BURMA AND MYANMAR: NAME, HISTORICAL THEMES, RULERS AND KINGDOMS

NAME: BURMA VERSUS MYANMAR

The British named the country Burma in honor of the Burmans, the dominant ethnic group. Initially the British called it “Further India.” In, 1989 military leaders of Burma renamed the country from Burma to Myanmar and also changed capital the name of the capital from Rangoon to Yangon. Myanmar was the pre-colonial name of Burma.

Myanmar is the local name of the country of the same way España is the local name of Spain and Nippon is the local name for Japan. And Yangon is local name of the capital of the same way Wein is the local name of Vienna. So when the leaders changed the name it was bit like the Spanish government insisting that everyone call them España. Rangoon is a corruption of Yan Kon —"end of strife”—so named by a conquering Burmese King Alaungpaya in 1753. Yangon means

Despite the fact that Myanmar is a Burmese word, Western nations, pro-democracy groups, human rights groups and Aung San Suu Kyi prefer the name Burma. Using the name Myanmar favors the government. Using Burma favors the opposition.

Country name: 1) conventional long form: Union of Burma; 2) conventional short form: Burma; 3) local long form: Pyidaungzu Myanma Naingngandaw (translated by the US Government as Union of Myanma and by the Burmese as Union of Myanmar); 4) local short form: Myanma Naingngandaw; 5) former: Socialist Republic of the Union of Burma note: since 1989 the military authorities in Burma, and the current parliamentary government, have promoted the name Myanmar as a conventional name for their state; the US Government has not adopted the name, which is a derivative of the Burmese short-form name Myanma Naingngandaw [Source: CIA World Factbook]

In June 1989, Associated Press reported: “This country has officially changed its name in English to the Union of Myanmar and renamed the capital of Rangoon to Yangon, the state-run Working People's Daily said. In the law changing Burma's name, the nationality--Burmese--also was changed to Myanmar. The word for Burma and Burmese in the Burmese language are both pronounced Myanmar. The names of states, towns and other geographical sites are to be written in English according to the Burmese pronunciation. Rangoon, for example, is to be written as Yangon, which is the Burmese pronunciation of the capital. The latest change in the country's name, government officials say, is to better reflect Burma's ethnic diversity. The term Burma connotes Burman--the dominant ethnic group in the country--to the exclusion of ethnic minorities. [Source: Associated Press, June 21, 1989]

Aye Aye Win and Todd Pitman of Associated Press wrote: “Myanmar, comprising a vast array of ethnic groups, did not exist as a single entity until it was colonized by the British in the 19th century. The country achieved independence in 1948 and took the English-language name used by its former rulers, Burma. But it was formally known in Burmese, the national language, as "myanma naing ngan" or more colloquially as "bama pyi" or "country of Burma." Both those usages persist, and the national anthem still refers to "bama pyi." When the now-defunct army junta altered the name in 1989, the change applied only to the English-language title. [Source: Aye Aye Win and Todd Pitman, Associated Press November 19, 2012]

History of the Burma-Myanmar Name Game

Mark Magnier wrote in the Los Angeles Times: “Both names have long been used in the Burmese language, and vary from a common term. Myanmar is seen as more formal or literary and Burma, more vernacular. The first written reference to Myanmar, a term meaning fast and strong people, appears on an inscription in 1102, although the nation wasn't unified until the British annexed the area to their Indian empire in the 19th century. The British "imperial tongue" stumbled over Myanmar and adopted Burma, reportedly similar to the name Birmania given to the country by Portuguese traders. At independence in 1948, the country's international name remained Burma, although in Burmese, the mother tongue of 68 percent of the population, it was known formally as "Myanma Naingngan" and more colloquially as "Bama pyi." [Source: Mark Magnier, Los Angeles Times, December 24, 2012 <>]

“The confusion started in 1989 when the ruling generals announced the country would henceforth be known as "Union of Myanmar." Rangoon would be Yangon and Mandalay would become Mawlamyine, according to the decree. In its propaganda, the government argued that Myanmar was a more inclusive term that embraced the country's 130-plus ethnic communities, not just the majority Burmese. Its policy nonetheless "Burmanized" many place names, angering minority groups. “<>

“Another (unspoken) reason for the name change was to demonize the popular pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, said Sein Win, chief editor with Mizzima, a publication run by exile Burmese that recently relocated to Myanmar. "It was not only a message that she was a foreign student, but also that she had a foreign husband, had a Western mentality" and was therefore a traitor." The United Nations, Germany, Japan and stalwart ally China quickly accepted the change. But dissidents, human rights organizations and such countries as the United States, Britain, Canada and Australia insisted on using Burma, arguing that no elected legislature had sanctioned the change. The European Union, which sat firmly on the fence, referred in documents to "Burma/Myanmar." <>

