Myanmar / Burma Luxury Travel & Tour Operator, Myanmar / Burma Information

VISITOR PHOTOS   |   E-MAIL: mawwatcher@gmail.com   |   HOTELS

   
  Search In This Site :
 

MyanmarTravel.Info  - amigo tour, myanmar travel, myanmar travels, myanmar tour, myanmar tours, myanmar tour operator, myanmar tour guide
MyanmarTravel.Info  - amigo tour, myanmar travel, myanmar travels, myanmar tour, myanmar tours, myanmar tour operator, myanmar tour guideHome
MyanmarTravel.Info  - amigo tour, myanmar travel, myanmar travels, myanmar tour, myanmar tours, myanmar tour operator, myanmar tour guide
MyanmarTravel.Info  - amigo tour, myanmar travel, myanmar travels, myanmar tour, myanmar tours, myanmar tour operator, myanmar tour guideDestination
MyanmarTravel.Info  - amigo tour, myanmar travel, myanmar travels, myanmar tour, myanmar tours, myanmar tour operator, myanmar tour guide
MyanmarTravel.Info  - amigo tour, myanmar travel, myanmar travels, myanmar tour, myanmar tours, myanmar tour operator, myanmar tour guideEnvironmental
MyanmarTravel.Info  - amigo tour, myanmar travel, myanmar travels, myanmar tour, myanmar tours, myanmar tour operator, myanmar tour guide
MyanmarTravel.Info  - amigo tour, myanmar travel, myanmar travels, myanmar tour, myanmar tours, myanmar tour operator, myanmar tour guideHistory
MyanmarTravel.Info  - amigo tour, myanmar travel, myanmar travels, myanmar tour, myanmar tours, myanmar tour operator, myanmar tour guide
MyanmarTravel.Info  - amigo tour, myanmar travel, myanmar travels, myanmar tour, myanmar tours, myanmar tour operator, myanmar tour guideName Changes
MyanmarTravel.Info  - amigo tour, myanmar travel, myanmar travels, myanmar tour, myanmar tours, myanmar tour operator, myanmar tour guide
MyanmarTravel.Info  - amigo tour, myanmar travel, myanmar travels, myanmar tour, myanmar tours, myanmar tour operator, myanmar tour guideGeography
MyanmarTravel.Info  - amigo tour, myanmar travel, myanmar travels, myanmar tour, myanmar tours, myanmar tour operator, myanmar tour guide
MyanmarTravel.Info  - amigo tour, myanmar travel, myanmar travels, myanmar tour, myanmar tours, myanmar tour operator, myanmar tour guideHistoric Temple
       Architecture
MyanmarTravel.Info  - amigo tour, myanmar travel, myanmar travels, myanmar tour, myanmar tours, myanmar tour operator, myanmar tour guide
MyanmarTravel.Info  - amigo tour, myanmar travel, myanmar travels, myanmar tour, myanmar tours, myanmar tour operator, myanmar tour guideClimate
MyanmarTravel.Info  - amigo tour, myanmar travel, myanmar travels, myanmar tour, myanmar tours, myanmar tour operator, myanmar tour guide
MyanmarTravel.Info  - amigo tour, myanmar travel, myanmar travels, myanmar tour, myanmar tours, myanmar tour operator, myanmar tour guideEcology & Environment
MyanmarTravel.Info  - amigo tour, myanmar travel, myanmar travels, myanmar tour, myanmar tours, myanmar tour operator, myanmar tour guide
MyanmarTravel.Info  - amigo tour, myanmar travel, myanmar travels, myanmar tour, myanmar tours, myanmar tour operator, myanmar tour guideFlora & Fauna
MyanmarTravel.Info  - amigo tour, myanmar travel, myanmar travels, myanmar tour, myanmar tours, myanmar tour operator, myanmar tour guide
MyanmarTravel.Info  - amigo tour, myanmar travel, myanmar travels, myanmar tour, myanmar tours, myanmar tour operator, myanmar tour guideTourism
MyanmarTravel.Info  - amigo tour, myanmar travel, myanmar travels, myanmar tour, myanmar tours, myanmar tour operator, myanmar tour guide
