The Most Famous

POLITICIANS from Myanmar (Burma)

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This page contains a list of the greatest Burmese Politicians. The pantheon dataset contains 15,577 Politicians, 24 of which were born in Myanmar (Burma). This makes Myanmar (Burma) the birth place of the 93rd most number of Politicians behind Mali, and Malta.

Top 10

The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Burmese Politicians of all time. This list of famous Burmese Politicians is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of Burmese Politicians.

Photo of U Thant

1. U Thant (1909 - 1974)

With an HPI of 69.09, U Thant is the most famous Burmese Politician.  His biography has been translated into 81 different languages on wikipedia.

Thant (Burmese: သန့်; MLCTS: san. [θa̰ɰ̃]; 22 January 1909 – 25 November 1974), known honorifically as U Thant (), was a Burmese diplomat and the third secretary-general of the United Nations from 1961 to 1971, the first non-Scandinavian to hold the position. He held the office for a record 10 years and one month. A native of Pantanaw, Thant was educated at the National High School and at Rangoon University. In the days of tense political climate in Burma, he held moderate views positioning himself between fervent nationalists and British loyalists. He was a close friend of Burma's first Prime Minister U Nu and served in various positions in Nu's cabinet from 1948 to 1961. Thant had a calm and unassuming demeanor that won his colleagues' respect. He was appointed Secretary-General in 1961, six weeks after his predecessor, Dag Hammarskjöld, had died in an air crash. In his first term, Thant facilitated negotiations between U.S. President John F. Kennedy and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, helping to avert a global catastrophe. Later, in December that year, Thant ordered Operation Grandslam, which ended a secessionist insurgency in Congo. He was reappointed as Secretary-General on 2 December 1966, by a unanimous vote of the Security Council. During his second term Thant was well known for publicly criticizing U.S. conduct in the Vietnam War. He oversaw the entry of several newly independent African and Asian states into the UN. He refused to serve a third term, and retired in 1971. Thant died of lung cancer in 1974. A devout Buddhist and the foremost Burmese diplomat on the international stage, he was widely admired and held in great respect by the Burmese populace. When the military government refused him any honours, riots erupted in Rangoon; these were violently crushed by the government, leaving scores of casualties.

Photo of Aung San

2. Aung San (1915 - 1947)

With an HPI of 66.96, Aung San is the 2nd most famous Burmese Politician.  His biography has been translated into 55 different languages.

Aung San (Burmese: ဗိုလ်ချုပ် အောင်ဆန်း; MLCTS: aung hcan:, pronounced [àʊɰ̃ sʰáɰ̃]; 13 February 1915 – 19 July 1947) was a Burmese politician, independence activist and revolutionary. He was instrumental in Myanmar's struggle for independence from British rule, but he was assassinated just six months before his goal was realized. Aung San is considered the founder of modern-day Myanmar and the Tatmadaw (the country's armed forces), and is commonly referred to by the titles "Father of the Nation", "Father of Independence", and "Father of the Tatmadaw". Devoted to ending British Colonial rule in Burma, Aung San founded or was closely associated with many Burmese political groups and movements and explored various schools of political thought throughout his life. He was a life-long anti-imperialist and studied socialism as a student. In his first year of university he was elected to the executive committee of the Rangoon University Students' Union and served as the editor of its newspaper. He joined the Thakin Society in 1938 and served as its general secretary. He also helped establish the Communist Party of Burma in 1939 but quit shortly afterwards due to vehement disagreements with the rest of the party leadership. He subsequently co-founded the People's Revolutionary Party (later the Burma Socialist Party) with the primary goal of Burmese independence from the British. Shortly before the outbreak of World War II, Aung San fled Burma and went to China to solicit foreign support for Burmese independence. During the Japanese occupation of Burma, he served as the minister of war in the Japan-backed State of Burma led by Dr. Ba Maw. As the tide turned against Japan, he switched sides and merged his forces with the Allies to fight against the Japanese. After World War II, he negotiated Burmese independence from Britain in the Aung San-Attlee agreement. He served as the 5th Premier of the British Crown Colony of Burma from 1946 to 1947. He led his party, the Anti-Fascist People's Freedom League, to victory in the 1947 Burmese general election, but he and most of his cabinet were assassinated shortly before the country became independent. Aung San's daughter, Aung San Suu Kyi, is a stateswoman, politician, and Nobel Peace Prize laureate. She was Burma's State Counsellor and its 20th (and first female) Minister of Foreign Affairs in Win Myint's Cabinet until the 2021 Myanmar coup d'état.