Geoffrey Wheatcroft wrote in the Washington Post, November: “Joseph Lelyveld, a former executive editor of the New York Times, justified his newspaper's decision to follow the governments' leads essentially in terms of good manners: "It is not our business what a country wants to call itself." Indeed it isn't, but is it that country's business what we call it? I once wrote an article for Lelyveld's paper about the brilliant musical life of the country its citizens call Suomi, but that might have puzzled readers, so I called it Finland. And if Myanmar, why not Deutschland or España? All this incessant, restless change makes language harder to understand. British soldiers used to write acronymic endearments on the back of envelopes to wives or sweethearts: "Holland" was "Hope Our Love Lasts And Never Dies," and "Burma" was "Be Undressed Ready My Angel." What can Myanmar possibly stand for? [Source: Geoffrey Wheatcroft, Washington Post, November 4, 2007]

Myanmar or Burma?— and Its Political Overtones

Mark Magnier wrote in the Los Angeles Times: “It was a subtle, but effective, way for critics to rankle the brutal generals running the country during the darkest days of global isolation: Call the nation Burma rather than Myanmar. The message: We don't believe your rule is legitimate. Over the years, that tug of words became highly politicized. "Everyone gets confused with the terminology," said Tin May Thein, executive director of Asia21 MJ Co., a Yangon consultancy. "It can make you go a bit crazy." Now that Myanmar is opening up to the world, easing media restrictions and freeing more political prisoners, the linguistic and political battle lines are blurring. And just as the world eventually accepted Zimbabwe for Rhodesia and Burkina Faso for Upper Volta, Myanmar will probably gain the upper hand despite the blank stares the word draws from some outsiders. [Source: Mark Magnier, Los Angeles Times, December 24, 2012]

“President Obama dropped a few strategic Myanmars during his November 2012 visit, to the delight of his hosts. Nearly a year earlier, his secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton, avoided both names, mostly using "this country," prompting the Reuters wire service headline, "Clinton Lauds Change in a Country With No Name." Such name games continue to irk the Myanmar government. "You might think this is a small matter, but the use of 'Myanmar' is a matter of national integrity," Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin said."Using the correct name of the country shows equality and mutual respect." <>

“Nobel laureate Suu Kyi, influential in shaping Western policies toward Myanmar, continues to use Burma in the belief that the government is still far from democratic. "I still object to it," she told reporters recently. "So I will always refer to this country as Burma until the Burmese people decide what they want it to be called." She recently softened, adding in a speech that people were free to choose. But her insistence on using Burma has also spurred some ordinary Burmese to follow suit. In the summer of 2012, while Suu Kyi was in Europe, the Myanmar government criticized her preference for Burma. <>

“Some say the government has a point. "I think in their hearts, they feel hurt by this," said Morten Pedersen, senior lecturer with the Australian Defense Force Academy. "I think it would be better if Suu Kyi started using Myanmar now that it's something worth being a part of." Some diplomats still use Myanmar with government officials and Burma with Suu Kyi or foreigners, a path Obama followed during his six-hour visit. The fact he used the "M" word at all was warmly received in the capital, Naypyidaw, with Myanmar presidential advisor Ko Ko Hlaing terming its use "very positive" and an "acknowledgment of Myanmar's government." Since the military stepped aside last year, Myanmar has eased media restrictions, released most political prisoners, sworn off weapons trade with North Korea and allowed Suu Kyi to run for parliament...One reason Burma remains popular is a practical one. "In English, it's awkward to say 'Myanmarese' — grammatically, it's totally incorrect," said Thuta Aung, managing director of Yangon's HamsaHub, a business development firm. "You need an adjective and the only suitable one seems like Burmese. But as a country, it's Myanmar." <>

“Washington isn't expected to swap two syllables for three as its official policy immediately, however, perhaps waiting until it's convinced reforms are irreversible. Amid all the hand-wringing, some question the whole debate. "Either way, your identity isn't lost," said U Muang Muang Thein, a poet and English teacher from Yangon. "Intellectuals think way too much about this stuff, ordinary people just accept it." Adds Wunna Mar Jay, a boxing promoter and board member of the Myanmar Journalists Union: "With all the other problems we have to solve, this is pretty minor. I'm 50 and I'm used to Burma. My son is 20, born during the dictatorship, and he only knows Myanmar. It's really no problem either way." <>

Aye Aye Win and Todd Pitman of Associated Press wrote: “ Officially at least, America still calls this Southeast Asian nation Burma, the favored appellation of dissidents and pro-democracy activists who opposed the former military junta's move to summarily change its name 23 years ago. President Barack Obama used that name during his historic visit, but he also called Burma what its government and many other people have been calling it for years: Myanmar. [Source: Aye Aye Win and Todd Pitman, Associated Press November 19, 2012 /*\]

