The Kingdom of Burma

Project: The Kingdom of Burma
Author: Lem Chuck Moth

Started date: April/01/2010
Last updated: August/30/2015
All right reserved.
Since this paper is still drafted, the readers would be advised to ignore any context errors. The content is not final and subjected to be reviewed.

The first European acquaintance of Burma happened perhaps after the fabulous records of Marco Polo was published and made available to the general public. Even though they astonished their readers at first, the records nevertheless brought geographical knowledge of the East to the West. Referred as the country of the Mien, Burma has accounts presented in the records more than any other Southeast Asian countries. The account of fighting against the mighty Mongol army, in particular, must to generate high interests to Western public that secured Burma to be current in the mainstream circulation of educated societies. Appearing first in the Catalan European map in 1375, Burma's interest attracted more western travelers to visit the country. The first among them was Nicolo di Conti who came to visit Burma around 1420-1444 (BMAR2: The Mon Hegemony: P. 36). He toured Burma as part of his trip to Arakan and called the country Machin (BMAR2: The coming of the European: P. 49). A corruption of Maha Chin, the term applied in India to all land east of the Ganges. The reference was by all means referring to Manipura which in ancient past was known as Ta-tsin (The Man Race: Nokor Phnom: The countries of Brahmans). This reference moreover suggests a close relationship between Burma and Manipura during and after the Mongol's incursion. It also confirms Marco Polo' s account that Burma fought, during its first fight with the Mongol army, in a close alliance with Bengal. Our study further proves that the close alliances of the Shan Maw country (known also as Muang Pukha), the new Burmese state (known also as Pagan), and Manipura (Known also as Vanga), had been established prior to the Mongol's invasion. It also proves that this Indochinese western territory was then taken under the control of the Angkorian Empire during the reign of Jayavarman VII (Nokor Thom: The new development of the Shan country: The dependency of the Shan Mao country).
The Burmese Identity
Up to the time that the Glass Palace Chronicle was compiled, Ramanadesa had always been referenced as the official name of the Mon country. Pugarama of which Pukam and Puma were two derivatives became the official name of the combined state of the Shan Maw Country (Puga) and Ramandesa (Rama). As we had argued, it was conceived under the Angkorian control when freedom of religious belief had been reinstated back for the Ari Monks. As well as Hinayana Buddhism was reinforced, evidences also show that Bramahnism was also reverred. Consistent with their Brahmanic background, the Angkorian commissioners to the court of Pagan were seen actively resuscitating back the Brahmanic legacy of Upper Burma. The new generation of Burmese kings furthermore extended theirs ancestors' campaigns to the whole country and Brahman (in short Burma) became since a new identity of Pugarama that stayed until the British colonization. Of its origin, we had argued that Brahmanism dated back since the antiquity when Chinese sources referred Hiong-wang, Varadhana in Sanskrit, as the very first kingdom known in the history of Southeast Asia. Also known as the country of Brahmans, Varadhana represented the forefront of the Khmer Kingdom of Prey Nokor that became later the progenator of the Angkorian Empire. Among two of its original states were Srasvati and Manipura, respectively known as the countries of the small and the big Brahmans (The Man Race: Nokor Phnom: The Countries of Brahmans).
Under the Mongols' incursion, Pukam was disintegrating into many political localities. As each one was holding on to its own legacy, the rivalry and subsequently the fighting for supremacy were the norm. In the exception for the Southern Mon Country, the Burmese heritage however remained strong that enabled the Three Shan Brothers to regroup Upper Burma in a short time. The foundation of Ava became then a symbolic move to build a strong political center of the north in the attempt to consolidate back the whole of Pugarama with the south (BMAR: Ava 1287-1555: Shan Migration). Unfortunately, the Mon of Hamsavati and the Burmese court of Upper Burma had to settle their difference through military campaigns. Unsettlement of the central power fought by two factions of the surviving Pagan courts undeniably added more strains to the already broken Empire.
