Capital: Rangoon (Yangon) - Note: Nay Pyi Taw is the administrative capital
Population: 55,746,253 (July 2014 est.) - Note: estimates take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS
Ethnic groups: Burman 68%, Shan 9%, Karen 7%, Rakhine 4%, Chinese 3%, Indian 2%, Mon 2%, other 5%
Religions: Buddhist 89%, Christian 4% (Baptist 3%, Roman Catholic 1%), Muslim 4%, Animist 1%, other 2%
History of Burma (Myanmar):
The ethnic origins of Burma are a mixture of Indo-Aryans, who began moving into the area around 700 B.C. The Mon established city states by the early 9th century. The Mranma (Burmans or Bamar), entered the upper Irrawaddy valley in the early 9th century. Anawrahta (1044-1077) was the first great unifier of Burma and founder of the Pagan Empire (1044-1287).
The golden age of the Pagan Empire reached its peak during the reign of Anawratha's successor, Kyanzitta (1084-1113), under whom it acquired the name "City of four million pagodas". Mongolian invaders under Kublai Khan penetrated the region in the 13th century.
In 1612, the British East India Company sent agents to Burma, but the Burmese resisted efforts of British, Dutch, and Portuguese traders to establish posts along the Bay of Bengal. Through the Anglo-Burmese War in 1824-1826 and two subsequent wars, the British East India Company expanded throughout Burma. By 1886, Burma was annexed to India, then became a separate, self-governing colony in 1937.
During World War II, Burma was a key battleground. The Japanese invaded in December 1941. Allied forces liberated most of Burma prior to the Japanese surrender in August 1945. Burmese nationalists, led by General Aung San, fought for independence. On July 19, 1947, a gang of armed paramilitaries assassinated Aung San and six of his cabinet ministers. Burma became independent on January 4, 1948.
In 1962, General Ne Win staged a coup, banned political opposition, suspended the constitution, and introduced the "Burmese way of socialism." After 25 years of economic hardship and repression, people held massive demonstrations in 1987 and 1988 that were quashed by the State Law and Order Council (SLORC). In 1989, the military government officially changed the name of the country to Myanmar.
In May 1990 elections, the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) won in a landslide. The military refused to recognize the election results. The leader of the opposition, Aung San Suu Kyi, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991, which focused world attention on SLORC's repressive policies. Suu Kyi was placed under house arrest from 1989 until 1995.
From 2000 to 2002, Suu Kyi was again placed under house arrest. In spring 2003, the government cracked down on the democracy movement, detaining Suu Kyi and shuttering NLD headquarters.
The ethnic Karen movement within Myanmar has sought an independent homeland along the southern border with Thailand. In January 2004, the military government and the insurgents from the Karen National Union agreed to end the fighting, but stopped short of signing a cease-fire.
The military regime opened a constitutional convention in May 2004, but many observers doubted its legitimacy.
In October 2004, the government arrested Prime Minister Gen. Khin Nyunt and charged him with corruption. He angered the junta leadership with experiments on reform, first by freeing Suu Kyi from house arrest and later for proposing a seven-step “road map to democracy.”
A series of coordinated bomb attacks in May 2005 killed nearly a dozen people and wounded more than 100 in Rangoon. The military junta blamed the Karen National Union and the Shan State Army. The ethnic rebel groups denied any involvement.
On November 13, 2005, the military junta relocated the seat of government from Rangoon to a mountain compound called Pyinmanaa in Naypyidaw.
More than 1,000 delegates gathered in December 2005 to begin drafting a constitution. The convention adjourned in late January 2006 with little progress. In September 2007, representatives to the convention released a draft constitution that ensured the military would continue to control the ministries and legislature, and have the right to declare a state of emergency. The document also limited the rights of political parties. Opposition parties were excluded from the convention.
Widespread pro-democracy protests, prompted by a sharp increase in fuel prices, erupted in August 2007. Buddhist monks joined the protesters when government troops used force against demonstrators in early September. The monks emerged as the leaders of the protest movement. On September 26, the military cracked down on the protesters, firing into crowds, raiding pagodas, and arresting monks.
On May 3, 2008, Cyclone Nargis ravaged the Irrawaddy Delta and Rangoon, killing tens of thousands and leaving up to a million homeless. Most of the destruction was caused by a 12-foot high tidal wave that formed during the storm. The military junta accepted international aid, but once the aid began to arrive, the government limited distribution of supplies. It also denied entry visas to relief workers, leaving the country crippled and vulnerable to disease. Despite the tragedy, the junta went ahead with a constitutional referendum on May 10 intended to cement its grip on power.
In September 2008, the military government released over 9,000 prisoners, including the longest-serving political prisoner, Win Tin. The releases were followed in November by the sentencing of 30 activists up to 65 years in jail.
Days after elections in November 2010, opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi was freed after nearly 20 years in detention. Parliamentary elections saw the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party garner over 75% of the seats. The elections were widely criticized as rigged. Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party boycotted the elections.
Parliament convened on January 31, 2011, and elected Thein Sein as president. The military junta officially disbanded in March 2011. In his first year as president, Thein Sein initiated changes in political and economic philosophy. He initiated talks with Aung San Suu Kyi, allowing her party to run in upcoming parliamentary elections, released political prisoners, and suspended work on the $3.6 billion Myitsone Dam on the Irrawaddy River.
In December, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited the country and the U.S. restored full diplomatic relations with Myanmar in January 2012. That was followed by an easing of sanctions that allowed U.S. companies to "responsibly do business" in Myanmar.
In April 2012 parliamentary elections, the National League of Democracy prevailed in 43 out of 45 districts that held races, including the capital, Naypyidaw. Suu Kyi won a seat in parliament and took office in May.
Ethnic violence broke out between Buddhists and Muslims in the western state of Rakhine after the rape and murder of a Buddhist woman by a Muslim man. Revenge attacks followed, prompting Prime Minister Thein Sein to declare a state of emergency in June 2012. The government considers the Muslim minority, called Rohingyas, illegal immigrants.
On August 1, 2012, the Human Rights Watch published a 56-page report "The Government Could Have Stopped This" based on eyewitness reports of the acts of violence committed in Myanmar. Also in August, the government did away with the censorship of private publications. On August 20, the topics of religion and politics were removed from the pre-publication censorship list.
U.S. President Barack Obama visited Myanmar in November 2012, the first U.S. president to enter the country..
Violence erupted in March 2013 resulting in more than 40 deaths and the displacement of an estimated 13,000 people. Radical Buddhist monks were indicted in the attacks between Buddhists and minority Muslims.
In April 2013, the European Union (EU) lifted the last of its trade, economic and individual sanctions against Myanmar. President Obama lifted the ban on entry visas to the former Burma's military rulers on May 2, 2013.
In April 2014, at least 22 people were killed in fighting between government troops and Kachin rebels.
In May 2014, President Obama extended some U.S. economic sanctions saying the step was needed despite some progress on reforms.
The following are some Scriptures that deal with end-time events. All prophecies concerning the nations are leading up to fulfillment of end-time judgments (events).
Ezekiel chapters 38 & 39
Zechariah 13: 8-9
Zechariah 14: 1-16
Daniel chapters 2, 4, 7-12
Matthew 24: 1-51
Mark 13: 1-37
Luke 21: 6-38
The book of Revelation
The book of Joel
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