Kublai Khan's palace during the reign of Tarouk Pyay Min (Narasihapatai), Bagan. There still is an inscription stating to that effect.

The First Ambassador to Europe

U Kaung, the first Myanmar ambassador to the Europe went to England, France, and Italy during Myanmar's industrial revolution under King Mindon's reign.

Because he worked for British colonial government, after Britain captured Burma, he was often accused as a traitor, although historical evidence shows that he did the best he could.

The First Bus-line

The first public bus-line introduced to Burma was in October, 1913 by R.E.T. Company. 

The first Burmese-owned bus company was founded in 1924, when the founder bought buses by installment from Ford company.

The First Car

The first automobile was imported to and used in Myanmar in 1905. By and by, many more cars were imported, and thus "Automobile Registration Act" was enacted in 1906.

After the World War-II, the number of cars in Myanmar doubled to 1559 according to the registration. And in 1962, it mounted up to several folds: 30,068 (3894 mortor-cycles, 3228 buses, 5706 trucks, 5991 saloon cars, and so on).

The First Census

The first census (The Household Census) was administered by King Dhamazedi during his reign AD 1472-92. 

This caused the making of the largest bell on earth.

The First Cinema

"Globe Cinema" is said to be the first cinema built in Yangon. However this has to be confirmed later.

The First Christian Mission

The first Christian missionery was known to be that of Dr Judson, an author of the earliest Myanmar-English dictionaries. Preacher Dr Judson and his wife came to Myanmar from the United States together. Both of them happen to meet General Bandoola, during King Bagyidaw's reign.

Judson (Yu-da-than, as written in Myanmar language) Church was built in memory of Dr Judson and his work.

The First Computer

The first computer ever brought and used in Myanmar was IBM's PDB-11 mainframe, with which programmers had to use punch-cards to save programs, not disks. 

This first computer resulted the founding of 'Universities Computer Center (UCC)' in Yangon in 1979. This PDB-11 is now completely shut down, stored in garage, and shown to visitors as a museum item.

The First Email Service

The first email service was served by Data Service Company of the Eagle Group. Please see Internet Access in Myanmar.

The First Electric Lamp Poles

The first time in Myanmar history, electric lamp poles were erected on the road-sides in 1907, to our records. There were only oil lamps lit by the roadside before then.

The First Fiction

The first Myanmar fiction printed was "Maung Yin Maung and Ma Mae Ma" by James Hla Kyaw, published in early 1900s. 

The First Computer Font

Myanmar language softwares for use on computers have been attempted by many: RIT, ICST, and other private companies. Almost all of them are stand alone word-processing softwares. However, the creation of language font on a wysiwyg (What You See Is What You Get) GUI environment was overwhelming. Just by using the language font and utilizing Microsoft Windows and numerous applications on market, computerization in the country boosted up. With this one font, users can do many in the local language: word-processing, spreadsheet, designing, database (though limited), etc. Printing industry changed to one new thing. Even a big project to launch Myanmar electronic typewriters was cancelled!

The first Myanmar font for Macintosh was created by font designers under supervision of the prominent Myanmar language Professor John Okell, UK, in 1988.

The first Myanmar font for Windows was developed Zaw Htut and Thet Ko Ko, former programmers of MCC. That was named "Pioneer Myanmar Font" and was first exhibited to public on 13 March 1992. This invention later developed to Win Myanmar Systems. For further information, pls see

The First Printing Press

French Bishop Bigandet ordered the first printing press of Myanmar during King Mindon's time. It was one of the 50+ revolutionary factories establashed by King Mindon. 

There actually were 2 printing press in use at the same time. One sited in Northern Garden of Mandalay Palace, and the other beside Shway Kyee Myint Pagoda in Pyigyee Kyet Tharay place. The one in Northern Garden of Mandalay Palace was the first printing press brought in. 

In ME-1240, King Theepaw moved the press from the Northern Garden to the east side of the Paliament.