MyanmarTravel.Info  - amigo tour, myanmar travel, myanmar travels, myanmar tour, myanmar tours, myanmar tour operator, myanmar tour guidePopulation & People
       Population
MyanmarTravel.Info  - amigo tour, myanmar travel, myanmar travels, myanmar tour, myanmar tours, myanmar tour operator, myanmar tour guide
MyanmarTravel.Info  - amigo tour, myanmar travel, myanmar travels, myanmar tour, myanmar tours, myanmar tour operator, myanmar tour guideArts
MyanmarTravel.Info  - amigo tour, myanmar travel, myanmar travels, myanmar tour, myanmar tours, myanmar tour operator, myanmar tour guide
MyanmarTravel.Info  - amigo tour, myanmar travel, myanmar travels, myanmar tour, myanmar tours, myanmar tour operator, myanmar tour guideArchitecture
MyanmarTravel.Info  - amigo tour, myanmar travel, myanmar travels, myanmar tour, myanmar tours, myanmar tour operator, myanmar tour guide
MyanmarTravel.Info  - amigo tour, myanmar travel, myanmar travels, myanmar tour, myanmar tours, myanmar tour operator, myanmar tour guideLiterature
MyanmarTravel.Info  - amigo tour, myanmar travel, myanmar travels, myanmar tour, myanmar tours, myanmar tour operator, myanmar tour guide
MyanmarTravel.Info  - amigo tour, myanmar travel, myanmar travels, myanmar tour, myanmar tours, myanmar tour operator, myanmar tour guideSociety & Conduct
MyanmarTravel.Info  - amigo tour, myanmar travel, myanmar travels, myanmar tour, myanmar tours, myanmar tour operator, myanmar tour guide
MyanmarTravel.Info  - amigo tour, myanmar travel, myanmar travels, myanmar tour, myanmar tours, myanmar tour operator, myanmar tour guideDos & Don'ts
MyanmarTravel.Info  - amigo tour, myanmar travel, myanmar travels, myanmar tour, myanmar tours, myanmar tour operator, myanmar tour guide
MyanmarTravel.Info  - amigo tour, myanmar travel, myanmar travels, myanmar tour, myanmar tours, myanmar tour operator, myanmar tour guideReligion
MyanmarTravel.Info  - amigo tour, myanmar travel, myanmar travels, myanmar tour, myanmar tours, myanmar tour operator, myanmar tour guide
MyanmarTravel.Info  - amigo tour, myanmar travel, myanmar travels, myanmar tour, myanmar tours, myanmar tour operator, myanmar tour guideEmbassies & Consultants
MyanmarTravel.Info  - amigo tour, myanmar travel, myanmar travels, myanmar tour, myanmar tours, myanmar tour operator, myanmar tour guide
MyanmarTravel.Info  - amigo tour, myanmar travel, myanmar travels, myanmar tour, myanmar tours, myanmar tour operator, myanmar tour guideCustoms
MyanmarTravel.Info  - amigo tour, myanmar travel, myanmar travels, myanmar tour, myanmar tours, myanmar tour operator, myanmar tour guide
MyanmarTravel.Info  - amigo tour, myanmar travel, myanmar travels, myanmar tour, myanmar tours, myanmar tour operator, myanmar tour guideMoney
MyanmarTravel.Info  - amigo tour, myanmar travel, myanmar travels, myanmar tour, myanmar tours, myanmar tour operator, myanmar tour guide
MyanmarTravel.Info  - amigo tour, myanmar travel, myanmar travels, myanmar tour, myanmar tours, myanmar tour operator, myanmar tour guideCar Rental
MyanmarTravel.Info  - amigo tour, myanmar travel, myanmar travels, myanmar tour, myanmar tours, myanmar tour operator, myanmar tour guide
MyanmarTravel.Info  - amigo tour, myanmar travel, myanmar travels, myanmar tour, myanmar tours, myanmar tour operator, myanmar tour guideContact
MyanmarTravel.Info  - amigo tour, myanmar travel, myanmar travels, myanmar tour, myanmar tours, myanmar tour operator, myanmar tour guide
Site Map
 

MyanmarTravel.Info  - amigo tour, myanmar travel, myanmar travels, myanmar tour, myanmar tours, myanmar tour operator, myanmar tour guideHistory

