British rule in Burma
British rule in Burma lasted from 1824 to 1948, from the Anglo-Burmese wars through the creation of Burma as a Province of British India to the establishment of an independently administered colony, independence. The region under British control was known as British Burma. Various portions of Burmese territories, including Arakan, Tenasserim were annexed by the British after their victory in the First Anglo-Burmese War; the annexed territories were designated the minor province, British Burma, of British India in 1862. After the Third Anglo-Burmese War in 1885, Upper Burma was annexed, the following year, the province of Burma in British India was created, becoming a major province in 1897; this arrangement lasted until 1937, when Burma began to be administered separately by the Burma Office under the Secretary of State for India and Burma. British rule was disrupted during the Japanese occupation of much of the country during the World War II. Burma achieved independence from British rule on 4 January 1948.
Burma is sometimes referred to as "the Scottish Colony", due to the heavy role played by Scotsmen in colonising and running the country, one of the most notable beings Sir James Scott, the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company. Because of its location, trade routes between China and India passed straight through the country, keeping Burma wealthy through trade, although self-sufficient agriculture was still the basis of the economy. Indian merchants traveled along the coasts and rivers throughout the regions where the majority of Burmese lived, bringing Indian cultural influences into the country that still exist there today. Burma was one of the first Southeast Asian countries to adopt Buddhism, which went on to become the patronised religion. Before the British conquest and colonisation, the ruling Konbaung Dynasty practiced a centralized form of government; the king was the chief executive with the final say on all matters, but he could not make new laws and could only issue administrative edicts. The country had two codes of law, the Rajathat and Dammathat, the Hluttaw, the center of government, was divided into three branches—fiscal and judicial.
In theory the king was in charge of all of the Hluttaw but none of his orders got put into place until the Hluttaw approved them, thus checking his power. Further dividing the country, provinces were ruled by governors who were appointed by the Hluttaw and villages were ruled by hereditary headmen approved by the king. Conflict began between Burma and the British when the Konbaung Dynasty decided to expand into Arakan in the state of Assam, close to British-held Chittagong in India. After Burma's defeat of the Kingdom of Arakan in 1784–1785, in 1823, Burmese forces again crossed the frontier; this led to the First Anglo-Burmese War. The British dispatched a large seaborne expedition that took Rangoon without a fight in 1824. In Danuphyu, south of Ava, the Burmese general Maha Bandula was killed and his armies routed. Myanmar was forced to cede other northern provinces; the 1826 Treaty of Yandabo formally ended the First Anglo-Burmese War, the longest and the most expensive war in the history of British India.
Fifteen thousand European and Indian soldiers died, together with an unknown number of Burmese army and civilian casualties. The campaign cost the British five million pounds sterling to 13 million pounds sterling or (5 million pounds = 24 million dollars. In 1852, the Second Anglo-Burmese War was provoked by the British, who sought the teak forests in Lower Burma as well as a port between Calcutta and Singapore. After 25 years of peace and Burmese fighting started afresh and continued until the British occupied all of Lower Burma; the British were victorious in this war and as a result obtained access to the teak and rubies of northern Myanmar. King Mindon tried to readjust to the thrust of imperialism, he made Burma more receptive to foreign interests. But the British initiated the Third Anglo-Burmese War, which lasted less than two weeks during November 1885; the British government justified their actions by claiming that the last independent king of Myanmar, Thibaw Min, was a tyrant and that he was conspiring to give France more influence in the country.