The Legacy of Ramandesa or the Mon Country *
The history of Ramanadesa started when Anuruddha took the advantage of the dynastic crisis between the Chola and the Sri Vijaya to regroup the Mon countries into becoming a new power of Southeast Asia (The Ramana Desa: The Angkorian connection: The Shan Yun and the Shan Maw). Under his leadership, Ramandesa had been under a cultural cleansing to take on Theravada Buddhism as the sole kingdom of Buddhism. After rebuilding the city of Arimaddanapur that was known later as Pagan, Anurudhha went on inhibiting the practice of Bhramnism by the Ari Monks. In his anti-Brahmanist campaign, Anuruddha has brought a very long tradition of upper Burma to an end (Notes: Anuruddha as a Burmese). Soon after Anurudha' s death, Kyanzetha brought in the Cholan legacy back that stayed in the Mon court during his successors' reign. His direct descendants who claimed to be Buddhist still presented themselves as Ramana Kings of the Vishnuite cult and were equally seen as anti-Brahmanist as well. In close connection with the rise of the South Indian Cholan Empire, Ramandesa continued to thrive independently from the Angkorian Empire. Historical records however indicates a degrading trend that was taking hold of the Mon court right after the reign of Kyanzetha. After the depart of the chief monk Panthagu for Sri Langka, conflict erupted between the Mon country with both the Buddhist states Angkor and Ceylon. The raids by Srey Langka that resulted in the fall of Hamsavati under the Angkorian control, brought changes to the corrupted court of Pagan and to Ramanadesa 's cultural base as a whole (Nokor Thom: The Dependency of Ramanadesa: The Last of the Ramana Country). As well as Hinayana Buddhism was restored, evidences also show that Brahmanism was resuscitated and reintroduced back at least into the upper class of the new Burmese society. Centered at the city of Arimaddanapur that changed its name to Pagan, Upper Burma extended its western expansion over the rest of the Shan countries. Under the Puga' s court of Rajapati, Pagan was in the process of making more contact with the Barma' s legacy of the past through the extension of its territory over Vanga and Manipura. It is consistent with the fact that Brahmanic communities of Pagan was seen later flourishing and made their way into the Angkorian court (Nokor Thom: The new development of the Shan Country: Jayavarman VII anointed his Guru as Rajapatindra). Evidences show that the Three Shan Brother who, as we had argued, were members of the delegation from the Angkorian Court, continued on strenghtening the Burmese tradition on the next generation of the Pagan court. The Mongol's incursion, on the other hand, stripped the southern Mon countries from the court of Pagan into the control of Wareru, the son in law of Ramakamheang. After the fighting between the family lines of Makatho or Wareru with the local Mon ruler Tarabya ended, the two families shared the court of Hamsavati that was to become still the capital of the medieval Mon country. Under this restriction, Martaban as well as Pegu was political disconnected from Upper Burma. After the falling court of Pagan failed in capturing southern Mon countries back under its control, the Mon people was separated between the control of Pegu and Pagan. The split gave the last impression that the Mon and the Burmese people were from two different ethnic people. After the withdrawal of the Mongols, the youngest of the three brothers Thihathu resuscitate the last of the Pagan' s legacies at Pinya while one of his sons, Athinkaya, went out to establish his own venture at Sagain. Since their formations, the two kingdoms were locked into an intense fighting in the attempts to become the sole sovereign of Upper Burma. The Mon King Razadarit (1385-1423) took the opportunity to launch his own campaign to unify Burma. Facing the Mon attack, the two Burmese contenders soon managed to end their feud and formed an alliance against the Mon court of Pegu. In response to the Burmese incursion, the Mon also consolidated their power under Pegu. The next fight was mostly about the supremacy contest between the combined Peguan court and the new emerging Burmese court of Taungoo. In Khmer and Siam chronicles, both Mon and Burma were interchangeably referred during their fight, as a reflection to their political and military standing amid their feud. At the time, The Mon court was itself amid its fight against the Utong' s court of Ayudhya for the control of Tenassarim. Having to fight in two fronts, Pegu lost its effectiveness and subsequently lost most of its fight against the north. After many failed attempts, the Taungoo Dynasty managed to subdue Hamsavati in 1539 and established for the first time its control of the south. From then on, Pegu was consecutively overran and was finally drawn under subordination of the Burmese court of Ava for the rest of its existence.
