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HISTORICAL BACKGROUND
Early History
     Palaeolithic and neolithic cultures flourished in many parts of Myanmar from about 20.000 years ago leaving behind much material evidence as well as the wall painting of Padalin Cave in the Shan foothills near Myirtha. A bronze culture later developed, well represented by the Nyaunggan archaeological site near Monywa.
     Transition to an urban civilization was made in the 2 nd century BC. A number of cities flourished, among them Wethali (Vaisali) of the Rakhines, Thuwannabhumi (Suvannabhumi, "Land of Gold") of the Mons, and Beikthano (Vishnu City), Hanlin and Thayekhittaya (Sriksetra, "Field of Splendour") of the Pyus, a people whose language has become extinct but whose architectural monuments - the Bawbawgyi, Payagyi and Payama pagoda of Fhayekhittaya remain.
facts23      Myanmar civilization achieved a high level of development at Bagan from the middle of the 11th century to the end of the 13th century. According to the chronicles, Bagan was founded in AD 107 by the Thamoddarit and ruled by a line of 55 kings, but written evidences are available only from Anawrahta (1044 - 1077) onwards. Anawrahta, the first unifier of Myanmar. established Theravada Buddhism with the help of Buddhist Missionary Shin Arahan and laid the foundation of Bagan's Greatness. A thriving economy and the inspiration of Buddhism resulted in the great monuments of Shwezigon, Ananda, Thatbinnyu, Gawdawpalin and a host of other pagodas, several of than decorated with mural paintings on religious themes.
     The decline of Bagan, brought about by a Mongol invasion in 1287_ was followed by political confusion and the emergence of two kingdoms: Inwa, founded by Thadominbya to 1365, and Hanthawady (Bago) founded by Banya U in 1369. Nineteen kings ruled in Inwa from 1365 to 155'7 and I I kings in Hanthawady from 1369 to 1538.From 1386 to 1422, there was war between Inwa and Hanthawady.
     Myanmar entered a new phase of greatness when the kings of Toungoo moved their capital from 'loran goo to Bago and three of its kings ruled there from 1538 to 1599.
     Bayintnaung (1552-1581), known also as Lord of the White Elephants and Conqueror of the Ten Directions, reunited the kingdom, created the vast Hanthawady Empire and rebuilt Bago n a magnificent scale.
The Inwa Kingdom
     Following the break-up of the Hanthawady Empire, Nyaungyan 11598-1606) established a new Myanmar kingdom, and ten kin-s reigned in Inwa from 1598 to 1752. The most famous of the Inwa kings. Thalun (1629-1648) built the Kaunghmudaw Pagoda near Sagaing. A rebellion which started in Bago led to tile downfall of the kingdom in 1752.
The Konbaung Kin-rloni
     In the tradition of Anawrahta and Bayintnaung, Alaungpaya (1752-17611) reunited Myanmar and established the last Myanmar dynasty of I I kings who ruled from 1752 to 1885. The kingdom had a number of capitals, including Shwebo, Inwa and Amarapura, with the last capital, Mandalay, being founded by Mindon ( 18521878) in 1859.
facts21
     In 1785, the Rakhine kingdom whose capital was Mrauk - U, Founded by (1430-1433) in 1430, and which had a line of 49 kings reigning from 1430 to 1785, was made part of the Konbaung kingdom.
     Myanmar fought three wars against the British and lost Rakhinc and Taninthayi in 1826, Lower Myanmar in 1852 and its independence on I January 1886.
British Colonial Rule
     The British started to rule parts of Myanmar in 1826 and the whole country in 1886. Myanmar was first placed under a Chief Commissioner, then a Lieutenant Governor in 1897. and then a Governor in 1923, and ruled as part of British India until separation in 1937. In Myanmar itself, the Shan States, the Kayah (Karenni) States and the hill areas were administered separately from Myanmar Propcr.
     An appointed advisory Council was established in 1897, a partially elected leg, islative Council in 1923, and a bicameral legislature with an elected House of Representatives in 1937.
     Under British rule. an economic transformation took place ,vilh the commercial production of rice and the development of Myanmar as a major rice exporting country. British firms such as the Burmah Oil Company, Steel Brothers, and the Bombay Burmah Trading Company. dominated the economy.
The Nationalist Movement
     Armed resistance along traditional lines followed British annexation in 1886. A modern nationalist movement began with the founding of the Young Men's Buddhist Association [YMBA] in 1906 and developed with the formation in 1920 of the General Council of Burmese Associations [GCBA] which advocated constitutional advancement, and the staging of the University Boycott of 19211 directed against the restrictive University Act.