British troops entered Mandalay on 28 November 1885. Thus, after three wars gaining various parts of the country, the British occupied all the area of present-day Myanmar, making the territory a Province of British India on 1 January 1886; the British decided to annex all of Upper Burma as a colony and to make the whole country a province of British India. The new colony of Upper Burma was attached to the Burma Province on 26 February 1886. Burmese armed resistance continued sporadically for several years and the British commander had to coerce the High Court of Justice to continue to function. Though war ended after only a couple of weeks, resistance continued in northern Burma until 1890, with the British resorting to systematic destruction of villages and appointment of new officials to halt all guerrilla activity. Traditional Burmese society was drastically altered by the demise of the monarchy and the separation of religion and state. Intermarriage between Europeans and Burmese gave birth to an indigenous Eurasian community known as the Anglo-Burmese who would come to dominate the colonial society, hovering above
Japanese occupation of Burma
The Japanese occupation of Burma was the period between 1942 and 1945 during World War II, when Burma was occupied by the Empire of Japan. The Japanese had assisted formation of the Burma Independence Army, trained the Thirty Comrades, who were the founders of the modern Armed Forces; the Burmese hoped to gain support of the Japanese in expelling the British, so that Burma could become independent. In 1942 Japan invaded Burma and nominally declared the colony independent as the State of Burma on 1 August 1943. A puppet government led by Ba Maw was installed. However, many Burmese began to believe the Japanese had no intention of giving them real independence. Aung San, father of future opposition leader and State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, other nationalist leaders formed the Anti-Fascist Organisation in August 1944, which asked the United Kingdom to form a coalition with the other Allies against the Japanese. By April 1945, the Allies had driven out the Japanese. Subsequently, negotiations began between the British for independence.
Under Japanese occupation, 170,000 to 250,000 civilians died. Some Burmese nationalists saw the outbreak of World War II as an opportunity to extort concessions from the British in exchange for support in the war effort. Other Burmese, such as the Thakin movement, opposed Burma's participation in the war under any circumstances. Aung San with other Thakins founded the Communist Party of Burma in August 1939. Aung San co-founded the People's Revolutionary Party, renamed the Socialist Party after World War II, he was instrumental in founding the Freedom Bloc by forging an alliance of Dobama Asiayone, ABSU, politically active monks and Ba Maw's Poor Man's Party. After Dobama Asiayone called for a national uprising, an arrest warrant was issued for many of the organisation's leaders including Aung San, who escaped to China. Aung San's intention was to make contact with the Chinese Communists but he was detected by the Japanese authorities who offered him support by forming a secret intelligence unit called the Minami Kikan, headed by Colonel Suzuki with the objective of closing the Burma Road and supporting a national uprising.
Aung San returned to Burma to enlist twenty-nine young men who went to Japan with him to receive military training on Hainan and they came to be known as the "Thirty Comrades". When the Japanese occupied Bangkok in December 1941, Aung San announced the formation of the Burma Independence Army in anticipation of the Japanese invasion of Burma in 1942. For Japan's military leadership, the conquest of Burma was a vital strategic objective upon the opening of hostilities with Britain and the United States. Occupation of Burma would interrupt a critical supply link to China; the Japanese knew that rubber was one of the few militarily vital resources that the United States was not self-sufficient in. It was thought critical that the Allies be denied access to Southeast Asian rubber supplies if they were to accept peace terms favourable to Japan; the BIA formed a provisional government in some areas of the country in the spring of 1942, but there were differences within the Japanese leadership over the future of Burma.
While Colonel Suzuki encouraged the Thirty Comrades to form a provisional government, the Japanese military leadership had never formally accepted such a plan. The Japanese Army turned to Ba Maw to form a government. During the war in 1942, the BIA had grown in an uncontrolled manner, in many districts officials and criminals appointed themselves to the BIA, it was still headed by Aung San. While the BIA had been an irregular force, the BDA was recruited by selection and trained as a conventional army by Japanese instructors. Ba Maw was afterwards declared head of state, his cabinet included both Aung San as War Minister and the Communist leader Thakin Than Tun as Minister of Land and Agriculture as well as the Socialist leaders Thakins Nu and Mya; when the Japanese declared Burma, in theory, independent in 1943, the Burma Defence Army was renamed the Burma National Army. It soon became apparent that Japanese promises of independence were a sham and that Ba Maw was deceived; as the war turned against the Japanese, they declared Burma a sovereign state on 1 August 1943, but this was just another façade.
