Afghanistan the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in South-Central Asia. Afghanistan is bordered by Pakistan in the south and east, its territory covers 652,000 square kilometers and much of it is covered by the Hindu Kush mountain range, which experiences cold winters. The north consists of fertile plains, while the south-west consists of deserts where temperatures can get hot in summers. Kabul serves as its largest city. Human habitation in Afghanistan dates back to the Middle Paleolithic Era, the country's strategic location along the Silk Road connected it to the cultures of the Middle East and other parts of Asia; the land has been home to various peoples and has witnessed numerous military campaigns, including those by Alexander the Great, Muslim Arabs, British and since 2001 by the United States with NATO-allied countries. It has been called "unconquerable" and nicknamed the "graveyard of empires"; the land served as the source from which the Kushans, Samanids, Ghaznavids, Khaljis, Hotaks and others have risen to form major empires.
The political history of the modern state of Afghanistan began with the Hotak and Durrani dynasties in the 18th century. In the late 19th century, Afghanistan became a buffer state in the "Great Game" between British India and the Russian Empire, its border with British India, the Durand Line, was formed in 1893 but it is not recognized by the Afghan government and it has led to strained relations with Pakistan since the latter's independence in 1947. Following the Third Anglo-Afghan War in 1919 the country was free of foreign influence becoming a monarchy under King Amanullah, until 50 years when Zahir Shah was overthrown and a republic was established. In 1978, after a second coup Afghanistan first became a socialist state and a Soviet Union protectorate; this evoked the Soviet–Afghan War in the 1980s against mujahideen rebels. By 1996 most of Afghanistan was captured by the Islamic fundamentalist group the Taliban, who ruled most of the country as a totalitarian regime for over five years.
The Taliban were forcibly removed by the NATO-led coalition, a new democratically-elected government political structure was formed, but they still control a significant portion of the country. Afghanistan is a unitary presidential Islamic republic with a population of 31 million composed of ethnic Pashtuns, Tajiks and Uzbeks, it is a member of the United Nations, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, the Group of 77, the Economic Cooperation Organization, the Non-Aligned Movement. Afghanistan's economy is the world's 108th largest, with a GDP of $64.08 billion. The name Afghānistān is believed to be as old as the ethnonym Afghan, documented in the 10th-century geography book Hudud ul-'alam; the root name "Afghan" was used in reference to a member of the ethnic Pashtuns, the suffix "-stan" means "place of" in Persian. Therefore, Afghanistan translates to land of the Afghans or, more in a historical sense, to land of the Pashtuns. However, the modern Constitution of Afghanistan states that "he word Afghan shall apply to every citizen of Afghanistan."
Excavations of prehistoric sites by Louis Dupree and others suggest that humans were living in what is now Afghanistan at least 50,000 years ago, that farming communities in the area were among the earliest in the world. An important site of early historical activities, many believe that Afghanistan compares to Egypt in terms of the historical value of its archaeological sites; the country sits at a unique nexus point where numerous civilizations have interacted and fought. It has been home to various peoples through the ages, among them the ancient Iranian peoples who established the dominant role of Indo-Iranian languages in the region. At multiple points, the land has been incorporated within large regional empires, among them the Achaemenid Empire, the Macedonian Empire, the Indian Maurya Empire, the Islamic Empire. Many empires and kingdoms have risen to power in Afghanistan, such as the Greco-Bactrians, Hephthalites, Kabul Shahis, Samanids, Ghurids, Kartids, Timurids and the Hotak and Durrani dynasties that marked the political origins of the modern state.
