YANGON, Nov 8 : Here is a timeline of a nation that threw off the shackles of colonialism only to plunge into a dictatorship whose shadow it is just now beginning to emerge from.
1885: Centuries of rule by a Buddhist monarchy ends with the defeat and exile of Burma's last king by the British. A lengthy period of Western colonialism begins and Burma (as it was then known) becomes a province of British India.
1941-1945: Japan occupies Burma during World War II. Nationalist hero Aung San fights with the Japanese, but turns against them in the closing stages of the war, joining the Allied counter-offensive in the hope of achieving independence.
His daughter Aung San Suu Kyi, who would go on to lead the pro-democracy movement, is born in 1945.
1948: Burma attains full independence from the British on January 4, a dream Aung San never lived to see following his assassination months earlier.
1962: After years of factional infighting among Burma's political leaders -- including a general election in 1960 -- General Ne Win seizes power in a coup, turning the country from a multi-party federal union into an authoritarian one-party state ordered to follow his "Burmese Path to Socialism".
1988: Disastrous economic mismanagement and political repression see Burma erupt in protest. The military responds brutally, killing an estimated 3,000 people. Suu Kyi emerges as a key opposition leader.
1989: Junta changes the country's name to Myanmar.
1990 : Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) wins a landslide victory in elections but the result is ignored by the military who launch a new crackdown. Suu Kyi is placed under house arrest, where she will spend most of the next 20 years. Many other opposition leaders are jailed or flee.
1991: Suu Kyi wins the Nobel Peace Prize while under house arrest.
1992: Than Shwe becomes the new junta chief.
2005: A new isolated city Naypyidaw ("Abode of Kings") is revealed as the country's capital after being built in secret by the paranoid junta.
2010: The junta holds elections in early November and the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) claims victory. The NLD and many other parties refuse to take part.
2011: In a surprise move, the junta relinquishes power to a quasi-civilian government under former Thein Sein who pursues reforms.
2012: The NLD wins 43 out of 45 seats in April by-elections. Suu Kyi becomes an MP. Sectarian violence flares in western Rakhine state, mainly aimed at the Rohingya Muslim minority.
Anti-Muslim violence again erupts, this time in the central town of MeiktilaMeiktilag 43 dead.
In November, Barack Obama was the first US president to visit Myanmar. ?AFP