January 29, 2013

"Soon after the fall of Ava, a new dynasty rose in Shwebo to challenge the authority of Hanthawaddy."

"Over the next 70 years, the highly militaristic Konbaung dynasty went on to create the largest Burmese empire, second only to the empire of Bayinnaung."

Empires and dynasties galore in the history of Burma, our "History of" country today.


ironrailsironweights said...

The rounded letters of Burmese alphabet serve a useful purpose. Banana leaves were the traditional writing surface of choice, and using rounded letters helped protect the leaves from tearing.


edutcher said...

Burma was the scene of some of the toughest fighting of WWII.

Myitkyina, Kohima, Imphal, and the Shwebo plain saw bigger battles than much of the Pacific, except possibly the Philippines.

ricpic said...


Empire follows empire in endless usurpation,
How rare the unbent human head,
How rare its manumission.

Astro said...

Wow, that text reminds me of this xkcd comic:
Fiction Rule of Thumb Graph

Palladian said...

"Why did you say "Burma"?!"

"I panicked!"

furious_a said...

I thought Hanthawaddy was Liz Warren's great grandfather.

Steven said...

I don't like the way that excerpt is phrased. "Konbaung dynasty went on to create the largest Burmese empire" leads me to think the Konbaung dynasty created the largest Burmese empire, but then there's a modifier "second only to the empire of Bayinnaung." In other words, the Konbaung didn't create the largest Burmese empire - they created the second largest Burmese empire. So why not tell me from the start that they created the second largest Burmese empire, behind only the Bayinnaung, instead of lying and then correcting the lie in the next clause?

Emil Blatz said...

Don't mess with Hanthawaddy's machine!

LarsPorsena said...

"....On the road to Mandalay
Where the flying fishes play
And the dawn comes up like thunder
Out of China across the bay.........."

Mitch H. said...

"Ship me somewheres east of Suez, where the best is like the worst,
Where there aren't no Ten Commandments an' a man can raise a thirst;
For the temple-bells are callin', an' it's there that I would be --
By the old Moulmein Pagoda, looking lazy at the sea;"

Burma's a complicated place. Karens, Burmans, Shan and all the rest - it's a crazy-quilt of mutually unintelligible languages and hostile cultures. And we're not just talking the glorified dialects Europeans call languages - Spanish and Catlan and Provencal and French and all the Italian provincial sublanguages - Burma has representatives of four completely distinct linguistic families sitting next to each other.

They note in the History wiki that Burma/Myanmar has been in a continuous low-level state of civil war since the British left. And those historical Burmese empires were just that, empires - brief dominion of a top-of-the-heap ethnicity keeping everybody else down. Modern Myanmar is likewise not a nation-state, but rather a multi-ethnic empire like the old Soviet Union or the Hapsburg Austro-Hungarian Empire.