Archaeological exploration done in the 20th century suggests that the geographical area of Afghanistan has been connected by culture and trade with its neighbors to the east and north. Artifacts typical of the Paleolithic, Neolithic and Iron ages have been found in Afghanistan. Urban civilization is believed to have begun as early as 3000 BCE, the early city of Mundigak may have been a colony of the nearby Indus Valley Civilization. More recent findings established that the Indus Valley Civilisation stretched up towards modern-day Afghanistan, making the ancient civilisation today part of Pakistan and India. In more detail, it extended from what today is northwest Pakistan to northwest India and northeast Afghanistan. An Indus Valley site has been found on the Oxus River at Shortugai in northern Afghanistan. There are several smaller IVC colonies to be found in Afghanistan as well. After 2000 BCE, successive waves of semi-nomadic
. The Soviet–Afghan War lasted over nine years, from December 1979 to February 1989. Insurgent groups known collectively as the mujahideen, as well as smaller Maoist groups, fought a guerrilla war against the Soviet Army and the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan government in the rural countryside; the mujahideen groups were backed by the United States, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, making it a Cold War proxy war. Between 562,000 and 2,000,000 civilians were killed and millions of Afghans fled the country as refugees to Pakistan and Iran; the war derives from a 1978 coup when Afghanistan's communist party took power, initiating a series of radical modernization reforms throughout the country that were forced and unpopular among the more traditional rural population and the established traditional power structures. The regime's nature of vigorously suppressing opposition, including executing thousands of political prisoners, led to the rise of anti-government armed groups, by April 1979 large parts of the country were in open rebellion.
The ruling party itself experienced deep rivalries, in September 1979 the President, Nur Mohammad Taraki, was murdered under orders of the second-in-command, Hafizullah Amin, which soured relations with the Soviet Union. The Soviet government, under leader Leonid Brezhnev, decided to deploy the 40th Army on December 24, 1979. Arriving in the capital Kabul, they staged a coup, killing president Amin and installing Soviet loyalist Babrak Karmal from a rival faction; the deployment had been variously called an "invasion" or a legitimate supporting intervention on the basis of the Brezhnev Doctrine. In January 1980, foreign ministers from 34 nations of the Islamic Conference adopted a resolution demanding "the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of Soviet troops" from Afghanistan; the UN General Assembly passed a resolution protesting the Soviet intervention by a vote of 104 to 18, with 18 abstentions and 12 members of the 152-nation Assembly absent or not participating in the vote. Afghan insurgents began to receive massive amounts of aid and military training in neighboring Pakistan and China, paid for by the United States and Arab monarchies in the Persian Gulf.
As documented by the National Security Archive, "the Central Intelligence Agency played a significant role in asserting U. S. influence in Afghanistan by funding military operations designed to frustrate the Soviet invasion of that country. CIA covert action worked through Pakistani intelligence services to reach Afghan rebel groups." Soviet troops occupied the cities and main arteries of communication, while the mujahideen waged guerrilla war in small groups operating in the 80 percent of the country, outside government and Soviet control exclusively being the rural countryside. The Soviets used their air power to deal harshly with both rebels and civilians, levelling villages to deny safe haven to the mujahideen, destroying vital irrigation ditches, laying millions of land mines; the international community imposed numerous sanctions and embargoes against the Soviet Union, the U. S. led a boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics held in Moscow. The boycott and sanctions exacerbated Cold War tensions and enraged the Soviet government, which led a revenge boycott of the 1984 Olympics held in Los Angeles.
The Soviets planned to secure towns and roads, stabilize the government under new leader Karmal, withdraw within six months or a year. But they were met with fierce resistance from the guerillas, were stuck in a bloody war that lasted nine years. By the mid-1980s, the Soviet contingent was increased to 108,800 and fighting increased, but the military and diplomatic cost of the war to the USSR was high. By mid-1987 the Soviet Union, now under reformist leader Mikhail Gorbachev, announced it would start withdrawing its forces after meetings with the Afghan government; the final troop withdrawal started on May 15, 1988, ended on February 15, 1989, leaving the government forces alone in the battle against the insurgents, which continued until 1992 when the former Soviet-backed government collapsed. Due to its length, it has sometimes been referred to as the "Soviet Union's Vietnam War" or the "Bear Trap" by the Western media; the Soviets' failure in the war is thought to be a contributing factor to the fall of the Soviet Union.
