Geography of Burma - Myanmar - History

Geography of Burma - Myanmar - History

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Burma - MyaNmar

Burma is located Southeastern Asia, bordering the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal, between Bangladesh and Thailand. The terrain of Burmaconsists of entral lowlands ringed by steep, rugged highlands.

Climate: Burma is tropical monsoon; cloudy, rainy, hot, humid summers (southwest monsoon, June to September); less cloudy, scant rainfall, mild temperatures,lower humidity during winter (northeast monsoon, December to April)

Myanmar History

In Burmese language, Myanmar is known as Myanma or Bama. After the British Raj, this country came to be known as 'Burma' in English. In 1989, the country's military government changed the old English names to the traditional Burmese names. In this way, Myanmar is named 'Myanma' and the former capital and the largest Rangoon is Yangon. Archaeological evidence suggests that Homo erectus lived in an area now known as Myanmar for 750,000 years. After which in the 12th and 13th centuries, the Pagan Empire and the Khmer Empire were the two main powers, mainly in Southeast Asia. One of which was established in Myanmar. On 4 January 1948, under the terms of the Burma Independence Act 1947, the nation became an independent republic. The new country was named Burma Union, with Sao Shwe Thicke as its first president and Yu Nu its first prime minister.



Archaeological digs have unearthed that Myanmar possessed a number of civilisation hubs, particularly along the Irrawaddy river, the Chao Phraya river, the Ganges river and in the Malay Peninsula. The current kingdom can trace its origins to population settlements along the Irrawaddy River. Studies of the ruins of Sri Ksetra, Beikthano and Halin have shown that these sites were the origins of the Pyu culture, which was proto-Burmese. Other bronze-age archaeological sites located within the kingdom but not of Burmese or related cultures include Baranathi (Varanasi) on the Ganges river, Oc Eo on the Mekong Delta and Kedah in the Malay Peninsula.

Cave paintings and a Holocene assemblage in a hunter-gatherer cave site in Padah Lin in Shan State show evidence of an early neolithic culture (circa 10,000 BC). Rice cultivation and chicken domestication were being practiced around 2,500 BC, and the production of iron tools dates to around 1500 BC. Of the modern Burmese, the Mon people are thought to have migrated into the lower Irrawaddy valley around 1500 BC and, by the mid-10th century BC, they were dominant in southern Burma. The Tibeto-Burman speaking Pyu arrived later in the 1st century BC, and established several city states – of which Sri Ksetra (modern Pyay) was the most powerful – in central Irrawaddy valley. The Pyu kingdoms entered a period of rapid decline in early 9th century AD when the powerful kingdom of Nanzhao (in present-day Yunnan) invaded the Irrawaddy valley several times.

Buddhism has been documented to arrive in Myanmar proper by the 2nd century BCE, most likely due to missionaries sent by King Asoka. Buddhist sites from the third century BCE to the 11th century CE can be traced along the entire coast region of Myanmar. However, for at least one millennium from the third century BCE to the seventh century CE, the inhabitants followed localized blends of Hinduism and Buddhism. By the ninth century, Theravada Buddhism became prevalent in the coastal regions while Tantric Buddhism and Hinduism became popular in the in-land regions.

Stone inscriptions state that a loose confederation of Pyu states existed along the Irrawaddy valley, maintaining links with places as far away as the Roman Empire and Arabia. In 774 CE, Bagan was founded on the eastern bank of the Irrawaddy river as a small trading post. In 874 CE, Bagan became the capital of a small Pyu kingdom and soon became a major city. By 10th century CE, the Pyu city states declined in prosperity and influence.

