Friday, December 17, 2004

History of Burma

History of Burma. This is a good general overview to the history of the Asian nation of Burma. I realize that the legal name of the country is now Myanmar but who the heck calls it that?

From the site:

Burma was unified by Burman dynasties three times during the past millennium. The first such unification came with the foundation of the Pagan Dynasty in 1044 AD, which is considered the "Golden Age" in Burmese history. It is during this period that Theravada Buddhism first made its appearance in Burma, and the Pagan kings built a massive city with thousands of pagodas and monasteries along the Irrawaddy River. The Pagan Dynasty lasted until 1287 when a Mongol invasion destroyed the city. Ethnic Shan rulers, who established a political center at Ava, filled the ensuing political vacuum for a short time.

In the 15th century, the Toungoo Dynasty succeeded again in unifying under Burman rule a large, multi-ethnic kingdom. This dynasty, which lasted from 1486 until 1752, left little cultural legacy, but expanded the kingdom through conquest of the Shans. Internal power struggles, and the cost of protracted warfare, led to the eventual decline of the Toungoo.

The final Burman royal dynasty, the Konbaung, was established in 1752 under the rule of King Alaungpaya. Like the Toungoo Kings, the Konbaung rulers focused on warfare and conquest. Wars were fought with the ethnic Mons and Arkanese, and with the Siamese. The Burmese sacked the Siamese capital of Ayuthaya in 1767. This period also saw four invasions by the Chinese and three devastating wars with the British.

1 comment:

Susan Lin said...

I just a brilliant new history of Burma entitled "The River of Lost Footsteps". It's been very well reviewed by the New Yorker, the New York Times and other papers and magazines since it came out a couple of weeks ago. It starts in ancient and medieval times and goes all the way to the present, with many colourful stories and anecdotes tying Burmese history to global history at every turn. I very fun and entertaining read. Recommended for anyone interested in global or Asian history.