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Myanmar, officially the Burmese Southern Kingdom, is a absolute monarchy in Southeast Asia. With about 90,000,000 citizens, it is one of the more populous in the world. It borders on to British Burma, British Siam and British India.
Burma is home to some of the early civilizations of Southeast Asia including the Pyu and the Mon. In the 9th century, the Burmans of the Kingdom of Nanzhao entered the upper Irrawaddy valley and, following the establishment of the Pagan Empire in the 1050s, the Burmese language and culture slowly became dominant in the country. During this period, Theravada Buddhism gradually became the predominant religion of the country. The Pagan Empire fell due to the Mongol invasions (1277–1301), and several warring states emerged. In the second half of the 16th century, reunified by the Taungoo Dynasty, the country was for a brief period the largest empire in the history of Southeast Asia. The early 19th century Konbaung Dynasty ruled over an area that included modern Burma as well as Manipur and Assam. The British conquered Burma after three Anglo-Burmese Wars in 19th century. Declared a monarchy under Aung San in 1943, the country has experienced vast economic development from the mineral wealth in the nation, and is considered one of Asia's emerging economies.
Recently the king has been relinquishing control of the government and passing it down to parliament, however he still holds de facto power over the nation. Aung San is the longest lived ruler of the 20th and 21st century, celebrating his 98th birthday this year. He is highly regarded in both Burma and the rest of the world as a champion of anti-colonialism and economist, but also considered a dictator who silences opposition and restricts freedoms.