Disillusioned, Aung San began negotiations with Communist leaders Thakin Than Tun and Thakin Soe, Socialist leaders Ba Swe and Kyaw Nyein which led to the formation of the Anti-Fascist Organisation in August 1944 at a secret meeting of the CPB, the PRP and the BNA in Pegu. The AFO was renamed the Anti-Fascist People's Freedom League, roundly opposed the Japanese fascism, proposing a fairer and more equal society. Thakins Than Tun and Soe, while in Insein prison in July 1941, had co-authored the Insein Manifesto which, against the prevailing opinion in the Dobama movement, identified world fascism as the main enemy in the coming war and called for temporary co-operation with the British in a broad allied coalition which should include the Soviet Union. Soe had gone underground to organise resistance against the Japanese occupation, Than Tun was able to pass on Japanese intelligence to Soe, while other Communist leaders Thakins Thein Pe and Tin Shwe made contact with the exiled colonial government in Simla, India.
Japanese soldiers from the 3rd Battalion, the 215th Regiment and the OC Moulmein Kempeitai of the Imperial Japanese Army entered the village of Kalagong on 7 July 1945 and rounded up all the inhabitants for questioning. These soldiers were ordered by Major General Seiei Yamamoto, chief of staff of the 33rd Army, to massacre an estimated 600 Burmese villagers. There were infor
The Pyu city states were a group of city-states that existed from c. 2nd century BCE to c. mid-11th century in present-day Upper Burma. The city-states were founded as part of the southward migration by the Tibeto-Burman-speaking Pyu people, the earliest inhabitants of Burma of whom records are extant; the thousand-year period referred to as the Pyu millennium, linked the Bronze Age to the beginning of the classical states period when the Pagan Kingdom emerged in the late 9th century. The city-states—five major walled cities and several smaller towns have been excavated—were all located in the three main irrigated regions of Upper Burma: the Mu River Valley, the Kyaukse plains and Minbu region, around the confluence of the Irrawaddy and Chindwin Rivers. Part of an overland trade route between China and India, the Pyu realm expanded south. Halin, founded in the 1st century AD at the northern edge of Upper Burma, was the largest and most important city until around the 7th or 8th century when it was superseded by Sri Ksetra at the southern edge.
Twice as large as Halin, Sri Ksetra was the largest and most influential Pyu centre. The Pyu culture was influenced by trade with India, importing Buddhism as well as other cultural and political concepts, which would have an enduring influence on the Culture of Burma and political organisation; the Pyu calendar, based on the Buddhist calendar became the Burmese calendar. Recent scholarship, though yet not settled, suggests that the Pyu script, based on the Indian Brahmi script, may have been the source of the Burmese script used to write the Burmese language; the millennium-old civilisation came crashing down in the 9th century when the city-states were destroyed by repeated invasions from the Kingdom of Nanzhao. The Bamar people, who came from Nanzhao, set up a garrison town at Bagan at the confluence of the Irrawaddy and Chindwin Rivers. Pyu settlements remained in Upper Burma for the next three centuries but the Pyu were absorbed into the expanding Pagan Kingdom; the Pyu language still existed until the late 12th century.
By the 13th century, the Pyu had assumed the Burman ethnicity. The histories and legends of the Pyu were incorporated to those of the Bamar. Only the city-states of Halin and Sri Ksetra are designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, where the other sites can be added in the future for an extension nomination. Based on limited archaeological evidence, it is inferred that the earliest cultures existed in Burma as early as 11,000 BCE in the central dry zone close to the Irrawaddy; the Anyathian, Burma's Stone Age, existed around the same time as the lower and middle Paleolithic eras in Europe. Three caves located near Taunggyi at the foothills of the Shan Hills have yielded Neolithic artefacts dated 10-6000 BCE. About 1500 BCE, people in the region were turning copper into bronze, growing rice, domesticating chickens and pigs. By 500 BCE, iron-working settlements emerged in an area south of present-day Mandalay. Bronze-decorated coffins and burial sites filled with earthenware remains have been excavated.