The Shan Legacy
While the Three Shan Brothers and the Angkorian legacies of Nan and Vieng-tian were fighting against the Tai pact and the Mongol interference, evidences show that the last Puga Dynasty of the Shan Maw state spent their time to revive back the Barma legacy in northern Shan countries (Notes: The emergence of Burmese Culture). Consistent with the fact that they inherited strong Brahmanic background from the court of Angkor, It is thus not surprising that they were successful in their endeavors as Athinkaya took the opportunity to build himself a strong support from the Barma communities of ancient Vanga. Unfortunately, this unparallel development antagonized the old legacy of Rajapati and needless to say, created political friction between Sagain and Pinya. Adding to his tremendous credit, Tihathu was seen spending the rest of his life to curb the conflict. After his death, rivalry broke free and they fought in the open. Each one of the contenders was backed by one of the two distant relatives, Muang Yang of Rajapati and Vanga of northern Shan countries. As part of Tian-son, Arakan was undisturbed during the Mongolian incursion. During the formation of Ramandesa, no evidence so far show that they still retaining the ancient Brahmanism or Barma' s past legacies. Politically, we shall see that the Shan countries had deep connection with the development of Medieval Burma.
The Restoration of the Burmese Legacy *
During the late stage of the Angkorian control, evidences show that the northern Shan countries were unified under Rajapati. During the high expansion of Angkor, we had seen that members of the Angkorian royal house had settled themselves deeper and deeper into northern Siam countries and beyond. Known in Khmer tradition as the Botomsurya lineage, the new Angkorian dynasty formed Rajapati to be the home country of their descendants. Since then Muang Yang became the capital city of the northern Angkorian commanding post set for the expansion of Angkor to the northwest of Indochina. We had argued that it was the Mongol's settlement at Yunnan that forced Rajapati to move its capital to the far west. Marco Polo called the Shan Maw Country as Bengal and indicated that it fought against the Mongol's incursion alongside with Burma. From this fact alone, we conclude that the move of the Puga court from Rajapati to Bengal was part of the Angkorian plan for better protecting its western dependency. It confirms that the Shan country or Vanga was still unified with Rajapati but had shifted its political center to the western end of its territory. Demographically, the Shan indegenous people were the same Barma's tribesmen whose through the influence of the Mauryan and later the Gupta empire were among the first Indochinese people to be initiated to Buddhism. Like Rajapati which under the last Pagan's King Gnam Muang of Pyao was of Khmer-Mon's background, the Shan people were originally of austroasiatic stock. When the Angkorian court took control of Ramandesa, it was the Sri Vijayan leadership that had its turn to control of the Shan country. Changes were then expected as Jayavarman VII anointed his guru Mangalavarman to take care of both Rajapati and the new annexed Pagan courts. Ramandesa was then absorbed along with the Shan Maw country into becoming the Khmer Cakravatin Empire' s northwestern cardinal state (Nokor Thom: Ramandesa as a dependency of Angkor: The dependency of Ramandesa). Evidences show that the ancient Brahmanic legacy was then resuscitaded by the Angkorian court to set Pagan and the rest of the Ramandesa country into becoming part of a new country known later as Burma. The Mongol incursion moreover induced another dynamic change to the country. Under the Mongolian control, refugees from Central Asia soon migrated in making Upper Burma becoming the Kingdom of the Mien as referred in the records of Marco Polo. Coupled with the southern expansion of the Tai cultural development done under the initiative of the Mongols, the Mien migration along with the expansion of the Shan Maw country by the Angkorian Empire was what scholars mistakenly referred as the Tai migration theory. On the same token, we also argued that the Mien dominance over northern Shan and upper Burma was in fact due to the Mongolian ' s control over Yunnan. Under the Mongol's initiation, the Tai pact was formed by Mangrai and Ramakamheang to include King Gnam Muang of Phyao whom we had identified as Kyowswar II or his son Kumarakassapa (The Lanna State: The Mongolian connection: Pa-pai-si-fu and King Kiozwa II). While the two Siamese rulers were actively promoting the Tai culture down south, the Burmese King Kyoswar was seen more involving with the Mien communities of upper Burma. Kyoswar II himself was presented as the Chief Mien and that all Upper Burma was presented as the Kingdom of the Mien in the Yunnan Chronicle. After the withdraw of the Yuan court from Yunnan, the formation of the new Burma was resumed later under the leadership of the three Shan brothers. The formation of Sagain allowed the revival of the Burmese legacy back in the mainstream of the Irrawadi Valley. Along with the lost of prosperity of Pinya and the Gnam Muang court at Rajapati, the last legacy of Ramandesa went into decline. At the contrary, the Burmese legacy of Sagain was taking on the lead (Notes: The rise of Burma). Taking control over Ava, the Sagain court was able to consolidate its strength and made its move to take control of the South. Still, Sagain was not strong enough yet to challenge the well established Peguan court. Nevertheless, their venture was contributing to the birth of a stronger dynasty that was going to rival the southern Mon royal house. Considered by scholars as the first true dynasty of Burma, the Taungoo Dynasty was founded by King Mingyinyo (1486-1531), during