Earlier this year, the government of Myanmar conducted a census of its country’s population to see how many people live there and to gather information about its citizens. It came as a surprise that the country had 9 million fewer citizens than had been estimated. The number of citizens was thought to have been 60 million, and after the count was completed, it showed about 51 million people. The last census was conducted 30 years ago.
Myanmar, known as Burma until 1989, got its independence from the United Kingdom in 1948. From 1962 until 2010, Myanmar was ruled by military governments. In the last four years, Myanmar has been going through changes and is moving towards becoming a more democratic nation. In 2010, elections were held and a new government was elected. The country also changed its national anthem, its flag, and even its official name from “Union of Myanmar” to “Republic of the Union of Myanmar”. In 2012, the government removed a law that had been in place for about 50 years. The owners of print publications (such as newspapers and magazines) in the country would no longer have to go through government approval before printing their articles. The country officially held a New Year’s countdown for the very first time in December, 2012.
The capital of Myanmar is Naypyidaw and the largest city is Yangon. The official language of the country is Burmese and its currency is the kyat. One very popular food is mohinga (image), which is noodles in a fish soup. A unit of weight commonly used in Myanmar is called “peiktha” or “viss” (1 peiktha or 1 viss = 1.63 kg = 3.6 pounds).
Myanmar is known as the “Land of Pagodas”, because there are many pagodas in the country. A pagoda has a distinct bell-shaped top and is often used by Buddhists as a religious building. One of the landmarks of the country is the Shwedagon Pagoda (image), a sacred Buddhist pagoda in Yangon.
Did you know?
The oldest known census was used over 5,000 years ago in the area of Mesopotamia. People estimated how much food was required for each member of the population.
Image Credits: Wagaung for mohinga’s image, H. Grobe for Shwedagon Pagoda’s image
Sources: Al Jazeera, http://country.eiu.com/, http://in.reuters.com/, http://www.ons.gov.uk