Archaeological evidence at Samon River Valley south of Mandalay suggests rice-growing settlements that traded with China between 500 BCE and 200 CE. Circa 2nd century BCE, the Tibeto-Burman-speaking Pyu people began to enter the Irrawaddy River Valley from present-day Yunnan using the Tapain and Shweli Rivers; the original home of the Pyu is reconstructed to be Qinghai Lake, located in the present-day provinces of Qinghai and Gansu. The Pyu, the earliest inhabitants of Burma of whom records are extant, went on to found settlements throughout the plains region centred on the confluence of the Irrawaddy and Chindwin Rivers, inhabited since the Paleolithic; the Pyu realm was longer than wide, stretching from Sri Ksetra in the south to Halin in the north and Maingmaw to the east and Ayadawkye to the west. The Tang dynasty's records report 18 Pyu states, nine of which were walled cities, covering 298 districts. Archaeological surveys have so far unearthed 12 walled cities, including five large walled cities, several smaller non-fortified settlements, located at or near the three most important irrigated regions of precolonial Burma: the Mu River Valley in the north, the Kyaukse plains in centre, the Minbu region in the south and west of the former two.
The city-states were contemporaries of the Kingdom of Funan and Champa, Dvaravati and Takuapa near the Kra Isthmus, Srivijaya. All these statelets foreshadowed the rise of the "classical kingdoms" of Southeast Asia in the second millennium CE, it was a long-lasting civilisation that lasted nearly a millennium to the early 9th century until a new group of "swift horsemen" from the north, the of the Nanzhao Kingdom entered the upper Irrawaddy valley through a series of raids. According to the Tang Dynasty chronicles, the Nanzhao began their raids of Upper Burma starting as early as 754 or 760. By 763, the Nanzhao king Ko-lo-feng had conquered the upper Irrawaddy Valley. Nanzhao raids intensified in the 9th century, with the Nanzhao raiding in 800-802, again in 808-809. According to the Chinese, in 832, the Nanzhao warriors overran the Pyu country, took away 3000 Pyu prisoners from Halin. To be sure, the Pyu and their culture did not disappear; the size of the Pyu realm and its many walled cities throughout the land indicates a po
First Toungoo Empire
The First Toungoo Empire was the dominant power in mainland Southeast Asia in the second half of the 16th century. At its peak, Toungoo "exercised suzerainty from Manipur to the Cambodian marches and from the borders of Arakan to Yunnan" and was "probably the largest empire in the history of Southeast Asia." The "most adventurous and militarily successful" dynasty in Burmese history was the "shortest-lived."The empire grew out of the principality of Toungoo, a minor vassal state of Ava until 1510. The landlocked petty state began its rise in the 1530s under Tabinshwehti who went on to found the largest polity in Myanmar since the Pagan Empire by 1550, his more celebrated successor Bayinnaung greatly expanded the empire, conquering much of mainland Southeast Asia by 1565. He spent the next decade keeping the empire intact, putting down rebellions in Siam, Lan Xang and the northernmost Shan states. From 1576 onwards, he declared a large sphere of influence in westerly lands—trans-Manipur states and Ceylon.
The empire, held together by patron-client relationships, declined soon after his death in 1581. His successor Nanda never gained the full support of the vassal rulers, presided over the empire's precipitous collapse in the next 18 years; the First Toungoo Empire marked the end of the period of petty kingdoms in mainland Southeast Asia. Although the overextended empire proved ephemeral, the forces that underpinned its rise were not, its two main successor states—Restored Toungoo Burma and Ayutthaya Siam—went on to dominate western and central mainland Southeast Asia down to the mid-18th century. The polity is known by a number of names; the prevailing terms used by most international scholars are the "First Toungoo Dynasty". In traditional Burmese historiography, the period is known as either the "Toungoo–Hanthawaddy Period", or the "Toungoo Period". Furthermore, in international usage, the terms "Toungoo Dynasty/Empire" cover both "First Toungoo Dynasty/Empire" and "Restored Toungoo Dynasty/Empire".
Traditional Burmese historiography treats the Restored Toungoo Dynasty/Empire period as a separate era called the Nyaungyan period. This article, for the most part, uses prevailing academic names for place names, not the current official English transliterations in use in Myanmar since 1989. For example, the official English spelling of the city after which the dynasty is named since 1989 has been "Taungoo", replacing the older spelling of Toungoo. However, the changes have not been adopted in international publications on Burmese history; the earliest known record of administration of the region dates to the late Pagan period. In 1191, King Sithu II appointed Ananda Thuriya governor of Kanba Myint. In 1279, two great grandsons of Ananda Thuriya—Thawun Gyi and Thawun Nge—founded a new settlement of 370 households, about 40 km farther south, it was named Toungoo because of its location by the hills in the narrow Sittaung river valley between the Bago Yoma range and southern Shan Hills. The narrow valley at the southern edge of the dry zone was not accessible from Central or Upper Burma.