the decline of the Ava dynasty in 1510. Allied with the ancient ruling houses of northern Shan Countries and Arakan, which according to some sources had strong connection to the third Ashoka' s son Piao-sui-ti, the Taungoo Dynasty went on to eclipse the Mon court of Hamsavati. The dynasty received its name from the place where it was formed, far up the Sittang River south of Ava. Its most achievement was undoubtedly accomplished during the reigns of Tabinshwehti who succeeded in reunifying the Burmese Empire for the first time since 1287. Following the footstep of his predecessor, Tabinshwehti consolidated his power by pushing southward. He succeeded to overrun the Irrawaddy Delta region and captured the Mon capital of Pegu. The next of the Tabinshwehti's exploits was the conquest of Ayudhya (Ayudhya: The Burmese attack: The reign of Tabinshwehti at Taungoo). Due to the run-out of supply, he failed in his first attempt but his attack on Ayudhya paved the way for his successors to launch many more attacks on the Siam countries.
The rise of the Burmese political power at Ava was not a coincidence. Located at the confluence of the Chindwin and Irrawadi rivers, Ava symbolized the connecting point between Rajapati and Manipura. It was a resuscitation of the Barman legacy of western Vanga based on the Buddhist constitution of Angkor. At its early phase, Ava retained obviously an extensive Pagan's heritage but along the way, adjusted itself to become the political center of a new unified Burma. Due to its perseverance, Ava took on the lead to eclipse Pagan and went on to absorb the southern Mon Countries. In its apogee, Ava completed a big scale of unification that was becoming the cradle of the Burmese Empire (Notes: Ava as the forefront of Burma).
The Taungoo Dynasty
Through Rajapati, Angkor exerted its control over Vanga and transformed it as a part of Upper-Burma. After the Mongol's exit from Yunnan, the descendants of the Shan Brothers settled at Ava to form a new Burmese royal house. Through dedication, the Taungoo Dynasty achieved the first time an extensive unification closes enough to the last Pugarama. At least in controlled territory, Ava was reclaiming almost all of its dependencies. In a military perspective, it was a revival of the Angkorian Cakravatin Empire. Even though with a lot less sophistication, Bayinnaung was crowned as a cakravatin monarch and gave himself the title of Rajadhiraja. Evidences show that all his successors also procured themselve the same title as well (Notes: The title of Rajadhiraja). In the next fight for Supremacy, no one of the Indochinese rulers could be compared with them. After ascending the throne in 1551, Bayinnaung continued his brother-in-law's work in strengthening the Burmese Empire. During his reign of 30 years, he launched many campaigns and managed to conquer several states, including Manipura in 1560 and Ayudhya in 1569. As an effective leader, he made Taungoo the most powerful state in Southeast Asia. Accomplished through substantial military conquest rather than diplomacy, Bayinnaung was on the mission for a grand scale unification. At first, the absorption of the Shan country was done with little or no military intervention (Notes: The Shan's submission). Due primary to past connection, many Shan dominions were submitted to Bayinnaung virtually without fighting. The new Shan dependency to Ava included both the friendlier Shan state of Rajapati and its previous rival Siam countries (Notes: The conquest of Byinnaung). The conquest of Xiang-mai and Laos were nevertheless made easier through other Shan allies. At the contrary, the absorption of the Mon Countries could only be done through heavy military attack and was the most unsettled political affair in the history of Burma. Their constant fighting transformed the royal house of Pegu to become a fierce contender to Eva' s control. This was due to the fact that during the Mongols' incursion the Mon' s court, under the Vareru family line, had been detached from Northern Burma for a long period of ime. The past alliance of Vareru with Sokhodaya was another cause of internal conflict in the unified court of Bayinnaung at Hamsavati. After subduing Ayudhya, Bayinnaung crowned Sri Dharmaraja as king of Ayudhya and brought his son, prince Narasuan to be raised at Pegu. In a court intrigue, Narasuan freed himself from Pegu and went back to ascend the Ayudhyan throne in 1590. In a despaired attempt to bring Ayudhya back under his control, Bayinnaung lost his first battle at Ayudhya. The counter-attack of Narasuan moreover created serious effects that led the Taungoo Dynasty to its decline and later to its fall. For many historians, the setback of Bayinnaung to achieve his objective as the unifier of Pugarama was perhaps due to the mishandling of the Ayudhyan court. But the greatest of all obstacles, as we shall see, was actually he infiltration of the European ventures in Southeast Asia. As they came with a specific goal in mind to take on the monopoly of the sea trade, Burma became immediately their rival and by default their adversary. By standing strong in their ways, Burma became their first target. Following the divide and conquer strategy, the European colonists encouraged smaller nations to be independent. In the process of isolating further Ava from its surrounding neighbors, they lured and regrouped smaller nations to be on their side. Looking closely, it was the same strategy used by the Mongols to break down successfully Angkor from its Cakravatin standing. While Ava was losing its former allies one by one, the British India and the French colonists spread their influence deep in the South China Sea. Struggling against foreign incursion, the Taungoo Dynasty had to move out from Hamsavati and was on the verge of falling into the Europeen spell.