Early Pyu & Mon Kingdoms

Virtually nothing is known of Myanmar's prehistoric inhabitants, though archaeological evidence suggests the area has been inhabited since at least 2500 BC. It may originally have been sparsely populated by Negritos or proto_Malays who are thought to have inhabited the lowland and coastal areas of Myanmar (Burma), Thailand and Malaysia. The remnants of this race appear today in only a few isolated pockets in the interior of the Thai-Malay Peninsula and on a sprinkling of islands in the Andaman Sea. If these Negritos were indeed Myanmar's original inhabitants, one theory holds that they were displaced by peoples who migrated into the area from other parts of South-East Asia. At any rate, Myanmar's nation-building history really begins with the struggle for supremacy between the various peoples who inhabited different regions of the country around a thousand years ago.

A group knowns as the Pyu --- possibly hailing from the Tibeto-Burman plateau or from India - created city-states in Central Myanmar at Beikthano, Hanlin and Thayekhittaya (Sir Ksetra) during the second Christian millennium. Little is known about these people; the arts and architecture they left behind indicate they practised Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism mixed with Hinduism, and that they had their own alphabet. The Pyu were dispersed or enslaved by Yunnanese invaders during the 10th century AD, leaving Central Myanmar without any clear political succession.

Around the 6th century the Mon - who may have originated in eastern India or who may have originated in eastern India or who may have been indigenous to mainland South - East Asia - settled the fertile lowlands stretching from the Ayeyarwady (Irrawaddy) River delta across Thailand (then Siam) to Western Cambodia. Inscriptions left behind by the civilisation they developed referred to this area as Suvannabhumi (Golden Land). According to official Burmese history, the Mon capital occupied the area around Thaton in present-day Myanmar, though outside scholars argue more convincingly that Suvannabhumi was centred in Thailand's Nakhon Pathom.

Enter the Bamar, or Burmans, who came south into Myanmar from somewhere in the eastern Himalays around the 8th or 9th century. Once the Pyu were vanquished by the Yunnanese, the Bamar supplanted the Pyu in Central Myanmar, a region that has since been the true cultural heartland of Myanmar. Shortly after they took over the central region, the Bamar came into conflict with the Mon in a long and complicated struggle for control of the whole country.By the time the Bamar had irrevocably ended up on top, the Mon had largely merged with Bamar culture or, bearing in mind Mon culture the Bamar had absorbed, vice versa.

Great Kings of Bagan (Pagan)

It is thought that Bagan (Pagan) was actually founded on the banks of the Ayeyarwady River in 849, but it entered its golden period 200 years later when Anawrahta ascended the throne in 1044. Anawrahta consolidated the kingdom, drawing several regions around it into satellite or vassal status and creating the first centralised government the country now called Myanmar had ever known. Virtually all written history pertaining to Myanmar begins with this era; legendary Bagan kings from the 2nd century AD are probably no more than invented personages.

Initially animist, the Bamar had picked up a hybrid form of Buddhism - part Tantric, part Mahayana - in their migration to Myanmar. When the Mon king Manuha of Thaton, to the south, would not cooperate willingly with Anawrahta's request for their Tripitaka (the holy canon of Theravada Buddhism), Anawrahta marched south and conquered Thaton in 1057). He took back not just the Bddhist scriptures, but also the king and most of his court. This injection of Mon culture inspired a phenomenal burst of energy from the Bamar, Bagan quickly became a city of glorious temples and the capital of the first Burmese kingdom to encompass virtually all of present-day Myanmar. What we today identify as 'Burmese' is really a fusion of Mon and Bamar cultures that came about at the height of the Bagan era .

Anawrahta was accidentally killed by a wild buffalo in 1077. None of his successors had his vision or energy, and Bagan's power declined slowly but steadily. Kyanzittha (1084-1113) attempted to unify Myanmar's disparate peoples, and later kings like Alaungsithu and Htilominlo built beautiful shrines, but essentially Bagan reached its peak with Anawratha.

Bagan's decline coincided with the rise to power of Kublai Khan and his Tartars in the north. They invaded Myanmar from Yunnan in China in 1287 and Bagan's rule collapsed before the onslaught. Shan tribes from the hills to the east - closely related to the Siamese - took the opportunity to attack and grab a piece of the low country, while in the south the Mon broke free of Bamar control to establish their own kingdom once again.