Its hard-to-reach location would shape much of its early history. In the 14th century, the settlement grew to be the principal city of the frontier region, which remained a lawless place. Toungoo's first rebellion of 1317–18 failed but its nominal overlord Pinya had little control over it. Usurpers seized office by assassinating the governor—in 1325, 1344 and 1347—without incurring any reprisals by Pinya. In 1358, Toungoo outright revolted. Pinya's successor Ava regained Toungoo in 1367 but gubernatorial assassinations continued: 1375, 1376 and 1383, at times with Ava's own permission. Only in 1399 could Ava impose tighter control. By Toungoo, along with Prome, had received waves of Burmese-speaking migrants, driven out of Upper Burma by the successive Shan raids in the second half of the 14th century, both southern vassal states had emerged as new centres of economic activity as well as of Burman culture. Toungoo's growth continued after the Forty Years' War left Ava exhausted. From 1425 onwards, Ava faced rebellions whenever a new king came to power, who had to restore order by war.
Toungoo's “relentlessly ambitious leaders” tested Ava's resolve by staging assassinations and rebellions at times with Pegu's help. In 1470, King Thihathura of Ava appointed Sithu Kyawhtin, the general who put down the latest Toungoo rebellion, viceroy-general of the restive province. A distant member of the Ava royalty, Sithu Kyawhtin remained loyal to Thihathura's successor Minkhaung II, greeted with a wave of rebellions by lords of Yamethin and Prome. Sithu Kyawhtin died in action at Yamethin in 1481, was succeeded by his son Min Sithu. In 1485, Min Sithu became the eleventh ruler of Toungoo to be assassinated in office; the assassin was none other than his nephew Mingyi Nyo. It would be yet another rebellion except that Nyo won Minkhaung's acquiescence by offering his full support to the embattled king. Nyo turned out to be an able leader, he brought law and order to the region, which attracted refugees from other parts of Central and Upper Burma. Using increased
Nanzhao spelled Nanchao or Nan Chao, was a kingdom that flourished in what is now southern China and Southeast Asia during the 8th and 9th centuries. It was centered on present-day Yunnan in China. Nanzhao encompassed many linguistic groups; some historians believe that the majority of the population were of the Bai people, but that the elite spoke a variant of Nuosu, a Tibeto-Burman language related to Burmese. The ruling elite of Nanzhao were descended from the Cuan clan who migrated from Taiyuan to Yunnan during Zhuge Liang's Southern Campaign in 225. By the fourth century they had gained control of the region, but they rebelled against the Sui dynasty in 593 and were destroyed by a retaliatory expedition in 602; the Cuan split into two groups known as the White Mywa. The White Mywa tribes settled on the fertile land around the alpine fault lake Erhai; these tribes were called Mengshe, Langqiong, Dengtan and Yuexi. Each tribe had its own kingdom, known as a zhao. In 704 the Tibetan Empire made these kingdoms into tributaries.
In the year 737 AD, with the support of the Tang dynasty of China, Piluoge of Mengshe united the six zhaos in succession, establishing a new kingdom called Nanzhao. The capital was established in 738 at Taihe. Located in the heart of the Erhai valley, the site was ideal: it could be defended against attack and it was in the midst of rich farmland. In academia, the ethnic composition of the Nanzhao kingdom's population has been debated for a century. Chinese scholars tend to favour the theory that the rulers came from the aforementioned Bai or Yi groups, while some non-Chinese scholars subscribed to the theory that the Thai ethnic group was a major component, that moved south into modern-day Thailand. Piluoge died in 748, was succeeded by his son Geluofeng; when the Chinese prefect of Yunnan attempted to rob Nanzhao envoys in 750, Geluofeng attacked, killing the prefect and seizing nearby Tang territory. In retaliation, the Tang governor of Jiannan, Xianyu Zhongtong, attacked Nanzhao with an army of 80,000 soldiers in 751.