Imperial Era (1000-1932CE)

The power gap left by the decline of the Pyu kingdoms was filled by the Bamar, a Tibeto-Burman speaking group that migrated to the Irrawaddy Valley from the Kingdom of Nanzhao in present-day Yunnan. These migrants established the Pagan Kingdom centered in Bagan in 849, which, by the reign of Anawrahta (1044–1077) ruled much of the territory along the Irrawaddy river. It was in this period that many elements of modern Burmese culture were cemented. After Anawrahta's capture of the Mon capital of Thaton in 1057, the Bamar adopted Theravada Buddhism from the Mons. The Burmese script was created, based on the Mon script, during the reign of King Kyanzittha (1084–1113). Prosperous from trade, Bagan kings built many magnificent temples and pagodas throughout the country, many of which can still be seen today. King Alaungsithu (1113-1167) extended Burmese control along the western coast of the Malay peninsula. The Pagan kingdom ended following the Mongol invasion of Burma by the forces of Kublai Khan in 1277 and the sacking of Bagan in 1286.

Conquest of Eastern India

Three Kingdoms Period

Second Nation (1432-1689)

Mon-Burmese 40 Years War

Ava and Pegu (1650-1750)

Third Burmese Nation (1750-1840)

The authority of Ava continued to decline in the following years. In 1740, the Mon of Lower Burma broke away, and founded the Restored Hanthawaddy Kingdom with the capital at Pegu (Bago). Ava's enfeebled attempts to recover the south failed to make a dent. The low grade warfare between Ava and Pegu went on until late 1751, when Pegu launched its final assault, invading Upper Burma in full force. By early 1752, Peguan forces, aided by French-supplied firearms and Dutch and Portuguese mercenaries, had reached the gates of Ava. The heir apparent of Hanthawaddy summoned all administrative officers in Upper Burma to submit. Some chose to cooperate but others like Aung Zeya chose to resist.

Aung Zeya persuaded 46 villages in the Mu valley to join him in resistance. He found a ready audience in "an exceptionally proud group of men and women" of Upper Burma who longed to redress the numerous humiliations that their once proud kingdom had suffered. On 21 March 1752, as the Hanthawaddy forces were about to breach the outer walls of Ava, Aung Zeya proclaimed himself king with the royal style of Alaungpaya (the Embryo Buddha), and founded the Konbaung Dynasty.

Not everyone was convinced, however. After Ava fell to Peguan forces on 23 March 1752, Alaungpaya's own father urged him to submit. The father pointed out that although Alaungpaya had scores of enthusiastic men, they only had a few muskets, and that their little stockade did not stand a chance against a well-equipped Peguan army that had just sacked a heavily fortified Ava. Alaungpaya was undeterred, saying: "When fighting for your country, it matters little whether there are few or many. What does matter is that your comrades have true hearts and strong arms". He prepared the defenses by stockading his village, now renamed Shwebo, and building a moat around it. He had the jungle outside the stockade cleared, the ponds destroyed and the wells filled.

Konbaung was only one among many other resistance forces that had independently sprung up across a panicked Upper Burma. Fortunately for the resistance forces, the Hanthawaddy command mistakenly equated their capture of Ava with the victory over Upper Burma, and withdrew two-thirds of the invasion force back to Pegu, leaving just a third (less than 10,000 men) for what they considered a mop-up operation. At first, the strategy seemed to work. The Hanthawaddy forces established outposts as far north as present day northern Sagaing Region, and found allies in the Gwe Shans of Madaya in present-day northern Mandalay Region.

Nonetheless, Alaungpaya's forces wiped out the first two Hanthawaddy detachments sent to secure allegiance. Next, they survived the month-long siege by the Hanthawaddy army of several thousand led by Gen. Talaban himself, and drove out the invaders in a rout.[9] The news spread. Soon, Alaungpaya was mustering a proper army from across the Mu valley and beyond, using his family connections and appointing his fellow gentry leaders as his key lieutenants. Success drew fresh recruits everyday from many regions across Upper Burma. Most other resistance forces as well as officers from the disbanded Palace Guards had joined him with such arms as they retained. By October 1752, he had emerged the primary challenger to Hanthawaddy, and driven out all Hanthawaddy outposts north of Ava, and their allies Gwe Shans from Madaya. A dozen legends gathered around his name. Men felt that when he led them they could not fail.

