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Myanmar History

Legendary Kingdoms

3325 BC-1483 BC - 1st Danyawaddy Dynasty - According to ancient Arakanese chronicles, the first Arakanese kings were Indo-Aryans from the Ganges Valley. The first of these kings is believed to have been King Marayu, who was said to have founded the first Dhanyawaddy City in 3325 BC.

1483 BC-580 BC - 2nd Danyawaddy Dynasty - In 1483 BC, King Kan Raza Gri was said to have founded the second Dhanyawaddy City, which served as the royal capital until 580 BC.

Tagaung Kingdom - 850 BC - 600 BC - Tagaung is said be the very first capital of Burma according to the adage Myanmar asa Tagaung ga (Myanmar starts from Tagaung), and it was the ancient capital of the Pyu, who were the forerunners of the Burmese people.

BC 603-1050 AD Thuwunna Bonmi (Ramanya) Thaton City State The first identifiable civilization in what later became Burma 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, located in southern Myanmar near Beelin, at the foot of Mount Kaylartha.

580 BC-326 AD - 3rd Danyawaddy Dynasty - The third Dhanyawaddy City, the ruins of which survive to this day, dates to the period between 580 BC-326 AD, making it the center one of Southeast Asia's earliest civilizations.

483 BC - 95 AD - Prome Dynasty - The central kingdoms of Prome and Toungoo appear to have been, respectively, merely a very early dynasty and a comparatively recent off shoot from the kingdom of Burma, into which they were subsequently again merged. The Prome dynasty was established at Thare Kettara by Maha Thambawa, in 483 BC, and terminated with the death of Thu Pinya in 95 AD, shortly after which a new dynasty was founded at Pagan, in 108 AD, by Thamakdarit.

187-1044 - Pyu Kingdom - Pyu city states were small and sparsely populous, they often faced the aggression and invasion of the peoples of the neighboring areas. The technique of rice planting had already been well established within the Pyu era of old Myanmar.

AD 327-957 - Chandra Dynasty - A state, or collection of states, was established as early as the fourth century AD in what is now Ardan State (formerly Arakan State), facing the Bay of Bengal. The Ardanese were related to the Burmans of Upper Burma and had, because of their location on the cost, close maritime relation with India.

573-781 - Mon Kingdom - By the ninth century AD the nations had consolidated themselves - the Burmans in the greater part of what is now Upper Burma; the Mon on the Lower Irrawaddy, the Sittang, and the Salween; while the Khmer were at the height of their power, with magnificent towns and temples in Cambodia. A number of Mon cities flourished, among them Thuwannabhumi (Suvannabhumi, "Land of Gold") of the Mons [825-1043].

976-1404 - Arakan State - A state, or collection of states, was established as early as the fourth century AD in what is now Ardan State (formerly Arakan State), facing the Bay of Bengal. The Ardanese were related to the Burmans of Upper Burma and had, because of their location on the cost, close maritime relation with India.

Pagan [Bagan] / First Empire - 1044-1287
By 849, the Myanmar people had founded a powerful kingdom centered on the city of Bagan and filled the void left by the Pyu. Myanmar civilization achieved a high level of development at Bagan from the middle of the 11th century to the end of the 13th century. According to the chronicles, Bagan was founded in AD 107 by the Thamoddarit and ruled by a line of 55 kings, but written evidences are available only from Anawrahta (1044-1077) onwards. The kingdom grew in relative isolation until the reign of King Anawrahta (1044-77) who successfully unified all of Myanmar by defeating the Mon city of Thaton in 1057. Anawrahta, the first unifier of Myanmar, established Theravada Buddhism with the help of Buddist Missionary Shin Arahan and laid the foundation of Bagan's greatness. A thriving economy and the inspiration of Buddhism resulted in the great monuments of Shwezigon, Ananda, Thatbinnyu, Gawdapalin and a host of other pagodas, several of them decorated with mural paintings on religious themes.

Period of Division and Shan Domination - 1287-1365 - After the collapse of Bagan, Myanmar was divided once again. The decline of Pagan, brought about by a Mongol invasion in 1287, was followed by political confusion.

1289-1553 - Waytharlee Kingdom - Located in western Myanmar about 6 miles north of Myauk Oo.

1309-1360 - Pinya Dynasty - Located in central Myanmar.

1315-1364 - Sagaing Dynasty - Located in upper Myanmar in Sagaing.