He was defeated by Duan Jianwei with heavy losses at Xiaguan. Duan Jianwei's grave is two kilometres west of Xiaguan, the Tomb of Ten Thousand Soldiers is located in Tianbao Park. In 754, another Tang army of 100,000 soldiers, led by General Li Mi, approached the kingdom from the north, but never made it past Mu'ege. By the end of 754, Geluofeng had established an alliance with the Tibetans against the Tang that would last until 794. In 801 Nanzhao and Tang forces defeated a contingent of Abbasid slave soldiers. Bolstered by these successes, Nanzhao expanded into Burma, conquering the Pyu city-states in the 820s eliminating them in 832. In 829, they withdrew the following year. In the 830s, they conquered the neighboring kingdoms of Kunlun to the Nuwang to the south. In 846, Nanzhao raided the southern Tang circuit of Annam. Relations with the Tang broke down after the death of Emperor Xuanzong in 859, when the Nanzhao king Shilong treated Tang envoys sent to receive his condolences with contempt, launched raids on Bozhou and Annam.
Shilong attacked Annam again in 863. In 869, he failed to capture it. By 873, Nanzhao had been expelled from Sichuan, they were driven from the Bozhou region, modern Guizhou, in 877 by a local military force organized by the Yang family from Shanxi. They retreated to Yunnan, after which the kingdom declined. In 902, the dynasty came to a bloody end when the chief minister murdered all of the key members of the royal family, including the heir apparent. Three other dynasties followed in quick succession: Da Changhe, Da Tianxing and Da Yining. Duan Siping seized power in 937 and established the Dali Kingdom; the area had a strong connection with Tantric Buddhism, which has survived to this day at Jianchuan and neighboring areas. The worship of Guanyin and Mahākāla is different from other forms of Chinese Buddhism. Nanzhao had strong religious connections with the Pagan Kingdom in what is today Myanmar, as well as Tibet and Bengal; the particular form of Buddhism practiced in Nanzhao and the Dali Kingdom was known as Azhali, founded around 821-824 by a monk from India called Li Xian Maishun.
More monks from India built a temple in Heqing. The last king of Nanzhao established Buddhism as the official state reigion. Andrade, Tonio; the Gunpowder Age: China, Military Innovation, the Rise of the West in World History. Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-13597-7.. Asimov, M. S.. History of civilizations of Central Asia Volume IV The age of achievement: A. D. 750 to the end of the fifteenth century Part One The historical and economic setting. UNESCO Publishing. Barfield, Thomas; the Perilous Frontier: Nomadic Empires and China. Basil Blackwell. Barrett, Timothy Hugh; the Woman Who Discovered Printing. Great Britain: Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-12728-7. Beckwith, Christopher I.. The Tibetan Empire in Central Asia: A History of the Struggle for Great Power among Tibetans, Turks and Chinese during the Early Middle Ages. Princeton University Press. Blackmore, M.. "The Rise of Nan-Chao in Yunnan". Journal of Southeast Asian History. 1: 47–61. Bregel, Yuri. An Historical Atlas of Central Asia.
Brill. Coedès, George. Walter F. Vella, ed; the Indianized States of Southeast Asia. Translated by Susan Brown Cowing. University of Hawaii Press
The Konbaung dynasty known as the Alompra dynasty, or Alaungpaya dynasty, was the last dynasty that ruled Burma/Myanmar from 1752 to 1885. It created the second-largest empire in Burmese history and continued the administrative reforms begun by the Toungoo dynasty, laying the foundations of the modern state of Burma; the reforms, proved insufficient to stem the advance of the British, who defeated the Burmese in all three Anglo-Burmese wars over a six-decade span and ended the millennium-old Burmese monarchy in 1885. An expansionist dynasty, the Konbaung kings waged campaigns against Manipur, Assam, the Mon kingdom of Pegu and the Siamese kingdom of Ayutthaya, thus establishing the Third Burmese Empire. Subject to wars and treaties with the British, the modern state of Burma can trace its current borders to these events. Throughout the Konbaung dynasty, the capital was relocated several times for religious and strategic reasons; the dynasty was heroically founded by a village chief, who became known as Alaungpaya, in 1752 to challenge the Restored Hanthawaddy Kingdom which had just toppled the Taungoo dynasty.
