travelgrove Travel Guides

Yangon History, Myanmar

Yangon has come a long way in terms of its history—and the changes that happened are more than just modifications of its name.

The birth of Dagon

Yangon was formerly called Dagon, which was established in sixth century AD. The first occupants were the Mon, who were living then in the lower portion of the town. The people’s source of livelihood was fishing.

A couple of centuries after, Dagon was under the control of King Alaungpaya, who eventually changed the name to Yangon. He was the first Burmese king and the one who established the Konbaung Dynasty.

The seize of Yangon

The arrival of the British was more of a bane than a boon at first. A war broke out. Called the first Anglo-Burmese War, it lasted for two years, from 1824 to 1826. Burma won, and the government was given back to its people. In 1841, however, a huge fire destroyed a large portion of the city.

The Second Anglo-Burmese War happened in 1852, and the British took the victory this time. Since it was under the British empire, a lot of European modifications were performed in the city. The once-rural town became a booming political and commercial district. The delta lands and other undeveloped portions of the city, especially those located near the Pazundaung Creek and the Yangon River, were transformed into residential areas and suburbs in order to accommodate the growing population.

At the onset of the twentieth century, Yangon already had a hospital, a number of colleges and universities, contemporary buildings, and beautifully developed lakes and parks.

The independence of Yangon

After the Second World War, Burma achieved its independence. To display their nationalism, all road and park names were changed to Burmese ones—even Rangoon, which was given its old name, Yangon. By 1989, the military junta, who were then leading the government, applied several of these modifications. However, these were not really accepted by several Burmese people since they consider them unfit to do so.

New changes in Yangon

The country was isolated from the rest of the world during the rule of General Ne Win. Because of his policy, a lot of the colonial structures were not cared for properly and were deteriorating fast. It was only in the early parts of the 1990s that Burma, particularly Yangon, became more open to international markets. Soon there was influx of foreign and domestic investments. The old buildings were later destroyed in order to build newer and taller hotels, shopping centers, and offices.

Ask our travel experts a question about Yangon

Things about Yangon you may be interested in


Read our members' reviews about Yangon

No reviews have been added yet for this category. Be the first to add a new one.

Read our members' travel tips about Yangon

  • zangazangaShwedagon Pagoda
    travel tip by zangazanga posted more then 30 days ago
    According to the legend, the pagoda is 2500 years old. But archaeologists say the it was built btw. the 6th and 10th century AD. Whatever the truth is, the Pagoda is wonderful. There are four entrances, the Southern one is guarded by...
view all
the best travel deals provided by TravelZoo...
  •$1356Multiple Airlines flightMultiple Airlines
    Washington DC, DC (IAD)  Yangon, MM (RGN)
    05/08/2024 10:55 am
    Yangon, MM (RGN)  Washington DC, DC (IAD)
    05/22/2024 11:25 am
  •$1367Multiple Airlines flightMultiple Airlines
    Washington DC, DC (IAD)  Yangon, MM (RGN)
    05/08/2024 10:55 am
    Yangon, MM (RGN)  Washington DC, DC (IAD)
    05/22/2024 11:25 am
  •$2129Multiple Airlines flightMultiple Airlines
    Washington DC, DC (DCA)  Yangon, MM (RGN)
    05/08/2024 09:10 am
    Yangon, MM (RGN)  Washington DC, DC (DCA)
    05/22/2024 11:25 am

Yangon City Ratings

  • Ratingunrated
    City Rankunrated
  • History & Culture: not rated
  • Night Life & Entertainment: not rated
  • Family & Fun: not rated
  • Outdoors Activities: not rated
  • Food: not rated
  • Sightseeing: not rated
  • Shopping: not rated
  • Public Transportation: not rated
  • Must visit this place: not rated
ToolsBookmark and Share

Popular destinations

   Welcome to Travelgrove  register tell a friend bookmark it