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According to "Wikipedia" - throughout the colonial years, Mandalay was the center of Burmese culture and Buddhist learning, and as the last royal capital, was regarded by the Burmese as a primary symbol of sovereignty and identity. Between the two World Wars, the city was Upper Burma's focal point in a series of nationwide protests against the British rule. The British rule brought in many immigrants from India to the city. In 1904-1905, a plague caused about one-third of the population to flee the city. Many again fled the city during World War II when the city was under Japanese occupation from May 1942 to March 1945. The city suffered heavy damage. The palace citadel, turned into a supply depot by the Japanese, was burnt to the ground by Allied bombing; only the royal mint and the watch tower survived.