One of the richest countries in South-East Asia with highly educated population
World's largest rice exporter, regarded as "rice basket of Asia"
Largest teak exporter, producing about 75 per cent of world's teak
...and 60 years on
One of Asia's poorest nations, with rising poverty levels and sky-rocketing inflation
One-third of all children are malnourished, with 132,000 children under five dying every year because of avoidable diseases according to Save the Children
Major heroin trafficker and world's second-largest opium producer
Designated "least developed country" status by UN since 1987
Ranked world's most corrupt country in 2007 Transparency International index
1962 – Coup led by General Ne Win overthrows democratically elected government, establishes "Burmese Way to Socialism"
1974 – New constitution transfers military power to People's Assembly led by Ne Win
1988 – Military crushes pro-democracy student demonstration, thousands reportedly killed and hundreds jailed.
1989 – State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) declares martial law, arrests pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, changes country name to Myanmar
1990 – Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy records landslide victory in national elections, but military refuses to recognise results
1992 – Reclusive General Tan Shwe takes over as head of military government
1995 – Aung San Suu Kyi released from house arrest after six years. She is repeatedly placed under house arrest later
1997 – Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) admits Myanmar into regional grouping
2003 – PM Khin Nyunt proposes new constitution as part of "road map" to democracy
2004 – Government and major ethnic rebel movement Karen National Union call a truce
2006 – Nation's capital moved from Yangon to remote town of Naypyidaw
2007 – Sudden massive hike in fuel prices triggers biggest show of public dissent since 1988. After weeks of protests military launches violent crackdown against demonstrators, sparking world outrage.
Source: Al Jazeera and agencies