“Obama's use of that single word was warmly welcomed by top government officials here, who immediately imbued it with significance. "It doesn't change the fact that the United States government position is still Burma," he said. "But we've said we recognize that different people call this country by different names. Our view is that is something we can continue to discuss." The issue is so sensitive that Obama's aides had said earlier he would likely avoid mentioning either politically charged name. But he used both during his six-hour trip — "Myanmar" during morning talks with Thein Sein, "Burma" afterward while visiting with opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. /*\

“Suu Kyi herself was criticized by the government for calling the nation Burma during a trip to Europe over the summer. The government said she should use the proper name, "Republic of the Union of Myanmar," as stated in the constitution. But Suu Kyi has said "it's for each individual to make his or her own choice as to which he or she uses." /*\

Summary of Myanmar’s History

Myanmar, comprising a vast array of ethnic groups, did not exist as a single entity until it was colonized by the British in the 19th century. The country achieved independence as Burma in 1948. Each ethnic group has its own history. The modern Burmese kingdom emerged about three hundred years ago out of a series of small, isolated Buddhist kingdoms, some centered on the Irrawaddy River, which originates near the mountains along the Chinese border and empties into the Andaman Sea. [Sources: Myanmar Travel Information, Wikipedia *]

The history of what is now Myanmar has been shaped and influenced by its two large neighbors: China and India. For the last 500 years or so Thais and Burmese have been bitter enemies. At its height in the 16th century the Burmese kingdom embraced Thailand and spread as far west as Assam and manipur in India and Cambodia in the south. *

Myanmar has a long and complex history, covering the period from the time of first-known human settlements 13,000 years ago to the present day. Many peoples have lived in the region, and the history began. The first identifiable civilization is that of the Mon. The Mon probably began migrating into the area in about 300 B.C. and their first kingdom Suwarnabhumi. was founded around the port of Thaton in about 300 B.C. *

The earliest inhabitants of recorded history were the Pyu who entered the Irrawaddy valley from Yunnan c. 2nd century B.C.. By the 4th century A.D., the Pyu had founded several city states as far south as Prome (Pyay), and adopted Buddhism. The city states included Binnaka, Mongamo, Sri Ksetra. and Halingyi. During this period. Myanmar was part of an overland trade route from China to India. Farther south, the Mon, who had entered from Haribhunjaya and Dvaravati kingdoms in the east, had established city states of their own along the Lower Burmese coastline by the early 9th century. *

Another group, the Mranma (Burmans or Bamar) of the Nanzhao Kingdom, entered the upper Irrawaddy valley in the early 9th century. They founded a powerful kingdom centered on the city of Pagan (Bagan) and established the Pagan Empire (1044–1287), the first ever unification of Irrawaddy valley and its periphery. The Burmese language and culture slowly came to replace Pyu and Mon norms during this period. The kingdom grew in relative isolation until the reign of Anawrahta (1044 - 77) who successfully unified all of Myanmar by defeating the Mon city of Thaton in 1057. *

After Pagan's fall in 1287, several small kingdoms, of which Ava, Hanthawaddy, Arakan and Shan states were principal powers, came to dominate the landscape, replete with ever shifting alliances and constant wars. The Burmans had restablished themselves at the city of Ava by 1364, where Pagan culture was revived and a great age of Burmese literature ensued. The kingdom lacked easily defendable borders, however, and was overrun by the Shan in 1527. Surviors of the destruction of Inwa eventually established a new kingdom centered on Taungoo in 1531 led by Tabinshwehti (reigned 1531-50), who once again unified most of Myanmar. *

The Toungoo Dynasty (1510–1752) founded the largest empire in the history of Southeast Asia for a brief period. Later Toungoo kings instituted several key administrative and economic reforms that gave rise to a smaller, peaceful and prosperous kingdom in the 17th and early 18th centuries. A popular Burmese leader named Alaungpaya drove the Bago forces out of northern Myanmar by 1753. and by 1759 he had once again conquered Pegu and southern Myanmar while also regaining control of Manipur. He established his capital at Rangoon. now known as Yangon. In the second half of the 18th century, the Konbaung Dynasty (1752–1885) restored the kingdom, and continued the Toungoo reforms that increased central rule in peripheral regions and produced one of the most literate states in Asia. The dynasty also went to war with all its neighbors. *

The kingdom fell to the British over a six-decade period (1824–1885) and was incorporated into Britain’s Indian Empire. Burma was administered as a province of India until 1937 when it became a separate, self-governing colony. The British rule brought several enduring social, economic, cultural and administrative changes that completely transformed the once-agrarian society. Most importantly, the British rule highlighted out-group differences among the country's myriad ethnic groups. Since independence the country has been in one of the longest running civil wars that remains unresolved. *