1365-1552 Ava (Inwa) Kingdom - - The decline of Pagan was followed by political confusion and the emergence of two kingdoms: Ava / Inwa, and Hanthawady (Bago / Pegu). In 1364 a new Burmese dynasty was founded by Thado Minbya, who dethroned the contemporaneous rulers at Panya and Sagaing, and established his capital at Ava. Nineteen kings ruled in Inwa from 1365 to 1552. The kingdom lacked easily defendable borders, however, and was overrun by the Shan of the Toungoo dynasty.

1552-1599 - Hanthawady Kingdom / Second Empire
The Kingdom of Hanthawady (Bago) was founded by Banya U in 1369. Eleven kings ruled in Hanthawady from 1369 to 1538. Myanmar entered a new phase of greatness when the kings of Toungoo moved their capital from Toungoo to Bago and three of its kings ruled there from 1538 to 1599. The Second Myanmar Empire with its capital in Bago (Pegu) was founded in mid-16th century by King Bayinnaung. Bayintnaung (1552-1581), known also as Lord of the White Elephants and Conqueror of the Ten Directions, reunited the kingdom, created the vast Hanthawady Empire and rebuilt Bago on a magnificent scale. A network of three overland routes from Yunnan westward to Bengal existed for shipping bullion between 1200 and 1500 AD. The route was inland involving rivers and roads. One of them followed the Shweli River, crossing the Irrawaddy at Tagaung, followed the Chindwin River north and crossed via the Imphal pass to Manipur.

1431-1783 - Arakan State - In 1785, the Rakhine / Arakan kingdom whose capital was Mrauk-U, founded by Minsawmun (1430-1433) in 1430, and which had a line of 49 kings reigning from 1430 to 1785, was made part of the Konbaung kingdom.

1486-1550 - TaungNgoo / Taungoo Dynasty - Survivors of the destruction of Innwa eventually established a new kingdom centered on Taungoo in central Myanmar in 1531 led by Tabinshwehti (reigned 1531-50), who once again unified much of Myanmar.

1599-1752 - Nyaung Yan Dynasty - From 1599, when the Nyaung Yan Min, a younger son of Bayin Naung, ascended the throne of the "king of kings," the dynasty reigned at Ava, and at Pegu, holding sway throughout the whole of the present province, with the exception of Arakan. Following the break-up of the Hanthawady Empire, Nungyan (1598-1606) established a new Myanmar kingdom, and ten kings reigned in Inwa from 1598 to 1752. The most famous of the Inwa kings, Thalun (1629-1648) built the Kaunghmudaw Pagoda near Sagaing. A rebellion which started in Pago led to the downfall of the kingdom in 1752.

1752-1878 - Konbaung Kingdom / Third Empire
The Third and last Myanmar Empire was founded by King Alaungpaya in 1752. A popular Myanmar leader named Alaungpaya drove the Bago forces out of northern Myanmar by 1753, and by 1759 he had once again conquered Bago and southern Myanmar while also regaining control of Manipur. He established his capital at Yangon. In the tradition of Anawrahta and Bayintnaung, Alaungpaya (1752-1760) reunited Myanmar and established the last Myanmar dynasty of 11 kings who ruled from 1752 to 1885. The kingdom had a number of capitals, including Shwebo, Inwa and Amarapura, with the last capital, Mandalay, being founded by Mindon (1852-1878) in 1859. Myanmar fought three wars against the British and lost Rakhine and Taninthayi in 1826, Lower Myanmar in 1852 and its independence on 1 January 1886.

British Colonial Rule - 1885-1948 - The British started to rule parts of Myanmar in 1826 and the whole country in 1886. In the 19th century, during the peak period of colonialism, Myanmar was annexed in three stages by the British after three Anglo-Myanmar Wars in 1825, 1852 and 1885. Myanmar was first placed under a Chief Commissioner, then a Lieutenant Governor in 1897,and then a Governor in 1923, and ruled as part of British India until separation in 1937. In Myanmar itself, the Shan States, the Kayah (Karenni) States and the hill areas were administered separately from Myanmar Proper. An appointed advisory Council was established in 1897, a partially elected legislative Council in 1923,and a bicameral legislature with an elected House of Representatives in 1937. Under British rule, an economic transformation took place with the commercial production of rice and the development of Myanmar as a major rice exporting country. British firms such as the Burmah Oil Company, Steel Brothers, and the Bombay Burmah Trading Company, dominated the economy. During the Second World War, Myanmar was occupied by the Japanese for nearly three years until the Allied Forces' reoccupation in 1945.

Independent Period - 1948-present - On 12 February 1947 Bogyoke Aung San concluded the historic Pinlone Agreement with Shan, Kachin and Chin leaders, which laid the foundations for the establishment of a united independent Myanmar. Although Bogyoke Aung San and other national leaders were assassinated on 19 July 1947, Myanmar regained independence on 4 January 1948.



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