National Geographic : 1995 Jul
CHINA INDIA ETHNOLINGUISTIC GROUPS I I Tibeto-Burman I] Tai Karen Mon-Khmer STibeto-Burman Sand Karen mixed Shan Subgroup there are concentra tions of Chinese and Indians, the result of Burma's centuries as a trading crossroads. BEJEWELED PAUPER - AREA: 261,218 sq mi. POP ULATION: 45.6 million. CAPITAL: Rangoon (Yan gon), 3.7 million. GOVERNMENT: Mili tary. RELIGION: Buddhist, 89 percent; Christian; Muslim. LITERACY: 80 per cent. INFANT MORTALITY: 98 per 1,000 live births. Buffeted by political winds, Burma has yet to make the most of the natural abundance that should place it among Asia's richest nations. Northern mountains yield precious stones, including translucent imperial green jade. Even more valuable are forests of teak and padauk, or cherry wood. Plentiful rains and fertile soil enrich 14.6 million acres of rice fields. Opium fortunes are made in the east, heart ofAsia's Golden Triangle (inset). Burma's export tradition withered under 26 years of socialism, until lim ited private enterprise was resumed in 1988.The economy has grown steadi ly since, despite human-rights-inspired boycotts of Burmese goods. A lA Q et 6 O Mixed teak and other hardwoods a Oil field SGas field * Gemstone o Gold El Tin 9 Copper A Silver, lead, A or zinc A A Refugee camps o , Too MILES Myeik To Kunmini 100 miles SINDIA CHINA ANGC. •/ Kunming * MI, > , ' a LAOS Rang HAILAND S VIETNAM MILES me.