The early European Contacts
After the conquest of Mallacca in 1511, Albuquerque is said to have sent an embassy to Pegu. However, trading with Burma had not one of his agenda. Burma was by then still strong enough to discourage Albuquerque, as well as other European venturers, from any attempts of unfair trading advantage. Another reason was that Burma, as well as other part of the mainland, did not have any other products that were already available at Mallacca. Only much later that Europeans found in the teak wood, commodity that was worth the long distant trade with Burma. When it happened, the southern Mon countries were already equipped with western armament and already in good unison with the west. By then, Hamsavati and Martaban along with Ayudhya had established their strong authorities of the sea trade, thank mostly to the support of French and English colonists. Burma had to subdue its southern contenders to take part in the new commercial development that proved to be a high-risk business. Out of the consortium, Burma was deprived of Western armaments that played decisive factor in winning battle. Fortunately, Portuguese adventurers already made their ways deep into the mainland in search of high paying jobs for their specialized skill. Sought-out by established powerhouses in safeguarding their supremacy, they were reputed for their skill with firearms. With their help, Burmese persistence paid off. When Tabinshwehti conquered both Marataban and Pegu, he enlisted many Portuguese adventurers who in turn taught them to use firearms (Notes: The use of firearms). The Taungoo Dynasty then took on the monopoly that stayed until the Ayudhyan King Narasuan stepped up to rebel against its supremacy. Both Manipur and Ayudhya, which had been under Burma domination for 15 years, were later regrouped themselves and claimed back their independent. The next campaigns of retaliation against Ayudhya were defeated and Burma suffered high casualty. Already old, Bayinnaung was unable to reverse their claim and died in 1581. His son Nanda Bayin and his successors were forced to quell rebellions in other parts of the kingdom, but Arakan was never been captured back. The last campaign was particularly fatal and resulted in the death of the crown prince, son of Nandabaya. The different of outcomes that drove down the Taungoo Dynasty in regard to the fight with Ayudhya was obviously due to the Mon's support. During the late development, the Taungoo court no longer received support from the Mons who, perhaps due to past connection with Sokhodaya and Marataban's courts, had secretly sided with the new Ayudhyan King, Narasuan. The counter-attack of the latter deep in Southern Burma, on the other hand, helped the Mons to repel the Taungoo court from theirs countries. The association with the Portuguese also turned for the worst as they switched side to the higher paying party. Faced with the Mon rebellion and renewed Portuguese attacks, the Taungoo rulers withdrew from southern Burma and founded a second dynasty at Ava, the Nyaungyan Dynasty (1597-1752).
