The region, which is geographically isolated, was the seat of a powerful kingdom (after the 15th cent.), famous for a colossal image of Buddha. At various times under Burmese rule, it finally was absorbed into Burma (now Myanmar) in 1783; it was the first Burmese territory ceded (1826) to the British after the first Anglo-Burmese War. In the 1950s there was a movement for secession from Myanmar. In 2012 ten of thousands of Arakanese and Rohingyas were displaced as a result of outbreaks of ethnic violence between the two groups, and tensions and sporadic violence have continued since then. In late 2016 an attack on police by a Rohingya insurgent group led to a military crackdown in N Rakhine that continued into early 2017; there were accusations of military atrocities, and many Rohingya fled to Bangladesh. Rohingya insurgent attacks in N Rakhine in Aug., 2017, sparked attacks on Rohingyas by the military and Buddhist mobs; their villages were burned, some 7,000 were believed to have been killed, and hundreds of thousands fled to Bangladesh.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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