Humanities › History & Culture Is It Burma or Myanmar? Share Flipboard Email Print Wikimedia Commons/CC0 History & Culture Asian History Figures & Events Basics Southeast Asia East Asia South Asia Middle East Central Asia Asian Wars and Battles American History African American History African History Ancient History and Culture European History Genealogy Inventions Latin American History Medieval & Renaissance History Military History The 20th Century Women's History View More By Bridget Johnson Political Journalist B.S., Criminology, California State University Fresno Journalist Bridget Johnson has covered news and foreign policy for USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, and more. She is a senior fellow specializing in terrorism analysis at the Haym Salomon Center. our editorial process Bridget Johnson Updated March 11, 2019 The answer to what one should call the Southeast Asian country depends on whom you ask. Everyone can agree that it was Burma up until 1989 when the military junta enacted the Adaptation of Expression Law. This decreed English transliteration changes of geographic locations, including Burma, becoming Myanmar and the capital Rangoon becoming Yangon. Using the Name Myanmar Versus Burma However, because not all nations recognize the country's current military leadership, not all recognize the name change. The United Nations uses Myanmar, defaulting to the nomenclature wishes of the country's rulers, but the United States and the United Kingdom do not recognize the junta and thus still call the country Burma. So use of Burma can indicate non-recognition for the military junta, use of Myanmar can indicate a distaste for the colonial powers past who called the country Burma, and interchangeable use of both can indicate no particular preference. Media organizations will often use Burma because their readers or viewers better recognize that and cities such as Rangoon, but not as easily recognize the junta's nomenclature.