In 1948, Burma attained independence from the British Commonwealth. The country was under military rule under various guises from 1962 to 2010, and in the process has become one of the least developed nations in the world. Gen. Ne Win dominated the government from 1962 to 1988, first as military ruler, then as self-appointed president, and later as political kingpin. In response to widespread civil unrest, Ne Win resigned in 1988, but within months the military crushed student-led protests and took power. Multiparty legislative elections in 1990 resulted in the main opposition party - the National League for Democracy (NLD) - winning a landslide victory. Instead of handing over power, the junta placed NLD leader (and Nobel Peace Prize recipient). *

Burma (Myanmar) Historical Periods and Kingdom

Early History:
Prehistory 11,000–200 B.C.
Pyu city-states 200 B.C.–1050 CE
Mon kingdoms 825?–1057
Arakanese kingdoms 788?–1406

Pagan Period and After:
Pagan Dynasty 849–1297
Warring states period
Upper Burma 1297–1555
Myinsaing and Pinya 1297–1364
Sagaing 1315–1364
Ava 1364–1555
Prome 1482–1542
Ramanya 1287–1539, 1550–1552
Shan states 1215–1563
Arakan 1429–1785
Taungoo Dynasty 1510–1752
Toungoo Empire 1530–1599
Nyaungyan period 1599–1752
Restored Hanthawaddy 1740–1757
Konbaung Dynasty 1752–1885

Colonial Period and World War II:
British colonial period 1824–1948
Anglo-Burmese wars 1824–1885
Nationalist movement 1900–1948
Japanese occupation 1942–1945

Modern era 1948–present:
Union of Burma 1948–1962
Socialist Republic 1962–1988
Union of Myanmar 1988–2010
Political reforms 2011–2012

Themes of Myanmar History

In many ways the Myanmar of today is little changed from the Burma that emerged after World War II. Some visitors say traveling to the country is like going back in history. You can still find wind up cars and trucks. Much of the farming is still done by hand or with animals, without any help from machines. In some villages television and even electricity and lights can be a rare sight. Many people favor traditional clothes. But now that Myanmar is reforming finally things are changing—and they are changing very fast, in the words of the World Bank: at “warp speed.”

According to Countries and Their Cultures: “ Identity. Before colonial rule, Burma consisted essentially of the central lowland areas and a few conquered peoples, with highland peoples only nominally under Burmese control. The British brought most of the highlands peoples loosely under their control but allowed highland minorities to retain a good deal of their own identity. This situation changed after independence as the Burmese-dominated central government attempted to assert control over the highland peoples. Despite continued resistance to the central government, those in the lowland areas and the larger settlements in the highlands have come to share more of a common national culture. The spread of Burmese language usage is an important factor in this regard. [Source: Countries and Their Cultures everyculture.com ]

According to Lonely Planet: “Myanmar was ruled with an iron fist long before the current regime came to power. From the early 19th century until WWII, the insatiable machine that was the British Empire held sway over Burma. Before the British, there were the kings of old, who rose to power by eliminating rivals with claims to the throne. Tracing the conflicts back to the 9th century, we find the Himalayan Bamar people, who comprise two-thirds of the population, at war with the Tibetan Plateau’s Mon people. The fight went on for so long that by the time the Bamar came out on top, the two cultures had effectively merged. The 11th-century Bamar king Anawrahta converted the land to Theravada Buddhism, and inaugurated what many consider to be its golden age. He used his war spoils to build the first temples at Bagan (Pagan).[Source: Lonely Planet]

Brook Larmer wrote in National Geographic: “It is tempting to see Myanmar as a simple morality tale, a battle between light and darkness. But the Lady and the generals don't represent the only poles vying for the country's future. Within the ranks of both the military and the opposition there are voices, still muted, pushing for greater flexibility and reform. Beyond this contest among the elites, there are the ethnic minorities, who make up about a third of the population and occupy more than half the territory. The question of how to govern this kaleidoscope of restive groups has vexed Burmese rulers since the time of the ancient kings, and any real progress will depend on their accommodation. "If the ethnic groups are left out of the equation," one foreign diplomat says, "this place could fall apart." [Source: Brook Larmer, National Geographic, August 2011]

When Burma’s last king took the throne, he ordered his advisers to kill seventy rivals and their families in three days. Once a king lost his palace, as a Burmese saying held, “he is left with nothing but his umbrella.”

