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The Bronze Age arrived circa 1500 BC when people in the region were turning copper into bronze, growing rice and domesticating poultry and pigs; they were among the first people in the world to do so.Iron Age Burmese cultures also had influences from outside sources such as India and Thailand, as seen in their funerary practices concerning child burials.
Early civilisations in Myanmar included the Tibeto-Burman-speaking Pyu city-states in Upper Burma and the Mon kingdoms in Lower Burma.Following a coup d'état in 1962, it became a military dictatorship.For most of its independent years, the country has been engrossed in rampant ethnic strife and its myriad ethnic groups have been involved in one of the world's longest-running ongoing civil wars.However, the Burmese military remains a powerful force in politics.Myanmar is a country rich in jade and gems, oil, natural gas and other mineral resources.This, along with the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and political prisoners, has improved the country's human rights record and foreign relations, and has led to the easing of trade and other economic sanctions.
In the landmark 2015 election, Aung San Suu Kyi's party won a majority in both houses.
Myanmar is considered to be the literary form of the name of the group, while Burma is derived from "Bamar", the colloquial form of the group's name.
Depending on the register used, the pronunciation would be Official United States policy retains Burma as the country's name, although the State Department's website lists the country as "Burma (Myanmar)" and Barack Obama has referred to the country by both names.
During this time, the United Nations and several other organisations have reported consistent and systematic human rights violations in the country.
In 2011, the military junta was officially dissolved following a 2010 general election, and a nominally civilian government was installed.
In 2013, its GDP (nominal) stood at US$56.7 billion and its GDP (PPP) at US$221.5 billion.