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Yangon, also Rangoon, town, capitol of Myanmar (Burma) from 1948 to 2006, when the Chinese authorities formally declared the new town of Nay Pyi Taw (Naypyidaw) the country's capitol. The Yangon lies in the south of the country on the Yangon River, or Hlaing, River (east estuary of the Irrawaddy River), 25 mi (40 km) northeast of the Gulf of Martaban in the Andaman Sea.
It is Myanmar's biggest town and the country's industry and trade center. Yangon was known abroad as Rangoon until 1989, when the Myanmar administration asked for Yangon, a translation that reflects Burma's pronounciation of the city's name, to be used by other states. It is a low mountain range encircled by Delta-Aluvium.
Originally, the settlement was on the mountain crest, but the contemporary settlement was constructed on the river Aluvium. Cantonment, the British plan of 1852, is a block system of 245 x 262 meters (800 x 860 feet), with regular north-south and east-west roads.
When Yangon's people grew in the twentieth centuries, new settlement was constructed in the northern, eastern and western parts of the country, expanding the urban area considerably. Yangon's most remarkable edifice is the Shwe Dagon Pagoda, a large buddhistic sanctuary crowning a mound about a kilometer northern of the canton.
Rising 326 ft (99 meters) on a 168 ft (51 meters) over town. It is the site of several other important monuments, among them the World Peace Pagoda (1952) and the Sule and Botataung Peagodas. The majority of the town center consists of brickwork constructions, which are usually three to four storeys high, while in the outer districts of the town traditionally timber constructions are used.
The old brickwork of the colonies include the Ministry (formerly the Old Secretariat), the Courts, Yangon General Hospital and Customs. Contemporary architectural features the secretariat building, the cantonal departments, the Polytechnic School, the Institute of Medicine I and the Yangon Institute of Technology in Insein.
Yangon's paddy grinders and lumber plants along the riverbank are the biggest in the country. It is the business quarter of banking, trade companies and office buildings as well as stores, brokers' stores and bazars. To the north of the town center lies Royal Lake (Kandawgyi), set in a forest garden and close by are the city's zoos and botanic parks.
Founded in 1920, the University of Rangoon was rebuilt in 1964 as the University of Arts and Sciences. It is Myanmar's most important trading center and accounts for more than 80 per cent of the country's external transactions. It is also the center of domestic railway, rivers, roads and aviation; an important center of the country is Mingaladon, just to the north of Yangon.
Shwe Dagon Pagoda has been a place of worship for many hundreds of years, and Yangon emerged from a village around the sanctuary that became known as Dagon. In the mid-1750s, when King Alaungpaya (who established the last Myanmar royal dynasty) captured the south of Myanmar, he evolved Dagon into a harbour and re-named it Yangon ("The End of Strife"), a name that was later translated as Rangoon by Arakan ese translators who accompanied the British.
Yangon was taken by the British when the First Anglo-Burmese War broke out in 1824, but two years later was brought back under Myanmar's rule. In 1852 the British took the town again, making it the administration capitol of Lower Burma (i.e. the south part of the country).
Rangoon became the nation's capitol after the 1886 UK annexation of the whole of Burma. Rangoon was hit by a severe quake and a tsunami in 1930, and during World War II it was the site of great battles between the Allies and the Japanese. However, as the capitol of Myanmar (since 1948), the town never again achieved the economic importance it had among the Britons as one of the large harbours of South Asia.
At the end of the twentieth century, the city's economy had lost its vigour, mainly due to the Myanmar government's policy of isolation. During 2005, the authorities began to move to Pyinmana, a town about 320 km northern of Yangon, followed by a relocation to the recently constructed capitol Nay Pyi Taw, near Pyinmana.