By 1759, Alaungpaya's forces had reunited all of Burma and driven out the French and the British who had provided arms to Hanthawaddy. Alaungpaya's second son, came to the throne after a short reign by his elder brother, Naungdawgyi, he continued his father's expansionist policy and took Ayutthaya in 1767, after seven years of fighting. Realising the need to modernise, the Konbaung rulers tried to enact various reforms with limited success. King Mindon with his able brother Crown Prince Kanaung established state-owned factories to produce modern weaponry and goods. Mindon tried to reduce the tax burden by lowering the heavy income tax and created a property tax, as well as duties on foreign exports; these policies had the reverse effect of increasing the tax burden, as the local elites used the opportunity to enact new taxes without lowering the old ones. In addition, the duties on foreign exports stifled commerce. Konbaung kings extended administrative reforms begun in the Restored Toungoo dynasty period, achieved unprecedented levels of internal control and external expansion.
They reduced the hereditary privileges of Shan chiefs. They instituted commercial reforms that increased government income and rendered it more predictable. Money economy continued to gain ground. In 1857, the crown inaugurated a full-fledged system of cash taxes and salaries, assisted by the country's first standardised silver coinage. Nonetheless, the extent and pace of reforms were uneven and proved insufficient to stem the advance of British colonialism. In 1760, Burma began a series of wars with Siam that would last well into the middle of the 19th century. By 1770, Alaungpaya's heirs had temporarily defeated Siam, subdued much of Laos and defeated four invasions by Qing China. With the Burmese preoccupied for another two decades by another impending invasion by the Chinese, the Siamese recovered their territories by 1770, went on to capture Lan Na by 1776. Burma and Siam went to war until 1855 but after decades of war, the two countries exchanged Tenasserim and Lan Na. In the defence of its realm, the dynasty fought four wars against the Qing dynasty of China which saw the threat of the expansion of Burmese power in the East.
In 1770, despite his victory over the Chinese armies, King Hsinbyushin sued for peace with China and concluded a treaty to maintain bilateral trade with the Middle Kingdom, important for the dynasty at that time. The Qing dynasty opened up its markets and restored trading with Burma in 1788 after reconciliation. Thenceforth peaceful and friendly relations prevailed between Burma for a long time. Faced with a powerful China and a resurgent Siam in the east, Bodawpaya acquired western kingdoms of Arakan and Assam, leading to a long ill-defined border with British India. Europeans began to set up trading posts in the Irrawaddy delta region during this period. Konbaung tried to maintain its independence by balancing between the British. In the end it failed, the British severed diplomatic relations in 1811, the dynasty fought and lost three wars against the British Empire, culminating in total annexation of Burma by the British; the British decisively defeated the Burmese in the First Anglo-Burmese War.
Burma was forced to cede Arakan, Manipur and Tenasserim, pay a large indemnity of one million pounds. In 1837, King Bagyidaw's brother, seized the throne, put Bagyidaw under house arrest and executed the chief queen Me Nu and her brother. Tharrawaddy made no attempt to improve relations with Britain, his son Pagan, who became king in 1846, executed thousands – some sources say as many as 6,000 – of his wealthier and more influential subjects on trumped-up charges. During his reign, relations with the British became strained. In 1852, the Second Anglo-Burmese War broke out. Pagan was succeeded by the progressive Mindon. Mindon attempted to bring Burma into greater contact with the outside world, hosted the Fifth Great Buddhist Synod in 1872 at Mandalay, gaining the respect of the British and the admiration of his own people. Mindon avoided annexation in 1875 by ceding the Karenni States, he died before he could name a successor, Thibaw, a lesser pr
State Peace and Development Council
The State Peace and Development Council was the official name of the military government of Burma, which seized power under the rule of Saw Maung in 1988. On 30 March 2011, Senior General and Council Chairman Than Shwe signed a decree that dissolved the Council. From 1988 to 1997, the SPDC was known as State Law and Order Restoration Council, which had replaced the role of Burma Socialist Programme Party. In 1997, SLORC was reconstituted as the State Peace and Development Council; the powerful regional military commanders, who were members of SLORC, were promoted to new positions and transferred to the capital of Rangoon. The new regional military commanders were not included in the membership of the SPDC; the SPDC consisted of eleven senior military officers. The members of the junta wielded a great deal more power than the cabinet ministers, who were either more-junior military officers or civilians; the exception was the Defence Ministry portfolio, in the hands of junta leader Than Shwe himself.
