(Information from the CIA World Factbook)
Area: 676,578 sq km (slightly smaller than Texas)
Population: 55,746,253 (July 2014 est.)
Ethnic Groups: Burman 68%, Shan 9%, Karen 7%, Rakhine 4%, Chinese 3%, Indian 2%, Mon 2%, other 5%
Religion: Buddhist 89%, Christian 4% (Baptist 3%, Roman Catholic 1%), Muslim 4%, animist 1%, other 2%
Myanmar shares borders with China, India, Laos, Bangladesh and Thailand.
The United States officially still calls the country Burma.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees estimates that there are 1.5 million stateless and internally displaced people in Myanmar.
TIMELINE (Burma and FBR):
1824-1886 – Burma becomes part of British India after fighting three wars with Great Britain over 62 years.
1941-1945 – World War II; ethnics fight on the Allied side, while the Burmans fight on the Japanese side.
January 1947 – After negotiating with the Anti-Fascist People’s Freedom League (AFPFL), Great Britain agrees to give Burma its independence.
July 1947 – AFPFL leader Aung San is assassinated.
January 4, 1948 – Burma gains independence from the United Kingdom.
January 31, 1949 – Rising tensions between the Burman and Karen erupt in full blown conflict. This date marks the start of the civil war in Burma.
March 1962 – The military government is established under General Ne Win, who abolishes the federal system and inaugurates “the Burmese Way to Socialism”- nationalising the economy, forming a single-party state with the Socialist Programme Party as the sole political party, and banning independent newspapers.
The Kachin withdraw their support for the Union and become de facto an independent state. Fighting intermittently between the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and Burma Army carries on until 1994.
1972-1974 – Major Burma Army offensives and the beginning of implementation of the “4 Cuts” policy.
February 1978 – Burma Army attacks muslim Rohingya in Arakan State. 250,000 people flee to Bangladesh.
1982 -The Burmese Citizenship Law is adopted. This law isolates ethnic groups such as the Kachin, Karen, Chin and Rohyinga as “associate citizens” denied the rights/relief offered to full citizens, including the right to serve in public office.
1984 – Burma Army begins “Four-Cuts” policy to destroy the Karen resistance.
August-October 1988 – Mass anti-government demonstrations take place throughout Burma. The official Radio Rangoon figure is 450 dead; the actual number is believed to be into the thousands.
September 1988 – Gen. Saw Maung takes over in another military coup.
1989 – Burma changes its name in English to Myanmar and the name of the capital from Rangoon to Yangon.
May 1990 – General elections are called by the junta. Aung San Suu Kyi’s party wins easily, but the military refuses to hand over power.
1996 – Dave meets Aung San Suu Kyi in Rangoon.
January 1997 – The historic Mae Tha Raw Hta Agreement is signed by some 15 ethnic leaders, calling for tripart dialogue between the NLD pro-democracy group, the military and the ethnic nationalities.
1997 – Major Burma Army offensives displace more than 500,000 people in Karen, Karenni and Shan states. Free Burma Rangers is begun by Dave Eubank and Eliya, in response.
28 April, 2002 – FBR documents the murder of 12 civilians in Karen State by Burma Army.
March, 2003 – FBR documents rapes by Burma Army in Shan State and opium production.
October, 2003 – Operation “Power Over the Land” offensive launched by Burma Army against Karen.
4th October, 2003 – Rape,murder and mutilation of Karen woman by Burma Army.
2004-2007 – Ongoing Burma Army offensives.
September 5, 2007 – Soldiers’ gunfire breaks up a monk protest in Pakokku.
September 24, 2007 – Buddhist monks lead about 100,000 in the largest anti-government demonstrations since 1988.
September 26, 2007 – As protests continue, Myanmar security forces crack down – clubbing and gassing protesters and arresting as many as 200 monks.
May 4, 2008 – A cyclone causes utter destruction, killing more than 22,000. It is later reported by the government that 41,000 people are missing and up to one million are homeless.
June 5-10, 2010 – Clashes between the Karen National Union and Myanmar army.
November 7, 2010 – Myanmar holds its first elections in 20 years. The Union Solidarity and Development Party backed by the military, claims victory with 80% of the votes.
November 13, 2010 – Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi is released from house arrest.
January 31, 2011 – Myanmar convenes its first parliament in more than two decades in the capital, Naypyidaw.
February 4, 2011 – The parliament elects Prime Minister Thein Sein as president. Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party boycotts the elections, calling it a sham.
March 30, 2011 – A notionally civilian government is sworn in to replace the military junta. In practice the military continues to dominate the government.
June 9, 2011 – Fighting erupts between the Kachin Independence Army and Myanmar Army troops when government forces broke the ceasefire and attacked KIA positions along the Taping river east of Bhamo, Kachin State,
November 30, 2011 – Hillary Clinton arrives in Myanmar, the first visit by a U.S. secretary of state in more than 50 years.
March 2012 – FBR meets Aung Min, former Burma Army general and the minister in charge of ceasefire negotiations.
April 1, 2012 – Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi wins a seat in parliament in the first multi-party elections since 1990.
April 28, 2012 – The EU suspends most of the sanctions it had imposed on Myanmar.
June 2012 – Unrest breaks out in the western state of Rakhine. Religious violence leaves more than 200 dead and close to 150,000 homeless — predominantly members of the Rohingya Muslim minority.
November 19, 2012 – President Barack Obama becomes the first sitting U.S. president to visit Myanmar. He meets with President Thein Sein and activist Aung San Suu Kyi.
March 10, 2013 – Aung San Suu Kyi wins re-election as Myanmar’s leader of the National League for Democracy.
March 22, 2013 – A state of emergency is declared as ethnic clashes between Muslims and Buddhists lead to killings.
April 7, 2014 – The United Nation’s Special Rapporteur on Myanmar, Tomas Ojea Quintana, reports that the recent persecution of the Rohingya group “could amount to crimes against humanity.” Myanmar presidential spokesman Ye Htut tells CNN the government rejects the remarks.
February, 2015 – The Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army begins an offensive to retake the Kokang self-administered zone in Shan State. The Burmese Army launches a counteroffensive and defeats the MNDAA and their allies, displacing 40,000 to 50,000 civilians in the process and sparking a diplomatic incident after bombing the Chinese side of the Kokang border.
November, 2015 – The Burmese Army and their allies begin a coordinated assault on Ta’ang National Liberation Army positions in Shan State.
November 8, 2015 – The 2015 Myanmar elections end with a landslide victory for Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy.
January-April 2016 – Burma Army attacks against Kachin, Shan, Ta’ang, Kokang and Arakan.
2015 and 2016 – FBR provides support for Kurds, Iraqis and Syrians in the battle against Isis in Iraq and Syria.
2017 – The Battle for Mosul is complete; FBR continues engagement in Syria.
2019 – FBR provides assistance at the last strong hold of Isis in Syria and in response to the Turkish invasion. Zau Seng, FBR ranger from Burma, killed in Syria.
2020 – FBR movie released, the book “Do This For Love” published; all missions continue.
February 1, 2021 – Coup d’état in Burma the beginning of an all out onslaught by the Burma military.
2021 – Church in Raqqa dedicated, FBR response to needs in Afghanistan and Tajikistan expanding the mission further.
2022 – FBR expands to meet the needs that have grown since the Coup in Burma.
2023 – FBR continues its mission in Burma, Iraq, Syria, Tajikistan/Afghanistan