New States Arise

For the next 250 years Myanmar remained in chaos. In the south the Mon kingdom remained relatively stable, but in the north there was continuous strife. Between the two, a weaker Bamar kingdom was established at Taungoo, east of Pyay (Prome), and it retained its independence by playing off one major power against the other.

At first the Mon established their new capital close to the present Thai border at Mottama (Martaban) near Mawlamyaing (Moulmein), but after a series of skirmishes with the Siamese it was shifted to Bago (Pegu), near Yangon (Rangoon) and the Mon country became known as the kingdom of Hanthawady. Around this time Myanmar received its first known European visitor. Venetian trader Nicolo di Conti, who travelled along the coast in 1435 and left behind brief accounts of Tanintharyi (Tenasserim) and Rakhaing (Arakan).

In 1472 Dhammazedi, considered the greatest of the Bago kings, came to the throne. A major Buddist revival took place and the first diplomatic contact with Europeans was made. During this time the great Shwedagon Paya in Yangon began to assume itsw present form.

Meanwhile the Shan took over Upper Myanmar once again and founded the Kingdom of Inwa (mistakenly called Ava by the British) near present-day Mandaly in 1364. Along the western coast the Rakhaing (a people living near the Indian border) established Mrauk U (Myohaung), a Buddhist kingdom with fields of temples to rival Bagan. Surprisingly, it was not the establishment of Bago, Inwa or Mrauk U that was to prove the catalyst for the reunification of Myanmar, but tiny Taungoo, which had been founded by Bamar refugees from the new Shan kingdoms.

In the 16th century a series of Taungoo kings extended their power north, nearly to Inwa, then south, taking the Mon kingdom and shifting their own capital to Bago. Their hold was initially fragile, but in 1550 Bayinnaung came to the throne, reunified all of Myanmar and defeated the neighbouring Siamese so convincingly that it was many years before the long-running friction between the Burmese and Siamese re-emerged. Burmese historians sometimes refer to this era as the Second Burmese Empire.

With Bayinnaung's death in 1581, this new Burmese kingdom immediately went into Burmese kingdom immediately went into decline; and when, in 1636, the capital was shifted north from Bago to Inwa, the idea of a kingdom taking in all of Myanmar was effectively renounced. Inwa was the capital of Myanmar, but it was a long ay from the sea, so it was effectively cut off from communication with the outside world. This isolation eventually contributed to the conflict with the British.

Final Kings of Mandalay

In the 18th century the decline became serious as hill tribes once more started to raid Central Myanmar, and the Mon again broke away and established their own kingdom in Bago. In 1752 the Mon took Inwa, but in the same year Alaungpaya came to power in Shwebo, 80km north of Inwa,and spent the next eight years rushing back and forth across Myanmar - conquering, defeating and destroying all who opposed him. He was the founder of the last Burmese dynasty and it was his near-invincibility that later deluded the Burmese into thinking they could take on the British.

Alaungpaya's son, Hsinbyushin, charged into Thailand for good measure, and so thoroughly leveled the capital of Ayuthaya thar the Siamese were forced to move south to their present capital of Bangkok.Bodawpaya, who came to power in 1782, was also a son of Alaungpaya and managed to bring Rakhaing (Arakan) back under Bamar control. This was to be the direct cause of the first Anglo_Burmese conflict.

Rakhaing, the eastern coastal region of the Bay of Bengal, had long been a border region between Myanmar and India its people were a blend of Bamar and Indian races. Refugees from Rakhaing fled into British India and from there planned to recapture their country. This so irritated the Burmese that they, in return, mounted raids across the border into British territory. This did not make the officials of the British Raj very happy.

At this time the British, Dutch and French were all vying for power in the East, and all had established at least some sort of contact with the Burmese. However, the Burmese showed little interest in dealing with European foreigners commercially. The British, increasingly worried about the threat posed by French interests in the region, sought to shore up their possessions in India by gaining some sort of control or influence of the eastern side of the Bay of Bengal. Border incidents in Rakhaing and Assam soon gave the British the excuse they needed.