Despite repeated setbacks, Pegu incredibly still did not send in reinforcements even as Alaungpaya consolidated his gains throughout Upper Burma. On 3rd January 1754, Konbaung forces retook Ava. Alaungpaya now received homage from the nearer Shan sawbwanates, as far north as Momeik. In March 1754, Hanthawaddy finally sent the entire army, laying siege to Ava and advancing up to Kyaukmyaung a few miles from Shwebo. But Alaungpaya personally led the Konbaung counterattack, and drove out the southern armies by May.

The conflict increasingly turned into an ethnic conflict between the Burman north and the Mon south. The Hanthawaddy leadership escalated "self-defeating" policies of persecuting southern Burmans. They also executed the captive king of Toungoo in October 1754. Alaungpaya was only happy to exploit the situation, encouraging remaining Burman troops to come over to him. Many did.

Swelled by levies from throughout Upper Burma, including Shan, Kachin and Chin contingents, he launched a massive invasion of Lower Burma in a blitz in January 1755. By May, his armies had conquered the entire Irrawaddy delta, and captured Dagon (which he renamed Yangon). But the advance came to a sudden halt at the French-defended main port city of Syriam (Thanlyin), which repelled several Konbaung charges. Alaungpaya sought an alliance with the English, and sought arms. But no alliance or arms materialized. Konbaung forces finally took the city after a 14-month siege in July 1756, ending the French intervention in the Burmese civil war. The Konbaung forces then overcame determined but vastly outnumbered Hanthawaddy defenses, and sacked the Hanthawaddy capital Pegu in May 1757. The 17-year-old kingdom was finished.

Afterwards, Chiang Mai and other Sawbwanates promptly sent in tribute. In the south too, the governors of Martaban (Mottama), Tavoy (Dawei) and Malacca also sent tribute and pledge loyalty to Alaungpaya. He then led a merciless campaign of reconquest of former Burmese territories, particularly against rogue Sawbwanates east of the Mekong river and Assam and Manipur to the west. As his focus turned towards the west and most Burmese troops were transferred to Athan (Assam) and Manihpura (Manipur), the Burmese-Siamese War of 1758-1760 erupted.

Burmese-Siamese War of 1758-1760

Alaungpaya had transferred the bulk of his forces (around 180,000) to the Manipuri valley by October 1757. Only a toke force of 10,000 was left to quell sporadic uprisings by a few remaining Mon elites.

In late December, Thai forces crossed the Dawna range and launched the invasion of Martaban and Tenasserim. The Mons again rose up in revolt against the Burmese and aided the Thais. By February 1758, all major towns along the Tenasserim coast except Martaban fell to Thai and Mon forces, cutting off the Malay peninsula off from the mainland.

As the majority of Burmese forces were involved in pacifying Manipura, the Thais, aided by the Mons were able to seize significant chunks of territories. In March, Alaungpaya was able to raise 80,000 levies in Burma which were quickly dispatched to relieve Martaban. The town was relieved in May 1758, but the Thais held onto surrounding territory. In May 1758, the Burmese attempted a counter-offensive against the Thais but it failed miserably, ending with the Burmese crown prince being captured and executed. This defeat sapped the Burmese of morale and the Thais were able to conquer most of the Malay peninsula by the end of 1758. Malacca fell after a five-month siege. Most Burmese inhabitants of Malacca were executed, while survivors fled to the island of Temasek at the end of the Malay peninsula.

In March 1759, the Assamese rebellion capitulated, freeing up over 300,000 Burmese forces. They were rushed across Burma towards Martaban and Alaungpaya himself led the campaign to reconquer the Tenasserim coast. With a new levy of troops, Alaungpaya had over 450,000 soldiers under his command when he launched his now famed reconquest of the Tenasserim Coast and Malay Peninsula. With lightning speed and unorthodox warfare, Alaungpaya quickly regained much of the lost territory, while also instilling harsh purges against the Mons who had aided the Thais.

