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, formerly Rangoon
, city (1983 pop. 2,458,712), former capital of Myanmar and capital of Yangon region, S central Myanmar, on the Yangon River (a mouth of the Ayeyarwady) near its entrance into the Gulf of Martaban.
..... Click the link for more information. , Myanmar.
the capital of the Socialist Republic of the Union of Burma (by the constitution of 1974), the country’s largest city, and its economic and cultural center. The city is located on the Rangoon River (a tributary of the Irrawaddy), between 30 and 40 km from the Andaman Sea at an elevation of 150 m. The climate is tropical monsoonal with a rainy season from June through October. Temperatures average 27°C in January and 29°C in April. The annual precipitation exceeds 2,000 mm. During the dry season the city’s demand for water rises sharply. Area, 200 sq km. Population, 2 million (1974). Administratively, Rangoon is subordinate to the Rangoon Division, comprising 39 townships (27 in Rangoon proper and 12 village units). Since 1974, the city has been governed by the Rangoon Development Committee, under the jurisdiction of the division’s People’s Council and the government of Burma. The committee is authorized to deal with matters relating to the municipal economy, including construction, repairs, sanitation, and city markets.
Originally called Okkala and later Dagon, Rangoon was founded as a settlement around a Buddhist holy place, the Shwe Dagon stupa. In 1755, after his victory over the Mons, the Burmese ruler Alaungpaya renamed the place Rangoon and built up the town as the main port of the Burmese kingdom. In 1852, Rangoon and Pegu were captured by British colonizers, and ten years later Rangoon became the administrative center of the British possessions in Burma. From 1886 to 1947 the city was the capital of the British colony of Burma, until 1937 part of British India. During the early 20th century Rangoon became the center of the national liberation struggle of the Burmese people. On Jan. 4, 1948, Burmese independence was proclaimed in Rangoon.
Rangoon and its suburbs produce a large portion of the country’s industrial output. The most highly developed branches are food-processing and light industry. The city has rice mills, vegetable-oil mills, fish-processing and tobacco enterprises, sawmills, and woodworking factories. There are also mechanical repair shops, railroad yards, shipbuilding and ship-repair wharfs, a small steel-rolling plant, a pharmaceutical factory, and a petroleum refinery. Important handicrafts include the production of fabrics, shoes, clothing, and embossed silver articles.
Rangoon is the country’s commercial, communications, and banking center. The port of Rangoon, accessible to oceangoing vessels, handles 85 percent of Burma’s exports and 90 percent of its imports. Rangoon is a major nexus of railroad lines, highways, and inland waterways (the Rangoon River is connected with the Irrawaddy by the Twante Canal). The nearby Mingaladon Airport handles international traffic. Buses provide the main type of city transportation.
The city’s commercial and residential quarters, situated on the left bank of the Rangoon River, have a regular layout, designed in 1852 by W. Montgomery and A. Fraser. In the early 20th century landscaped blocks of private houses, government residences, and the university (1920’s) arose around Lakes Royal and Inya. Farther north are the industrial district of In-sein and the Aung San settlement. On the outskirts of the city is the light bamboo and standard housing of the workers.
The most ancient part of Rangoon is the Shwe Dagon complex, whose main stupa was built, according to legend, in the fifth century B.C. The stupa was reconstructed between the 14th and 18th centuries, and its surrounding structures date from the 19th and 20th centuries. After the country achieved its independence in 1948, blocks of apartment houses were erected in the Yankin, or Kanbe, and Thamaing districts. Other post-independence buildings include the Institute of Technology (1958–61, Soviet architect P. G. Steniushin), built with the aid of the USSR, Inya Lake Hotel (1958–61, Soviet architects V. S. Andreev and K. D. Kislova), and the mausoleum of the writer Takin Kawdaw Hmain (1966, architects U Cho Myent, U Cho Yen, and U Pe Win). In the center of Rangoon stands the rein-forced-concrete Obelisk to Independence, built between 1948 and 1950 by the engineer U Ohn Chein.
Rangoon is the site of the University of Rangoon, two medical institutes, and institutes of education, economics, technology, dentistry, and veterinary medicine. Among other higher educational institutions are the Central Institute of Political Science, the Institute of Foreign Languages (with a Russian department), the Workers’ College, the State School of Fine Arts, and the State School of Music and Drama. Scientific institutions include the Burma Research Society, the Center for Economic Research, the International Institute of Advanced Buddhist Studies, the Burma Council of World Affairs, the Institute of Administration and Management, and the Burma Medical Research Institute. The largest libraries are the university library, the National Library, and the Public Library.
Outstanding museums include the National Museum, the Museum of the International Institute of Advanced Buddhist Studies, and the Aung San Museum. The city’s most famous performing group is the Folk Music and Dance Ensemble, whose members tour foreign countries. There are also private traveling theater groups. Productions are staged in the Burmese Army Theater, the Outdoor Theater of the Ministry of Culture, the university auditoriums, Strand Hall, Jubilee Hall, and the auditorium of the Burmese radio corporation.