(pop. 1,315,964; met. area pop. 2,452,881) is the capital and largest city of Myanmar. It
is also the country's chief port and industrial center. Yangon, also spelled Rangoon, lies
in southern Myanmar on both banks of the Yangon River. It is about 20 miles (32
kilometers) north of the Gulf of Martaban, an arm of the Indian Ocean.
Yangon has many Buddhist temples. The most famous is the
Shwe Dagon pagoda, which dates from ancient times. The city has a national museum and a
number of parks and lakes. It is the home of the University of Yangon, the Yangon
Institute of Technology, and the Institute of Medicine.
Many of Yangon's people work for the government. The city's industries include
shipbuilding, oil refining, and the milling of rice and wood.
Rice and teakwood are Yangon's principal exports. Yangon's factories manufacture pottery
and cloth made of cotton and silk.
In the A.D. 500's, a settlement called Dagon occupied the
area that is now Yangon. Dagon was a small town until the 1750's, when Alaungpaya, a
Burmese king, founded the city and named it Yangon. The British captured Yangon in 1825
during the First AngloBurman War, but they did not occupy the city until after the Second
Anglo-Burman War in 1852. Fire destroyed Yangon in 1851, but the city was soon rebuilt.
Yangon remained under British occupation until the Japanese drove them out during World
War II. In 1948, Myanmar--then called Burma--gained independence. Yangon's population has
grown rapidly since 1948.