     The nationalist movement became more radical with the peasant uprising led by Saya San in 1930 and the formation of the Dobama Asiayon (We Myanmars Association) the same year. In 1938, the "Revolution of (the Myanmar Year) 1300", which started with a strike in the Chauk - Yenangyaung oilfields, brought the nationalist movement to a high level of development. facts22
     With the outbreak of World War II in Europe. Thakin (later Bogyoke) Aung San of the Dobama Asiayon, making an effort to stage an armed struggle, made contact with the Japanese Army. A group of young members of the Dobama Asiayon, the Thirty Comrades. was given military training in Hainan and the Burma Independence Army (BIA) was formed in Bangkok on 26 December 1942. The BIA advanced into Myanmar with the Japanese Army and forced the withdrawal of the British in 1942.
     The BIA, reorganized as the Burma Defence Army on 27 July 1942 joined other anti - fascist elements in the Anti - Fascist Organization (AFO) in August 1944 and started an armed struggle against the Japanese forces on 27 March 1945.
     After the War, the AFO was reorganized as the Anti - Fascist People's Freedom League (AFPFL) with Bogyoke Aung San as President. Demonstrating its political strength in a general strike in September 1946, the AFPFL was admitted into the Governor's Executive Council with Bogyoke Aung San as Deputy Chairman of the Council. In November 1946 the AFPFL called for independence within one year and discussions with the British Government resulted in the Aung San - Attlee Agreement of 27 January 1947 which provided for the functioning of the Executive Council as an interim government and the holding of elections for a Constituent Assembly.
     On 12 February 1947 Bogyoke Aung San concluded the historic Pinlone Agreement with Shan, Kachin and Chin leaders which laid the foundations for the establishment of a united independent Myanmar. Although Bogyoke Aung San and other national leaders were assassinated on 19 July 1947, Myanmar regained independence on 4 January 1948.
     By the Constitution of 1947 Myanmar was formed as a quasi - federal Union, with Kachin, Kayah, Kayin and Shan States as constituent states, and with a governmental system in which the cabinet was responsible to a bicameral legislature made up of the Chamber of Deputies and Chamber of Nationalities.
     The AFPFL dominated early post - independence politics, but the country was much troubled by a widespread insurgency and the intrusion of Kuomintang forces retreating from China. The AFPFL Government attempted to follow a liberal socialist economic policy and launched the eight - year Pyidawtha Plan in 1952 in order to realize a welfare state.
The Caretaker Government and Its Aftermath
     Because of a split within the ruling AFPEL, the Parliament appointed the Chief of Staff General Ne Win as head of a Caretaker Government on 28 October 1958 and entrusted him with the task of holding fair and free parliamentary elections.
     During its tenure of office the Caretaker Government brought about the end of feudal rule in the Shan and Kayah States and concluded an agreement delimiting the boundary between Myanmar and China. It held elections on 6 February 1960 and on 4 April 1960 handed over power to the Pyidaungsu Party which had won the elections. facts20
     However, the political situation rapidly deteriorated under the new government with a split developing within the Pyidaungsu Party, dissatisfaction against the making of Buddhism the State religion, and the development of a movement for the creation of a truly federal state.
Revolutionary Council
     A military coup on 2 March 1962 resulted in the establishment of a Revolutionary Council which formed Security and Administrative Committees down to the ward and village levels and attempted to restore the security situation. Proclaiming a Gereral Amnesty on 1 April 1963, it started negotiations with various insurgent groups and concluded an agreement with the Kayin Revolutionary Council on 12 March 1964.
     The Revolutionary Council, taking a socialist stand, formed the Burma Socialist Programme Party (BSPP) as a nucleus party on 4 July 1962 and announced its philosophy in The Correlation of Man and His Environment in January 1963. In line with its socialist stand, the Revolutionary Council nationalized many economic enterprises and started on the First FourYear Plan in 1971.
     The BSPP, developing from a nucleus party to a people's party, held its First Congress from 28 June to 11 July 1971. The Congress decided on the drafting of a State Constitution and a Commission was appointed in September 1971. The constitution which was drafted and submitted to a popular referendum was adopted on 3 January 1974.
Elections were held and the Revolutionary Council handed over power to the BSPP Government on 2 March 1974.
BSPP Government
     The Constitution of 1974, drawn up on socialist principles, designated the BSPP as the leading party. Under the guidance of the BSPP, the unicameral Pyithu Hluttaw, elected on universal suffrage, was the supreme State organ, enacting laws and appointing the executive and the judiciary. Three new States -Chin, Mon and Rakhine were created in addition to the four existing ones.
     The BSPP, which was the ruliganized on the principle of democratic centralism from the Central Committee downto the level of the party cell. It held
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