Burma, colonized by Britain in the 19th century and granted independence post-World War II, contains scores of ethnic Burman and ethnic minority groups that have resisted external efforts to consolidate control of the country throughout its history, extending to the several minority groups today that possess independent fighting forces and control pockets of territory. Burman and armed ethnic minorities fought off-and-on until military Gen. NE WIN seized power in 1962. He ruled Burma until 1988 when a military junta took control. In 1990, the junta permitted an election but then rejected the results when the main opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) and its leader AUNG SAN SUU KYI won in a landslide. The junta placed AUNG SAN SUU KYI under house arrest for much of the next 20 years, until November 2010. In 2007, rising fuel prices in Burma led prodemocracy activists and Buddhist monks to launch a “Saffron Revolution” consisting of large protests against the ruling junta, which violently suppressed the movement by killing an unknown number of participants and arresting thousands. The regime prevented new elections until it had drafted a constitution designed to preserve its control; it passed the new constitution in its 2008 referendum, days after Cyclone Nargis killed at least 138,000. The junta conducted an election in 2010, but the NLD boycotted the vote, and the military’s Union Solidarity and Development Party easily won; international observers denounced the election as flawed.With former or current military officers installed in its most senior positions, Burma began a halting process of political and economic reforms. Officials freed prisoners, brokered minority group cease fires, amended courts, expanded liberties, brought AUNG SAN SUU KYI into government in 2012, and permitted the NLD in 2015 to sweep into power. However, Burma’s first credibly elected civilian government, with AUNG SAN SUU KYI as the de facto head of state, faced strong headwinds after five decades of military dictatorship. The NLD government drew international criticism for blocking investigations of Burma’s military for operations, which the US Department of State determined constituted ethnic cleansing, on its Rohingya population that killed thousands and forced more than 740,000 Rohingya to flee into neighboring Bangladesh. The military did not support an NLD pledge in 2019 to examine reforming the military’s 2008 constitution. When the 2020 elections resulted in further NLD gains, the military denounced them as fraudulent. This challenge led Commander-in-Chief Sr. General MIN AUNG HLAING to launch a coup in February 2021 that has left Burma reeling with the return to authoritarian rule, the detention of AUNG SAN SUU KYI, and a renewal of the brutal repression of protestors, widespread violence, and economic decline.