Culture of Kabul

Kings of Burma

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The Burmese speak a Sino-Tibean language, more closely related to Tibetan and Karen than to Chinese itself. But, despite frequent political and military involvement with China, Burma has always been a sub-Indian culture, with Theravadin Buddhist religion and a Sanskrit based alphabet. The interesting circular form of Burmese letters is a consequence of the original writing materials. These were strips of leaves that would splitburmaeasily if straight lines were made along the grain. Circular forms avoid or minimize this danger.

The earliest civilization in Burma was on the coast of Arakan. This was occasionally subject to the strong Burmese states in the Irrawaddy valley and eventually was aborbed.

burma-1The first great central Burmese state was that of Pagan. This eventually came to an end with invasion by the Mongols and the influx of the Shan people.




burma-2After the fall of Pagan and a transitional kingdom, the next great Burmese state was Ava. Ava, however, would never dominate Burma. It was precariously surrounded by the Shan states in the north, Arakan in the west, and Pegu in the south, sometimes advancing, as against Arakan in 1379-1430, sometimes retreating, and sometimes dominated by China.

These lists were largely derived from Bruce R. Gordon’s Regnal Chronologies, with some details added from An Encyclopedia of World History (William L. Langer, Houghton Mifflin, 1952). The Maps are based on the Oxford Atlas of World History (Patrick K. O’Brien, General Editor, 1999, pp.64-65). Good lingustic information is in The Atlas of Languages (Facts On File, 1996, pp.62-64); and a descripiton of the Burmese language and its alphabet is in The World’s Major Languages, edited by Bernard Comrie [Oxford University Press, 1987, pp.834-854].

The Shan were among the Thai-Lao people who streamed into Southeast Asia in the 13th century, perhaps driven out of Yunnan by the Mongols. Shan states destablize Burma, and their aggressiveness may be responsible for the newly aggressive state of Taungu that creates a bit of a Burmese Empire in the 16th century.

burma-3The conquest by Taungu of the Thai Kingdoms, Chiang Mai and Ayuthya, is one of the high points of Burmese history. The triumph, especially over Siam, however, is brief.

The revival of a unified Burmese state under Konbaung led to some triumphs, as for a while over Siam again, and then to a series of setbacks. Defeated in Siam, the Burmese then had to face an enemy even more formidable than China — the British in India.

All the British ever wanted to do was trade and make money, but ideas of private property and free trade were more than a little foreign to Burmese sovereigns. Hassling British subjects in the 19th century, however, brings down the wrath of Britain, with all its modern military superiority.

Three wars with Britain led to the dismemberment and then annexation of Burma. And as the century progressed, the British became increasingly more interested in conquest than just in trade. The First Burmese War meant in 1826 the loss of Assam, still today part of India, Arakan, only recently secured, and Tenasserim, only more recently secured. These territories were not exactly integral to the Burmese state; but the Second Burmese War led to the annexation of Lower Burma, with Rangoon and Pengu, in 1853. burma-5The British general Sir Harry Prendergast finally entered Mandalay in 1885, and the whole country was annexed the following year.

In World War II, Burma ended up conquered and occupied by a power that previously had had nothing to do with Burmese history — Japan. The Japanese may have done this to cut off supplies to China over the famous “Burma Road.” It also put them on the border of India, where enemies of Britain, from Napoleon to Hitler, had always dreamed of being. To supply their position in Burma, the Japanese employed prisoners-of-war to built a railroad from Thailand. Many, many died in this project, immortalized in the movie, Bridge on the River Kwai[1957]. But by the time the Japanese got around to invading India in 1944, they were well past their prime; and the army that was sent, and defeated, didn’t even have enough supplies to make a regular retreat. The British reconquest of Burma was then set in motion. Directing that operation was Louis Mountbatten, who was subsequently made Earl Mountbatten of Burma. Mountbatten then served as the last Viceroy of India. Only a “life peerage,” there are no subsequent Earls of Burma running around.

It was no trouble for the Japanese to find anti-British Burmese to set up a puppet government, which dutifully declared war on the Allies in 1943. After the War, the bitter feelings were reflected in the fact that independent Burma did not choose to join the British Commonwealth. Since then, Burma has suffered from its isolationist tendencies, especially after a military coup in 1962 and one-party socialist state was decreed in 1974. The present military government, with General Shaw Maung as President since 1988, has gained the reputation of one of the worst human rights abusers in the world, setting aside democratic election results in 1990. In an attempt to stir up fascist-style nationalism, the government changed the name of the country in 1991 to something more “authentic,” Myanmar, but this has done little, of course, to ease the sting of dictatorship.

