Myanmar Religious Records

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The main religion in Burma is Theravada Buddhism which has been the official religion since the 11th century. About 90% of the Burmese people follow Buddhism. Another 4% are Christians (converted during the years of British colonialism, when missionaries were allowed; they have not been allowed in since Independence in 1948). About an equal number are Muslims; although the government claims not to practice religious discrimination, many Muslims have fled to neighboring Bangladesh in recent years, claiming that they have been persecuted. In addition, a number of tribal peoples practice forms of Animism and Shamanism.

However, Theravada Buddhism is ingrained in Burmese history and culture and the country is often defined by it. Every town or village has a monastery, monks are highly visible throughout the country, and every hilltop or riverside, every clump of trees, seems to have a Buddhist shrine or pagoda. The easily recognized landmark of Burma is the Shwedagon Pagoda in the capital Yangon (Rangoon).