Photo of Bayinnaung

3. Bayinnaung (1516 - 1581)

With an HPI of 63.17, Bayinnaung is the 3rd most famous Burmese Politician.  His biography has been translated into 30 different languages.

Bayinnaung Kyawhtin Nawrahta (Burmese: ဘုရင့်နောင် ကျော်ထင်နော်ရထာ [bəjɪ̰ɰ̃ nàʊɰ̃ tɕɔ̀ tʰɪ̀ɰ̃ nɔ̀jətʰà] ; Thai: บุเรงนองกะยอดินนรธา, RTGS: Burengnong Kayodin Noratha , Portuguese: Braginoco; 16 January 1516 – 10 October 1581) was king of the Toungoo Dynasty of Myanmar from 1550 to 1581. During his 31-year reign, which has been called the "greatest explosion of human energy ever seen in Burma", Bayinnaung assembled the largest empire in the history of Southeast Asia, which included much of modern-day Myanmar, the Chinese Shan states, Lan Na, Lan Xang, Manipur and Siam. Although he is best remembered for his empire building, Bayinnaung's greatest legacy was his integration of the Shan states into the Irrawaddy Valley-based kingdoms. After the conquest of the Shan states in 1557–1563, the king put in an administrative system that reduced the power of hereditary Shan saophas, and brought Shan customs in line with lowland norms. It eliminated the threat of Shan raids into Upper Burma, an overhanging concern since the late 13th century. His Shan policy was followed by Burmese kings right up to the final fall of the kingdom to the British in 1885. Bayinnaung could not replicate this administrative policy everywhere in his far-flung empire, however. His empire was a loose collection of formerly sovereign kingdoms, whose kings were loyal to him as the Cakkavatti ("Universal Ruler"), rather than to the Kingdom of Toungoo itself. Indeed, Ava and Siam revolted just over two years after his death. By 1599, all the vassal states had revolted, and the Toungoo Empire completely collapsed. Bayinnaung is considered one of the three greatest kings of Burma, along with Anawrahta and Alaungpaya. Some of the most prominent places in modern Myanmar are named after him. He is also well known in Thailand as the Phra Chao Chana Sip Thit (พระเจ้าชนะสิบทิศ, "Conqueror of the Ten Directions").

Photo of U Nu

4. U Nu (1907 - 1995)

With an HPI of 62.42, U Nu is the 4th most famous Burmese Politician.  His biography has been translated into 38 different languages.

Nu (Burmese: ဦးနု; pronounced [ʔú nṵ]; 25 May 1907 – 14 February 1995), commonly known as U Nu and also by the honorific name Thakin Nu, was a leading Burmese statesman and nationalist politician. He was the first Prime Minister of Burma under the provisions of the 1947 Constitution of the Union of Burma, from 4 January 1948 to 12 June 1956, again from 28 February 1957 to 28 October 1958, and finally from 4 April 1960 to 2 March 1962.

Photo of Thein Sein

5. Thein Sein (b. 1944)

With an HPI of 62.24, Thein Sein is the 5th most famous Burmese Politician.  His biography has been translated into 50 different languages.

Thein Sein (Burmese: သိန်းစိန်; IPA: [θéɪɰ̃ sèɪɰ̃]; born 20 April 1944) is a Burmese former politician and retired general in the Myanmar Army who served as the eighth President of Myanmar from 2011 to 2016. He previously served as Prime Minister from 2007 to 2011, and was considered by many in and outside Myanmar as a reformist leader in the post-junta government. His government undertook a series of political reforms including some deregulation of the country's censored media, releasing many political prisoners and halting the country's controversial large Chinese-led hydro-power project. The developments that followed included Myanmar's appointment to chair ASEAN in 2014, improved relations with the US, the release of Aung San Suu Kyi – his 2015 general election rival – from house arrest, and the reinstatement of major opposition party National League for Democracy (NLD) in the by-election held on 1 April 2012.