River of Lost Footsteps: A Look at Burma’s History from a Burmese Perspective

In a book review, William Grimes wrote in the New York Times, “In ‘The River of Lost Footstep,’ Thant Myint-U offers at least a little understanding, "an introduction to a country whose current problems are increasingly known but whose colorful and vibrant history is almost entirely forgotten." Thant looks at Myanmar from an unusual vantage point. His maternal grandfather, U Thant, who served as secretary-general of the U.N. in the 1960s, belonged to the first generation of Burmese nationalists who assumed control of the government after the British left in 1948. Throughout the author's childhood, spent in New York, notable figures from the Burmese anti-colonial movement and the military government of General Ne Win paid visits to the family residence. The River of Lost Footsteps is therefore, in its later chapters, a kind of family history, made even more personal in the years after 1988, when the author became involved in the fledgling Burmese democracy movement [Source: William Grimes, New York Times, December 17, 2006]

“Part history, part memoir, part polemic, with a little travelogue thrown in, The River of Lost Footsteps begins at the beginning of all the troubles: the overthrow of the last royal dynasty in 1885, and the absorption of Burma into British-ruled India. Typically, Burma never even counted as a principal actor in the unfolding dream of empire. It was a sideshow, an afterthought, destined by geography to be a footnote to India or China. Myanmar's junior status would be a recurrent theme to the present day. "To the extent that it was thought about at all, it had the image of an exotic and dreamy backwater, a gentle Buddhist country, lost in time and quietly isolated, hardly the sort of location for a foreign policy crisis," Thant writes. He refers to the international response to the democracy movement of 1988, but the quotation could be applied to Burmese events at any time over the last several centuries.

The Burmese, of course, have always seen things differently. Thant, after setting the stage for the takeover by the British, tries to put the Burmese point of view back into the picture by retelling their history, in the hope that it might explain their present predicament. Thant, who wrote his doctoral dissertation at Cambridge on 19th-century Burmese history, does not tell the back story well. His narrative is choppy and often hard to follow. It feels dutiful, and never really regains momentum until the British re-enter, but several important points do come across. The Burmese, who conquered all of present-day Laos and Thailand in the 16th century, regarded themselves as a great conquering race and their military as a source of national pride.

It was Burmese military hubris that led to the first war between Burma and Britain, from 1824 to 1826, a disaster for the Burmese. National pride made the Raj period doubly humiliating. It was bad enough to endure the slights and the snubs, especially for the educated class that revered British culture and the British political system, but to be nothing more than a minor Indian province was truly upsetting.

U Thant, first Burmese member of the Left Book Club, fervent admirer of the Labor politician Stafford Cripps, makes an ideal symbol for his grandson's sensitive reading of the Raj period. An elite that might have furthered British aims was systematically alienated and insulted. The British, generalizing from their experience with the Gurkhas of Nepal, recruited their army from the mountainous tribal regions. The Burmese, mighty warriors in their own mind, were dismissed as insufficiently martial — childlike and lazy in fact. "It was a policy choice that rankled deeply in the Burmese imagination, eating away at their sense of pride and turning the idea of a Burmese army into a central element of the nationalist dream," Thant writes. Burmese independence came, of course, as an afterthought to India's -- yet another insult dealt by history. Almost nothing has gone right since. Civil war, the military takeover of the government and a ruinous attempt to create a unique brand of Burmese socialism have brought Burma to its knees.

Book: The River of Lost Footsteps by Thant Myint-U (Farrarr, Strauss &Giroux, 2006)

Kingdoms and Great Leaders of Myanmar

According to to the Myanmar government a total of 16 kingdoms or dynasties existed in Myanmar (with their locations). 1) Beikthano Pyu City State, located in middle part of Myanmar near Kookogwa Village, 11 miles north of Taung Dwingyee; 2) Thuwunna Bonmi (Ramanya) City State (A.D. 100), located in southern Myanmar near Beelin at the foot of Mount Kaylartha. 3) Tharay Kittarar Pyu City State (A.D. 400-1000), located in lower Myanmar, 5 miles southeast of Pyay; 4) Hanlin Pyu City State (A.D.?-832), located in upper Myanmar in Shwebo District, Wetlet Township; 6) Waytharlee Kingdom (BC 500- , located in western Myanmar about 6 miles north of Myauk Oo; 7) Bagan (Pagan) Dynasty (A.D. 107-1287), located in Upper Myanmar; 8) Pinya Dynasty (1309-1360), located in central Myanmar; 9) Sagaing Dynasty (1315-1364), located in upper Myanmar in Sagaing; 10) TaungNgoo Dynasty (1486-, located in central Myanmar; 11) Innwa Dynasty (1364-1555), located in central Myanmar; 12) Bago/Hantharwaddy Dynasty, located in lower Myanmar in Bago; 13) Kone Baung Dynasty (1752-1885), Shwebo Palace, built by King Ahlaung Pharar, 14) Kone Baung Dynasty, Ava Palace; 15) Kone Baung Dynasty Amarapura Palace, built by King Bodaw Pharar, 16) Kone Baung Dynasty, Mandalay Palace: built by King Mindon, [Source: Myanmar Travel Information]

