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Yenangyaung (Burmese: ရေနံချောင်း; literally "stream of oil") is a city in Magway Region, Myanmar. Yenangyaung is located in central Myanmar on the Irrawaddy River, 363 miles from Yangon. Yenangyaung was a Capital city of Minbu Division(Magway Division) and Yenangyaung District until 1974.



Welcome signboard of Yenangyaung
Welcome signboard of Yenangyaung
Yenangyaung is located in Myanmar
Coordinates: 20°27′29.74″N 94°52′23.45″E / 20.4582611°N 94.8731806°E / 20.4582611; 94.8731806
Country Myanmar
Division Magway Region
DistrictMagway District
TownshipYenangyaung Township
 • City1,007.4 km2 (388.95 sq mi)
200 m (650 ft)
 • Urban
48,519 (2,017,March) 48,578(2,018,March)
Time zoneUTC+6:30 (MMT)

General Aung San gathered his secondary level education at this city.


Yenangyaung Degree College and Yenangyaung Government Technical Institute are located in Yenangyaung. No(1)Basic Education High School was one hundred years old in January 2015.


Pinn Chaung stream flows in the north.

The city is divided into fourteen main quarters.

  • Thit-ta Bwe Quarter
  • Ywarthit Quarter
  • Obo Quarter
  • Nyaung Hla Quarter
  • Myoma (South) Quarter
  • Myoma (North) Quarter
  • Sonetite Quarter
  • Shwe Kyar-nyone Quarter
  • Myaynikhin (South) Quarter
  • Myaynikhin (North) Quarter
  • Bo Gone Quarter
  • Thahtay Gone Quarter
  • Twin Gone Quarter
  • Baymae Quarter

Sub-quarters include Shwe-bone Thar, Ngwe-bone Thar, Yenanthar, Ayesayti, Aungchan Thar.etc.

Myoma Market and Yadanar Market are at the center of the city. Industry Zone is located in the north.


The principal product is petroleum. The area produces most of the oil and natural gas in Myanmar. Yenangyaung produces edible oil. Agriculture is important. The major crops are sesame and groundnut. Other crops are onion, sunflower and beans.


Oil wells in Yenangyaung during the early 20th century.

For centuries, the dominant industry in the area has been petroleum. It began as an indigenous industry, with hand-dug wells; from 1755 onwards, British soldier-diplomats noted its existence.[1] In 1795, Major Michael Symes described the indigenous industry as "the celebrated wells of Petroleum".[2] The following year, when Captain Hiram Cox, the East India Company Resident in Rangoon, visited Yenangyaung, he found "520 wells registered by government".[3]

The oil fields at Twingon and Beme, close to Yenangyaung, were in the hands of a hereditary corporation of 24 families, each headed by a twinzayo (တွင်းစားရိုး). In turn, these yo-ya families were headed by 18 men and 6 women twinzayos. Inheritance descended from male to male and from female to female.[4] The word twinzayo is derived from twin meaning well, za, eater or one who derives income from property and yo which represents the hereditary lineal bloodline.[5]

The twinzayo could arrange for wells to be dug on their behalf or allocate well sites to others. In pre-colonial times, these individual well owners, known as twinza were usually relatives of the twinzayo and paid a monthly rental for their site.[6] The twingyimin, the elected head of the twinzayo corporation controlled the fields, and though a twinzayo could choose the site of a well, digging could not commence until site was approval by the twingyimin.[7] During British colonial rule, the hereditary rights of the twinzayo were recognized in the Executive Instructions of 1893.[8]

The industry's origins remain uncertain, with some claiming that it began as early as the 10th century AD.[8] However, the earliest extant records date to 1755, attributed to an English captain, George Baker, who wrote of an "earth oil town" of 200 families by the Irrawaddy River.[8] In pre-colonial times, wells were dug by hand. Some records estimated that upwards of 1,000,000 US gallons (3,800,000 L) per day of oil were produced in 1797.[8]