In 1819 Bagyidaw came to the throne in Myanmar. A hot pursuit across the Assam border by Burmese court at Inwa contributed to this disastrous (for the Burmese) war; but there is little doubt that the British were more motivated by geopolitical considerations than by concern for Assamese refugees. After an inept, mismanaged campaign lasting two years, the British finally forced the Burmese to surrender, and imposed the Treaty of Yadanabon upon them. Under its terms, Britain gained control of Rakhaing (Arakan) and Tanintharyi (Tenasserim), and Myanmar had to pay alarge reparation in silver to the British and accept a British 'resident' at Inwa. Within a few years, however, several British residents managed to form reasonable relations with Bagyidaw.

Unfortunately, Bagyidaw was followed by the much less reasonable Tharawaddy Min, and he in turn by his even crazier son, Bagan Min. It had long been the custom for a new king to massacre all possible pretenders to the throne, but Bagan Min took this policy to new extremes. In the first two years of his reign 6000 people were executed. The British resident had been forced to withdraw during Tharawaddy's brief reign, and frontier incidents began to flare up again. The British seized upon an extortion incident in Yangon in 1852, during which two British ship captains had allegedly been kidnapped by Burmese government officials, in order to open hostilities in the Second Anglo - Burmese War.

In fact, it's possible that this incident never actually took place, and that the British were again motivated by the necessity of protecting their Indian possessions. In any case, most historians agree that this war was started on the basis of a grossly exaggerated pretext by the British. It's more likely that they realised what a bad deal they had made in taking over Rakhaing and Tanintharyi, which were of little practical or commercial use. Rather, they sought the use of a suitable port, such as Yangon.

The British quickly took over Yangon, Mottama and Pathein (Bassein), and marched north to Pyay. Unlike the first war, the British conducted this campaign with stern efficiency, and disorganised Burmese forces. After a series of skirmishes and one sided battles, the war was over - this time, the British annexed all of Lower Myanmar, which became a province of India.

Bagan Min, now extremely unpopular, was deposed and Mindon Min became king of Myanmar, or at least what remained of it, in 1853. Mindon proved to be a wise realist who eventually came to amicable terms with the British, yet cleverly balanced their influence with that of other European (and American) powers. During this period the industrial revolution came to full flower in Europe, and Lower Myanmar became an important and profitable part of the British Empire due to its enormous teak resources and vast potential for growing rice.

Unhappily for the Burmese, Mindon made one important mistake - he did not adequately provide for a successor. When he died in 1878, the new king, Thibaw Min, was propelled into power by his ruthless wife and scheming mother-in-law. Thibaw was so far down the list of possible successors that the 'massacre of kinsmen' reached unheard-of heights, and in the new age of the telegraph and steamship, the news soon reached Europe in lurid detail. Thus European and British attitudes towards the new king were tarnished from the start.

Thibaw proved to be a totally ineffective ruler. Upper Myanmar soon became a sorry scene as armed gangs and ruthless officials vied with each other to extort money from the hapless peasants. Enormous numbers of Burmese fled to the stability of British Lower Myanmar, where tthere also happened to be a great demand for labour for the new rice trade.
Finally, in 1885, another Anglo-Burmese conflict flared up. The British resident had again withdrawn from Mandalay, and a petty dispute over the exploits of the Bombay Burmah Trading Company was the excuse the British needed to send gunborts north to Mandalay. In two weeks it was all over the money Thibaw had thought was going into defence had actually gone into corrupt officials pockets and the British took Mandalay after only the most token resistance.
In order to stamp their authority upon Upper Myanmar, the British undertook a brutal two year military campaign throughout the region. Similar in execution to the Highland Clearances of Scotland approximately a century earlier, British forces ruthlessly crushed any signs of opposition, killing many innocent civilians and destroying numerous village.

British Period

Once again Myanmar was united, but this time with the British as masters. To the British, Myanmar was just another chunk of Asia that now had good fortune to be part of the Raj. To the Burmese, the situation was not nearly so pleasant: Upper Myanmar may have been only part of the whole country, but it was the heartland of Myanmar; Thibaw might have been a bad king, but he was a Burmese king.

