About Myanmar

The ethnic origins of modern Myanmar (known historically as Burma) are a mixture of Indo-Aryans, who began pushing into the area around 700 B.C. , and the Mongolian invaders under Kublai Khan who penetrated the region in the 13th century.

Anawrahta (10441077) was the first great unifier of Myanmar. In 1612, the British East India Company sent agents to Burma, but the Burmese doggedly resisted efforts of British, Dutch, and Portuguese traders to establish posts along the Bay of Bengal. Through the Anglo-Burmese War in 18241826 and two subsequent wars, the British East India Company expanded to the whole of Burma. By 1886, Burma was annexed to India, then became a separate colony in 1937.

Myanmar is a country in Southeast Asia, formerly known as Burma. Previously an independent kingdom, Burma was annexed by the British Empire into the colony of India in 1886. The occupation brought social, economic, cultural and administrative changes to the once-feudal society. The Japanese Empire invaded and occupied the country during World War II but it was returned to British control until independence in 1948. The name of the country was changed in 1989 by the ruling military government, officially recognized by the United Nations.

Some national governments, such as Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States, and much of the Burmese population do not recognize this name change, since they do not recognize the military government. Despite multiparty elections in 1990 that resulted in the main opposition party winning a decisive victory, the military junta refused to hand over power. Key opposition leader and Nobel Peace Prize recipient AUNG San Suu Kyi, has been set under house arrest from 1989 to 1995, and was again placed under house detention in September 2000; her supporters are routinely harassed or jailed. In 2011 the military junta was dissolved following a general election in 2010 and a civilian government has been installed.

Border countries: Bangladesh, China, India, Laos, Thailand

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