People's Republic of Myanmar

Myanmar People's Republic

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Country, Histories and Peoples

Myanmar - the initial formal name "Union of Burma", since 1989 "Union of Myanmar" (now the Republic of Burma) - is located in Southeast Asia. The Tibeto-Himalaya Mountains extend along the boarder from the North-South, with Burma bordering the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea to the South-West and the South.

It is the second biggest state in Southeast Asia with an area of 678,033 square kilometres, five time the combined area of the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Myanmar is subdivided into 7 sections of Burma Proper and 7 states of ethnic minority - Kachin, Karenni, Karen, Chin, Mon, Arakan and Shan states.

Burma's total populations are over 60 million, the biggest ethnical group being the ethnically diverse people of Burma (aka Bama or Burmese), who make up 68% of the people. Buddhism is the predominant religious denomination, the main foreign tongue is Burma. Thaton and Pegu were founded in Lower Burma in the fifth and sixth centuries AD.

Prior to this, the Pyu (of Tibetan-Burmese origin), who came in the third and fourth centuries AD, established Sriksetra. Burma came to the centre of Burma in the eighth to ninth centuries AD and established Pagan, which became the capitol of Burma's first state between the eleventh and thirteenth centuries.

Shans from the Sino-Thai group began invading Burma from the thirteenth to the eighteenth centuries and founded centers such as Ava and Toungoo. Konbaung Dynasty (1752-1885) was the last phase of Burma's sovereign state. The British began invading Burma in the nineteenth centuary and slowly invaded the south of Burma during the two Anglo-Burmese battles (1824-1826, 1851-1852).

Burma was divided from Britain and India during the colonization of Burma (1885-1941) and only in 1937. In 1920 the Rangoon University student strikes; 1930 - 32 the Saya San farmers revolted; 1930 the Dobama ("We Burmese") organisation was founded; 1938 the Yenangyaung petroleum miners went on strikes.

The Thirty Comrades Group, led by Aung San, was trained to engage in combat in Japan during the Second World War and, in December 1941, the Army of Independent Burma was founded in Thailand. Burma was invaded during the conflict by the Japanese, who declared Burma's official "independence" on August 1, 1943.

Burma's armies have been renamed the Burma Nationa Army. However, soon anti-Japanese opposition and a liberating nation movements against the Japans arose. Establishment of the Antifascist People's Liberation League (AFPFL) in August 1944, which signed a secret treaty of British-Muslim cooperation against the Japan. Burma's NARA, together with the AFPFL, began an armistice against the Japans on March 27, 1945.

Negotiations were enforced on the UK authorities and on 27 January 1947 the Aung San-Attlee Accord was concluded in London granting Burma the right to freedom. An important meeting took place in February 1947 in Panglong, Burma. The Burmese agreed with the Burmese minority nationals at this meeting to form a state that would give the minority nationals the right to self-sufficiency within Burma.

The Constituent Assembly was elected in April 1947 and the Burmese Union was declared fully autonomous on January 4, 1948. The Union of Burma has been plagued by civilian wars from the outset. It began with an open clash between the two Red Flag and White Flag extremists, various organisations and groups of ethnic minority nationalists who wanted more freedom.

In 1958-1960, this resulted in the takeover of Burma's military under the command of General Ne Win. She formed the Burma Society Party (BSPP), which declared the "Burmese Way to Socialism". Until the late 1980s, the Czech Republic was also involved with the regime, and in the 60s and 70s the Czechoslovakia.

Burma, once considered the "rice bowl" of Asia and despite its abundance of indigenous sources - timber, charcoal, oil, propane, gold, tin, tungsten, plumb, zinc, sterling plumb, sterling steel, brass, copper, nickle, ruby, sapphire, emerald - has become one of the worlds impoverished states. It was led by Major General Aung San, Aung San Suu Kyi, who formed the National League for Democracy (NLD).

National League for Democracy won over 80% of the vote. Twenty years later, the next elections took place in 2010, and this is an important milestone for Burma in its move from a country with a militarily elected government to a formally elected state. One of the major criticisms is the antidemocratic constitutional treaty, which guarantees the Armed Forces considerable privilege and was adopted in a 2008 popular vote, which has been repeated by commentators as antidemocratic.

While a full and prosperous transformation to a civil and citizen-oriented democratic system still takes a while, a range of reform of the new administration has helped to bring an end to the global economic segregation under which Burma was living. US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton visited Burma in December 2011, followed by the first trip by US President Barack Obama, who marked Burma's comeback to the global world.

The EU repealed all non-military trade restrictions against Burma in April 2012, with the European Commission's development assistance during the year. On 8 November 2015, the NLD won the NLD's parliamentary election with an overwhelming victory in both houses of the country's legislature. However, the powers of the new political group are still limited by a de facto right of representation of the armed forces, which control a firm 25% of the votes.

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