On December 12, 1759, Alaungpaya entered Siamese territory from the south, while another Burmese column under General Maha Thiha Thura crossed the Three Pagodas Pass with over 180,000 fresh forces. In April 1760, just before the Burmese and Thai New Year, the Burmese reached the Thai capital of Ayuttaya and began laying siege. Ayuttaya was about to fall when Alaungpaya was killed by a stray cannon shell in May 11, 1760. Who fired the shell remains a mystery but most Burmese historians maintain that it was a mis-fired Burmese cannon.

Boundary of Burma in 1761 after the First Burmese-Siamese War. Burma is in Green, Siam in Red and Arakan in Blue.

The death of Alaungpaya was kept a secret from most of the forces. His body was quickly embalmed and sent back to the then-capital of Shwebo on a palanquin. General Maha Thiha Thura carried out a well orchastrated withdrawal while tricking the Thais into a peace settlement. Burma retained Tenasserim while the Thais were given the Malay Peninsula.

A Dutch merchant working for the Dutch East India Company's factory in Syriam reported in 1762 that as much as 80,000 Burmese and 50,000 Thais may have been killed in the conflict, while up to 150,000 Mons were killed or displaced by Alaungpaya as retribution for their involvement in aiding the Thais. Alaungpaya's successor and eldest son, Naungdawgyi, had to pacify a restive population from the ensuring hardships of war-carnage and depopulation of certain areas. Naungdawgyi faced several rebellions, including from a few top generals who had served under Alaungpaya. As he had accompanied his father in the campaigns against Siam, he had grown weary against war and did not act on the advice of his ministers to conquer Siam.

Second Burmese-Siamese War and the Conquest of Siam (1766-1769)

Naungdawgyi died of tuberculosis in November 1763, only at the age of 29. As per Alaungpaya's wish, the crown passed onto Hsinbyushin, Naungdawgyi's younger brother. Hsinbyushin's ascension reinvigorated the hawkish ministers in court, who had been arguing for a resumption of war with Siam. These ministers were finally able to convince Hsinbyushin to embark on what would be later known as the Second Burmese-Siamese War, which ended in the sacking and annexation of Siam.


National anthem of Myanmar Myanmar is a country in Southeast Asia. In 1989 the government changed the country’s name from Burma to Myanmar. For many years the capital was Yangon, which is in the southern part of the country. In 2006 the government moved the capital north to Nay Pyi Taw (also spelled Naypyidaw), a site in the center of the country.


Myanmar shares borders with Bangladesh, India, China, Laos, and Thailand. The Indian Ocean lies to the west. The southern portion of the country is a long, narrow strip of land that runs down the Malay Peninsula.

Myanmar is a mountainous country. The Kumon Range in the north contains the country’s highest peak, Mount Hkakabo, at 19,296 feet (5,881 meters). In central Myanmar lower lands surround the Irrawaddy and Sittang rivers. Myanmar has a tropical climate. Most of the country receives heavy rainfall, almost all in the summer.

Plants and Animals

Forests covers about 43 percent of Myanmar. Evergreen rainforests grow in the wettest regions. Teaks and other trees that lose their leaves grow in areas with less rainfall.

Myanmar is home to many kinds of animals. The rainforests support a variety of birds, snakes, and monkeys. Tigers and elephants are important, but they are endangered. Bears live in hilly regions, and crocodiles can be found in deltas.


The Burman people make up most of the population. Other ethnic groups include the Shan, Karen, and Arakanese. Many Indian and Chinese people also live in Myanmar. Burmese is the official language, but minority groups have their own languages. Most of the people practice Buddhism. About a third of the Arakanese follow Islam. These people are known as the Rohingya. About 70 percent of the country’s population lives in rural areas.


Myanmar is a poor country. A little less than half of Myanmar’s workers are farmers. The main crops are rice, sugarcane, beans, peanuts, corn, and cotton. Cattle, pigs, and buffalo are the main livestock. Fishing is another source of food. The forests provide teak and other wood.

Services such as transportation and tourism are a growing part of Myanmar’s economy. About 35 percent of the workforce is employed in services. Industry is a smaller part of the country’s economy. Myanmar’s most important industry is based on its rich mineral deposits, especially gemstones. It is the world’s largest producer of jade and is known for its high quality rubies. Myanmar also has reserves of oil and natural gas. Factories make clothing, cement, and fertilizers.