In 1885, Russian forces seized the disputed oasis at Panjdeh south of the Oxus River from Afghan forces, which became known as the Panjdeh Incident. The border was agreed by the joint Anglo-Russian Afghan Boundary Commission of 1885–87; the Russian interest in the region continued on through the Soviet era, with billions in economic and military aid sent to Afghanistan between 1955 and 1978. After the Saur Revolution in 1978, the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan was formed on April 27, 1978; the government was one with a pro-farmer socialist agenda. It had close relations with the Soviet Union. On December 5, 1978, a treaty of friendship was signed between Afghanistan. In February 1979, the United States Ambassador to Afghanistan, Adolph Dubs, was kidnapped by Setami Milli militants and was killed during an assault carried out by the Afghan police, assisted by Soviet advisers. Dubs' death led to a major deterioration in Afghanistan–United States relations. In Southwestern Asia, drastic changes were taking place concurrent with the upheavals in Afghanistan.
In February 1979, the Iranian Revolution ousted the American-backed Shah from Iran, losing the United States as one of its most powerful allies. The United S
A cluster munition is a form of air-dropped or ground-launched explosive weapon that releases or ejects smaller submunitions. This is a cluster bomb that ejects explosive bomblets that are designed to kill personnel and destroy vehicles. Other cluster munitions are designed to destroy runways or electric power transmission lines, disperse chemical or biological weapons, or to scatter land mines; some submunition-based weapons can disperse non-munitions, such as leaflets. Because cluster bombs release many small bomblets over a wide area, they pose risks to civilians both during attacks and afterwards. Unexploded bomblets can kill or maim civilians and/or unintended targets long after a conflict has ended, are costly to locate and remove. Cluster munitions are prohibited for those nations that ratify the Convention on Cluster Munitions, adopted in Dublin, Ireland in May 2008; the Convention entered into force and became binding international law upon ratifying states on 1 August 2010, six months after being ratified by 30 states.
As of 1 April 2018, a total of 120 states have joined the Convention, as 103 States parties and 17 Signatories. The first cluster bomb used operationally was the German SD-2 or Sprengbombe Dickwandig 2 kg referred to as the Butterfly Bomb, it was used in World War II to attack both military targets. The technology was developed independently by the United States and Italy; the US used the 20-lb M41 fragmentation bomb wired together in clusters of 6 or 25 with sensitive or proximity fuzes. From the 1970s to the 1990s cluster bombs became standard air-dropped munitions for many nations, in a wide variety of types, they have been produced by 34 countries and used in at least 23. Artillery shells that employ similar principles have existed for decades, they are referred to as ICM shells. The US military slang terms for them are "firecracker" or "popcorn" shells, for the many small explosions they cause in the target area. A basic cluster bomb consists of a hollow shell and two to more than 2,000 submunitions or bomblets contained within it.
Some types are dispensers that are designed to be retained by the aircraft after releasing their munitions. The submunitions themselves may be fitted with small parachute retarders or streamers to slow their descent. Modern cluster bombs and submunition dispensers can be multiple-purpose weapons containing a combination of anti-armor, anti-personnel, anti-materiel munitions; the submunitions themselves may be multi-purpose, such as combining a shaped charge, to attack armour, with a fragmenting case, to attack infantry and light vehicles. They may have an incendiary function. Since the 1990s submunition-based weapons have been designed that deploy smart submunitions, using thermal and visual sensors to locate and attack particular targets armored vehicles. Weapons of this type include the US CBU-97 sensor-fuzed weapon, first used in combat during Operation Iraqi Freedom, the 2003 invasion of Iraq; some munitions intended for anti-tank use can be set to self-destruct if they reach the ground without locating a target, theoretically reducing the risk of unintended civilian deaths and injuries.
