Who is famous in Myanmar

The history of Myanmar

Myanmar has existed as a territorial state since the 11th century. Until the complete colonial occupation in 1885, the history of the country was marked by rising and falling kingdoms, changing capitals and three famous unification of empires, the founders and kings of three dynasties, to which great importance is still ascribed today.

From the full colonial occupation in 1885, the monarchy was abolished and the country called "Burma" by the British was administered as a province belonging to India until 1937. The architect of independence from Great Britain was General Aung San, who was murdered at the age of thirty-two, six months before independence. He left a wife and two children. His daughter is called Aung San Suu Kyi and is aiming for president in the autumn 2015 elections.

Explore historical Myanmar in all its glory:

Bagan until the colonial occupation

Today Bagan is the most important attraction in the country. The countless temples and pagodas are the legacy of the first territorial empire, which existed between 1044 and 1287. King Anawrahta integrated the spirit cult into Buddhism, which from then on served as the state religion. The construction of countless temples and pagodas, however, ushered in the creeping downfall of the kingdom, as it devoured huge sums of money. An invasion of the Mongols from the north ultimately meant the fall of Bagan, and after Bagan two new power blocs essentially developed in the mid-14th century: the empire Bago (Pegu) of the Mon in the south and Innwa (Ava) in the north.

Due to its location by the sea and the emerging maritime trade with Europe, Bago developed into a prosperous trading center. In addition, with Rakhine (Arakan) on the west coast of Myanmar, a new independent state emerged. Innwas importance waned, the new Taungoo dynasty with their king Tabinshwehti annexed Bago in 1539 and created a new empire with the approximate borders of Bagan and today's Myanmar. In the time of the Taungoo dynasty there were also various attempts at conquering Ayutthaya, today's Thailand, which was finally conquered under King Bayinnaung in 1564 and was finally conquered by 1580. In addition to the heartland, today's Thailand, Laos, the Indian state of Manipur, parts of Cambodia and the southern Chinese province of Yunnan were tributaries to the Taungoo dynasty. In 1592 the new Siamese king was able to end his vassal existence and conquered parts of Myanmar.

The decline of the Taungoo dynasty was followed by many independent states but no dominant rule, and in 1740 the Taungoo kings finally lost their power. From 1757 onwards, King Alaungpaya finally succeeded in establishing the Konbaung dynasty. After gaining control of the whole country, he turned against Ayutthaya. King Alaungpaya's death in 1760 led to rifts within the dynasty that lasted for over 20 years. His son Hsinbyushin finally succeeded in crushing and destroying Ayutthaya. In 1782 Bodawpaya, the fourth son of Alaungpaya, took the throne. He now sent his army west and finally captured Rakhine in 1784.

After the First Anglo-Burmese War (1824-1826) Myanmar had to cede its western and southern provinces to the British. In the Second Anglo-Burmese War, which took place in 1852, all coastal areas were ceded to Great Britain. After this defeat, King Mindon ascended the throne and founded Mandalay.

Colonial times

In the Third Anglo-Burmese War (1885), Myanmar became a British colony without a monarchy, and from 1886 it was administered as part of British India. With that, the authority passed to a governor. More than half of the army was made up of Indians, plus members of the Kayin, Kachin and Chin, but no Shan. The Bamar made up three-quarters of the population, but only 10 percent of the troops.

Second World War

During the Second World War, Japan occupied Myanmar in early 1942 in order to expand within the self-propagated “Greater Asian Welfare Sphere”. Myanmar declared independence in 1943, followed by a declaration of war on the Allies. The Burma National Army was formed during the Japanese occupation. In August 1944, a resistance movement called the Anti-Fascist People’s Freedom League (AFPFL) formed with the participation of communists and socialists and parts of the National Army under Aung San. In 1945, shortly before the end of the war, war was declared on Japan and the sides switched by joining the Allies.


Myanmar temporarily came back under British rule, but gradually the process of decolonization was initiated. The architect of independence, General Aung San, traveled to London to discuss terms with Britain. On November 5, 1947, Prime Minister Clement Attlee and Winston Churchill debated the future of Myanmar outside the Commonwealth in London. Churchill noted that the "Independence Bill" at issue:

"[...] is to cut Burma out of the Empire altogether, and to make her a foreign power."

General Aung San, father of the famous opposition politician Aung San Suu Kyi, was assassinated on July 19, 1947. He was succeeded by U Nu. On January 4, 1948, Burma was granted independence and the Shan Sao Shwe Thaik became the first President of the Myanmar Union. From this point on, ethnic minorities increased their tendencies to secede from the Union, and uprisings by communist groups made it difficult to stabilize the country.

Rule of the military

Increasing separatist tendencies led the military under General Ne Win to a coup. The newly formed Revolutionary Council took over executive policy authority. The Socialist Program Party was founded, and Myanmar embarked on the "Burmese Road to Socialism," which combined elements of Buddhism and socialism. The country underwent voluntary foreign policy isolation in order to promote the return to old values ​​and to keep the country out of the Cold War. The ensuing nationalization of the entire economy resulted in catastrophic economic conditions that ultimately resulted in the great unrest of 1988. A year earlier, General Ne Win had proposed a return to a multi-party system, but the party rejected this.

Rule of the military from 1988

At the height of the unrest, the military immediately took power again and established a military council. Announcement No. 1 called for a return to a multi-party system as soon as order and security were restored. The 1990 elections, which a constituent assembly was supposed to call when the socialist constitution had been repealed, were the first step towards the multi-party system intended by the Military Council. Insurmountable problems between the military council and the newly formed opposition party NLD under Aung San Suu Kyi, the daughter of General Aung San, who was murdered in 1947, prompted the military council to temporarily break off its very active steps towards democratic transition.

End of military rule

In 2004 this assembly was finally called and worked on the constitution, which was ratified by referendum in 2008. In 2010, general elections were held on the basis of this constitution, in which military-related forces gained the upper hand. U Thein Sein, previously General and Prime Minister under the Military Council, became President.

The next elections were due in autumn 2015, and Aung San Suu Kyi will have the last chance to run for office due to age.

In 2016, Aung San Suu Kyj's party finally took over the government.

Get to know the country and people in Myanmar up close together in small tour groups.