YangonYangon (formerly Rangoon) lies in the fertile delta country of southern Myanmar, on the wide Yangon River about 30 km from the sea. Although the population hovers around 7 million, the city gives a very different impression from other Asian capitals of similar size. It seems full of trees and shade. If you can close your eyes to the neglect, the lack of upkeep and the decay of the old colonial architecture downtown, you will probably agree that this could be on of the most charming cities in the East. Downtown, the streets are wide and carefully laid out a properly British colonial grid system.
Historically, as Myanmar's capital city, Yangon is comparatively young- it only became capital in 1885 when the British completed the conquest of Upper Myanmar and Mandalay's brief period as the centre of the last Burmese kingdom ended.
Despite its short history as the seat of national government, Yangon has been in existence for a long time although very much as a small town in comparison to places like Bago (Pegu), Pyay (Prome) or Tahton. In 1755, King Alaungpaya conquered Lower Myanmar and built a new city on the site of Yangon, which at the time was known as 'Dagon'. Yangon means 'end of strife': the king rather vainly hoped that with the conquest of Lower Myanmar his struggles would be over.
In 1756, with the destruction of Thanlyin (Syriam) across the river, Yangon also become an important sea port. In 1841 the city was virtually destroyed by fire; the rebuilt town again suffered extensive damage during the Second Anglo-Burmese War in 1852. The British, its new masters, rebuilt the capital to its present paln and corrupted the city's name to 'Rangoon'.
Yangon's early history as Dagon is tied very closely to its grand Buddhist stupa, the Shwedagon Pagoda. It sands not in the downtown centre, but about three km to the north- yet totally dominates the Yangon skyline.