Myanmar is the largest country by geographical area in mainland Southeast Asia. The country is bordered by China on the north-east, Laos on the east, Thailand on the south-east, Bangladesh on the west, India on the north-west and the Bay of Bengal to the south-west with the Andaman Sea defining its southern periphery. One-third of Burma's total perimeter, 1,930 kilometres (1,199 mi), forms an uninterrupted coastline. the climate is tropical, with monsoonal rains making flooding and landslides common during the rainy season (June to September). Forest cover almost half the country, making forestry a major source of export earnings. However, excessive logging has resulted in deforestation in both rural and urban areas.
More than a third of the population live in rural areas. Yangon (or Rangoon) with over 4.5million people, is the capital and largest city. Myanmar possess a great diversity of ethnic groups, comprising Burmans, Shans, Karens, Rakhines, Mons, chins and Kachins. Buddhism remains the leading religion with Christianity and Islam also practised. Most people speak Burmese with a small number of communities speaking indigenous languages.
The country's culture, heavily influenced by neighbours, is based on Theravada 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 Nu. Burma remains under the tight control of the military-led State Peace and Development Council.