During World War II, Yenangyaung was the location of a strategically and tactically important oil refinery. As a result of the speed and success of the Japanese advance through Burma during the Burma Campaign and the Battle of Yenangyaung, the retreating Allied forces were forced to blow up the oil fields and refinery to prevent them falling to the Japanese. This difficult task was left to a small group of men who had experience with explosives and demolitions, some from serving with the Bombay Pioneers, part of the British Indian Army, in World War I. The oil facilities were destroyed on 16 April 1942.[9][10]

This group included Lt. Col. Arthur Herbert Virgin OBE, formerly of the 2nd Bombay Pioneers, who at that time would have been a Captain or Major in the 20th Burma Rifles, which later formed part of the Fourteenth Army under Field Marshal Sir William Slim. He and the rest of the men had to escape through enemy-held territory to Imphal and Kohima in India, a distance of nearly 1,000 miles. This escape included swimming across the Irrawaddy River, as the only bridge had been blown up to delay the Japanese.

The Japanese were able to continue using the oilfields, but in the last year of the war as the Allies advanced eastward toward Burma, the oil fields were badly damaged by Allied bombers. The first bombers to strike were USAAF North American B-25 Mitchell bombers, followed moments later by British Hawker Hurricane fighters, equipped for dive bombing, with long-range tanks, bombs, and 20 mm cannon.[11]

Yenangyaung was a Capital city of Minbu Division (or) Minbu province.Minbu Region was established with 3 districts.They are Minbu District,Thayet District and Yenangyaung District.

On 2 March 1962, the military led by General Ne Win took control of Burma through a coup d'état, and the government has been under direct or indirect control by the military.A new constitution of the Socialist Republic of the Union of Burma was adopted in 1974.

By 1974 construction,the name of Minbu region was changed to Magway Region and Yenangyaung District was abolished.Magway District was established with 6 townships.Capital city was changed to Magway from Yenangyaung.

After Rangoon,Yenangyaung was a second largest and developing city of Lower Burma until 1980.The city was more greater than Upper Burma’s largest city,Mandalay. Nowadays,the city is less development and small city of Myanmar,Magway District.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Marilyn V Longmuir, "Oil in Burma: The Extraction of 'Earth-Oil' to 1914", Bangkok, White Lotus Press, 2001, ISBN 974-7534-60-6.
  2. ^ Michael Symes, "An Account of an Embassy to the Court of Ava in the Year 1795", Edinburgh, Constable, 1827
  3. ^ Hiram Cox, "Journal of a Residence in the Burmhan Empire", Farnborough, Gregg International Publishers, 1971.
  4. ^ Report of a Committee Appointed to Investigate the Condition of the Twinza Reserves, Yenangyaung Oil-Field, Burma. Rangoon: Office of the Superintendent, Government Printing, Burma, 1908.
  5. ^ Marilyn V Longmuir, Oil in Burma: The Extraction of Earth Oil to 1914, Bangkok, White Lotus Press.
  6. ^ Fritz Noetling, The Occurrence of Petroleum in Burma, and its Technical Exploitation", Memoirs of the Geological Survey of India, 27.2 (1898), 162
  7. ^ Report of a Committee Appointed to Investigate the Condition of the Twinza Reserves Yenangyaung Oil-Field, Burma, Office of the Superintendent, Government Printing, Burma. Rangoon, 1908, 132.
  8. ^ a b c d Longmuir, Marilyn (September 1998). "Twinzayo and Twinza: Burmese "Oil Barons" and the British Administration". Asian Studies Review. 22 (3): 339–356. doi:10.1111/1467-8403.00021 (inactive 2019-08-20).
  9. ^ Christensen (Summer 1949). "Yenangyaung 1942". Retrieved 1 May 2012.
  10. ^ Minute details of this retreat and demolition are found in the first half of "Retreat with Stilwell", by correspondent Jack Belden, Garden City Books, New York, 1943.
  11. ^ Merton Naydler, "Young Man You'll Never Die: A World War II Fighter Pilot In North Africa, Burma & Malaya", Pen & Sword, 2006; Kindle edition Loc 2407 of 2972

Further readingEdit

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