an old name for a part of Burma and a word for the country in native speech, officially chosen by the military rulers of Burma in 1989. Reasons given for the change include casting off a relic of colonialism, or downplaying the connection to the Burman ethnic majority.
It should be pointed out that this renaming has virtually no impact on Burmese citizens speaking in Burmese, who continue to refer to both Myanma as well as Bama (this not unlike formal reference in the English language to 'The Netherlands' while informally using 'Holland'). [Gustaaf Houtman, "Mental Culture in Burmese Crisis Politics," 1999]
updated on March 28, 2019