After annexation of Shan countries by British in 1887 the British sought to govern Shan countries and its people by SaoPha . SaoPha
had to acknowledge British supremacy, maintain peace and not oppress their subjects. Between 1887 and 1895 the SaoPha pledged their
allegiance to the British crown and their domains were placed under the supervision of British Assistant Superintendents. The formal
administrative entity known as the Federated Shan States was not created until 1922. Under British government, the 40 Shan States
were combined and then divided into three general sections: the Northern Shan State, the Southern Shan State and the Eastern Shan
State; altogether they formed the Federated Shan State. Federated Shan State was formed under British colony on October 1, 1922. There
are three Shan States until today. All these Shan States gained independence on January 4, 1948 together with other States but they
all are now under Burma Military Government since 1962.
Before meeting with General Aung San, all the Shan leaders and peoples
of the Shan States got together to adopt the Shan Flag and the National Anthem. February 7, 1947 was marked as Shan National Day.
A conference held at PangLong, Southern Shan State, attended by General Aung San, members of the Executive Council "Council" of the
Governor of Burma, all SaoPha and representatives of the Shan States, Kachin Hills and Chin Hills on February 10, 1947. General Aung
San explained to the Shan SaoPha that he was going to London very soon and asking for independence. He also wanted Shan States to
be independence at the same time. The Members of the conference believed that freedom would be more speedily achieved by the cooperation
of Shan, Kachin and Chin with the Interim Burmese Government. Shan States together with Burma proper, gained independence from British
on January 4, 1948 and formed Union of Burma. The first President of Union of Burma was Sao Shwe Thaike, (q0fjolpfbwFufh) Shan SaoPha
of YaungHwe. In the past a Muong (rldif;) (Territory) was governed by a hereditary chief called “SaoPha ” (q0fjZMU) literary means
Lord of the Sky. The political and geographical situation of the Shan States changed in 1886 when Burma became British colony. The
Shan States with other “Hill States” were allowed to remain autonomous, which meant that in the Shan States the SaoPha would still
rule over their States or Muongs. The British Government respected and recognized the authority of the Shan SaoPha. Small States were
absorbed into bigger ones, old States dismantled and new ones formed. A SaoPha ’s salary was depending on a fixed fraction of the
State revenue. Thus, a SaoPha with a bigger and more prosperous State earned a salary higher than one with a smaller and less prosperous
State. About thirty-five per cent of the revenue was contributed to the Central Government and the rest was used for State Administration.
Before World War II, the Shan had been content to be ruled by the SaoPha. After the war SaoPha found themselves having to deal with
activists in their own States, some were anti-SaoPha and others anti-British. The people’s demonstrations were putting pressure on
the SaoPha to relinquish the power. In 1958 the SaoPha agreed to the demand of the temporary military government led by General Ne
Win and relinquish their power and hereditary rights. No more ruling SaoPha since 1958.
Independence Of Burma