About 2,000 years ago a group of people known as the Pyu began establishing cities in the north. To the south lived the Mon people. In the 800s the Burmans developed a powerful kingdom centered on the city of Pagan in the central part of the country. By the mid-1000s the Burman ruler Anawrahta had united much of what is now Myanmar into a single kingdom. The kingdom became a center of Buddhist culture. An invasion by the Mongols led to the breakup of the kingdom in the 1200s.

In the mid-1700s a king named Alaungpaya unified Myanmar once again. In the 1800s Great Britain and Myanmar fought three wars known as the Anglo-Burmese Wars. Britain took control of the whole region in 1886. The British called the land Burma. Burma gained independence in 1948.

Strict military leaders took over the government of Burma in 1962. The military did not allow people to have much freedom. There were often protests, but the military stopped them with force. The military tried to address the protests when it changed the name of the country from Burma to Myanmar in 1989. In the early 21st century struggles continued between the military government and people who wanted democracy. In 2015 there was progress toward democracy when the country held its first openly contested elections. The National League for Democracy (NLD) won a sweeping victory and formed a government. The military retained total control over the army and the police force.

In 2017 military forces began committing large-scale violence against the Rohingya people. The government’s weak response to the violence drew criticism from the international community. In early 2018 it was estimated that more than 700,000 Rohingya had fled the country to escape the violence. In a report released later that year in August, the United Nations called for Myanmar’s top military commanders to be put on trial for genocide.

The NLD continued to enjoy strong support and easily won the November 2020 elections. However, the military claimed the results were illegitimate and refused to acknowledge NLD’s victory. On February 1, 2021, the military seized power and declared a one-year state of emergency.

The First Gated Community in the Country

Out on the streets of boomtown Yangon, the best-laid master plans seemed very remote from lived experience. Just one block from City Hall, a makeshift corrugated metal fence surrounded a vacant lot abutting the Traders Hotel. When I first arrived in Yangon, I had assumed it was just another building demolition site. I later learned that, for decades, it had been a public park in the heart of the city then it was ceded to the Traders Hotel, part of the Shangri-la chain based in Hong Kong.

“We don’t know how they got it,” Maw Lin, an architect turned journalist told me when we met me in his office at The People’s Age, the English-language newspaper where he is editor-in-chief. Wearing the long hair of a European intellectual and the plaid lungi (summer-weight kilt) of a traditional Burmese man, he recounted his paper’s crusades against what he called “the high-rise problem [and the] misuse of public space by the government.”

Now, staring down at the lot from a pedestrian overpass above a broad avenue (right-of-way being a quaint foreign concept here), I couldn’t help but wonder about the political mechanisms for implementing JICA’s master plan. Here was a public park that could have been a central link in the chain of “green isles,” and yet the nominally free press couldn’t even determine how it had ended up in the hands of private developers.

I heard stories of similar land grabs on the rural outskirts. In 2012, Myanmar enacted a new law, ostensibly to protect farmers from having their land stolen for development, which increased the maximum jail time for criminal trespassing from 3 months to 7 years. In fact, as activist Han Shu Win told me over endless tiny cups of tea, the strict new law has been used against farmers who have had their ancestral plots confiscated and are then arrested for “trespassing” on the land they have farmed for their entire lives.

Even the bona fide restrictions that have been enacted in accordance with the master plan may ultimately be undone by parties with a financial stake in unfettered development. When I spoke with Than Oo, Managing Director of Mundine Realty Company, in his cluttered downtown office, he told me he could accept the protection of certain historic buildings, but the height limits and “government regulations around the heritage buildings that don’t let you ‘detract’ — this is rubbish.” He informed me that the trade group of which he is vice chairman, the Myanmar Real Estate Services Association, was already “making our argument to the government to change this policy,” and that it hopes to elect candidates in the first free election who will overturn the height limits. “There is so much planning for the center of Yangon but it all depends on the outcome of the 2015 elections,” Than Oo told me pointedly.