Great Leaders of Myanmar: 1) King Anawrahta (1044-77); 2) King Wareru (1287-96); 3) King Narameikhla (1404-34); 4) King Tabinshwehti (1531-50); 5) King Bayinnaung (1551-81); 6) King Nanda (1581-99); 7) King Binnya Dala (1747-57); 8) King Alaungpaya (1752-60); 9) King Hsinbyushin (1763-76); 10) King Bodawpaya (1782-1819); 11) King Bagyidaw (1819-1837); 12) General Maha Bandoola (Bandula) (1824-26); 13) King Tharrawaddy (1837-46); 14) King Mindon (1853-1878); 15) King Thibaw (1853-78); 16) Sayar San (1930-32); 17) General Aung San (1915-1947);)

Rulers of Myanmar

[Source: Myanmar Travel Information]

Kings and Queens
Year Kings / Queens Relationship to Predecessor
First Dynasty of Tagaung Kingdom
n.a. King Abhirajah founder
- - -
Second Dynasty of Tagaung Kingdom
n.a. King Dhazarajah founder
- - -
Thuwunna Bonmi (Ramanya) City State
- (unknown) -
Beikthano Pyu City State
BC2000- (unknown) -
Hanlin Pyu City State
BC2?- (unknown) -
Tharay Kittarar Pyu City State. Waraman Dynasty (BC 1000-400)
- Shipyabu Waraman -
- Zeyasandra Waraman -
- Hiri Wikyama -
- Thuriya Wikyama -
Waytharly Kingdom. First Dynasty
BC 518-398 (unknown) -
- (unknown) -
- (unknown) -
- King Bahu Bali -
- King Ragu Pati -
- (unknown) -
- King Sandawdra -
- King Annaweta -
- (unknown) -
- King Rembotepa -
- Queen Kuwerami -
- King Urmasiye -
- King Zoogna -
AD 368-70 King Larky -
Waytharlee Kingdom. Second Dynasty
370-425 King Dadin Sandra -
- King Raza Sandra -
- - -
597-600 King Dwati Sandra -
Waytharlee Kingdom. Third Dynasty
600-612 King Maha Wira -
- - -
720- King Arnanda Sandra -
Waytharlee Kingdom. Fourth Dynasty
1289-1374 King Min Htee -
1404-? King Saw Mon (a) Nara Meik Hla -
1434- - -
1434-59 King Min Karee (a) Ali Khan -
1459 82 King Ba Saw Phru -
1531-53 King Min Bin (a) Min Pargee -
Pagan Dynasty (A.D. 107-1287)
107-152 King Thamu Darit founder
152-167 King Yathe Kyaung -
167-242 King Pyu Sawhti -
242-299 King Htiminyin -
299-324 King Yinminpaik -
324-344 King Paikthinli -
344-387 King Thinlikyaung -
387-412 King Kyaungdurit -
412-439 King Thihtan -
439-494 King Thuyai -
494-516 King Tharamunhpya -
516-523 King Thaiktaing -
523-532 King Thilikyaungnge -
- King Thinlipaik -
- King Hkanlaung -
- King Hkanlat -
- King Htuntaik -
- King Htunpyit -
- King Htunchit -
- King Popa Sawrahan -
- King Shwe Onthi -
- King Peitthon -
- King Peittaung -
- King Minhkwe -
- King Myinkywe -
- King Theinkha -
- King Theinsun -
- King Shwelaung -
- King Htuntwin -
- King Shwemauk -
- King Tun Lat -
- King Sawkhinhnit -
- King Kyelu -
- King Pyinbya -
- King Tannet -
- King Salay Nga Khway -
- King Theinkho son
- King Nyaung-u Sawrahan (Taungthugyi) usurper
- King Kunsaw Kyaunghpyu son of Tannet
- King Kyiso son of Nyaung-Oo Sawrahan
- King Sokkate brother
1044-1077 King Anawrahta * son of Kunsaw Kyaunghpyu
1077-1084 King Sawlu son
1064-1113 King Kyanzittha .
1113-1167 King Alaungsithu grandson
1167-1170 King Narathu son
1170-1173 King Naratheinkha son
1174-1211 King Nara Patisithu brother
1211-1234 King Htilominlo son
1234-1250 King Kyaswa son
1250-1255 King Uzana son
1255-1287 King Narathihapati son
1287-1298 King Kyawswa son
1298-1325 King Sawhnit son
1325-1369 King Sawmunnit son
Pinya Dynasty (1309-1360)
1309-25 King Thiha Thu -
1321-40 King Usanar -
1340-44 King Myinsaing Sithu -
1344-50 King Thiha Thu -
1350-59 King Kyawswar -
1359-60 King Thiha Thu -
Sagaing Dynasty (1315-1364)
1315-27 King Athinkayar -
1327-35 King Taraphyar -
1335-39 King Shwe Taung Tek -
1339-48 King Kyaswar -
1348-50 King Minye Taw Htwet -
1350-52 King Taraphyar -
1352-64 King Min Pyan Thihapatae -
TaungNgoo Dynasty (1486-
1486-1531 King Minkyinyo founder
1531-1550 King Tabinshwehti son
1551-1581 King Bayint Naung Kyaw Htin Nawyahtar (a) Barin Naung** son
1581- King Nanda son
- - -
1609- - -
- - -
1733-1752 King Maha Dhammayarzar -
Nyaung Yan Dynasty
1721 King Taninaganway -
- - -
Innwa Dynasty (1364-1555)
1364-67 King Thadoe Minphyar founder
- King Minkyi Swar brother-in-law
1400-00 King Taraphyar son
1400-? King Minkaung -
?-1425 King Thiha Thu son
1482-1501 King Min Kaung-2 -
- - -
1605-28 King AhaNaukPhet Lon Min (a) King Maha Dhama Razar -
- - -
1501-27 (BE -888) King Shway Nan Kyawt Shin -
- King Thohan Bwar son
- King Thibaw/ Ownbaung Sawbwa -
1543-46 King Kone Hmaing -
1546-52 King Moebyae Narapati -
1552-55 King Sithu Kyaw Htin -
Bago/Hantharwaddy Dynasty (1287-
1287-1296 King Wareru (a) Mogado (a) Chaofarua founder
- King Tarabya son
- (unknown) -
- (unknown) -
- (unknown) -
- (unknown) -
- (unknown) -
8th king King Ba Nyar Oo
- King Yazar Darit (a) Ba Nyar Nwet son
1423-26 King Ba Nyar Dhama Yarzar -
1426-46 King Ba Nyar Yan -
1446-50 King Ba Nyar Waru -
1450-53 King Ba Nyar Kyan -
1453-53 King Late Hmut Htaw son
1453-53 Queen Phwar Saw daughter .of Yazar Darit
1472-92 King Dhamazedi (a) Yazar Dipadi son-in-law
1492-1526 (BE -888) King Ba Nyar Yan

