Country and People / History / Colonial Times

In 1824 the first Anglo-Burmese war breaks out. In 1826 peace is sealed with the contract of Yandabo. The Burmese surrender the old fiefdom Arakan and the southern province Tenasserim to the British.

After in 1852 the Burmese service arrested two British captains and released them again only after being paid ransom, the second Anglo-Burmese war breaks out. Without any particular effort the British occupy Yangon and southern Myanmar.

In 1853 Mindon Min succeeds his brother Bagan Min, who is notorious for the atrocities he committed, on the Burmese throne and modernizes the Burmese state system during his reign, which lasts until his death in 1878. In 1857 he transfers the seat of his government to Mandalay, which he has newly founded.

After the death of Mindon Min in 1878 Thibaw becomes the new Burmese King. During his reign relations with the British Empire deteriorate.

In 1886 another trade conflict causes a military confrontation between the British Empire and the Burmese state that is, the remaining part of the country, which is not yet occupied by the British. After a short campaign in the course of the third Anglo-Burmese war the British occupy northern Myanmar and the capital Mandalay, as well. Thus entire Myanmar falls under British colonial reign. In the following decades infrastructure measures of the colonial masters cause an unprecedented economical boom in Myanmar. From 1855 to 1930 the area of the Ayeyarwaddy delta used for cultivation of rice increases ten times to roughly 4 Million hectare.

In 1930 first in Yangon, then also in other towns, antiIndian transgressions take place. During the previous decades the British colonial masters had true to the proverb Divide And Conquer brought a large number of Indian administrative officials to Myanmar, who were followed by Indian settlers in even larger numbers.

Between 1930 and 1942 Burmese nationalists agitate increasingly for an end of the colonial reign and Burmese sovereignty, especially in the AllBurma Student Movement under the leadership of Aung San and U Nu.


Photo: Painting at the Strand Hotel which has a history dating back to colonial times.

In 1936 the British grant Myanmar a certain degree of autonomy. After it has for decades been part of the crown colony India, in 1937 Myanmar finally becomes an autonomous colony in the British Empire. The British allow Myanmar a constitution and a parliament of its own.