To gauge Yangon’s prospects for the future, I took in its newest and most luxurious development: the Pun Hlaing Golf Estate, a gated community located across the river from the city center. After traversing an elevated expressway that had been privately built by the community’s developer, the Singapore-listed YOMA Strategic Holdings, my cab passed through a landscaped, palm-bedecked entryway. Being a foreigner entering a community whose residents hail from 27 different countries, I had little trouble talking my way past the guards at the security hut.

Outside the gates of Pun Hlaing Golf Estate. [Daniel Brook]

Outside the gates was Southeast Asia inside, it felt more like South Florida. But it was impossible to completely separate the two worlds. In the restroom of the air-conditioned sales office, the window looked out onto a hedge. Visible behind it was village of thatch-roof huts on stilts.

As Soe Yan Paing, an eager young realtor with spiked black hair, drove me around the development, I came to understand that the “Estate” is actually several adjacent neighborhoods — Rose Garden Villas, Ivory Court, The [email protected] — all situated within the same security envelope. One section was filled with modernist mid-rise condominiums, a popular form of high-end housing in Yangon, since Burmese law permits foreigners to own condos but not single-family homes. Another neighborhood was laid out around a Gary Player-designed golf course, featuring “villas” done up in the Spanish colonial style popular in America’s Sun Belt exurbs. Though owned by wealthy Burmese, the villas are typically rented out to expatriate businessmen and their families for around $6,000 per month. (Prices for the homes have appreciated more than 50 percent in the past two years and now top out near $1 million.) In the community clubhouse, which boasted one of the only Christmas trees I saw in Myanmar, the restaurant offered a very un-Burmese turkey with brown sauce for the very un-Burmese price of $15. Three generations of a British family sat enjoying their lunch on the restaurant’s outdoor deck, the visiting grandparents doting on their grandchildren. A campus of the English-language Yangon International School is conveniently located just outside the gates.

Somewhat surprisingly, since the development so clearly caters to foreigners, the Golf Estate is a joint venture with the Burmese government. As YOMA CEO Andrew Rickards explained, the government owns a 25 percent stake. “They owned the land,” he said in his top-floor office in one of the few Class A office buildings in Yangon, so “they wanted to share in the upside.”

Rickards was insistent that Yangon would develop smarter than other cities in the region had. “The great thing about being last to the party is you don’t have to make all the same mistakes,” he said. But the Golf Estate — with its profligate use of land, exurban location, and appeal to wealthy foreigners — seemed to undermine that point. So did his company’s claim to fame: “We built the first gated community in the country,” Rickards crowed.

A $440 million Vietnamese development on the banks of Inya Lake, Yangon. [Andrew Rowat]

In its transition from authoritarianism to democracy, Yangon may get the worst of both systems rather than the best of both. While there is nothing unusual about an unelected government speculating in high-end real estate development — the practice is widespread in China as well as regional imitators, like Vietnam — the peculiarities of the democratization process in Myanmar, ironically, make the government even more brazen. Just outside the grand gate to the Pun Hlaing Golf Estate sits a shantytown — something you’ll almost never find in China. There, when the government clears peasants from their land for high-end urban development, it is, no doubt, authoritarian. But the rulers invariably rehouse the displaced in modest high-rise apartments rather than leaving them to build their own informal settlements. For the Chinese authorities, it is simply a matter of self-preservation because the Party is worried about its legitimacy, China’s rulers feel compelled to offer some baseline improvements in its citizens’ lives. But by conceding power voluntarily, on its own terms and schedule, the Burmese government no longer claims legitimacy, so there is no need for it to even pretend to serve its people. In this unusual period when dictatorship is waning but full democracy has yet to be established, the departing dictators and their cronies can stuff their pockets with impunity.

