Myanmar History and GeographyHistory and Geography of Myanmar
For millennia Myanmar has been a hub of intercultural and physical exchanges. Its coastlines and rivers have been populated since pre-historic ages, and for most of the first millenium the China-India cross border trading lane led through Myanmar. Myanmar has long been the west gate to the Southeast Asian continent.
Not only did they bring valuable goods, but also their own spiritual, social, political and juridical ideals; within a few years of the arrival of the first of these traders, India's rich heritage had reshaped tribal societies, thinking and art. Nevertheless, important elements of Myanmar's native ways have been maintained, in syntheses with India's people.
On three sides of the mountain and on the 4th side of the ocean, Myanmar has always been somewhat insulated, with the result that its culture and people have always been different despite the many Hindu influence and despite its strong ties with the culture of the other Southeast Asian states.
Burma was one of the first areas in Southeast Asia to benefit from Buddhism, and in the eleventh centuries it became the center of Theravada Buddhist practicioner. It was patronised by the leaders of the land and became the ideology of the state of Myanmar, which flourished in Pagan on the arid mainlands.
Myanmar's first humans arrived in the plains about 11,000 years ago. There is little known of these humans except that they were a Paleolithic civilization that used stones and petrified wooden instruments called Anyathian from Anyatha (another name for Upper Burma). In 1969, a 1969 exploration of some rock carvings and rock implements in the east of Shan State by employees of the Ministry of Archaeology showed that there were also Paleolithic and Early Neolithic (about 10,000 years ago) colonies in this area, both of which had resemblances to the Haabinhian civilization, which was prevalent in the remainder of Southeast Asia from about 13,000 to about 4,000 BC.
Raw fragments and ring shaped rocks found on the site seem to have been fixed to stone cutting equipment to make them more suited for dough. Lumberjack implements in the find were probably used to clear woodland for management, suggesting that the transition from collection to farming had already been made.