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Myanmar

Myanmar, also called Burma, country, located in the western portion of mainland Southeast Asia. In 1989 the country’s official English name, which it had held since 1885, was changed from the Union of Burma to the Union of Myanmar. In 2005 the government began to shift its administrative center, first to the city of Pyinmana and then to Nay Pyi Taw, a newly constructed city near Pyinmana. Nay Pyi Taw was proclaimed the capital of Myanmar in 2006.

Myanmar is primarily a Theravada Buddhist society, with about 89% of the population. Most Burmese are very devout and treat monks with great respect. Under British colonial rule, Burma was the richest country in Southeast Asia, awash in rubies, oil, and valuable timber. Sadly, after decades of mismanagement by post-independence dictators, Myanmar has become one of the poorest nations in the world.

Estimates of the per capita income are unreliable, but it is probably about $230 US. Myanmar’s currency is the kyat. As of February 2014, $1 US = 980 Burmese kyat.

In 2015, the citizens of the country held their first general elections with the National League for Democracy taking the majority in both national parliament chambers and placing Ktin Kyaw as the first elected non-military president since the coup of ’62. A prime minister-type role, called the State Counsellor, was established in 2016 and Aung San Suu Kyi took the role.