Here is an overview of Myanmar, a Southeast Asian country formerly known as Burma.
Population: 57,069,099 (July 2021 est.)
Ethnic groups: Burmese 68%, Shan 9%, Karen 7%, Rakhine 4%, Chinese 3%, Indian 2%, Mon 2%, other 5%
Unemployment: 4% (2017 estimate)
Myanmar shares borders with China, India, Laos, Bangladesh and Thailand.
The United States still officially calls the country Burma.
The Rohingya are a stateless Muslim minority in Myanmar’s Rakhine State, estimated at around one million people as of early 2017. Myanmar does not recognize them as citizens or as one of the 135 recognized ethnic groups living in the country. . According to Human Rights Watch, the laws discriminate against the Rohingya, impairing their freedom of movement, education, and employment.
1824-1886 – Burma becomes part of British India after fighting three wars with Britain for 62 years.
January 1947 – After negotiating with the Antifascist People’s Freedom League (AFPFL), Great Britain agrees to give Burma its independence.
July 1947 – AFPFL leader Aung San is assassinated.
January 4, 1948 – Burma gains independence from the United Kingdom.
March 1962 – Military government is established under Ne Win after a bloodless coup.
August-October 1988 – Mass protests against the government are taking place across Burma. Radio Rangoon’s official figure is 450 dead; the actual number is believed to be much higher.
September 1988 – General Saw Maung takes over in another military coup.
1989 – Burma changes its name in English to Myanmar and the name of the capital from Rangoon to Yangon.
May 1990 – General elections are called by the junta. Activist Aung San Suu Kyi’s NLD (National League for Democracy) party won easily, but the army refused to cede power.
April 23, 1992 – General Than Shwe replaces Saw Maung at the head of the junta.
July 23, 1997 – Myanmar joins the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
March 2006 – Naypyidaw becomes the new administrative capital.
August 19, 2007 – Protests erupt in Yangon after the government raised oil and diesel prices by 100%.
September 22, 2007 – In her first public appearance in over four years, Suu Kyi greets monks as they parade past her home in Yangon.
September 24, 2007 – Buddhist monks lead around 100,000 people in the biggest anti-government protests since 1988.
September 26, 2007 – As protests continue, Myanmar’s security forces are cracking down, beating and gassing protesters and arresting up to 200 monks.
September 30, 2007 – UN Special Envoy Ibrahim Gambari is meeting with Suu Kyi and military officials (separately) to try to resolve the situation.
October 20, 2007 – The United Nations General Assembly approves a resolution condemning government repression and calling for the release of political protesters.
May 2, 2008 – A cyclone kills more than 70,000 people. The United Nations later estimates that more than two million people are severely affected by the storm.
May 20, 2008 – It is announced that the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, will be allowed to visit the devastated area affected by the cyclone. In addition, aid shipments prohibited from entering the country will be allowed.
June 5-10, 2010 – Over 4,000 ethnic Karen people are leaving Myanmar for Thailand after clashes between the Karen National Union rebel group and the Myanmar military.
June-July 2010 – Floods and landslides kill 68 people and displace thousands.
October 22, 2010 – Cyclone Giri hits Myanmar, leaving at least 27 dead and nearly 75,000 homeless.
November 7, 2010 – Myanmar holds its first elections in 20 years. The Union Solidarity and Development Party, supported by the military, claims victory with 80% of the vote.
November 13, 2010 – Opposition leader Suu Kyi is released from house arrest.
January 31, 2011 – Myanmar is convening its first parliament in more than two decades in the capital, Naypyidaw.
February 4, 2011 – The parliament elects Prime Minister Thein Sein as president. Suu Kyi’s NLD party boycotts the elections, calling them a sham.
March 30, 2011 – A civilian government is sworn in to replace the military junta.
October 12, 2011 – Dozens of political prisoners are released in a massive amnesty.
November 30, 2011 – Hillary Clinton arrives in Myanmar, the first visit by a US Secretary of State in more than 50 years.
December 13, 2011 – The NLD is allowed to register for future elections in Myanmar.
April 1, 2012 – Suu Kyi wins a seat in parliament in the first multiparty elections since 1990.
April 28, 2012 – Catherine Ashton, EU foreign policy chief, meets Suu Kyi. The European Union has suspended most of the sanctions it had imposed on Myanmar, citing the “transparent and credible” election that brought Suu Kyi to power and other reforms.
April 29, 2012 – UN Secretary General Ban arrives in Myanmar to meet President Thein Sein and Suu Kyi.
May 2, 2012 – Suu Kyi is sworn in for Myanmar’s parliament, breaking a deadlock that prevented her from taking her seat in the legislature. She and 33 other newly elected members of the National League for Democracy had delayed taking the oath due to objections to the wording of the oath they would have to take.
June 2012 – Unrest erupts in western Rakhine State. Religious violence leaves more than 200 dead and nearly 150,000 homeless, mostly members of the Muslim Rohingya minority.
November 19, 2012 – US President Barack Obama becomes the first sitting US president to visit Myanmar. He meets President Thein Sein and activist Suu Kyi.
March 10, 2013 – Suu Kyi is re-elected leader of the NLD in Myanmar.
March 22nd 2013 – A state of emergency is declared as ethnic clashes between Muslims and Buddhists lead to killings.
May 2, 2013 – US President Obama extends Myanmar sanctions for another year while lifting 1996 visa ban.
April 7, 2014 – The UN special rapporteur on Myanmar, Tomas Ojea Quintana, reports that the recent persecution of the Rohingya group “could constitute crimes against humanity”.
August 7, 2015 – Government officials say the death toll from the floods has risen to 88 and another 330,000 have been affected.
March 28, 2018 – Myanmar parliament elects Win Myint as new speaker.
September 3, 2018 – After being found guilty of violating the Official Secrets Law during their investigation, Kyaw Soe Oo and Wa Lone are sentenced to seven years of hard labor by a court in Myanmar. Reuters, with a special mention for the two journalists, received the Pulitzer Prize for international reporting in April 2019.
September 18, 2018 – UN fact-finding mission releases detailed 440-page report detailing atrocities committed by Myanmar’s military against Rohingya Muslims, in support of its call for the country’s generals to appear in court international for genocide.
April 16, 2021 – Opponents of the military junta announce a National Unity Government (NUG), a shadow civilian government, with Suu Kyi named de facto leader.
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