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.
With an HPI of 75.62, U Thant is the most famous Burmese Politician. His biography has been translated into 76 different languages on wikipedia.
Thant (Burmese: သန့်; MLCTS: san.; IPA: [θa̰ɰ̃]; January 22, 1909 – November 25, 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 as Secretary-General in 1961, six weeks after his predecessor Dag Hammarskjöld 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 December 2, 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.
With an HPI of 71.78, Aung San is the 2nd most famous Burmese Politician. His biography has been translated into 43 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. Aung San is the founder of the Myanmar Armed Forces, and is considered the Father of the Nation of modern-day Myanmar. He was instrumental in Burma's independence from British rule, but was assassinated just six months before his goal was realized. Devoted to ending British 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 communism and socialism as a student, and Japanese Pan-Asianism upon joining the Japanese military. 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, working as its general secretary, and founded both the Communist Party of Burma and the Burma Socialist Party. Shortly before the outbreak of World War II, Aung San fled Burma and went to China to solicit foreign support for Burmese independence. He was recruited by Suzuki Keiji, a Japanese army intelligence officer stationed in Thailand, who promised support. Aung San recruited a small core of Burmese revolutionaries later known as the Thirty Comrades and left for Japan. 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.
With an HPI of 70.67, Than Shwe is the 3rd most famous Burmese Politician. His biography has been translated into 43 different languages.
Than Shwe (Burmese: သန်းရွှေ, pronounced [θáɰ̃ ʃwè]; born 2 February 1933 or 3 May 1935) is a Burmese strongman politician who was the head of state of Myanmar from 1992 to 2011 as Chairman of the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC). During this period, he held key positions of power including Prime Minister of Myanmar, Commander-in-chief of Myanmar Defense Services and head of the Union Solidarity and Development Association. In March 2011 he officially stepped down as head of state in favour of his hand-picked successor, Thein Sein, and as head of the Armed Forces, being replaced by general Min Aung Hlaing. He continues to retain great power in the military.
With an HPI of 69.89, U Nu is the 4th most famous Burmese Politician. His biography has been translated into 32 different languages.
Nu (Burmese: ဦးနု; pronounced [ʔú nṵ]; 25 May 1907 – 14 February 1995), commonly known as U Nu also known 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.
With an HPI of 69.67, Bayinnaung is the 5th most famous Burmese Politician. His biography has been translated into 26 different languages.
Bayinnaung Kyawhtin Nawrahta (Burmese: ဘုရင့်နောင် ကျော်ထင်နော်ရထာ [bəjɪ̰ɰ̃ nàʊɰ̃ tɕɔ̀ tʰɪ̀ɰ̃ nɔ̀jətʰà]; Thai: บุเรงนองกะยอดินนรธา, RTGS: Burengnong Kayodin Noratha listen ; 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 what was probably 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").
With an HPI of 69.38, Ne Win is the 6th most famous Burmese Politician. His biography has been translated into 38 different languages.
Ne Win (Burmese: နေဝင်း IPA: [nè wɪ́ɰ̃]; 10 July 1910, or 14 or 24 May 1911 – 5 December 2002) was a Burmese 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, and economic stagnation. Ne Win resigned in July 1988 in response to the 8888 Uprising that overthrew the BSPP, and was replaced by the military junta of the State Law and Order Restoration Council. He held minor influence in the 1990s but was eventually was 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.
With an HPI of 68.96, Thein Sein is the 7th most famous Burmese Politician. His biography has been translated into 49 different languages.
Thein Sein (Burmese: သိန်းစိန်; IPA: [θéɪɰ̃ sèɪɰ̃]; born 20 April 1944) is a Burmese 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 2010, and is 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.
With an HPI of 68.43, Anawrahta is the 8th most famous Burmese Politician. His biography has been translated into 22 different languages.
Anawrahta Minsaw (Burmese: အနော်ရထာ မင်းစော, pronounced [ʔənɔ̀jətʰà mɪ́ɰ̃ sɔ́]; 11 May 1014 – 11 April 1077) was the founder of the Pagan Empire. Considered the father of the Burmese nation, Anawrahta turned a small principality in the dry zone of Upper Burma into the first Burmese Empire that formed the basis of modern-day Burma (Myanmar). Historically verifiable Burmese history begins with his accession to the Pagan throne in 1044.Anawrahta unified the entire Irrawaddy valley for the first time in history, and placed peripheral regions such as the Shan States and Arakan (Rakhine) under Pagan's suzerainty. He successfully stopped the advance of Khmer Empire into Tenasserim coastline and into Upper Menam valley, making Pagan one of two main kingdoms in mainland Southeast Asia. A strict disciplinarian, Anawrahta implemented a series of key social, religious and economic reforms that would have a lasting impact in Burmese history. His social and religious reforms later developed into the modern-day Burmese culture. By building a series of weirs, he turned parched, arid regions around Pagan into the main rice granaries of Upper Burma, giving Upper Burma an enduring economic base from which to dominate the Irrawaddy valley and its periphery in the following centuries. He bequeathed a strong administrative system that all later Pagan kings followed until the dynasty's fall in 1287. The success and longevity of Pagan's dominance over the Irrawaddy valley laid the foundation for the ascent of Burmese language and culture, the spread of Burman ethnicity in Upper Burma. Anawrahta's legacy went far beyond the borders of modern Burma. His embrace of Theravada Buddhism and his success in stopping the advance of Khmer Empire, a Hindu state, provided the Buddhist school, which had been in retreat elsewhere in South and Southeast Asia, a much needed reprieve and a safe shelter. He helped restart Theravada Buddhism in Ceylon, the Buddhist school's original home. The success of Pagan dynasty made Theravada Buddhism's later growth in Lan Na (northern Thailand), Siam (central Thailand), Lan Xang (Laos), and Khmer Empire (Cambodia) in the 13th and 14th centuries possible. Anawrahta is one of the most famous kings in Burmese history. His life stories (legends) are a staple of Burmese folklore and retold in popular literature and theater.
With an HPI of 68.33, Alaungpaya is the 9th most famous Burmese Politician. His biography has been translated into 24 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 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 defeated the French and the British 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.
With an HPI of 67.07, Htin Kyaw is the 10th most famous Burmese Politician. His biography has been translated into 35 different languages.
Htin Kyaw (Burmese: ထင်ကျော်, pronounced [tʰɪ̀ɴ tɕɔ̀] or [tʰɪ̀ɴ dʑɔ̀]; born 20 July 1946) is a Burmese politician, writer and scholar who served as the ninth president of Myanmar from 30 March 2016 to 21 March 2018. He was the first elected president to hold the office with no ties to the military since the 1962 coup d'état. The second son of scholar Min Thu Wun, Htin Kyaw had held various positions in the education, planning and treasury ministries in prior governments. The ethnic Mon-Bamar politician is viewed as an important ally of the National League for Democracy leader and State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, who is constitutionally barred from the presidency.
Pantheon has 18 people classified as politicians born between 1015 and 1951. Of these 18, 6 (33.33%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living politicians include Than Shwe, Thein Sein, and Htin Kyaw. The most famous deceased politicians include U Thant, Aung San, and U Nu. As of October 2020, 2 new politicians have been added to Pantheon including Khin Nyunt and Prakash Karat.
1909 - 1974
1915 - 1947
1907 - 1995
1516 - 1581
1910 - 2002
1015 - 1077
1714 - 1760
1859 - 1937
1859 - 1916
1745 - 1819
1928 - 1997
1947 - 2007
Which Politicians were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 10 most globally memorable Politicians since 1700.