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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.
Iron Age Burmese cultures also had influences from outside sources such as India and Thailand, as seen in their funerary practices concerning child burials.
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.
Myanmar is known with a name deriving from Burma as opposed to Myanmar in Spanish, Italian, Romanian, and Greek – Birmania being the local version of Burma in the Spanish language, for example.
Myanmar used to be known as "Birmânia" in Portuguese, and as "Birmanie" in French.