The upper and central plains of Burma are the traditional home of the Burma, a Tibeto-Burma people who migrated from the north and China- India borderlands up until the eleventh century AD. The Burmese ( or Bamas or Myanmar ) established their greatest capital at Pagan between 1044 and 1287 AD on the banks of the Irrawaddy. Later capitals were built at Ava, Amarapura, Sagaing, Mandalay, and Toungoo.
Today, Burmese form the largest ethnic group in the country, with 50 million people – about 60 percent of the population – speaking only their language, Burmese. In the past century, many minority groups, especially Mons and Karens, has become assimilated as Burmese migrants spread into new areas.
Like the Mons, the rich culture of the Burmese, who are strongly Buddhist, shows influences of Indian civilizations. These include Pali script (derived from Sanskrit), cosmetology, philosophy and statecraft, art, medicine and architecture.