Myanmar Early History

By | January 22, 2022

Burma or Myanmar. Officially Republic of the Union of Myanmar, it is one of the countries of Southeast Asia. It shares its northern borders with China and its eastern borders with Laos and Thailand ; to the west are India, Bangladesh and the Bay of Bengal. The south of the country is bathed by the waters of the Andaman Sea.

According to philosophynearby, the history of Myanmar begins with the invasion of four thousand years ago more people from China, Tibet, Laos and, to a lesser extent, India.

During the Middle and Modern Ages, successive dynasties and kingdoms took turns in power, while maintaining intermittent wars with mainly Chinese, Tibetans and Thais.

In the second half of the 19th century, the former Myanmar became part of the British Empire and changed its name to Burma, or Burma in Spanish. The English will stay in Burma until a few years after World War II, in which the country suffered the invasion of the Japanese

Since independence, Burma has undergone brief democratic periods, always aborted by military coups, the last of which, in 1990, prevented the woman, Aung San Suu Kyi, who had won free elections by overwhelming majority, from coming to power. Daughter of the father of the country’s independence, in 1991 she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, while serving house arrest.

Old age

The pyu

During the first centuries of our Era there was a second wave of immigration: the Pyu, who founded a capital around the 7th century very close to the current Pyay (Prome) and other cities of importance in the central plain and plateau between the 1st century and the X, in Sri Ksetra and Hanlin, mainly.

The Pyu were peoples who came mainly from Central Asia and, although it seems that they were the most advanced of the entire wave of invaders from the north, they never settled in the richest areas of the country for their rice crops, where the Burmese civilization.

The Pyu are the first to leave written testimonies of their culture, which were deciphered from the discovery of an inscription in the Myazedi Pagoda in Pali, Mon, Pyu and Burmese from the year 1113.

The Pyu kingdom had a strong Indian cultural influence, like almost all the Southeast Asian civilizations the Khmer in Cambodia. The kingdom of Funan in southern Cambodia and Vietnam ; Sri Vijaya in Sumatra, practiced Hinduism and Buddhismin their two forms, Mahayana and Hinayana. Stelae with inscriptions have even been found that reveal a syncretism of both religions. Likewise, the structures of their stupas, with domes in the shape of a warhead, suggest an influence of the Indian temples of the State of Orissa, as well as the remains of some fortification, the foundations, rather and of the civil buildings.

The Mon

Almost in the same period, mon began to colonize the south of the Delta of the Ayeyarwady and came to Thailand and Cambodia, where they founded a major city could become the capital city of the kingdom. In the 8th century, the conquest of large territories by the Mon, marked the beginning of the decline of the Pyu kingdom, which was accentuated with the sacking of the capital by Chinese forces from Yunnán, who took thousands of prisoners.

The Mon spoke a language similar to Khmer from Cambodia and Cham from Vietnam. In the opinion, the monks that the great emperor Indian Asoka sent to Burma to spread Buddhism in the second century before Christ.

The Mon reached a high artistic level, especially in fields such as sculpture, where once again they reflected an important influence from India, the mother, along with China, of almost all the civilizations in this area of the world. Thus, legalistic Sanskrit inscriptions have also been found on Mon stelae in Thailand. As for architecture, the few remains that remain indicate that they used mainly brick.

The Pagan kingdom

The Burmese knew their greatest height during the kingdom of Pagan, present-day Bagan, which could have been founded around the middle of the 9th century on the banks of the Ayeyarwady River, although legend places it in the 11th century, and around it was instituted in 1044 the Burma’s first unified kingdom under the power of King Anawrahta, who held it until his death in 1077.

The fusion of the Bagan and Mon cultures brought the kingdom to a time of phenomenal splendor, with the flourishing of Theravada Buddhism and the construction of fantastic pagodas and civil buildings. Anawratha developed the irrigation systems, turning large areas of the center of the country into a veritable barn.

Among the artistic achievements, it seems that the greatest that can be attributed to Kyanzittha is the construction of the Ananda Pagoda, one of the greatest wonders that can be admired today in a very good state of preservation in Bagan. The payment to the architect was his execution before finishing the work, perhaps so that he could not make another one that could rival in beauty. The king also ordered that a living child be buried in the temple, to become a guardian nat of the temple.

This king was to face the threat posed by the end of Pagan, the Mongols of Kublai Khan. After their annexation of the Chinese region bordering Yunnan with Burma, the descendants of Genghis Khan demanded payment of tributes to Pagan. In response, Narathihapate sent a friendly message to Beijing ; But Kublai Khan counterattacked by sending an embassy demanding the dispatch of a group of princes and ministers, perhaps to negotiate, or perhaps, as the Burmese king must have thought, to take them hostage, so Narathihapate ordered the execution of the members sent by the Mongol Emperor.

Myanmar Early History