- a country in SE Asia, on the Bay of Bengal; population 48,137,700 (est. 2009); official language, Burmese; capital, Naypyidaw. Official name (since 1989) Union of Myanmar.
Annexed by the British during the 19th century, Burma was occupied by the Japanese from 1942 to 1945 and became an independent republic in 1948. In 1962 an army coup led by Ne Win overthrew the government and established an authoritarian state. The National League for Democracy (NLD) won the election held in May 1990, even though its leader Aung San Suu Kyi was under house arrest; however, the military regime did not relinquish power
The military authorities in Burma have promoted the name Myanmar as the official name for their state since 1989; Burma is often preferred by people who oppose the current government.