Until the 1990s, Insein, about 20 miles from downtown Yangon, was beyond Yangon's city limits although by the 1980s, Insein was already integrated with the rest of the city. With the expansion of Yangon's city limits in the 1990s which also included founding new satellite towns, Insein was formally incorporated into Yangon.
It was named by Mon; ( Mon: အင္စိင္ spell as Ancin ), which means a precious lake and also a former name of Inya lake.
Insein was a famous battle site in the Burmese civil war that erupted after the country's independence from the United Kingdom in January 1948. Insein was the limit Karen insurgents reached in January 1949 in their ambitious attempt to take Yangon and oust the Burmese government.