History of Myanmar has influenced by different people that have evolved within its borders and beyond. Nearby regions of neighboring countries (China, India, Bangladesh, Laos, Thailand) have made some key contributions to its history, later the great colonial powers like Portugal, France and mainly the United Kingdom, have brought others.
The Mon were the first civilization to occupy Burma ago 5000 years ago. They dominated the majority of the southern part of Myanmar and the country brought in their culture and that of India. They dominated the country from the 6th to the 9th century, when they were forced to move south by the Pyu. They were in turn defeated by the Kingdom of Nanzhao in the middle of the 11th century. Burma began its trade in this period.
It is then that the Burmese took over in 849 and founded a powerful kingdom around the city of Pagan. They unified Burma and created the first Burmese empire in 1057: the Kingdom of Pagan. They ruled most of South East Asia with the Khmer Empire until its destruction by the Mongols in 1287.
Burma is divided into two kingdoms after this period, with the northern Kingdom of Ava, led by the Burmese and the southern kingdom of Pegu led by Mons. This period is stable and allows the intellectual and religious development of both kingdoms.
In 1535, the Second Myanmar Empire was created through the reunification of the country by King Tabinshwehti. In the war against the kingdom of Ayutthaya in Thailand and the first attempts of Europeans to settle in the region, they were forced to retreat to the central region. In 1613, they finally defeated the Portuguese conquest attempts and reunited the country. The South Mon supported by the French arrived from India weakened the kingdom and it finally collapsed in 1752.
Then came the third Burmese empire led by King Alaungpaya. The Konbaung dynasty (1752-1885) expanded the borders through an expansionist policy and draws the features of the current Myanmar. They also resisted the incursions of the Qing Dynasty in the North and strengthen the borders with China.
With the conquest of Assam in 1824, they are confronted by the British Empire and its expansion desires. The first Anglo-Burmese War (1824-1826) ended with a defeat of the Burmese, forcing them to sign the Treaty of Yandabo giving the British control of the western part of Burma. The British continued their advances with the second Anglo-Burmese War in 1852 which allowed them to conquer the entire lower Burma. In 1886 the whole of Burma was occupied by the British.
The country is a separate British colony from 1937 to 1948. During World War II, from 1942 and 1945, it is subject to fights between the Allied and Japanese forces. Taking advantage of Japanese support, Ba Maw, a politician led a pro-Japanese government between August 1943 and March 1945.
The end of World War II led the way to independence for Burma, led by General Aung San. Despite the murder of him on 19 July 1947, the country finally became independent on 4 January 1948 and Prime Minister U Nu established a democratic parliament.
In 1962, General Ne Win launched a successful military coup and led for twenty-six years with brutal socialist policies and ruled with an iron fist.
In 1988, the people revolt, after which a group of generals to overthrow the government of Ne Win and establish a new military government, the State Council for the Restoration of Law and Order. In 1990 elections were held that are largely won 80% by the National League for Democracy of Aung San Suu Kyi, daughter of Aung San and a future Nobel Peace Prize laureate. The elections were canceled by the military junta and Aung San Suu Kyi was under house arrest.
The power was then shared between the President Than Shwe and the army chief Maung Aye , who managed in 2004 to eliminate their rival, the head of the intelligence services of the army Khin Nyunt. The capital was moved from Rangoon to Naypyidaw in Central Myanmar in November 7th, 2005, for reasons of “security.”
The junta resisted the democratic movements in September 2007, which resulted in the death of many civilians and in May 2008, Cyclone Nargis caused the disaster that killed more than 130,000 people and rendered more than a million homeless.
In 2010, the new president Thein Sein was committed to a policy of opening the country and freed Aung San Suu Kyi on 13 November. New presidential elections will take place towards the end of 2015.
Our section help visitors have a glimpse at tumultuous history of Myanmar. The country has experienced seemingly endless series of conquerors, and suffered decades of isolation.