Bago, also known as Pegu, is a city in central Myanmar, situated on the Bago River, approximately 80 km northeast of Yangon. It is the capital of Bago Region and has a population of approximately 300,000 people. Bago is a city rich in history and culture, with a past that is intertwined with the political environment and geography of the region.
The city was founded in the 9th century as a small settlement, but it rose to prominence in the 14th century under the rule of King Bayinnaung. During his reign, Bago became the capital of the Taungoo dynasty, which lasted until the mid-16th century. It was during this period that Bago reached its peak as a cultural and religious center, with the construction of magnificent temples and palaces.
Bago was also a major center of trade, due to its strategic location on the Bago River. The river provided a direct link to the sea, and traders from all over Asia came to Bago to exchange goods. The city was also known for its fine textiles, especially silk and cotton.
However, Bago's prosperity was short-lived. In the late 16th century, the city was invaded by the Mon, who destroyed much of the city and its temples. The Mon were followed by the Burmese, who captured Bago and made it their capital. But even under Burmese rule, Bago never regained its former glory.
During the 19th century, Bago was once again the site of a major conflict. In 1852, the British East India Company invaded Myanmar, and Bago was one of the first cities to fall. The British destroyed much of the city, including the ancient temples and palaces.
Despite the destruction, Bago remained an important center of commerce and culture. In the early 20th century, the city was connected to Yangon by rail, which brought new opportunities for trade and development. During World War II, Bago was occupied by the Japanese, who used it as a military base.
After the war, Bago was part of independent Myanmar. However, the political environment of the country remained unstable, with various groups vying for power. Bago was a center of political activism, with students and workers organizing protests and strikes.
Today, Bago is a thriving city with a rich cultural heritage. Its temples and pagodas are major tourist attractions, and the city remains an important center of trade and commerce. However, the city still faces challenges, including poverty and political instability.
Bago's history is a reflection of the complex political environment and geography of the region. From its humble beginnings as a small settlement to its peak as a cultural and religious center, Bago has faced many challenges over the centuries. Despite these challenges, the city has remained a vital part of Myanmar's history and culture, and it continues to inspire and fascinate visitors from all over the world.