Regions of Myanmar Map

Myanmar (officially, the Republic of the Union of Myanmar) is divided into 7 regions (taing), 7 states (pyine) and 1 union territory. In alphabetical order, the regions of Myanmar are: Ayeyarwady (Irrawaddy), Bago, Magway, Mandalay, Sagaing, Tanintharyi and Yangon (Rangoon). The states are: Chin, Kachin, Kayah, Kayin, Mon, Rakhine and Shan. Nay Pyi Taw (Naypyidaw) is the union territory in Myanmar.

With an area of 676,578 sq. km, Myanmar is the 10 th largest country in the Asian continent and the largest country in Southeast Asia. Located in a mountain-framed spot in north-central Myanmar is Naypyidaw – the capital and the third-largest city of Myanmar. Located in southern Myanmar, Yangon (Rangoon) is the largest city of Myanmar. With over a population of 5 million people, Yangon is the most populous city as well as an important commercial center of Myanmar.

Eliminating Piracy in Somalia beings with Punishment

The Horn of Africa is considered a sub-region of the larger region known as East Africa, and is sometimes referred to as the Somali Peninsula. Dating back hundreds of years, HOA had been known as the main center for trade and commerce due to the accessibility to the water and its large coastal area. However, due to the current acts of piracy polluting the waters and causing chaos in every aspect imaginable, the surrounding countries are in. . middle of paper . . =section . Ploch, Lauren (2009, September 28). “Piracy of the Horn of Africa”.

Burma Geography

Burma (also known as Myanmar), with an area of 262,000 square miles, is the largest country in mainland Southeast Asia. Rangoon (also called Yangon), the capital (population about 5.5 million), is Burma’s largest city. Mandalay (population 700,000) is second. Burma’s population is about 49 million.

Rangoon is Burma’s most important port for both domestic and foreign trade. Located on the Yangon River, 30 miles north of the Gulf of Martaban, it serves not only oceangoing freighters and tankers but also river steamers and country craft that ply Rangoon’s major waterways. The city is built on flat lowland bounded on three sides by the Pazundaung Creek and the Yangon and Hlaing Rivers. The surrounding countryside consists of rice paddies, patches of brush, and occasional rubber plantations.

Geography - note:


Located in the Southeast Asian monsoon belt, Rangoon has a tropical climate with three distinct seasons: monsoon, cool, and hot. During the monsoon season, mid-May through mid-October, Rangoon receives most of its 100-inch plus average annual rainfall. Temperatures are moderate (75°F-90°F), but relative humidity is high. During the monsoon, dampness and mildew can cause serious damage to clothing, furniture, books, records, electrical appliances, and leather goods.

In mid-November, after a brief period of warm, humid weather, the cool season begins from then until March, weather is pleasant (60°F-90°F) with lower humidity and almost no rain. Days are sunny and clear nights are cool. In March, temperatures and humidity rise until the monsoon begins in mid-May. During the March-May hot season, the weather is hot and humid, usually rising in the day to over 100°F. As at most tropical posts, insects and snakes are numerous year round.


The town name has varied, often based on the nationality of the traveller. These variations include Tanaosi or Tannaw (Siamese) Tanah Sari (Malay) Tenanthari, Tanncthaice, Ta-nen-tkd-ri, and Tanang-sci (Burmese) and Ta-na-ssu-li-sen (Chinese). [7] Other sources have referred to it as: Thenasserim, Tenáscri, Tciiaçar, Tanater, Tarnassari, Tenazar, Tannzzari, Tanaçari, Tanaçary, Tanaçarim, Taunararin, Tanaçarij, Tcnaiarij, Tanacarim, Tanassarim, Tenassarim, Tenasari, Tanussarin, Tenascri, Dahnnsari, Tanaseri', Tenauri, Tanasserin, Tananarino, Tenassarim, Tenassere, Tanararij, Tanassaria, Tonazarin, and Denouservn. [8]

The town's importance as a trade partner depended on it serving as the starting-point on the western coast of Siam as an overland route to the capital, Ayuthia. In addition, it was a port at which smaller vessels could unload their cargoes, and thus avoid circumnavigating around the peninsula. [9] Trade links were strong with Siam who also controlled this territory and got tributes from Burma. Trading was done with them through Dawei and Myeik along the eastern hill ranges of Myanmar.