Although smart submunition weapons are much more expensive than standard cluster bombs, fewer smart submunitions are required to defeat dispersed and mobile targets offsetting their cost. Because they are designed to prevent indiscriminate area effects and unexploded ordnance risks, these submunitions are not classified as cluster munitions under the Convention on Cluster Munitions. Incendiary cluster bombs are intended to start fires, just like conventional incendiary bombs, they contain submunitions of white phosphorus or napalm, can be combined anti-personnel and anti-tank submunitions to hamper firefighting efforts. In urban areas they have been preceded by the use of conventional explosive bombs to fracture the roofs and walls of buildings to expose their flammable contents. One of the earliest examples is the so-called Molotov bread basket used by the Soviet Union in the Winter War of 1939-40. Incendiary clusters were extensively used by both sides in the strategic bombings of World War II.
They caused firestorms and conflagrations in the bombing of Dresden in World War II and the firebombing of Tokyo. Some modern bomb submunitions deliver a combustible thermobaric aerosol that results in a high pressure explosion when ignited. Anti-personnel cluster bombs use explosive fragmentation to destroy soft targets. Along with incendiary cluster bombs, these were among the first types of cluster bombs produced by Germany during World War II, they were used during the Blitz with delay and booby-trap fusing to hamper firefighting and other damage-control efforts in the target areas. They were used with a contact fuze when attacking entrenchments; these weapons were used during the Vietnam War when many thousands of tons of submunitions were dropped on Laos and Vietnam. Most anti-armor munitions contain shaped charge warheads to pierce the armor of tanks and armored fighting vehicles. In some cases, guidance is used to increase the likelihood of hitting a vehicle. Modern guided submunitions, such as those found in the U.
S. CBU-97, can use an explosively formed penetrator. Unguided shaped-charge submunitions are designed to be effective against entrenchments that incorporate overhead cover. To simplify supply and increase battlefield effectiveness by allowing a single type of round to be used against nearly any target, submunitions that incorporate both fragmentation and shaped-charge effects are
The BM-30 Smerch, 9K58 Smerch or 9A52-2 Smerch-M is a Soviet heavy multiple rocket launcher. The system is intended to defeat personnel and soft targets in concentration areas, artillery batteries, command posts and ammunition depots, it was designed in the early 1980s and entered service in the Soviet Army in 1989. When first observed by the West in 1983, it received the code MRL 280mm M1983, it is being superseded by the 9A52-4 Tornado since 2018. The first confirmed combat uses of the Smerch were in two war zones in 2014. Syrian military forces used the system against rebel forces during the Syrian civil war, including in fighting in Jobar, it was used by Russia-backed militants to deliver explosive and cluster munitions to Ukrainian military positions and by Ukrainian Army at populated areas of Donetsk and Lugansk regions in the War in Donbass. Several have been seen in use by pro-Russian rebels; the Russian Ground Forces used the BM-30 in Syria in October 2015 during the Russian intervention in Syria.
The main components of the RSZO 9K58 "Smerch" system are the following: Rockets 9M55 or 9M528. The 300mm rockets with a firing range of 70 and 90 km and various warheads have been developed for the Smerch MLRS; the 9A52-2 vehicle with the automated system ensures: delivery of fire from an un-surveyed fire position. Chassis: MAZ-543M or MAZ-79111 Emplacement Time: 3 min Displacement Time: 2 min Launch RateSalvo Time: 12 rounds in 38 secondsReload Time: 20 min 9A52- Standard variant on MAZ-79111 truck. 9A52-2 - Modified variant on MAZ-543M truck. 9A52-2T - Export version, based on the Tatra T816 10x10 truck. 9A52-4 - Lighter, airmobile version on KamAZ-6350 truck with modular 6-round rocket pack. Demonstrated in 2007. Arctic version with rockets mounted on DT-30PM tracked vehicle. Algeria - 50 systems in 1999. Armenia - 6 systems. Received more as of 2018. Azerbaijan - 40 systems. Belarus - 48 systems in 1990. China - Locally produced as the PHL03. India - 42 9A52-2T systems in service; the launchers for the Indian Army’s 9K58 Smerch 300 mm multiple rocket launch systems will be mounted on 81 indigenously designed 10×10 high-mobility vehicles provided by Indian private-sector defence manufacturer Ashok Leyland.
