Burma (A.K.A) Myanmar

UNION OF BURMA (ALSO KNOWN AS) MYANMAR

Burma is bordered by India, Bangladesh, China, Laos and Thailand.

Capital : Nay Pyi Taw

Official Language : Burmese

Currency : Kyat

Area: (261,227 sq mi), it is the 40th largest country in the world and the second largest country in Southeast Asia. (10 times larger than Florida)

Population : Over 58.8 million people

Colonial era (1886–1948)

British rule brought social, economic, cultural and administrative changes to the once-feudal society. Since independence in 1948, the country has been in one of the longest running civil wars among the country’s myriad ethnic groups that remains unresolved.

Democratic republic (1948–1962)

On 4 January 1948, the nation became an independent republic, named the Union of Burma.
Unlike most other former British colonies and overseas territories, it did not become a member of the Commonwealth. A bicameral parliament was formed, consisting of a Chamber of Deputies and a Chamber of Nationalities, and multi-party elections were held in 1951–1952, 1956 and 1960.

Military rule (1962–2011)

On 2 March 1962, the military led by General Ne Win took control of Burma through a coup d’état and the government has been under direct or indirect control by the military since then.
In 1988, unrest over economic mismanagement and political oppression by the government led to widespread pro-democracy demonstrations throughout the country known as the 8888 Uprising. Security forces killed thousands of demonstrators.
In May 1990, the government held free elections for the first time in almost 30 years and the National League for Democracy (NLD), the party of Aung San Suu Kyi, won 392 out of a total 489 seats (i.e., 80% of the seats). However, the military junta refused to cede power.
The United Nations and several other organizations have reported consistent and systematic human rights violations in the country, including child labour, human trafficking and a lack of freedom of speech.

Agriculture

The major agricultural product is rice which covers about 60% of the country’s total cultivated land area.

Under British administration, Burma was the second-wealthiest country in South-East Asia. It had been the world’s largest exporter of rice. Burma also had a wealth of natural and labour resources.

During World War II, the British destroyed the major oil wells and mines for tungsten, tin, lead and silver to keep them from the Japanese. Burma was bombed extensively by both sides.

By the 1950s, rice exports had fallen by two thirds and mineral exports by over 96% (as compared to the pre-World War II period). Today, Burma is only responsible for  0.05% of world rice exports.

Natural resources

Burma is a resource rich country.  Burma produces precious stones such as  sapphires,  pearls  and  jade.  Rubies are the biggest earner; 90% of the world’s rubies  come from the country, whose red stones are prized for their purity and hue. Thailand buys the majority of the country’s gems. Other industries include agricultural goods, textiles, wood products, construction materials, gems, metals, oil and natural gas.

Culture

A diverse range of indigenous cultures exist in Burma, the majority culture is  pimarily  Buddhist  and  Bamar.  Bamar culture has been influenced by the cultures of neighboring countries. This is manifested in its language, cuisine, music, dance and theatre.

Religion

89% of the population embraces Buddhism. Christianity 4%, Islam 4%, Others including  Atheism,  Animism  and  Chinese  folk religion 2% and Hinduism 1%.

The arts, particularly literature, have historically been influenced by the local form of  Theravada  Buddhism.

Ethnic groups

Burma is ethnically diverse. The government recognizes 135 distinct ethnic groups. The major ethnic groups are Kachin, Karen, Kayar, Chin, Mon, Bamar, Rakhine and Shan. The country is divided into seven states and seven divisions.

Ref : wikipedia