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Various ethnic Burmese and ethnic minority city-states or kingdoms occupied the present borders through the 19th century. Over a period of 62 years (1824-1886), Britain conquered Burma and incorporated the country into its Indian Empire. Burma was administered as a province of India until 1937 when it became a separate, self-governing colony; in 1948, Burma attained independence from the Commonwealth. Gen. NE WIN dominated the government from 1962 to 1988, first as military ruler, then as self-appointed president, and later as political kingpin. In September 1988, the military deposed NE WIN and established a new ruling junta. Multiparty legislative elections in 1990 resulted in the main opposition party - the National League for Democracy (NLD) - winning a landslide victory. Instead of handing over power, the junta placed NLD leader (and Nobel Peace Prize recipient) AUNG SAN SUU KYI (ASSK) under house arrest from 1989 to 1995, 2000 to 2002, and from May 2003 to November 2010. In late September 2007, the ruling junta brutally suppressed protests over increased fuel prices led by prodemocracy activists and Buddhist monks, killing at least 13 people and arresting thousands for participating in the demonstrations. In early May 2008, Burma was struck by Cyclone Nargis, which left over 138,000 dead and tens of thousands injured and homeless. Despite this tragedy, the junta proceeded with its May constitutional referendum, the first vote in Burma since 1990. Parliamentary elections held in November 2010, considered flawed by many in the international community, saw the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party garnering over 75% of the seats. Parliament convened in January 2011 and selected former Prime Minister THEIN SEIN as president. Although the vast majority of national-level appointees named by THEIN SEIN are former or current military officers, the government has initiated a series of political and economic reforms leading to a substantial opening of the long-isolated country. These reforms have included a senior-level dialogue with ASSK, re-registering the NLD as a political party, enabling party members, including ASSK, to contest parliamentary by-elections on 1 April 2012, the release of many (but not all) political prisoners, preliminary peace agreements with some armed ethnic groups, a reduction in media censorship, and an increasingly open debate in the Parliament.


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Geography

Location
Southeastern Asia, bordering the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal, between Bangladesh and Thailand

Geographic coordinates
22 00 N, 98 00 E

Map references
Southeast Asia

Area World Ranking: 40
Total 676,578 sq km
Land 653,508 sq km
Water 23,070 sq km

Area - comparative
Slightly smaller than Texas

Land boundaries
Total 5,876 km
Border countries
Bangladesh 193 km, China 2,185 km, India 1,463 km, Laos 235 km, Thailand 1,800 km

Coastline
1,930 km

Maritime claims
Territorial sea 12 nm
Contiguous zone 24 nm
Exclusive economic zone 200 nm
Continental shelf
200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin

Climate
Tropical monsoon; cloudy, rainy, hot, humid summers (southwest monsoon, June to September); less cloudy, scant rainfall, mild temperatures, lower humidity during winter (northeast monsoon, December to April)

Terrain
Central lowlands ringed by steep, rugged highlands

Elevation extremes
Lowest point Andaman Sea 0 m
Highest point Hkakabo Razi 5,881 m

Natural resources
Petroleum, timber, tin, antimony, zinc, copper, tungsten, lead, coal, marble, limestone, precious stones, natural gas, hydropower

Land use
Arable land 14.92%
Permanent crops 1.31%
Other 83.77% (2005)

Irrigated land
22,500 sq km (2003)

Total renewable water resources
1,045.6 cu km (1999)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)
Total 33.23 cu km/yr (1%/1%/98%)
Per capita 658 cu m/yr (2000)

Natural hazards
Destructive earthquakes and cyclones; flooding and landslides common during rainy season (June to September); periodic droughts

Environment - current issues
Deforestation; industrial pollution of air, soil, and water; inadequate sanitation and water treatment contribute to disease

Environment - international agreements
Party to
Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94
Signed, but not ratified
None of the selected agreements

Geography - note
Strategic location near major Indian Ocean shipping lanes


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  Burma (Rangoon):


  GPS points from Burma (Rangoon)

Na-in Shan State

Mawhseng Shan State

Inza In Sagain

Victoria Harbour Burma (general)

Bwettan Ayeyarwady

Tunmalun Ayeyarwady

Taungbohla Sagain

Yungla Chaung Chin State




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