Now Myanmar just a part of British India - and what was worse, Indians, whom the Burmese had traditionally looked down on, came flooding in with the British. As the swampy delta of the south was turned into rice paddies, it was the Indians who supplied the money to improve the land, and those same Indians who came to own it when the less commercially experienced Burmese proved unable to make it pay or to pay for it. By 1930 half of Yangon's population was Indian. As Myanmar's national income grew, the country became increasingly dependent upon imports, and the profits from rice cultivation were whisked out of the country to pay for more and more imported goods.

The British applied direct rule only to the areas in which Bamar were the majority Central Myanmar, Rakhaing and Tanintharyi. The hill states belonging to the Chin, Kachin, Shan, Kayin, Kayah were permitted to remain largely autonomous, though officially part of the Raj. This difference between direct and indirect rule has haunted Myanmar's political history ever since.

Burmese nationalism grew, although it remained a shadow of the movement in India, and in the 1920s and 1930s the British were eventually forced to make a number of concessions towards Myanmar's self-government. In 1937 Myanmar was separated from India, but internally the country was torn by a struggle between opposing Burmese political parties. There had also been a peasants uprising earlier in the 1930s and sporadic outbursts of anti-Indian and anti-Chinese violence.

WWII

Japanese-Burmese contact had been made well before Japan entered WWII. Indeed Bogyoke Aung San, who had first made his name through university-level political action and was later to become the father figure of independent Burma, had fled to the Japanese in 1940, following his arrest for participation in the Burmese Communist Party (BCP). Aided by the Burmese Independence Army (BIA), the Japanese army marched into Myanmar within weeks of Pearl Habour and by mid-1942 had driven the retreating British-Indian forces, along with the Chinese Kuomintang (KMT) forces (which had come to their aid), out of most of Myanmar. Japan declared Myanmar an independent country and allowed Aung San and his ' 30 comrades' to create the Burma National Army (BNA). One of the 30 was a Sino - Burmese native of Paungdale (near Pyay) named Shu Maung, who took the nom de guerre Ne Win, meaning Brilliant Like The Sun, Aung San took the position of defence minister; Ne Win became chief of staff of the BNA.

The Japanese were able to maintain Burmese political support for only a short time before their harsh and arrogant conduct managed to alienate The Burmese. Aung San expressed his bitterness during his stay at Japan's 15th Army headquarters in Maymyo (now Pyin Oo Lwin): I went to Japan to save my people who were struggling like bullocks under the British. But, now we are treated like dogs. We are far from our hope of reaching the human stage, and even to get back to the bullocks stage we need to struggle more.

The imaginative 'Chindit' anti-Japanese operation, mounted by the Allies with air supplied troops behind enemy lines, also encouraged further anti-Japanese feeling. Soon an internal resistance movement sprang up, and towards the end of the war the BNA hastily switched sides to the British. The Allies prevailed at a cost of approximately 27,000 casualties; nearly 200,000 Japanese perished in the fierce, protracted battles.

Independence

That Myanmar was heading rapidly towards independence after the war was all too clear, but who should manage this process was a different question. On 27 January 1947 British Prime Minister Clement Attlee and General Aung San signed an agreement on behalf of the UK and Burma respectively. The Aung San - Attlee agreement stipulated that a constituent assembly would be elected in April by, and consisting of, Burma nationals only; that certain matters which had previously been formally reserved for the British governor would in future be brought before an executive council that would function as an interim government; that the Burmese army would come under the control of the interim government; and that Burma would receive an interest-free loan of approximately 8 million pounds sterling from the UK.

The executive council in consultation with non- Bamar representatives, was to nominate a Frontier Areas Committee composed of an equal number of members from Ministerial Burma (British-dominated Burma) and the border states which had had some degree of autonomy under the British. This committee would determine ways for frontier peoples to participate in the drafting of a constitution.

In February 1947 Aung San met with leaders from the Shan, Chin and Kachin communities in Panglong, a township in the Shan State. Together, they signed the famous Panglong Agreement, guaranteeing Burma's ethnic minorities the freedom to choose their own political destiny. Although representatives from the Kayin, Kayah, Mon, Rakhaing and many other ethnicities were noticeably absent from the meeting, the agreement was broadly interpreted to mean that it would apply to all ethnic communities in what the British called the Frontier Areas.

