There are inscriptions from the 6th century BCE indicating
that advanced civilizations existed early in the country.
However, making the constant migration of peoples from north
to south and from the mountains to the coast as well as
their mix and matches, it is difficult to form a picture of
the relationship before the 11th century CE At that time
defeated the Burmese Hmong people in the south and
kadu in north, and created the Kingdom of Pagan.
The following two centuries were a true "golden age" for
Burmese thinking and architecture. But Mongol groups
attacked from the north with the support of the great Khan
of Beijing. The Mongols invasions culminated in 1283 with
the fall of the Pagan Empire and continued until 1301.
During this invasion, Marco Polo arrived in the country. He
was in the service of Kublai Khan and is believed to be the
first European to enter Burmese soil.
Burma remained divided into small states based on ethnic
differences until the 16th century, when the local kings of
Toungoo again managed to unite the country. On the 2nd of
these rulers, Bayinnaung extended its power to present-day
Laos and Thailand. Under him the land reached its greatest
extent and its greatest splendor.
But the wastefulness of the state undermined agriculture
and the economy and led to an extensive emigration of
peasants to the surrounding lands. The dissolution process
was further enhanced by the presence of European traders and
In 1740 it was once again a king from Toungoo who
restored the country's unity with the support of the
British, but as his descendants continued the national
reconstruction project it came into conflict with British
interests in Assam (India), and the former European ally
turned now against the Burmese. Three major wars took place
in the 19th century between Burma and England - in 1820-26,
1852-53 and 1885-86. During the last war, King Thibaw was
captured and Burma placed under the English Viceroy of
In the 1930s, several nationalist movements emerged: one
led by Buddhist monk U Ottama, inspired by Gandhi ; Saya
San's attempt to reinstate the monarchy; and finally, the
movements that originated from the University of Rangoon and
which tried to combine Buddhism with Marxism. In 1936, a
student strike led by Aung San developed into a national
protest against the British.
The anti-colonial movement was not just the expression of
the elite in the cities. The collapse of the international
rice market in 1930 and the high taxes sent thousands of
farmers into debt and ruin at the hands of the British banks
and the Indian money lenders. Dissatisfaction turned into
xenophobia and popular uprisings in 1938 and 39.
At the outbreak of World War II, a group of anti-colonial
people - known as the "30 comrades" - formed in Bangkok,
Burma's Army of Independence (BIA). It fought with the
Japanese against the British and together they captured the
capital on March 7, 1943. The ethnic minority people Karen,
Kachin and Chin organized the support of Great Britain
guerrillas fighting the BIA and the Japanese.