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Back in the Day: Burma mourns the death of Aung San

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Back in the Day: Burma mourns the death of Aung San


July 19, 1947. Burmese independence leader and de facto Prime Minister Bogyoke (General) Aung San is assassinated along with six cabinet ministers and two other members of his entourage. A former prime minister, U Saw, was later found guilty of his murder and hanged. Aung San’s political activism began in his student days, when he was a fierce critic of the British rule of Burma. When Japan took control of the country in World War II he was made head of the army, but later sided with the Allies to oust the Japanese. Aung San then led the struggle for Burma’s complete independence and successfully negotiated its terms with the British in 1947; he then headed a shadow government to oversee the transition to independence. However he was murdered six months before the independence treaty took effect. His daughter Aung San Suu Kyi, who was two at the time of his death, has continued the struggle for democracy in Burma despite almost constant house arrest under the current ruling military junta. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991, while her father remains an icon of Burmese independence and has statues erected in his honour across the country.

Also on July 19: English warship the Mary Rose sinks in the English Channel (1545); Lady Jane Grey is deposed as Queen of England and replaced by Mary I of England (1553); assassination of Korean politician Yuh Woon Hyung (1947); Sandinista rebels take control of Nicaragua (1979).

Born on July 19: Samuel Colt (1814), Edgar Degas (1834), Max Fleischer (1883), Brian May (1947), Vitali Klitschko (1971)

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