Facts about Myanmar

What is the capital of Myanmar?
The capital of Myanmar has historically been the city of Rangoon (also called Yangon). In 2005, the ruling regime founded a new, centrally-planned city to be the capital, calling it Naypyidaw. Rangoon, however, remains Myanmar’s largest and most important city, and the United States and other countries often continue to list it as the capital.

What is the population of Myanmar?
Approximately 54 million people.

How big is Myanmar?
676,578 square kilometers, or 261,227 square miles, roughly the size of the state of Texas.

What are the other names of Myanmar?
The true name of the country is a matter of contention because of the political struggles over its leadership.

When it was a colony of the British, it was referred to as “Burma” in English. The leaders of a successful uprising in 1988 later changed the name to the “Union of Myanmar.” This name was soon recognized by the U.N., but gained limited traction in many other countries, who did not want to legitimize the current regime. Many English-speaking nations still call the country “Burma,” although its official name is now the “Republic of the Union of Myanmar.” The names “Myanmar” and “Burma” both have deep roots in the native languages spoken in the region, and have been used in many instances to describe both the area and the dominant ethnic group.

What languages are spoken in Myanmar?
The national language of Myanmar is Burmese, although there are large numbers of minority groups that speak other languages such as Shan, Karen, and Kachin. In all, more than one hundred languages are spoken in the country.

What countries border Myanmar? Myanmar is located in Southeast Asia and is bordered by Bangladesh, China, India, Laos, and Thailand.

What is the national religion in Myanmar?
Nearly ninety percent of the population of Myanmar is Buddhist, and officials there
have been known to discriminate against other belief systems. The minority religions are mainly Christianity and Islam, with several others also having small followings.

What is the form of government in Myanmar? Politics in Myanmar have tended to be somewhat volatile, but the country is currently a presidential republic under the leadership of President Thein Sein. The regime has been criticized as remaining under military rule despite electing some civilian leaders, with the elections themselves frequently considered to be suspect to tampering. Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy, the largest alternative political movement in the country, was systematically undermined by the ruling powers until the elections in 2012, when the party won many seats in parliament.

Who is Aung San Suu Kyi?
Aung San Suu Kyi is one of the children of General Aung San, a revolutionary figure in Myanmar who was a key part of the country’s independence movement. Aung San Suu Kyi has spent much of her life as an opposition leader in her home country, founding the National League for Democracy in an attempt to bring free elections to Myanmar. She is a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize because of her tireless efforts, which include 15 years of imprisonment under house arrest. Aung San Suu Kyi was released in 2010 after much international pressure. In 2012, Aung San Suu Kyi was elected the Leader of the Opposition in the Lower House of Parliament in Myanmar.

What was Cyclone Nargis? Cyclone Nargis was a deadly tropical cyclone that hit Myanmar in May of 2008, destroying the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. In addition to the catastrophe itself, there was a great deal of controversy surrounding the regime’s refusal of help from several other countries, and allegations that foreign aid might have been misappropriated. All told, it was one of the most disastrous events in Myanmar’s history, and its full effects may never be known.

Last Updated on: July 17th, 2018