Photo of Ne Win

6. Ne Win (1910 - 2002)

With an HPI of 61.65, Ne Win is the 6th most famous Burmese Politician.  His biography has been translated into 43 different languages.

Ne Win (Burmese: နေဝင်း; IPA: [nè wɪ́ɰ̃]; 24 May 1911 – 5 December 2002) also known as Shu Maung (Burmese: ရှူမောင်; IPA: [/ʃù màʊ̃̀/]), was a Burmese army general, politician and military commander who served as Prime Minister of Burma from 1958 to 1960 and 1962 to 1974, and also President of Burma from 1962 to 1981. Ne Win was Burma's military dictator during the Socialist Burma period of 1962 to 1988. Ne Win founded the Burma Socialist Programme Party (BSPP) and overthrew the democratic Union Parliament of U Nu in the 1962 Burmese coup d'état, establishing Burma as a one-party socialist state under the Burmese Way to Socialism ideology. Ne Win was Burma's de facto leader as chairman of the BSPP, serving in various official titles as part of his military government, and was known by his supporters as U Ne Win. His rule was characterized by a non-aligned foreign policy, isolationism, one-party rule, economic stagnation, and superstition. Ne Win resigned in July 1988 in response to the 8888 Uprising that overthrew the Burma Socialist Programme Party (BSPP), and was replaced by the military junta of the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC). He held minor influence in the 1990s but was eventually placed under house arrest, under which he died in 2002. In foreign affairs, Ne Win followed a strictly neutralist policy during the Cold War, participating in the Non-Aligned Movement and keeping his distance from both the United States and the Soviet Union. On the other hand, his relations with Mao Zedong and the People's Republic of China were initially excellent, but were temporarily broken between 1967 and 1971, due to Mao's covert support for the Communist insurgency within Burma and the outbreak of anti-Chinese riots by regime supporters; however, in March 1971 relations were fully restored and Chinese economic aid continued.

Photo of Than Shwe

7. Than Shwe (b. 1933)

With an HPI of 61.63, Than Shwe is the 7th most famous Burmese Politician.  His biography has been translated into 45 different languages.

Than Shwe (Burmese: သန်းရွှေ; pronounced [θáɰ̃ ʃwè]; born 2 February 1933) is a retired Burmese army general who played a role in Myanmar's political landscape. As the Chairman of the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), he held influential authority, contributing to a perception of centralized power. His governance from 1992 to 2011 involved policies that some considered restrictive, alongside a notable military presence. Than Shwe served as the head of state of Myanmar, holding the position of Chairman of the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) during the same period, influencing the country's political trajectory. Occupying key positions, including Prime Minister of Myanmar, Commander-in-Chief of Myanmar Defence Services, and head of the Union Solidarity and Development Association (USDP), Than Shwe has elicited various perspectives on his governance. In March 2011, he officially stepped down as head of state, facilitating the transition to his chosen successor, Thein Sein. As the head of the Armed Forces, he was succeeded by Senior General Min Aung Hlaing. Than Shwe continues to wield significant influence within the military.

Photo of Alaungpaya

8. Alaungpaya (1714 - 1760)

With an HPI of 61.30, Alaungpaya is the 8th most famous Burmese Politician.  His biography has been translated into 29 different languages.

Alaungpaya (Burmese: အလောင်းဘုရား, pronounced [ʔəláʊɰ̃ pʰəjá]; also spelled Alaunghpaya or Alaung-Phra; 24 August [O.S. 13 August] 1714 – 11 May 1760) was the founder and first emperor of the Konbaung Dynasty of Burma (Myanmar). By the time of his death from illness during his campaign in Siam, this former chief of a small village in Upper Burma had unified Burma, subdued Manipur, conquered Lan Na and launched successful attacks against the French and British East India companies who had given help to the Restored Hanthawaddy Kingdom. He added settlements around Dagon, and called the enlarged town Yangon. He is considered one of the three greatest monarchs of Burma alongside Anawrahta and Bayinnaung for unifying Burma for the third time in Burmese history.