The vehicle, fitted with a hydraulic crane to reload the system, will supplement and replace the 9A52-2 launch vehicles based on the MAZ-543M 8×8 truck chassis. The IA operates several launcher variants for the Smerch system, including around 62 9K58 Smerch batteries, each of which has six launch vehicles. Since 2012 India’s state-owned Ordnance Factory Board has produced several rocket variants for the system that have a strike range of 70 or 90 km. Iraq - 0 systems in 2016. Kazakhstan Kuwait - 27 systems in 1996. Morocco - 36 systems PHL03/AR2 Chinese version. Pakistan - 36 units, produced locally as the A-100E with complete TOT, based on the Chinese A-100, Russia - 106. Syria - Unknown number, used in the Syrian civil war. Turkmenistan - 6 systems 9A52-2T in 2008/2009. Ukraine - 80. United Arab Emirates - 6 systems. Venezuela - 12 systems. Soviet Union: Passed on to successor states. PHL-96 - Aesthetically similar missile based on the Wanshan WS-2400 8 x 8 cross country truck. However, the PHL-03 and BM-30 do not share interchangeable parts, so they are distinct missiles despite their similar appearance.
The Chinese vehicle utilizes a German-designed diesel engine and hydraulics, manufactured by Wanshan in China, following a technology transfer from ZF Friedrichshafen. The program begun in the late 1990s, with the'96' in the designation meaning 1996, the year that the Chinese military first issued the requirement for a new long range SPMRLS; the program went through major redesign changes. Although dubbed by many Chinese as a guided self-propelled multiple rocket launching system, the PHL96 is not speaking a guided SPMRLS because, none of rockets are guided - the guidance is achieved via the sub-munitions, such as the 9M55K1 cluster munition. Only a limited number of the PHL96 entered Chinese service because its successor, the PHL03, entered service shortly after. A-100 - A 300 mm, 10-tube multiple rocket launcher developed by the Beijing-based China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology in the late 1990s; the A-100 has a maximum firing range of 100 km. PHL-03 - Chinese development of the PHL96 with 150 km range.
The PHL03 is a digitized PHL96 with a computerized fire control system incorporating GPS/GLONASS, similar to that of the Type 90A SPMRL, with a four-man crew, which entered service around 2004-2005, only a year or two after its prede
Ukraine, sometimes called the Ukraine, is a country in Eastern Europe. Excluding Crimea, Ukraine has a population of about 42.5 million, making it the 32nd most populous country in the world. Its capital and largest city is Kiev. Ukrainian is the official language and its alphabet is Cyrillic; the dominant religions in the country are Greek Catholicism. Ukraine is in a territorial dispute with Russia over the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia annexed in 2014. Including Crimea, Ukraine has an area of 603,628 km2, making it the largest country within Europe and the 46th largest country in the world; the territory of modern Ukraine has been inhabited since 32,000 BC. During the Middle Ages, the area was a key centre of East Slavic culture, with the powerful state of Kievan Rus' forming the basis of Ukrainian identity. Following its fragmentation in the 13th century, the territory was contested and divided by a variety of powers, including Lithuania, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire and Russia. A Cossack republic emerged and prospered during the 17th and 18th centuries, but its territory was split between Poland and the Russian Empire, merged into the Russian-dominated Soviet Union in the late 1940s as the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.
