Japan invades and occupies Burma with some help from the Japanese-trained Burma Independence Army, which later transforms itself into the Anti-Fascist People’s Freedom League (AFPFL) and resists Japanese rule.
Britain liberates Burma from Japanese occupation with help from the AFPFL, led by Aung San.
Aung San and six members of his interim government assassinated by a nationalist rival of Aung San’s. U Nu, foreign minister in Ba Maw’s government, which ruled Burma during the Japanese occupation, asked to head the AFPFL and the government.
Burma becomes independent with U Nu as prime minister.
U Nu’s party faction wins decisive victory in elections, but his promotion of Buddhism as the state religion and his tolerance of separatism angers the military.
U Nu’s faction ousted by a brutal military coup led by Gen Ne Win, who abolishes the federal system and inaugurates “the Burmese Way to Socialism”.
Protests in August against political oppression and the government mishandling of the economy are brutally suppressed, leaving 3,000 people dead. The current ruling junta seizes power in the aftermath and the National League for Democracy is formed.
The junta declares martial law and changes the country’s name to Myanmar. Aung San Suu Kyi, the daughter of independence hero Aung San, who was assassinated in 1947, is held in house arrest for “endangering the state”. Others NLD leaders are arrested.
The NLD wins a landslide victory in an election allowed by the junta, but the results are then ignored by the military government.
Aung Suu Kyi wins the Nobel Peace prize. For her continued efforts to bring peace to Burma despite being under house arrest.
The reclusive Than Shwe becomes the leading general in the regime.
Aung San Suu Kyi is freed from house arrest.
Aung San Suu Kyi put under house arrest again for flouting a travel ban.
Aung San Suu Kyi freed again, but later placed in “protective custody” after a pro-government mob attacked her supporters.
Protests are started for pro-democracy demonstration. Protesters greet Aung San Suu Kyi outside her home, the first sighting of her in public since 2003.
Sept. 27 2007
Up to 100,000 people march in Rangoon, the biggest anti-government protest since 1988. Two days later a violent crackdown begins, with troop raiding monasteries and arresting protesters. Some demonstrators and a Japanese journalist are shot dead.
Cyclone Nargis devastates large parts of Burma, killing an estimated 130,000 people. The junta faces severe international criticism after it refuses permission for outside aid agencies to assist the millions of people affected, a stance it later softens slightly.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announces plans for engagement with military rulers.
Government announces that long-awaited election laws have been passed, with provisions for an electoral commission hand-picked by the junta. NLD votes to boycott polls. Splinter party – National Democratic Front (NDF) – later gains legal status and plans to compete in polls.
Thein Sein is sworn in as president of a new civilian government. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visits, meets Aung San Suu Kyi and holds talks with President Thein Sein. Burmese authorities agree truce deal with the Shan ethnic group and orders military to stop operations against ethnic Kachin.
Government signs ceasfire with rebels of Karen ethnic group. Burma abolishes pre-publication censorship, meaning that reporters no longer have to submit their copy to state censors. The European Union suspends all non-military sanctions against Burma for a year.
The Burmese army launches an attack against the biggest town controlled by Kachin rebels near the Chinese border, breaking a short-lived government ceasefire. The government and rebels reach agreement to disengage and begin political dialogue after Chinese-sponsored talks.