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Burma (also known as Myanmar) is divided into 14 administrative subdivisions, which include 7 states (pyi-ne) and 7 divisions (tyne). The names of divisions (except for Ayeyarwady Division and Tanintharyi Division) are also the names of the capital cities. In addition, these states and divisions can be described as ethnically-divided - divisions are Bamar-dominant, while states are ethnic minority-dominant.

Ayeywarwady Division has the largest population and Yangon Division is the most densely populated. The smallest population is Kayah State. In terms of land area, Shan State is the largest and Yangon Division is the smallest.

The states and divisions are divided into districts (kayaing), which in turn are divided into townships that consist of towns, wards and villages.


Administrative divisions

Administrative division of Burma.

States (grey)

Divisions (orange)


British colonisation

In 1900, Burma was a province of British India, and was divided into two subdivisions: Lower Burma, whose capital was Rangoon, and Upper Burma, whose capital was Mandalay. Within Lower Burma were four divisions (Arakan, Irrawaddy, Pegu, Tenasserim). Upper Burma had 6 divisions (Meiktila, Minbu, Sagaing, N. Federated Shan States and S. Federated Shan States).

In 10 October 1922, the Karenni States of Bawlake, Kantarawaddy, and Kyebogyi became a part of the Federated Shan States. In 1940, Minbu division's name was changed to Magwe, and Meiktila Divisions became part of Mandalay District.


Upon independence, in 4 January 1948, the Chin Hills area was split from Arakan Division to form Chin State(Zogam), and Kachin State was formed by carving out the Myitkyina and Bhamo districts of Mandalay Division. Karen State was also created from Amherst, Thaton, and Toungoo Districts of Tenasserim Division. Karenni State was separated from the Federated Shan States, and Shan State was formed by merging the Federated Shan States and the Wa States.

In 1952, Karenni State was renamed Kayah State. In 1964, Rangoon Division was separated from Pegu Division, whose capital shifted to Pegu. In addition, Karen State was renamed Kawthule State.

In 1972, the Hanthawaddy and Hmawbi districts were moved under Rangoon Division's juridstiction.

In 1974, after Ne Win introduced a constitution, Chin Division became a state, and its capital moved from Falam to Hakha. Kawthule State's name was reverted to Karen State, and Mon State was separated from Tenasserim Division. Mon State's capital became Moulmein, and Tenasserim Division's became Tavoy. In addition, Rakhine Division was granted statehood.

In 1989, after the coup d'état by the military junta, the names of many divisions in Burma were altered in English to reflect Burmese pronunciations.

See also

  • ISO 3166-2:MM


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