The First Movie

Myanmar was one of the earliest movie makers in SE Asia. {Detail information should be provided soon.} 

The First Movie with sound: n.a. 

The First Movie without sound: n.a.

For more information on movies about Myanmar, please see our movies section.

The First Myanmar Script

The first Myanmar script ever found was a brief phrase of Myanmar quoted within a Mon stone inscription. That was Myakan Mon stone inscription by King Kyansitthar saying "Maha Nibban Letswe Chi Ye". 

However, the first Myanmar stone inscription, "Yarza Komer stone inscription" (also known as "Mya Zedi stone inscription") is known to many as the first Myanmar script.

The First Myanmar Newspaper

Yadanapon Naypyidaw newspaper was the first newspaper printed and owned by Myanmars. King Mindon enacted a law of 17 articles on 15 Aug 1873, establishing this newspaper. The first issue was released on 9 Mar 1874. 

The first publication of Mawlamyine Chronicle is unknown. However after British had captured Yangon, it changed the name to Yangon Chronicle and started publishing from 5 Jan 1853. Published only on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Owned by Mr Louis, a lawyer.

The First Petrol Pipeline

The first petroleum pipeline in Myanmar was built in 1907-08, connecting Yaynanchaung to Thanlyin (Syrium). It was 275 miles long, and was later extended to Sintgu to 325 miles length.

The First Myanmar Queen

The first Myanmar queen was Queen Kuwerami of Waytharly dynasty.

Queen Phwar Saw (AD 1454-72) was also recognized as the first queen of Myanmar, because some historians believe that records about Waytharly kingdom were legendary.

The First Myanmar Stone Inscription

Myazedi stone inscription also known as Yarza Komer stone inscription, was engraved in 4 languages: Myanmar, Mon, Pali, and Pyu on 4 sides of a stone.

Every Burmese knows Prince Yarza Komer's story. He was a son of King Kyatsitthar, who had a lawful right to be the successor king, but the father King Kyansitthar didn't know he had a son, until after he had crowned his grandson (his dauther's son).

He lived his whole life as just as a prince. When her mother died, he donated all his mother's jewlery and 4 villages, by building a pagoda, Myazedi, and engraved the following stone inscription. He also donated all his slaves to this pagoda in order to take care of it.

The summary of the stone inscription was that Prince Yarza Komer donated all this in memory of his parents, and if anyone tries to destroy his donation, he cursed that this person should not have a chance to meet the next upcoming Buddha.

The First Shipyard

Yangon and Minethu (Dala) Shipyard were known to be the best shipyards of the region during 1700-1800s, for its quality, durability, and price. 

Those shipyards were led by both French and Myanmar engineers. Myanmar's teakwood must have been most advantageous. They were half the price of same-size ships built in Bombay, and two-third of those built in Bangal. Government tax was only 10% of the cost. And the cost was usually 70-80 Kyats per ton. More than 3000 workers were employed in these shipyards. According to same records, 107 ships were built within 25 years (1786-1821). 

The largest ship sold to French was called "Laurestone". That was a ship of 1500 tons, carrying 50 cannons. The ship was used in the French Navy of East India Company.

The First Surveys

The First Major Economic Survey 
King Bodawpaya (1740-1819) made the first major economic survey of the entire kingdom in 1784. 
The First Literacy Survey 
Just after the British took over Myanmar in late 1800s, the British government of India took a survey in Myanmar, most probably in Mandalay, and found out that 72% male and 22% female were literate. This was 3 times higher than in India at that time.

The First Telephone

The first telephone system installed in Myanmar was since 1884. 

The First Tram

It was a steamer tram introduced to the country by Dawood Company in 1884, and the route of which extended from the Yangon harbor to Shwedagon Pagoda. The company was sold to Strand Tramway Company in 1889.

The First Electric Tram

The First Electric Tram was driven on 15 December 1906 from Kyimyindine Market (Surati Bazaar) to Theingyi Market (Suratibara Bazaar). The whole tram sytem was owned by Rangoon Electric Tram and Electricity Production Company.



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