On 15 September 1993, it established the Union Solidarity and Development Association, replaced by Union Solidarity and Development Party in 29 March 2010 in time for the elections. Although the regime retreated from the totalitarian Burmese Way to Socialism of BSPP when it took power in 1988, the regime was accused of human rights abuses, it rejected the 1990 election results and kept Aung San Suu Kyi under house arrest until her release on 13 November 2010. The council was dissolved on 30 March 2011, with the inauguration of the newly elected government, led by its former member and Prime Minister, President Thein Sein. SLORC was formed when the Burmese Armed Forces, commanded by General Saw Maung, seized power on 18 September 1988 crushing the'Four Eights Uprising'. On the day it seized power SLORC issued Order No.1/1988 stating that the Armed Forces had taken over power and announced the formation of the SLORC. With Order No. 2/1988, the SLORC abolished all'Organs of State Power' that were formed under the 1974 Burmese constitution.
The Pyithu Hluttaw, the Council of Ministers, the Council of People's Justices, the Council of People's Attorneys, the Council of People's Inspectors, as well as the State/Region, Ward/Village People's Councils were abolished. The SLORC stated that the services of the Deputy Ministers in the previous Burma Socialist Programme Party government which it replaced were terminated; the Orders that SLORC issued on the day of its takeover can be seen in the 19 September 1988 issue of The Working People's Daily. The first Chairman of SLORC was General Saw Maung Senior General, the Prime Minister, he was removed as both Chairman of SLORC and Prime Minister on 23 April 1992 when General Than Shwe Senior General, took over both posts from him. On 15 November 1997, SLORC was abolished and reconstituted as the State Peace and Development Council. Most but not all members of the abolished SLORC were in the SPDC military regime. Ordered by protocol: Senior General Than Shwe, Chairman of the SPDC, Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services Vice Senior General Maung Aye, Deputy Chairman of the SPDC, Deputy Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services, Commander-in-Chief of the Army Retired General Thura U Shwe Mann, Former Joint Chief of Staff of the Army and Air Force Retired General U Thein Sein, Prime Minister and former President Retired General U Thiha Thura Tin Aung Myint Oo, Secretary-1 of the SPDC, Former Quartermaster General and ex-Vice-President Major-General Ohn Myint, Chief of Bureau of Special Operation – 1 Lieutenant-General Min Aung Hlaing, Chief of Bureau of Special Operation – 2 Lieutenant-General Ko Ko, Chief of Bureau of Special Operation – 3 Lieutenant-General Tha Aye, Chief of Bureau of Special Operation – 4 Lieutenant-General Myint Swe, Chief of Bureau of Special Operation – 5 Lieutenant-General Khin Zaw, Chief of Bureau of Special Operation −6 Major-General Hla Htay Win, Chief of Armed Forces Training Retired Lieutenant-General U Tin Aye, Former Chief of Military Ordnance, Current Head of Election Council Lieutenant-General Thura Myint Aung, Adjutant General Western non-governmental organisations, such as the Burma Campaign UK, the US Campaign for Burma, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have made a variety of serious accusations against the SPDC.
Reports by these organisations as well as the United Nations and the Karen Human Rights Group alleged gross human rights abuses that took place in Burma under their regime, including: Murder and arbitrary executions Torture and rape Recruitment of child soldiers Forced relocations Forced labour Political imprisonment One of the worst atrocities in Burma took place during the uprising of August 1988, when millions of Burmese marched throughout the country calling for an end to military rule. Soldiers shot hundreds of protesters