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Myanmar (Burma)

A map of Myanmar, showing highland and lowland areas and vegetationMyanmar is a land of mountains and river valleys. The Irrawaddy River (also known as the Ayeyarwady) runs north to south through the country, forming a wide valley, where most people live, and a swampy delta at the coast. Thickly forested uplands rise on both sides of the Irrawaddy valley, extending to the borders with India in the west and China to the north and east. The eastern part of Myanmar is made up of the high Shan Plateau, home to native hill tribes such as the Karen and Akha peoples. In the south, a long, narrow finger of land stretches southwards along the Andaman Sea coast, fringed by hundreds of tiny islands. Most of Myanmar has a tropical climate, with hot, humid weather all year round. The monsoon season takes place between May and October. Previously known as Burma, in 1989 the country was renamed Myanmar by its military dictatorship, though many people still call the country Burma. One of the best known leaders of the opposition to Myanmar's military government, Aung San Suu Kyi (born 1945), came to power herself as State Counsellor, after her political party, the National League for Democracy, won the 2015 General Election.



A map of Myanmar

Workers at a lacquerware factory, Bagan

People

Myanmar is home to over 130 ethnic groups. The largest, the Burmans, live in the valleys and plains surrounding the Irrawaddy River. Their language, Burmese, is similar to languages spoken in Tibet and China. Most people in Myanmar are Buddhist, and the Buddhist monastery is an important centre of daily life. Many children go to school at monasteries, where they learn about Buddhism as well as how to read and write.
Myanmar's largest city, Yangon, with the Shwedagon Pagoda in the background. The pagoda is one of Myanmar's most sacred Buddhist...Read More >>Myanmar's largest city, Yangon, with the Shwedagon Pagoda in the background. The pagoda is one of Myanmar's most sacred Buddhist sites.

Over 90% of the world’s rubies are mined in Myanmar.

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