*** 3 kings' death in BE 888: Mon King Ba Nyar Yan. Innwa King Shwe Nan Kyawt Shin. Pyi King Thadoe Min Saw son
last king King Thushin Tagar Yutpi son
- - -
- King Smim Htaw Buddhaketi -
1747-1757 King Ba Nyar Dala -
Kone Baung Dynasty (1752-1885)
1752-1760 King Alaung Pharar (a) U Aung Zeya *** founder
1760-1763 King Naung Taw Gyi son
1763-1776 King Sin Phyu Shin brother
1776-1782 King Sint Ku Min son
1782-1782 King Maung Maung nephew
1782-1819 King Botaw Phayar son of King Alaung Pharar
1819-1837 King Bagyitaw grandson
1837-1846 King Tharyarwaddy brother
1846-1853 King Pagan son
1853-1878 King Mindon son
1878-1885 King Theepaw son

Commissioners and Governers
Year Head of State Commissioner/ Governor
- - Sir Charles Bernard
1820-1830 King George-IV -
1826 - Commissioner Captain Arthur Purves Phayre
1837-1901 Queen Victoria -
- - Lieutenant Governor Sir Fredrick Frayer
- - Governor Sir Hercourt Butler
- - Governor William Pitt Amherst
1849-1867 - Commissioner Sir Arthur Purves Phayre
1901-1910 King Edward VII -
1910-1936 King George V -
- - Sir J.A. Maung Gyi
1936-52 King George-VI -
1952-today Queen Elizabeth-II -
1942-45 - Primiere Dr. Ba Maw
1945-48 - Governor Sir Hubert Rance
1946-47 - General Aung San ****
Vice Chairman of Governor's Council
Defense and Foreign Minister

Head of State and Government
Year Head of State Head of Government
After Independence (1948-today)
1948- President Sut Shwe Thike Prime Minister U Nu
1953-58 President Dr.Ba Oo Prime Minister U Nu
1958-60 General Ne Win General Ne Win
1959-62 President Mahn Win Maung Prime Minister U Nu
1962-74 General Ne Win General Ne Win
1974-84 President U Ne Win President U Ne Win
1984-88 President U Ne Win President U San Yu
1988 President U Sein Lwin President U Sein Lwin
1988 President Dr.Maung Maung President Dr.Maung Maung
1988-1990 Prime Minister SGen. Saw Maung Prime Minister SGen. Saw Maung
1990-2011 Prime Minister SGen.Than Shwe Prime Minister SGen.Than Shwe
2011-today President U Thein Sein

