Myanmar, called Burma by the British, is the name long used by its people for their homeland. Myanmar is also known as the “Golden Land” for its rich soil and the wealth of minerals and precious stones. The country was consolidated in the 11th century by King Anawrahta with Bagan as its capital. His empire collapsed with the invasion of the Mongols 200 years later. In 1852, the British annexed Burma and gradually transformed Yangon (formerly Rangoon) into a booming trading center for rice, oil and teak. Their colonial rule lasted until 1948, interrupted only by the Japanese occupation during World War II. When General Ne Win seized power in 1962, Myanmar closed its doors to the outside world. The capital became an urban fossil, remaining isolated for three decades. Today it is possible once again to experience this country’s unique culture, relatively untouched by Western influences.