The history of Myanmar covers the period from the time of first-known human settlements 13,000 years ago to the present day. The earliest inhabitants of recorded history were the Pyu who entered the Irrawaddy valley from Yunnan c. 2nd century BCE. By the 4th century CE, the Pyu had founded several city states as far south as Pyay(Prome), and adopted Buddhism. The Rakhaing Kingdom of the Bay of Bengal coast is thought to have been established in the 4th Century BC and was known to the ancient Greeks. Farther south, the Mon, who had entered from Haribhunjaya and Dvaravati kingdoms in the east, had established city states of their own along the Lower Burmese coastline by the early 9th century.
Principality of Bagan at Anawrahta’s accession in 1044
The Anawrahta’s Bagan Empire
Another group, the Mranma (Burmans or Bamar) of the Nanzhao Kingdom, entered the upper Irrawaddy valley in the early 9th century. They went on to establish the Bagan Empire (1044–1287), the first ever unification of Irrawaddy valley and its periphery. The Burmese language and culture slowly came to replace Pyu and Mon norms during this period. After Bagan's fall in 1287, several small kingdoms, of which Ava, Hanthawaddy, Arakan and Shan states were principal powers, came to dominate the landscape, replete with ever shifting alliances and constant wars. In the second half of the 16th century, the Toungoo Dynasty (1510–1752)King Tha Pin Shwe Hti and King Bayint Naung reunified the country, and founded the largest empire in the history of Southeast Asia for a brief period.
Later Toungoo kings instituted several key administrative and economic reforms that gave rise to a smaller, peaceful and prosperous kingdom in the 17th and early 18th centuries. In the second half of the 18th century, the Konbaung Dynasty (1752–1885) King Alaung Phaya restored the kingdom, and continued the Toungoo reforms that increased central rule in peripheral regions and produced one of the most literate states in Asia. The dynasty also went to war with all its neighbors. The kingdom fell to the British over a six-decade span (1824–1885). After struggling for independence under the leadership of General Aung San, Myanmar got her independence on 4th January 1948.