In 1991 Ukraine gained its independence from the Soviet Union in the aftermath of its dissolution at the end of the Cold War. Before its independence, Ukraine was referred to in English as "The Ukraine", but most sources have since moved to drop "the" from the name of Ukraine in all uses. Following its independence, Ukraine declared itself a neutral state. In 2013, after the government of President Viktor Yanukovych had decided to suspend the Ukraine-European Union Association Agreement and seek closer economic ties with Russia, a several-months-long wave of demonstrations and protests known as the Euromaidan began, which escalated into the 2014 Ukrainian revolution that led to the overthrow of Yanukovych and the establishment of a new government; these events formed the background for the annexation of Crimea by Russia in March 2014, the War in Donbass in April 2014. On 1 January 2016, Ukraine applied the economic component of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area with the European Union.
Ukraine is ranks 88th on the Human Development Index. As of 2018, Ukraine has the second lowest GDP per capita in Europe. At US$40, it has the lowest median wealth per adult in the world, it suffers from a high poverty rate and severe corruption. However, because of its extensive fertile farmlands, Ukraine is one of the world's largest grain exporters. Ukraine maintains the second-largest military in Europe after that of Russia; the country is home to a multi-ethnic population, 77.8 percent of whom are Ukrainians, followed by a large Russian minority, as well as Georgians, Belarusians, Crimean Tatars, Jews and Hungarians. Ukraine is a unitary republic under a semi-presidential system with separate powers: legislative and judicial branches; the country is a member of the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the OSCE, the GUAM organization, one of the founding states of the Commonwealth of Independent States. There are different hypotheses as to the etymology of the name Ukraine. According to the older widespread hypothesis, it means "borderland", while some more recent linguistic studies claim a different meaning: "homeland" or "region, country"."The Ukraine" used to be the usual form in English, but since the Declaration of Independence of Ukraine, "the Ukraine" has become less common in the English-speaking world, style-guides recommend not using the definite article.
"The Ukraine" now implies disregard for the country's sovereignty, according to U. S. ambassador William Taylor. The Ukrainian position is that the usage of "'The Ukraine' is incorrect both grammatically and politically." Neanderthal settlement in Ukraine is seen in the Molodova archaeological sites which include a mammoth bone dwelling. The territory is considered to be the location for the human domestication of the horse. Modern human settlement in Ukraine and its vicinity dates back to 32,000 BC, with evidence of the Gravettian culture in the Crimean Mountains. By 4,500 BC, the Neolithic Cucuteni–Trypillia culture flourished in wide areas of modern Ukraine including Trypillia and the entire Dnieper-Dniester region. During the Iron Age, the land was inhabited by Cimmerians and Sarmatians. Between 700 BC and 200 BC it was Scythia. Beginning in the sixth century BC, colonies of Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome and the Byzantine Empire, such as Tyras and Chersonesus, were founded on the northeastern shore of the Black Sea.
These colonies thrived well into the 6th century AD. The Goths stayed in the area but came under the sway of the Huns from the 370s AD. In the 7th century AD, the territory of eastern Ukraine was the centre of Old Great Bulgaria. At the end of the century, the majority of Bulgar tribes migrated in different directions, the Khazars took over much of the land. In the 5th and 6th centuries, the Antes were located in the territory of; the Antes were the ancestors of Ukrainians: White Croats, Polans, Dulebes and Tiverians. Migrations from Ukraine throughout the Balkans established many Southern Slavic nations. Northern migrations, reaching to the Ilmen l
Guinea the Republic of Guinea, is a west-coastal country in West Africa. Known as French Guinea, the modern country is sometimes referred to as Guinea-Conakry in order to distinguish it from other countries with "Guinea" in the name and the eponymous region, such as Guinea-Bissau and Equatorial Guinea. Guinea has an area of 245,860 square kilometres; the sovereign state of Guinea is a republic with a president, directly elected by the people and is head of state and head of government. The unicameral Guinean National Assembly is the legislative body of the country, its members are directly elected by the people; the judicial branch is led by the Guinea Supreme Court, the highest and final court of appeal in the country. The country is named after the Guinea region. Guinea is a traditional name for the region of Africa, it ends at the Sahel. The English term Guinea comes directly from the Portuguese word Guiné, which emerged in the mid-15th century to refer to the lands inhabited by the Guineus, a generic term for the black African peoples below the Senegal River, as opposed to the'tawny' Zenaga Berbers, above it, whom they called Azenegues or Moors.
