Sam and Evan’s Brief and Not Necessarily Accurate History of Myanmar

Bagan is an 1100 year old temple complex that used to contain over 10,000 temples but now only has 2200.  Most of the temples were destroyed by earthquakes, but some were by rebuilt by the military government in 1990 as a rush job to create a new tourist centre.  The largest temple was built by one of the ancient Kings to make up for murdering his dad and his brother. Its walls use no mortar and you can’t fit a pin between the bricks.  Whilst it was being built, then if there were any gaps, then your arms would get lopped off.  The x shaped stones for limb lopping are now located in the west wing.

OK, back onto more recent history. In 1885 the British took over Myanmar as part of India. Whilst the British were in charge there were quite a few riots as the Burmese people no longer owned their country and wanted to. Their plain/sticky/steamed/fried  rice exports however shot up, and a lot of the profits from this were snatched up by the British and rich Myanmar people.

The Japanese invaded Myanmar and built the Death Railway to get resources to Myanmar from Bangkok. We have been to the other end of the railway in Bangkok and ridden it 180km to Nam Tok. WE went to the museum in Kanchanaburi and went to see Hellfire Pass.  In 1948 Burma gained independence, lead by General Aung San father of Aung San Suu Kyi . Fourteen years later the military began to control Burma. In 1990 public riots occurred and several democracy supporters were arrested. Two years after 2000, democracy leader Aung Sang Suu Kyi was released from 20 months of house arrest. Two years later Khin Nyunt  becomes the new prime minister and moves the capital city from Yangon to Nay Pyi Taw.  In 2007 the military government say they are bored of constitutional talks and make the government solely military. Buddhist monks protest and Aung Sang Suu Kyi greets and supports them. This is her first public appearance since 2003. In 2008 cyclone Nargis hits the slowly drying Irrawaddy delta,  bringing a death toll estimated to be as high as 134,000.  In 2009 Aung Sang Suu Kyi begins talks with the military government and in 2010 the military government changes the national flag, anthem and renamed the country Myanmar – the country had been called Burma since the British reign.  Aung Sang Suu Kyi is released from some more house arrest, and she starts talks with the prime minister. Peaceful demonstrations are permitted for first time in nearly 50 years, and newspapers stopped being censored  by the government.  Last year the National League for Democracy (NLD), lead by Aung San Suu Kyi, won the election, and whilst we were in Myanmar in February 2016, they changed the government but have no President yet and will elect one in March this year.  We will keep watching what happens in Myanmar!

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