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Home : Holidays : Southeast Asia : Myanmar : Introduction of Myanmar People and races

Introduction of Myanmar People and races

The Myanmar chronicles begin with the foundation of Tagaung in the upper reaches of the Ayeyawady in 850 B.C, but the early history of Myanmar is obscure. However, due to the latest discoveries of primates fossils in Pontaung Region . The French Professor Jean Jacques wrote in the French newspapers ," Primates fossils that were discovered in Pontaung region in the northwest of the Union of Myanmar revealed that this region was once inhabited by the human beings that dates back about 40 million years ago and thus these fossils were 7 million years older than the fossils that were found in Egypt. Moreover, according to the evidences that were found in Padalin Cave at Ywa Ngan Township in Shan State proved that human beings lived there about 10000 years ago.

About 800 A. D.. Bamar and its racial groups came into Myanmar along the Thanlwin river via the Nat Htate Valley in the south-east of Kyauk-se Township. At that time Thet and Kadu were living in the northern part of Myanmar at Tagaung , which was in the east of Ayeyawady river , ancient Rakhine were living at Vesali , Mon were residing at Thaton which was situated near the sea and Pyu were staying at Sri Kshetra which was near Hmaw Zar village near the town of Pyi.

Later , Hanthawaddy ( Bago ) , where a lot of Mon were residing played an important role in the history of Myanmar. Thaton, Bago and Pyi ( Sri Kshetra ) were sea -port- towns and due to the trading between these towns and India, (especially Middle and Southern part of India )Buddhist monks arrived at Myanmar. After a long time, most of the people from Thaton, Sri Kshetra and Bago became Buddhists, some of them worship Lawkanarhta God of Mahayana Buddhism and various gods of Hindus. When Bamar were residing in the central part of Myanmar Pyu, Thet and Mon were also staying with Bamar. Later, Bamar, Pyu , Mon and Thet moved to Taungtwingyi which is in the southern part of Kyauk-se due to the population growth. Some transferred to Salin creek and Mone creek-region where Karen and Palaung were residing beforehand after crossing the Ayeyawady river. Some also traveled up to Rakhine and some went to Mu delta after traveling up the Ayeyawady river.

The indigenous races of Myanmar are of Mongoloid stock, from which derive three main branches, the Tibeto-Burman, the Mon-Khmer and the Tai-Chinese.

  1. The Tibeto-Burman group includes three main sub-groups,
    1. The Myanmar and proto-Myanmar include the Bamar proper, Arakanese, Yanbye, Kadu, Hpon, Maru,Lashi,Atsi, Nung, Daru, Taungyo, Taman, Yaw, Mro, Chaungtha, Tavoyans, Merguese, Maingtha, Inthas, Damu, Zi, Anauktha, Myauktha, Zayein.
    2. The Chin, Kachin include besides Chins and Kachins Naga, Gauric and Duleng.
    3. The Lolo include Lolo, Lisu or Yawyin , Lahu , Muhso, Kwi, Kaw and Ako.
  2. The Mon-Khmer include the Mon or Talaing, Wa, La, Palaung, Pale, Miao, Yao, Riang, Padaung, Bre(k), Yimbaw and Zayein.
  3. The Thai-Chinese include the Shans, Karens, Siamese(Thai), Hkun, Lu, Lao, Shan-Tayok, Shan-Bama, Taungthus, Lem and Kokang.

The main ethnic groups of Myanmar are Kachin, Kayah, Kayin, Chin, Bamar, Mon, Rakhine and Shan.

The original name of the race known as Kachin is Jinghpaw, Jinghpaw is the racial name for the tribes known as the Hkahkus, Gauris, Lashis, Marus, Atsis and Nungs as well as for the Jinghpaw proper. Most of the Kachin inhabited in the Kachin State which has common boundaries with the People's Republic of China in the east and the north east and India on the west. It adjoins Sagaing Division on the west and Shan State on the south. It was inhabited by Kachin, Shan, Burmar, Chin and Naga. In 1983 its population was 933,800 and in 1996 it has 1.2 million. 57.8 per cent of the Kachin State's population are Buddhists, 36.4 are Christians and there are some Muslims and Hindus. Myanmar language is widely spoken and racial group languages such as Jainphaw , Rawan and Lisu are also spoken.

