Myanmar, known historically as Burma, has an ethnic heritage that includes a mixture of Indo-Aryans, who began arriving in the area around BC 700, and the Mongolian invaders, who penetrated the region in the thirteenth century. Anawrahta, who lived from AD 1044 to 1077, was the first great unifier of Myanmar.
In 1612, the British East India Company sent agents to Burma to establish posts along the Bay of Bengal. Although the Burmese resisted efforts of British, Dutch, and Portuguese traders, through the Anglo-Burmese War in 1824–1826 and two subsequent wars, the British East India Company expanded throughout Burma. In 1886, Burma was annexed to India, becoming a separate colony in 1937.
Burma was a key battleground during World War II; the 800-mile Burma Road was the Allies’ vital supply line to China. The Japanese invaded and had occupied most of Burma by May 1942, effectively cutting off the Burma Road. After one of the most difficult campaigns of the war, Allied forces...
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