Burma or Myanmar is a sovereign state located in Southeast Asia. It shares borders with China, India, Laos, Thailand and Bangladesh. Burma also has an extensive coastline along the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea. The country covers a total area of 676,578 km2 (261,227 sq mi) and is the second largest country in Southeast Asia. Burma is home to over 60,000,000 people with approximately 925,000 people residing in the capital city of Naypyidaw. However many more people reside in the former capital of Yangon (also known as Ragoon, which is still recognized by some governments as the capital of Burma) which has a population of approximately 4,348,000.
- During the second half of the 16th century Burma was the largest empire in the history of Southeast Asia.
- In a series of 3 wars Burma was annexed by the British Empire and was completely under British control by 1886.
- Burma was a major battleground in World War II despite native Burmese being opposed to British Rule. Following the war the Panglong Agreement was negotiated and Burma achieved independence.
- Since its independence in 1948 this country has been at civil war with many of the ethnic groups fighting against one another.
- The country was under military control since a a coup d’état in 1962 and in 2011 the military begun to release power to the government of the country.
- The official name of the country of Burma is the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, but many countries refer to it as the Union of Burma instead.
- Much contention surrounds the name of this particular country as the military renamed it in 1989 to Myanmar. Many ethnic opposition groups and countries continue to use Burma as they do not recognize the authority of the reigning military government of the time to rename the country. In the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States the country is known as Burma. The United Nations, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Russia, Germany, Norway, China, India, Australia and Japan all recognize the country as Myanmar.
- Burma’s military regime is seen as one of the most repressive and abusive in the world. Children are sold into the army for food and fuel due to the suppression of human rights within the country. Human trafficking, slave labor and sexual assault are also common place in Burma.
- Burma is one of the poorest countries in Southeast Asia with only 25% of the population having access to electricity. The infrastructure is poor and many of the people are uneducated and unskilled.
- Health is also poor in this country with medical supplies and facilities limited and understaffed. Only 0.3% of the country’s income is spend on health care.
- In Burma education is only compulsory to the end of elementary school or approximately 9 years of age.
- Burma is rich in precious gems, natural gas and oil as well as other mineral resources. 90% of the world’s rubies come from Burma and it is well known for its amazing sapphires, pearls and jade.
- The highest point in Burma is Hkakabo Razi which reaches a height of 5,881 meters (19,295 ft).
- The longest river in Burma is the Irrawaddy River which is nearly 2,170 kilometers (1,348 mi) long.
- Burma has a tropical climate with a monsoon season. The average maximum temperature in Burma is 32 °C (89.6 °F).
- In May, 2008 Southern Burma was devastated by Cyclone Nargis.
- Burma is home to a variety of different animals including leopards, tigers, rhinoceros and elephants. Elephants are often captured and trained and bred in captivity to use as work animals.