Guinea is a predominantly Islamic country, with Muslims representing 85 percent of the population. Guinea's people belong to twenty-four ethnic groups. French, the official language of Guinea, is the main language of communication in schools, in government administration, the media, but more than twenty-four indigenous languages are spoken. Guinea's economy is dependent on agriculture and mineral production, it is the world's second largest producer of bauxite, has rich deposits of diamonds and gold. The country was at the core of the 2014 Ebola outbreak. Human rights in Guinea remain a controversial issue. In 2011 the United States government claimed that torture by security forces, abuse of women and children were ongoing abuses of human rights; the land, now Guinea belonged to a series of African empires until France colonized it in the 1890s, made it part of French West Africa. Guinea declared its independence from France on 2 October 1958. From independence until the presidential election of 2010, Guinea was governed by a number of autocratic rulers.
For the origin of the name "Guinea" see Guinea § Etymology. What is now Guinea was on the fringes of the major West African empires; the earliest, the Ghana Empire, grew on trade but fell after repeated incursions of the Almoravids. It was in this period; the Sosso kingdom flourished in the resulting void but the Mali Empire came to prominence when Soundiata Kéïta defeated the Sosso ruler Soumangourou Kanté at the Battle of Kirina in c. 1235. The Mali Empire was ruled by Mansa, the most famous being Kankou Moussa, who made a famous hajj to Mecca in 1324. Shortly after his reign the Mali Empire began to decline and was supplanted by its vassal states in the 15th century; the most successful of these was the Songhai Empire, which expanded its power from about 1460 and surpassed the Mali Empire in both territory and wealth. It continued to prosper until a civil war over succession followed the death of Askia Daoud in 1582; the weakened empire fell to invaders from Morocco at the Battle of Tondibi just three years later.
The Moroccans proved unable to rule the kingdom however, it split into many small kingdoms. After the fall of the major West African empires, various kingdoms existed in. Fulani Muslims migrated to Futa Jallon in Central Guinea and established an Islamic state from 1735 to 1898 with a written constitution and alternate rulers; the Wassoulou or Wassulu empire was a short-lived empire, led by Samori Toure in the predominantly Malinké area of what is now upper Guinea and southwestern Mali. It moved to Ivory Coast before being conquered by the French; the slave trade came to the coastal region of Guinea with European traders in the 16th century. Slaves were exported to work elsewhere in the triangular trade. Guinea's colonial period began with French military penetration into the area in the mid-19th century. French domination was assured by the defeat in 1898 of the armies of Samori Touré, Mansa of the Ouassoulou state and leader of Malinké descent, which gave France control of what today is Guinea and adjacent areas.
France negotiated Guinea's present boundaries in the late 19th and early 20th centuries with the British for Sierra Leone, the Portuguese for their Guinea colony, Liberia. Under the French, the country formed the Territory of Guinea within French West Africa, administered by a governor general resident in Dakar. Lieutenant governors administered the individual colonies, including Guinea. In 1958, the French Fourth Republic collapsed due to political instability and its failures in dealing with its colonies Indochina and Algeria; the founding of a Fifth Republic was supported by the French people, while French President Charles de Gaulle made it clear on 8 August 1958 that France's colonies were to be given a stark choice between more autonomy in a new French Community or immediate independence in the referendum to be held on 28 September 1958. The other colonies chose the former but Guinea—under the leadership of Ahmed Sékou Touré whose Democratic Party of Guinea had won 56 of 60 seats in 1957 territorial elections — voted overwhelmingly for independence.
