The first years of Burmese independence were marked by successive
insurgencies by the Red Flag Communists led by Thakin Soe, the White Flag
Communists led by Thakin Than Tun, the Yèbaw Hpyu (White-band PVO) led by
Bo La Yaung, a member of the Thirty Comrades, army rebels calling themselves the
Revolutionary Burma Army (RBA) led by Communist officers Bo Zeya, Bo Yan Aung
and Bo Yè Htut — all three of them members of the Thirty Comrades, Arakanese
Muslims or the Mujahid, and the Karen National Union (KNU).
The expansion of Burma
had consequences along its frontiers. As those frontiers moved ever
closer to British India, there were problems both with refugees and
military operations spilling over ill-defined borders. In response to
continued expansion and even direct attacks by Burma, the British and
joined forces against it in 1824.
Soon after the fall of Ava, a new dynasty rose in Shwebo to challenge the
authority of Hanthawaddy. Over the next 70 years, the highly militaristic
Konbaung dynasty went on to create the largest Burmese empire, second only to
the empire of Bayinnaung.
Starting in the 1480s, Ava faced constant internal rebellions and external
attacks from the Shan States, and began to disintegrate. In 1510, Toungoo,
located in the remote southeastern corner of the Ava kingdom, also declared
After the fall of Pagan, the Mongols left in the searing Irrawaddy valley but
the Pagan Kingdom was irreparably broken up into several small kingdoms. By the
early 15th century, the country became organized along four major power centers:
Upper Burma, Lower Burma, Shan States and Arakan. Many of the power centers were
themselves made up of (often loosely held) minor kingdoms or princely states.
Humans lived in the region that is now Burma as early as 11,000 years ago,
but the first identifiable civilisation is that of the Pyu although both Burman
and Mon tradition claim that the fabled Suvarnabhumi mentioned in ancient Pali
and Sanskrit texts was a Mon kingdom centred on Thaton in present day Mon state.
Myanmar history is one of the most complex histories in Asia. Best
recollection as claimed in all Myanmar history books is that the first
civilization was in 300 BC. These are the Mon, which are not original
locals of the country but migrants from nearby places that settled in
and named their Kingdom Suwarnabhumi in the city of Thaton.