History of Burma / Myanmar
Sophie (age 7) & Ellie (age 5) tell the 1000 year history of Burma – Buddhism, Kublai Khan, Elephants, the British, WW2 and Aung Sung Suu Kyi.----more----
Sophie and Ellie are contacted by a listener who lives in Burma. The girls want to find out more about the place and what is going on there. They describe the Burmese geography and weather. Then they tell of the first Burmese King, a thousand years ago, and how he unified Burma. He then converted to Buddhism and introduced the religion to Burma. Ten thousand Buddhist temples were made. But the Buddhist temples paid no tax. And that made it hard for the King to keep a strong army.
Then the Mongol King, Kublai Khan, invades. The Burmese fight him with their war elephants but they are crushed. The Burmese Kingdom is destroyed. But the Mongols do not stay. They just wanted to teach Burma a lesson. Marco Polo tells the story of the invasion.
It takes hundreds of years for Burma to recover. But they are united again. This time they and their elephants attack Siam. They conquer the country with the help not just of the elephants but also guns from Portuguese traders. Eventually Siam rebels and frees itself. Again it takes hundreds of years for Burma to recover.
Next Burma decides to expand West. They bump straight into the British Empire. A bloody series of wars occur. At first the Burmese successfully invade British India. But the British fight back. The Burmese elephants are no match for the British army and their new Rocket. Burma is conquered by the British and made into a colony.
In the early 20th century more and more people in Burma want to be free of the British. The Burmese leader is called Aung Sun. He tries to get freedom for his people.
Then World War Two breaks out. The Japanese Empire invades Burma. Many Burmese like Aung Sun join the Japanese to get rid of the British. Japan conquers Burma. But then Aung Sun and others realise they have made a terrible mistake. They realise that the Japanese will never leave Burma and they are an evil empire. Aung Sun and others help the British to reconquer Burma.
Then the British give Burma her independence.
But at the moment of victory Aung Sun is killed. The Burmese struggle without him. The army take over and will not let the people be in charge. Eventually there are elections which are won by Aung Sun’s daughter, Aung Sun Suu Kyi. But the Army arrest her for 20 years. Finally she is allowed to rule Burma. Not everything she does is popular outside of Burma but she remains popular in Burma. Recently the Army put her in prison again and took control of the country.
Sophie and Ellie reflect on how the poor Burmese people have hardly ever in recently years been able to have a government that they wanted. They hope for a better time to come.
I'm certain that our pronunciation of Burmese names is terrible. I'm very sorry. We found it hard to find out how to pronounce many of the names.
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