Burma: Location, History, Size, Population, & Government

About the location, history, size, population, and government in the country of Burma.



Location--Burma is situated in Southeast Asia, along the valleys of the Irrawaddy, Sittang, and Salween rivers, and along the west coast of the northern Malayan peninsula. It is bounded by Bangladesh and India on the west, China on the north and east, Laos and Thailand on the east, and the Andaman Sea and Bay of Bengal on the southwest.

How Created--The inhabitants of Burma migrated south from Tibet and Yunnan (China) over a period of many centuries. The dominant ethnic Burmese arrived in the Irrawaddy Valley about the 9th century. In 1054 King Anawrahta unified Burma into one empire, building a magnificent capital at Pagan and inaugurating a golden age. His Pagan dynasty lasted until 1287, when Mongol Kublai Khan conquered the country.

During the 17th century Portuguese, Dutch, and English traders temporarily established settlements, but the inhabitants drove them out. In 1823-1826, in 1852, and in 1885 the British fought 3 wars against the Burmese, conquering the entire country by January 1, 1886. The British ruled Burma as part of India until 1937, when they separated it and established limited self-government.

In 1942 Japan conquered Burma, installing a puppet regime of Burmese nationalists. By 1944 the nationalists had turned against the Japanese, helping the British and Americans drive them out.

The Anti-Fascist Organization (later the Anti-Fascist Peoples Freedom League, or AFPFL), which led the anti-Japanese fight, pressed for independence and the British complied in 1948.

Size--261,789 sq. mi. (678,034 sq. km.), almost the size of Texas.

Population--30 million: Burmese, 71.5%; Karen, 8.4%; Shan, 6.5%; Chin, 2%; Mon, 1.9%; Kachin, 1.5%; Chinese, 1.4%: Tamil, 0.8%; Koyak, 0.5% other, 5.5% 85% Buddhist, 14% Animist, 1% Christian and others.

Who Rules--The Revolutionary Council of military leaders and the ruling Burmese Socialist Program party.

Who REALLY Rules--The military bureaucrats control the economy as well as politics and international affairs. When, in 1974, popular elections ran against the military's candidates, it overrode the public.

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