Birma-Myanmar flag 10 x 15 cm
Burma, officially the Union of Myanmar, is the largest country by geographical area in mainland Southeast Asia, or Indochina. The country is bordered by the People's Republic of China on the northeast, Laos on the east, Thailand on the southeast, Bangladesh on the west, India on the northwest, and the Bay of Bengal to the southwest with the Gulf of Martaban and Andaman Sea defining its southern periphery. One-third of Burma's total perimeter, 1,930 kilometers (1,199 mi), forms an uninterrupted coastline.
The country's culture, heavily influenced by neighbours, is based on Theravada Buddhism intertwined with local elements. Burma's diverse population has played a major role in defining its politics, history and demographics in modern times, and the country continues to struggle to mend its ethnic tensions. The military has dominated government since General Ne Win led a coup in 1962 that toppled the civilian government of U Nu. The Burmese Way to Socialism drove the formerly prosperous country into deep poverty. Burma remains under the tight control of the military-led State Peace and Development Council.
The flag of Burma (also called Myanmar) was adopted on January 3, 1974 upon the declaration of a socialist republic in Burma by Ne Win.The flag originated in the Burman Resistance, which adopted a red flag with a white star when fighting the occupying Japanese forces during World War II. Upon independence, the star was modified to a blue canton with 5 small stars surrounding one large one, symbolizing the uniting of the country's diverse peoples.Red stands for the courage of the people, blue is for peace, and white is for purity. The emblem was changed in 1974 to represent the new socialist ideology in the country. The 5 stars were changed to 14, encircling a cogwheel and a rice plant. The rice stands for agriculture, the cogwheel represents industry, the 14 stars represent the unity and equality between the 14 member states of the Union.
The new flag design was not radically different from the previous flag of Burma in that both featured a red field with a blue canton in the upper corner on the hoist side. However, the imagery within the canton was changed to a cog wheel with a bushel of rice superimposed upon it. These socialist symbols stand for the workers and farmers. Surrounding this are 14 five-pointed stars that represent the administrative divisions of Burma. The white color symbolizes purity, the blue symbolizes peace and integrity, and the red symbolizes courage.