The town enjoyed a reputation for trade with European nations since the 17th century. In 1759, the Burmese conqueror Aloung-bhura (Moung-oung-zaya) invaded the town. He pillaged it the following year and further damaged it in 1765. By 1767, it was destroyed by Ayuthia, and in the town's fall, the seaport of Mergui was brought to commercial ruin. [9]

The Toungoo dynasty, which ruled this area in the 16th century, lost to the British during the three wars fought between 1824 and 1885 Rakhine and Thainthreyi came under the British who, thereafter, re-established the Burman Dynasty. [4] [5]

Tanintharyi lies on the southern bank of the Great Tenasserim River, tucked away into a small peninsula, with the Great Tenasserim River to the north and west and the Little Tenasserim River to the east. Settlements close to Tanintharyi include Kadaw to the west, Mawtone across the river to the north-west and Bangyok to the north-east. [1] It is characterized by a narrow coastal zone flanked by mountains, and is situated between the Gulf of Martaban and Victoria Point, just north of the Equator. The coast land has a long maritime history of trade dealings with the rest of the world, particularly India on the Coromandel coast, Siam and the Middle East. [4] [5]

Less than a mile from the present village stands and erected by the Siamese at the city's founding in 1383 AD is a large, roughly cut stone pillar weighing several tons which is said to have once been the original city centre. [10] Legend has it that a live woman was thrown into the hole where the pillar was planted and that she became the city's guardian angel. [10]

In earlier days, approximately 4 sq mi (10 km 2 ) of the town were surrounded by a brick and mud wall. Though the wall has since been dismantled and the bricks repurposed within other buildings such as the jail, the wall's foundation can still be seen in certain places. [10] Its courthouse was erected on a hill above the village, and this is also the site of two ancient pagodas. [3]

In 1877, the population was approximately 666 inhabitants. [11] As of 1916, the village contained approximately 100 houses. [3]

The town's agricultural resources include the cultivation of rubber and fruit crops. Pearl farms are also established here by the Ministry of Mines. [5] Tanintharyi is located within the south-east Asian tin zone. [5]

Peace hopes

2015 March - A draft ceasefire agreement is signed between the government and 16 rebel groups.

2015 May - Hundreds of Muslim Rohingyas migrants leave by sea in flimsy boats, along with migrants from Bangladesh. UN criticizes failure of south-east Asian states to rescue them.

2015 July-August - Floods affect much of low-lying parts of country, killing 100 people and displacing a million others.

2015 November - Opposition National League for Democracy - led by Aung San Suu Kyi - wins enough seats in parliamentary elections to form a government.

2016 March - Htin Kyaw sworn in as president, ushering in a new era as Aung San Suu Kyi's democracy movement takes power after 50 years of military domination.

2017 March - The United Nations human rights council decides to set up an investigation into alleged human rights abuses by the army against the Rohingya Muslim minority.

2017 August - Rohingya militants attack police posts in Rakhine. The response by security forces prompts an exodus of Rohingya and allegations that their actions amount to ethnic cleansing.

2017 October - The number of Rohingya Muslims who have fled military action in Rakhine state and sought refuge in Bangladesh is estimated at one million.

2017 November - Pope Francis visits, disappoints Rohingya by failing to mention their plight.

2018 March - President Htin Kyaw resigns on health grounds and is replaced by Win Myint, a fellow Suu Kyi loyalist.

2018 August - A UN report accuses Myanmar's military leaders of carrying out genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity against Rohingya Muslims, calling for six generals to face trial at the International Criminal Court. It also accuses Aung San Suu Kyi of failing to prevent the violence. Myanmar rejects the findings.

2018 September - Two Reuters journalists are sentenced to seven years in prison for violating state secrecy laws. They allege that they were framed by police, and link the case to their reporting on the military's violence against the Rohingya.

2021 February - The governing National League for Democracy beat pro-military candidates in the November parliamentary elections, prompting the army to allege voting fraud and overthrow the government. Army chief Min Aung Hlaing takes over for one-year period.

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