When elections for a constiuent assembly were held on 9 April 1947, Aung San's Anit-Fascist People's Freedom League (AFPEL) won an overwhelming 172 seats out of 255. The BCP took seven seats, while the Bamar opposition led by U Saw took three seats. Twenty-four seats were allotted to the Kayin community, four seats to the Anglo-Burman community and 45 seats to the Frontier Areas.

The British wanted a gradual transition, allowing time to rebuild the shattered economy and political system before the handover. Bogyoke Aung San wanted indepindence immediately, because if given time, other political parties could gain ground on his strong position at the close of the war. He also wanted to establish a democratic, civilian government :
We must make democracy the popular creed. We must try to build up a free Burma in accordance with such a creed. If we should fail to do this, our people are bound to suffer. If democracy should fail the world cannot stand back and just look on, and therefore Burma would one day, like Japan and Germany, be despised. Democracy is the only ideology which is consistent with freedom. It is also an ideology that promotes and strengthens peace. It is therefore the only ideology we should aim for.

However, Aung San's incredibly prophetic views didn't win over his political opponents, and in late 1945 he made another prediction:

How long do national heroes last? Not long in this country: I do not give myself more than another eighteen months of life.
Eighteen months and six says later, in July 1947, 32-year-old Aung San and six of his assistants were assassinated in a plot ascribed to U Saw, a pre-war political leader who had refused to sign the Aung San-Attlee agreement that was to usher in Burmese independence. A few conspiracy theorists speculate that General Ne Win may have ordered the assassination, due to Aung San's plans to demilitarise the government. However, Aung San's main source of political support had been the BNA and Ne Win, and U Saw - who favoured British-style capitalism and Bamar domination rather than the national socialism and ethnic autonomy espoused by Aung San - had more motive than anyone else in the ongoing power conflict between Aung San and his various political opponents.

U Saw apparently believed that his position as prime minister in pre-WWII Myanmar would be reinstated if Aung San and the AFPEL could be successfully thwarted.

While the world mourned a hero's death, Prime Minister Attlee and Aung San's protege U Nu signed an agreement for the transfer of power in October 1947. On 4 January 1948, at an auspicious middle-of-the-night hour, Myanmar became independent and left the British Commonwealth. As Aung San had promised, the national presidency was given to a representative from n ethnic minority group, and Sao Shwe Thaike, a Shan leader, became the first president of the Union of Burma.

Almost immediately, the new government was faced with the complete disintegration of Myanmar. The hill tribe people, who had supported the British and fought against the Japanese throughout the war, were distrustful of the Bamar majiority and went into armed opposition. The communists withdrew from the government and attacked it. Muslims from the Rakhaing area also opposed the new government. The Mon, long thought to be totally integrated with the Burmese, revolted. Assorted factions, private armies, WWII resistance groups and plain mutineers further confused the picture.

In early 1949 almost the entire country was in the hands of one rebel group or another, and even Yangon suffered fighting in its suburbs. At one stage the government was on the point of surrendering to the communist forces, but gradually, and with particularly valuable assistance from loyal hill tribe contingents, the government fought back, and through 1950 and 1951 regained much of the country.

Although much of Myanmar was now at least tenuously under government control, a new problem sprang up for the battered Burmese. With the collapse of Chiang KaiShek's KMT forces before Mao Zedong, the tattered remnants of his army withdrew into Myanmar and mounted raids from Northern Myanmar into Yunnan, the bordering Chinese communists, the KMT decided to crave their own little fiefdom out of Burmese territory. The Burmese government now found itself fighting not only a mixed bag of rebels, communists, and gangs of out-and-out brigands and dacoits (highwaymen), but also a US-supported, anticommunist Chinese army. Amazing as it may seem, while operating an embassy in Yangon and espousing friendly relations with the new Burmese government, the USA was also flying in supplies to the Chinese forces encamped within Myanmar's borders; forces whose main source of income was the cultivation of opium poppies for the production of heroin!

MyanmarTravel.Info  - amigo tour, myanmar travel, myanmar travels, myanmar tour, myanmar tours, myanmar tour operator, myanmar tour guide


Copyright © 2005 by Amigo Tour.   Prepared by DPS.   Last Modified: May 11, 2010 (slm)

 

 

 

Since Dec 15, 2006