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In the 9th century, the Bamar people entered the upper Irrawaddy valley and, following the establishment of the Pagan Kingdom in the 1050s, the Burmese language, culture and Theravada Buddhism slowly became dominant in the country.The Pagan Kingdom fell due to the Mongol invasions and several warring states emerged.In April 2016, soon after taking office, Aung San Suu Kyi clarified that foreigners are free to use either name, "because there is nothing in the constitution of our country that says that you must use any term in particular".Both these names are derived from the name of the majority Burmese Bamar ethnic group.The Bronze Age arrived circa 1500 BC when people in the region were turning copper into bronze, growing rice and domesticating poultry and pigs; they were among the first people in the world to do so.Iron Age Burmese cultures also had influences from outside sources such as India and Thailand, as seen in their funerary practices concerning child burials.

Myanmar used to be known as "Birmânia" in Portuguese, and as "Birmanie" in French.In the mid-to-late 9th century the Bamar people founded a small settlement at Bagan.It was one of several competing city-states until the late 10th century when it grew in authority and grandeur.To its south, about one third of Myanmar's total perimeter of 5,876 km (3,651 mi) forms an uninterrupted coastline of 1,930 km (1,200 mi) along the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea.The country's 2014 census counted the population to be 51 million people.

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