Kayah State is inhabited by Kayah, Kayan or (Padaung) Mono, Kayaw, Yintalei, Gekho, Hheba, Shan, Intha, Bamar, Rakhine, Chin, Kachin,Kayin , Mon and Pao . Kayah State had a population of 158,400 in 1983 and in1996 the estimated population is over 240,000. Kayah State is situated in eastern Myanmar and bounded on the north by Shan State and on the east by Thailand and on the south and west by Kayin state. 49 per cent of the population are are Buddhists, 43 per cent are Christians and 6 per cent are Animists.

Chins reside in north and north west in Myanmar. The principal Chin clans of the Tiddim area are the Thado, Kanhow, Sokte, and Siyin. The Thado, more numerous across the Assam border where they are known as Kukis. The Falam Chins are the Tashon, Lomban, Laizo, Kwagli, Whelugo, and Yahow. The southern Chins are the Hsemtang, Zhotung, Lawhtu, Vamtu, Kaka, Yokwa, Klang Klang, Bwal, and Kwalringtlang. A wide variety of languages and dialects spoken, and the language of one village may be intelligible to a village a few miles away.
In general, Kamhow is understood in the north, Laizo in the centre and Lai in the south.In the hills behind Pakokku are the Chin Boks,who fall into four clans, the Nedu, Men, Hnenyun, and Ra. The Chin Bok women have tattooed faces. A large majority of the people are Chins, Mros (Mago), Khamis and Bamars form significant parts in southern and western part of Chin State.Majority of the people are Christians. There are Buddhists too. Because Chin State is hilly and access is difficult, there is a slight difference in languages spoken in one region and another. It had a population of about 412,700 in 1983 and 465,361 in 1996 respectively. Chin State border with India in the north and west, Rakhine State to its south, Sagaing and Magwe divisions in the east.

The Mons are the principal Burma branch of the Mon-Khmer. Mon Burmar, Pao , Rakhine, Chin, Kachin, Shan and Kayin inhabit the Mon state. In 1983 the population was about 1637,200 and in 1996 the population was 2.4 million. Majority of the inhabitant are Mons and Bamars.

Mon state has borders with the Bago division in the south of Sittaung River Mouth, Kayin State in the east, Thailand and Tanintharyi Division in the south and Andaman Sea and Gulf of Mottama in the west.

Rakhines reside in western Rakhine coast, they are closely related to Burmese proper, though their form of Burmese language varies from the language of the Ayeyawady Valley, notably in the retention of the 'R'sound which in Burmese proper has been replaced by 'Y'. By religion they are Buddhists. Total populations over 2 million and Sittway Town is the most populated place. Rakhines and Bamars are living in delta region, Yambyai and Man Aung islands. Chin are residing in the northern mountain ranges. Myo, Thet, Khami, Daignet, Maramargyi and Khaman are living on the mountains which are on the west and north of Sittwe Plain. Shan
Shans reside in the Eastern plateau. The Shan State of Myanmar occupy principally the plateau east of the Ayeyawady and Sittaung valleys, south of the Bhamo district and north of Kayah State.Shan are settling in valleys and river basins. Most of the Danu, Taungyoe, Intha (Ansa), and Bamar are living in the western part of the Shan State. A lot of Palaung.

(Taahn) are usually found in the northern partof the State, especially at Namsam Town, and can also be found in Pindaya, Yatsauk and Maingkaing Townships. Paos are settling in the sourthern part of Shan State, whereas Kachin and Lisu (Lishaw) in the north,Kokant Tayok in the Kokant region, Wa (Lweila) in Hopan Township which is situated in the east of Thanlwin river. E-Kaw (Akha), Lahu reside in Kyaingtong region.
Most of the population are Buddhists, Islam, Christianity and Hinduism religions are present. Myanmar language is spoken widely and local nationalities dialect are also spoken.