The living symbol of Burmese resistance to their government is Nobel Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. A remarkable political lighning rod for so small a woman, Aung San has been arrested and kept under house arrest by the Burmese government more than once. Since she had a British husband (who died in 1999), the government rather wished she would just leave the country and stay away, but for some reason it has not simply expelled her. After her Nobel Peace Prize in 1991, Aung San has become such an interational figure that the government has apparently become shy of going too far with her. She is currently free to move around the country and speak to crowds, though the government usually harrasses and threatens these gatherings. This is progress. Aung San would get no such tolerance in Cuba, North Korea, Iraq, or Iran.


Mahataingsandra 788-810
Thuriyataingsandra .810-830
Maulataingsandra 830-849
Paulataingsandra 849-875
Kalataingsandra 875-884
Dulataingsandra 884-903
Thiritaingsandra 903-935
Thingghathataingsandra 935-951
Tsulataingsandra 951-957
Amyathu 957-964
Paiphyu 964-994
Ngamengngatum 994-1018
Khettarheng 1018-1028
Tsandatheng 1028-1039
Mengrengphyu 1039-1049
Nagathuriya 1049-1052
Thuriyaradza 1052-1054
Punnaka 1054-1058
Mengphyugyi 1058-1060
Tsithabeng 1060-1061
Mengnanthu 1061-1066
Menglade 1066-1072
Mengkula 1072-1075
Mengbhilu 1075-1078
Thengkhaya 1078-1092
Mengthan 1092-1100
Mengpadi 1100-1103
Letyamengnan 1103-1109
Thihaba 1109-1110
Radzagyi 1110-1112
Thakiwenggyi 1112-1115
Thakiwengngay 1115-1133
Gauliya 1133-1153
Datharadza 1153-1165
Ananthiri 1165-1167
Mengphuntsa 1167-1174
Pintsakawa 1174-1176
Gannayubaw 1176-1179
Tsalengkabo 1179-1180
Midzutheng 1180-1191
Ngaranman 1191-1193
Ngapuggan 1193-1195
Ngarakhoing 1195-1198
Ngakyun 1198-1201
Ngatshu 1201-1205
Ngatswaitheng 1205-1206
Mengkounggyi 1206-1207
Mengkhoungngay 1207-1208
Kambhalounggyi 1208-1209
Kambhaloungngay 1209-1210
Letyagyi 1210-1218
Letyangay 1218-1229
Thanabeng 1229-1232
Nganathin 1232-1234
Nganalum 1234-1237
Hlanmaphyu 1237-1243
Radzathugyi 1243-1246
Tsaulu 1246-1251
Utstsanagyi 1251-1260
Tsaumwungyi 1260-1268
Nankyagyi 1268-1272
Mengbhilu 1272-1276
Tsithabeng 1276-1279
Meng Di 1279-1385
vassal of Ava, 1379-1430
Utstsanangay 1385-1387
Thiwarit 1387-1390
Thintse 1390-1394
Radzathu 1394-1395,
Tsithabeng 1395-1397
Myintsoingkyi 1397
Thinggathu 1401-1403
Mengtsaumwun 1404-1406,
Vacant, 1406-1430
Menkhari 1434-1459
Batsauphyu 1459-1482
Daulya 1482-1492
Batsonygo 1492-1494
Ranoung 1494
Tsalenggathu 1494-1501
Menradza 1501-1523
Gadzabadi 1523-1525
Mengtsau-o 1525
Thatsata 1525-1531
Mengbeng 1531-1553
Dik-Kha 1553-1555
Tsau-Lha 1555-1564
Mengtsekya 1564-1571
Mengphaloung 1571-1593
Mengradzagyi 1593-1612
Mengkhamoung 1612-1622
Thirithudhamma 1622-1638
Mengtsani 1638
Thado 1638-1645
Narabadigyi 1645-1652
Tsandathudhamma 1652-1684
Thirithuriya 1684-1685
Wara Dhammaradza 1684-1692
Munithu Dhammaradza 1692-1694
Tsandathuriya Dhammaradza 1694-1696
Naukahtadzau 1696
Mayuppiya 1696-1697
Kalamandat 1697-1698
Naradhibadi 1698-1700
Tsandawimala I 1700-1706
Tsandathuriya 1706-1710,
Tsandawidzaya 1710-1731
Naradhibadi 1734-1735
Narapawararadza 1735-1737
Tsandawidzala 1737