The French withdrew and
Myanmar the Republic of the Union of Myanmar and known as Burma, is a country in Southeast Asia. Myanmar is bordered by India and Bangladesh to its west and Laos to its east and China to its north and northeast. To its south, about one third of Myanmar's total perimeter of 5,876 km forms an uninterrupted coastline of 1,930 km along the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea; the country's 2014 census counted the population to be 51 million people. As of 2017, the population is about 54 million. Myanmar is 676,578 square kilometres in size, its capital city is Naypyidaw, its largest city and former capital is Yangon. Myanmar has been a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations since 1997. Early civilisations in Myanmar included the Tibeto-Burman-speaking Pyu city-states in Upper Burma and the Mon kingdoms in Lower Burma. 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 and Theravada Buddhism became dominant in the country.
The Pagan Kingdom fell. In the 16th century, reunified by the Taungoo dynasty, the country was for a brief period the largest empire in the history of Mainland Southeast Asia; the early 19th century Konbaung dynasty ruled over an area that included modern Myanmar and controlled Manipur and Assam as well. The British took over the administration of Myanmar after three Anglo-Burmese Wars in the 19th century and the country became a British colony. Myanmar was granted independence as a democratic nation. Following a coup d'état in 1962, it became a military dictatorship under the Burma Socialist Programme Party. For most of its independent years, the country has been engrossed in rampant ethnic strife and its myriad ethnic groups have been involved in one of the world's longest-running ongoing civil wars. During this time, the United Nations and several other organisations have reported consistent and systematic human rights violations in the country. In 2011, the military junta was dissolved following a 2010 general election, a nominally civilian government was installed.
This, along with the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and political prisoners, has improved the country's human rights record and foreign relations, has led to the easing of trade and other economic sanctions. There is, continuing criticism of the government's treatment of ethnic minorities, its response to the ethnic insurgency, religious clashes. In the landmark 2015 election, Aung San Suu Kyi's party won a majority in both houses. However, the Burmese military remains a powerful force in politics. Myanmar is a country rich in jade and gems, natural gas and other mineral resources. In 2013, its GDP stood at its GDP at US$221.5 billion. The income gap in Myanmar is among the widest in the world, as a large proportion of the economy is controlled by supporters of the former military government; as of 2016, Myanmar ranks 145 out of 188 countries in human development, according to the Human Development Index. Both the names Myanmar and Burma derive from the earlier Burmese Mranma, an ethnonym for the majority Bamar ethnic group, of uncertain etymology.
The terms are popularly thought to derive from "Brahma Desha" after Brahma. In 1989, the military government changed the English translations of many names dating back to Burma's colonial period or earlier, including that of the country itself: "Burma" became "Myanmar"; the renaming remains a contested issue. Many political and ethnic opposition groups and countries continue to use "Burma" because they do not recognise the legitimacy of the ruling military government or its authority to rename the country. 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"; the country's official full name is the "Republic of the Union of Myanmar". Countries that do not recognise that name use the long form "Union of Burma" instead. In English, the country is popularly known as either "Burma" or "Myanmar". Both these names are derived from the name of the majority Burmese Bamar ethnic group.
Myanmar is considered to be the literary form of the name of the group, while Burma is derived from "Bamar", the colloquial form of the group's name. Depending on the register used, the pronunciation would be Myamah; the name Burma has been in use in English since the 18th century. Burma continues to be used in English by the governments of countries such as the United Kingdom. Official United States policy retains Burma as the country's name, although the State Department's website lists the country as "Burma" and Barack Obama has referred to the country by both names; the government of Canada has in the past used Burma, such as in its 2007 legislation imposing sanctions, but as of the mid-2010s uses Myanmar. The Czech Republic uses Myanmar, although its Ministry of Foreign Affairs mentions both Myanmar and Burma on its website; the United Nations uses Myanmar, as do the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Russia, China, Bangladesh, Norway and Switzerland. Most English-speaking international news media refer to the country by the name Myanmar, including the BBC, CNN, Al Jazeera and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation /Ra