Photo of Win Myint

9. Win Myint (b. 1951)

With an HPI of 60.52, Win Myint is the 9th most famous Burmese Politician.  His biography has been translated into 44 different languages.

Win Myint (Burmese: ဝင်းမြင့်; MLCTS: wang: mrang. [wɪ́ɰ̃ mjɪ̰ɰ̃]; born 8 November 1951) is a Burmese politician who served as the tenth President of Myanmar from 2018 to 2021. Win Myint was removed from office in the 2021 military coup d'état. He was the Speaker of the House of Representatives of Myanmar from 2016 to 2018. He also served as a member of parliament in the House of Representatives (Pyithu Hluttaw) from 2012 to 2018. Win Myint was viewed as an important ally and of State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, who served as the head of government.

Photo of Min Aung Hlaing

10. Min Aung Hlaing (b. 1956)

With an HPI of 60.04, Min Aung Hlaing is the 10th most famous Burmese Politician.  His biography has been translated into 38 different languages.

Min Aung Hlaing (Burmese: မင်းအောင်လှိုင်; pronounced [mɪ́ɰ̃ àʊɰ̃ l̥àɪɰ̃]; born 3 July 1956), is a Burmese army general who has ruled Myanmar as the chairman of the State Administration Council (SAC) since seizing power in the February 2021 coup d'état. He additionally appointed himself Prime Minister of Myanmar in August 2021. He has led the Tatmadaw (armed forces of Myanmar), an independent branch of government, as the Commander-in-chief of Defence Services since March 2011, when he was handpicked to succeed longtime military ruler Senior General Than Shwe, who transferred leadership over the country to a civilian government upon retiring. Before assuming leadership over the Tatmadaw, Min Aung Hlaing served as Joint Chief of Staff from 2010 to 2011. Born in Minbu, Magway Region, Burma, Min Aung Hlaing studied law at the Rangoon Arts and Science University before joining the military. Rising through its ranks, he became a senior general (five-star general) by 2013. During the period of civilian rule from 2011 to 2021, Min Aung Hlaing worked to ensure the military's continued role in politics and forestalled the peace process with ethnic armed groups. A United Nations fact-finding mission found he deliberately perpetrated the Rohingya genocide. He maintained an adversarial relationship with democratically-elected State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, though she defended him against genocide charges. Min Aung Hlaing baselessly claimed widespread voting irregularities and electoral fraud in the 2020 Myanmar general election, in which Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) won a landslide re-election. He then seized power from her in the 2021 coup. He had been expected to run for President of Myanmar had the military proxy party, the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), won enough seats in parliament to elect him, and would have been required to retire as Commander-in-Chief due to a statutory age limit. With the outbreak of mass protests against his rule, Min Aung Hlaing ordered a clampdown and suppression of demonstrations, sparking an ongoing civil war. Min Aung Hlaing's forces have employed scorched earth tactics in the civil war, including airstrikes on civilians. He has ordered the execution of prominent pro-democracy activists, the first use of the death penalty in decades. In February 2024, he activated Myanmar's conscription law to draft 60,000 young people into the Tatmadaw. In foreign policy, he has resisted influence from Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and relied on greater cooperation with Russia, China, and India. In response to his human rights abuses and corruption, Min Aung Hlaing and his government have been subjected to an extensive series of international sanctions, returning Myanmar to its former status as a pariah state. The 2022 Democracy Index rated Myanmar under Min Aung Hlaing as the second-most authoritarian regime in the world, with only Afghanistan rated less democratic.

People

Pantheon has 27 people classified as Burmese politicians born between 1015 and 1956. Of these 27, 9 (33.33%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living Burmese politicians include Thein Sein, Than Shwe, and Win Myint. The most famous deceased Burmese politicians include U Thant, Aung San, and Bayinnaung. As of April 2024, 2 new Burmese politicians have been added to Pantheon including San Yu, and Vijay Rupani.

Living Burmese Politicians

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Deceased Burmese Politicians

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Newly Added Burmese Politicians (2024)

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Overlapping Lives

Which Politicians were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 15 most globally memorable Politicians since 1700.