Bibliography

Aung San Suu Kyi. Freedom from Fear: And Other Writings , 1991; Aung San Suu Kyi: Conversations with Alan Clements , 1997; Letters from Burma , 1997.; Aung-Thwin and Michael A. Pagan. The Origins of Modern Burma , 1995; Myth and History in the Historiography of Early Burma: Paradigms, Primary Sources, and Prejudices , 1998.; Carey, Peter, ed. Burma: The Challenge of Change in a Divided Society , 1997.; Fraser-Lu, Sylvia. Burmese Lacquerware , 1985; Burmese Crafts Past and Present , 1994.; Fredholm, Michael. Burma: Ethnicity and Insurgency , 1993.; Gravers, Mikael. Nationalism as Political Paranoia in Burma: An Essay on the Historical Practice of Power , 1999.; Howard, Michael C. Textiles of the Hill Tribes of Burma , 1999.; Isaaca, Ralph, and T. Richard Blurton. Visions from the Golden Land: Burma and the Art of Lacquer , 2000.; Lintner, Bertil. Outrage: Burma's Struggle for Democracy , 2nd ed., 1990;

Burma in Revolt: Opium and Insurgency since 1948 , 1999.; Luce, Gordon H. Phases of Pre-Pagan Burma Languages and History , 1995.; Maring, Joel M. and Ester G. Maring. Historical and Cultural Dictionary of Burma , 1973.; Maung, Mya. The Burmese Road to Poverty , 1991.; Renard, Ronald D. The Burmese Connection: Illegal Drugs and the Making of the Golden Triangle , 1996.; Silverstein, Josef, ed. Independent Burma at Forty Years: Six Assessments , 1989.; Singer, Noel F. Burmese Puppets , 1992; Burmese Dance and Theater , 1995.; Smith, Martin. Burma: Insurgency and the Politics of Ethnicity , 1991.; Spiro, Melford. Burmese Supernaturalism , 2nd ed., 1974; Kinship and Marriage in Burma , 1977; Buddhism and Society: A Great Tradition and Its Burmese Vicissitudes , 1982; Anthropological Other or Burmese Brother? Studies in Cultural Analysis , 1992.; Strachan, Paul, ed. Essays on the History and Buddhism of Burma , 1988; Imperial Pagan: Art and Architecture of Burma , 1990.; Taylor, Robert H. The State in Burma , 1987.;

National Geographic articles: "Time and Again in Burma," by Bryan Hodgson, July 1984; "Anatomy of the Burmese Beauty Secret" by John M. Keshishian M.D., June 1979; "Burma's Leg Rowers and Floating Farms" by W. E. Garret, June 1974; "Pagan, on the Road to Mandalay," March 1971. "Burma, Gentle Neighbor of India and China," by Robert Moore, February 1963; "Rubies and Sapphires" by Fred Ward, October 1991 [╔]; "Jade—Stone of Heaven" by Fred Ward, September 1987 [╝]; "The Pearl" by Fred Ward, August 1985 [┦]; [Source: Joel Swerdlow, National Geographic, July 1995]

Websites: http://www.burmalibrary.org/alphabet.php ; http://www.burmanet.org/news/; The Irrawaddy, a respected online magazine put out by Myanmar journalists exiled in Thailand; http://bakaung.blogspot.jp

Myanmar experts:Mary Callahan, the University of Washington; Monique Skidmore, Australian National University; David Steinberg, Georgetown University; Yangon-based Aung Naing Oo; Maung Zarni, London School of Economics; Renaud Egreteau, the University of Hong Kong; Jim Della-Giacoma, a Myanmar, the International Crisis Group think-tank;Des Ball, expert on the Southeast Asia drug trade; U Thant Myint-U, a historian and leading expert on Myanmar; Sean Turnell, an expert on Burma’s economy at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia; Dr Tin Maung Maung Than, a senior fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore and expert on Myanmar's military; Andy Hall, a migrant expert and researcher at the Institute for Population and Social Research at Thailand's Mahidol University; Alan Rabinowitz of the Wildlife Conservation Society, an expert on animals in Myanmar.;

Image Sources:

Text Sources: New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Times of London, Lonely Planet Guides, The Irrawaddy, Myanmar Travel Information Compton’s Encyclopedia, The Guardian, National Geographic, Smithsonian magazine, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Reuters, AP, AFP, Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic Monthly, The Economist, Global Viewpoint (Christian Science Monitor), Foreign Policy, burmalibrary.org, burmanet.org, Wikipedia, BBC, CNN, NBC News, Fox News and various books and other publications.

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© 2008 Jeffrey Hays

Last updated May 2014

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