Myanmar Territory and History

Myanmar Territory and History

TERRITORY: MORPHOLOGY

The Burmese territory has its fundamental structures in the mountainous alignments which, linked to the Himalayan chain with the orographic node of the Kachin, in the north of the country, open and extend towards the S, continuing then in the ridge on which the Andaman and Nicobar islands rise. The most marked of these alignments is that of the Arakan mountains (Arakan Yoma), which separates the Bay of Bengal from the Ayeyarwady (Irrawaddy) plain, bordered on the E by the Pegu mountains. (Pegu Yoma). Towards the N the chains tighten, rising somewhat and culminating in the Hkakabo Razi massif (5881 m). Structurally distinct from the rest of the country is the Shan plateau, in eastern Myanmar: it is in fact an ancient plate in which there is an archaeozoic substratum covered with Paleozoic rocks, which in turn bear Mesozoic limestone layers. In the Arakan appear the Mesozoic formations, emerging from the Cenozoic soils that cover the whole central and southern section of the country, where however they are also largely subjected to river floods. These mainly occupy the Ayeyarwady valley and delta and the plains overlooking the Bay of Bengal which the eustatic movements they have partly fragmented into low and flat islands (the largest are Ramree and Cheduba). A more conspicuous coastal fragmentation occurs in Tenasserim, with the vast archipelago of Mergui.

TERRITORY: HYDROGRAPHY

According to Itypeusa, the hydrographic network has its great axis in the Ayeyarwady which crosses from N to S all of Myanmar descending towards the central plains and then towards the plains between the Arakan and Pegu mountains, at the end of which it has built its wide delta projecting into the Andaman Sea; with the same direction, the Sittoung descends to the same coastal stretch, whose basin extends between the Pegu mountains and the Shan plateau, and whose delta is practically joined to that of Ayeyarwady. It is much shorter than the previous one but crossing one of the wettest areas in the world it is always rich in water. Longer than Ayeyarwady, but economically less important, is the Salween, which flows into the coast of Tenasserim.

HISTORY: FROM THE ORIGINS TO THE ENGLISH INVASION

The oldest history of Myanmar is very little known. From the century III d. C. there is news of a Pyu kingdom with Prome as its capital and a Mon kingdom with Thaton as its capital. After the first one (9th century), the Mon and Burmese countries were unified by the rulers of Pagan, among whom we remember Anoratha, the creator of the dynasty’s power, winner of the Thaton State and great conqueror. In 1287 the kingdom of Pagan, already in decline for some time, was conquered by the Mongols who, after the failure of two previous attempts, took the capital. A period of anarchy followed in Myanmar, during which the Tai principalities of the North and East became independent and the kingdoms of Ava to N, from Pegu to S, from Taungu to E. The reunification of the country took place, starting from 1535, thanks to the activity of Tabinshweti, king of Taungu, and later of his brother-in-law Bayinnaung, who used an army in which a body of Portuguese also militated. Under these two sovereigns Myanmar began a policy of conquest and expansion, especially to the detriment of Siam (Thailand). With ups and downs the dynasty – which had Pegu as its capital – remained in power until around 1740. After another brief period of anarchy, Myanmar was once again unified by Alaungpaya, founder of a dynasty that took its name from him and that held power until 1885. At the end of the century. Contacts with the English began in the eighteenth century. In 1824, due to a Burmese invasion in the Brahmaputra valley, the first war with the British settled in India broke out, which ended in 1826 with the cession of coastal Assam, Arakan and Tenasserim to England. The second war (1852-53) led to the annexation of Pegu to the English possessions. The third war, which broke out in 1885 and lasted approx. two months, led to the English conquest of all of Upper Burma (officially on 1 January 1886). Established the borders with Siam (1893), with French Indochina (1895) and with China (1900), the Anglo-Indian province of Myanmar was formed. Following the Montagu-Chelmsford reforms (1919), in 1921 Myanmar gained partial regional autonomy. In 1935 the hostility created between the local population and the British and Indians (who emigrated in large numbers to Myanmar and practiced mostly commercial professions) became so acute that it was necessary to detach Myanmar from India, making it a crown colony. In 1942, aided by many Burmese elements, the Japanese took the country and declared it independent in 1943. In 1945 the British attempted a reconquest, but, faced with the chaotic situation and the resistance of all the people, they preferred to negotiate with the Anti-Fascist League for the freedom of the people, the party of hostility created between the local population and the British and Indians (emigrated in large numbers to Myanmar and practicing mostly commercial professions) became so acute that it was necessary to detach Myanmar from India, making it a crown colony. In 1942, aided by many Burmese elements, the Japanese took the country and declared it independent in 1943. In 1945 the British attempted a reconquest, but, faced with the chaotic situation and the resistance of all the people, they preferred to negotiate with the Anti-Fascist League for the freedom of the people, the party of hostility created between the local population and the British and Indians (emigrated in large numbers to Myanmar and practicing mostly commercial professions) became so acute that it was necessary to detach Myanmar from India, making it a crown colony. In 1942, aided by many Burmese elements, the Japanese took the country and declared it independent in 1943. In 1945 the British attempted a reconquest, but, faced with the chaotic situation and the resistance of all the people, they preferred to negotiate with the Anti-Fascist League for the freedom of the people, the party of Aung San.

Myanmar Territory and History

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