Myanmar: Map/Geography

myanmar map

myanmar flag
Myanmar, the former Burma, became the Union of Myanmar in 1989 after the State Law and Order Restoration Council decided that the old name implied the dominance of Burmese culture (the name of the country was changed by the Military Government!). Covering an area of 676.552 square kilometers, Myanmar is almost twice the size of Germany. The population of Myanmar is 45 million people. The capital city is Yangon (the former Rangoon) with about 4 million people.

Myanmar is one of the largest countries in South East Asia, stretching over 2,000 km from North to South. Myanmar's coastline defines the eastern shore of the Bay of Bengal, running from the Bangladesh border in the northwest down to the Malay Peninsula and Thai territory in the southeast.

Southern Myanmar consists largely of the western slopes of the Bilauktaung Range, which constitutes the northern base of the Malay Peninsula. Northern Myanmar consists largely of the broad river valley of the Ayeyarwaddy. Originating high up in the Himalayas, the Ayeyarwaddy rushes down through great mountain gorges in northern Myanmar before spreading out into one of the largest river deltas in Asia. Both of Myanmar's principal cities--Yangon and Mandalay--are situated along the Ayeyarwaddy, and the 1.600 km river is navigable for almost two thirds of its length. The Ayeyarwaddy valley is surrounded by a great horseshoe of mountain ranges.

The political situation in Myanmar is very extreme. The country is ruled by a Military Government with brutal suppression of the pro-democracy movement. Dissident leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who won a Nobel Peace Prize in 1991, spent more than six years under house arrest for her peaceful protests. The military has ruled Burma since 1962 and the current regime, run by the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC, former SLORC), came to power in 1988 by suppressing an uprising against military rule that left thousands dead.

Some economic datas: the major products and industries are teak wood, rice, jute, peanuts and especially illegal opium poppies. The unfortunatly world-famous Golden Triangle lies partly in Myanmar! This is a part of the country, which is not controlled by the government, because the drug kings rule this part with their own, private army. It is strictly forbidden and extremely dangerous to travel to this part of the country.

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