We asked you five questions about Burma. Here come the answers!
- Burma is bordered by five other countries. Can you name them?
Bangladesh, India, China, Laos and Thailand. From 1824 until 1937 Burma was part of British India, becoming a separate colony (barring three years of Japanese occupation from 1942-1945) until independence in 1948, when it became the first country to leave the Commonwealth. The border with Thailand along the isthmus leading to the Malay Peninsula comes within 10 kilometres of the Gulf of Thailand coastline.
- What is the currency of Burma?
The kyat (pronounced “chat”), of 100 pya. There have been three currencies called the kyat. The mid/late nineteenth-century gold kyat was worth 16 silver kyat which were in turn equal to the Indian rupee. The second lasted just two years under the Japanese. The present one was introduced in 1952, and there are currently (September 2017) approximately 1800 to the pound sterling.
- What is the name of the country’s largest river?
The Irrawaddy, also spelt Ayeyarwady. It’s 2,210 km (1,373 miles) long but lies entirely within Burma, flowing from the northern hills through Mandalay to its nine-mouthed delta around Rangoon. Because of Kipling’s poem, it’s sometimes referred to as the “Road to Mandalay”.
- Who or what is a nat?
It’s a spirit, worshipped in Burma. Scholars are divided on whether nat worship is part of or exists alongside Buddhism. There are 37 “Great Nats”, almost all of whom were humans who met violent deaths. There are also several “lower nats” who may be worshipped locally.
- What is the official capital of Myanmar?
Nay Pyi Taw or Naypyidaw. The military government (“State Peace and Development Council”) decided to build a new capital in 2002, ostensibly because Rangoon offered no ready possibility for expansion of government offices. The city was officially adopted as the capital in November 2005, but government employees had no facilities for their families for several months afterwards.
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