Katya 1737
Madarit 1737-1742
Nara-Apaya 1742-1761
Thirithu 1761
Paramaradza 1761-1764
Maharadza 1764-1773
Thumana 1773-1777
Tsandawimala II 1777
Thamitha-Dhammayit 1777-1782
Thamada 1782-1784
to Burma, 1784
Pyinbya c.900-c.925
Tannet c.925-c.950
Nga Khwe c.950-c.955
Theinkho c.955-c.970
Ngyaungusaw Rahan c.970-c.995
Kwonsaw Kyung Phyu c.995-c.1014
Kyitso c.1014-c.1020
Tsukkata c.1020-1044
Anawrahta 1044-1077
Sawlu 1077-1084
Kyanzittha 1084-1113
embassy to China, 1106
Alaungsithu 1113-1167
Mengshengtsau 1167
Narathu I 1167-1170
Narathenkha 1170-1173
Narapatisithu 1173-1210
Nantonmya 1210-1234
Kyaswa 1234-1250
Uzana I 1250-1254
“He who ran
from the Chinese”
Mongols loot Pagan, 1287
Kyawswa Mongol Vassal,
Sawahnit 1298-1325
Combined with Pinya
Athinhkaya 1298-c.1312
Yazathinkyan 1298-c.1312
Thihathu 1298-1324
Uzana II 1324-1343
Ngashishin 1343-1350
Kyanswange 1350-1359
Narathu II 1359-1364
Uzana Pyaung 1364
Thadominbya 1364-1368
Nga Nu the Usurper 1368
Minkyiswasawke Chinese Vassal,
Tarabya 1401
Nga Nauk Han usurper,
Minhkaung I 1401-1422
Thihathu 1422-1426
Minhlange 1426
Kalekyetaungnvo 1426-1427
Mohnyinthado 1427-1440
Minrekyansa 1440-1443
Narapati Chinese Vassal,
Thihathura 1469-1481
Minhkaung II 1481-1502
Shwenankyawshin 1502-1527
Thohanbwa the Usurper 1527-1543
Hkonmaing the Shan 1543-1546
Mobye Narapati Shan Vassal,
Sithkyawhtin Shan Vassal,
to Taungu, 1555
Wareru 1287-1306
Khunlau 1306-1310
Dzau-au 1310-1323
Dzaudzip 1323-1330
Binya-e Lau 1330-1348
Binya-u 1348-1385
Binya-Nwe 1385-1423
Binya Dhamma Radza 1423-1426
Binya Rankit 1426-1446
Binya Waru 1446-1450
Binya Keng 1450-1453
Mhaudau 1453
Shengtsaubu (f) 1453-1460
Dhamma Dzedi 1460-1491
Binya Ran 1491-1526
Takarwutbi 1526-1540
Tabin Shwehti 1531-1550
captures Pengu, 1539; King of Lower Burma, 1542; captures Pagan, 1546; King of all Burma
Thamindwut 1550
Thaminhtau 1550-1551
Bayin Naung 1551-1581
captures Ava, 1555; capturesChiang Mai, 1557; attacksAyuthya, 1563; captures Ayuthya, 1569
Nandabayin 1581-1599
driven from Siam, 1593; disintegration, 140 years
Ngyaung Ram Meng 1599-1605
Mahadhammaraja 1605-1628
Mengre Dippa 1628-1629
Thalwun Mengtara 1629-1648
Bengtale 1648-1661
Pyi Meng 1661-1672
Narawara 1672
Thiri Pawara
Thiri Maha
Thihathura Thudhamma
Thiri Pawara
Dibati Hsengphyusheng
Mahadhammaraja Dibati 1733-1751
to Konbaung, 1751
Buddha Thi Gwe Meng 1740-1746
Binya Dala 1746-1757
Alaungpaya 1753-1760
Naundawgyi 1760-1763
Hsinbyushin 1763-1776
Chinese invasion, 1765-1769;Ayuthya destroyed, 1767
Singu Min 1776-1781
Maung Maung 1781
Bodawdaya 1781-1819
captures Arakan, 1784; invasion of Siam defeated, 1785; Peace with Siam, acquisition of Tenasserim coast, 1793
Bagyidaw 1819-1837
First Burmese War, 1824-1826, loss of Assam, Arakan, & Tenasserim to Britain, 1826
Tharrawaddy 1837-1846
Pagin Min 1846-1852
Mindon Min 1853-1878
Second Burmese War, 1852-1853, Lower Burma to Britain, 1853; Manalay becomes capital, 1857
Thibaw 1878-1885,
Third Burmese War, 1885, Burma annexed by Britain,
1886-1942, 1945-1948; Japanese occupation, 1942-1945; Republic, 1948-present


Copyright (c) 2000, 2003 Kelley L. Ross, Ph.D. All Rights Reserved

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