The Last of the Taungoo Dynasty
Under the leadership of Bayinnaung's grandson, Anaukpetlun (1605-1628), Burma was once again reunited in 1613. The Portuguese colonial enterprises that attempted to take over Burma were also defeated. Nevertheless, the empire gradually disintegrated. His successor Thalun (1629-1648) stopped the slide by rebuilding the war torn country into the next generation Burmese State of Ava in 1616. The Restored Taungoo Dynasty was built to be more energetic than its predecessors to last well into 19th century, as part of the Konbaung dynasty. It was a restructuring process that started small, but along the way, expanded itself through reconstruction of the existing communities of the country. From the ground-up, they consolidated their controls by reducing the loose end of the Cakravatin Empire establishment to achieve stronger achievement. They replaced the hereditary chieftain-ship with appointed governors and reduced the hereditary rights of Shan chiefs. Its trade and secular administrative reforms had proved to be effective and built a prosperous economy for more than 80 years. The success however had its dark side. Under tough management, rebellious activities rose up from many fronts. Starting from the 1720s, the kingdom entered into a gradual decline again. While Manipuri of the Chindwin valley rose up to challenge the Eva's authority at the West, Xiang-mai' s rebellious activity limited its authority to the East. The Manipuri raids intensified in the 1730s, reaching increasingly deeper parts of central Burma. The Taungoo dynasty survived for another century and a half, until the death of Mahadammayaza in 1752. At the South, the Mon regrouped themselves back at Hamsavati in 1740 and marched to capture Ava, ending the last of the Taungoo dynasty in 1752.
After the fall of Lawek by the raid of Narasuan, Cambodia went into a period of self-destruction. Burma became the sole bearer of the past Indochinese Cakravatin Empire's legacy and stood alone in the fight against new emerged world powers. It was in a critical time that European companies had already moved into India and created a safe heaven for European business. In their own ways to benefit from the chaos in South China Sea trading, they expanded their ventures deep into Southeast Asia and in process clashed with Burma. After the fall of the late Taungoo Dynasty, a new era of the Konbaung dynasty brought another vigor to the Burmese royal house.
The Reign of Alaungpaya (1752-1760)
Alaungpaya was a brother to the Ava chief Mohnyinthado. During the occupation of the Mons at Ava in 1752, we had no ideas what happened to the crushed down Taungoo royal house. Alaungpaya emerged from obscurity to head Burmese resistance against the Mon's occupation. Following his predecessor's policy, he extended administrative reforms that allowed him to achieve unprecedented levels of internal stability and external expansion. He led Burmese army into Ava and drove the Mons back to Hamsavati in 1753. The Mons returned in 1754 to besiege Ava and Alaungpaya led his army again, this time from Schwebo, to drive the Mons out again. After the victory, he followed the Mons and went further south to capture Dagon in 1755. He renamed the captured city as Rangoon and went on establishing his own control into the city. During the raid, he captured three English ships in the seaport. He took their officers as prisoners and grabbed their canons and armament (Notes: The clash with British India). Alaungpaya knew quite well where the support of Hamsavati came from. His drive to unify Burma could not be achieved without clashing with Ayudhya and subsequently its Western allies. Driving out the French and the British who had provided arms to the Peguan court, Alaungpaya's forces brought the Mon countries to be reunited with Ava. He went further to reunite all of Burma, including Manipura, under his control in 1759. His campaign started with Siam in 1760 that became a series of wars to last into the middle of 19th century. The Burmese conquests included Siam in 1767, Laos in 1764 and defeated four major invasions from the Qing China during the period of 1765-1769. With the Burmese preoccupying for another two decades by another Chinese invasion, the Siamese recovered their territories by 1770, and captured Lanna by 1776. Faced with the powerful court of China and the Siamese resurgent in the east, Bodawpaya concentrated his effort to the West. He acquired western kingdoms of Arakan in 1784, Manipura in 1813 and Assam in 1817. This western conquest had a serious consequence to Burma as it led into a collision course with the British India.
The Reorganization of Burma
Following the traditional Angkorian Cakravatin's concept, Burma started as a federation of autonomous states with its own court and virtually its own culture. Like the Three Shan Brothers who chose theirs capital at Ava, Sagain and Pinya, the new generation of Burmese rulers chose the fertile plains of the Irrawaddy Valley as the seat of their new capitals. The next Burmese dynasties, the Konbaung included, expanded their dominion to the northwest against Manipur, Arakan, Assam, and to the Southeast against the Mon countries and the Siamese kingdom of Ayudhya. For self-progression, they took on a series of reforms to fit themselves into the new Western World's order. The changes were by all-means necessary to safeguard their own venture, while still fighting against the European's incursion. The progression was noticeable through the evolution of Burmese literature and culture that was by all means resulted from the resuscitation of the old Barma legacies of the Shan countries. In 1795, Alaungpaya's second son, Hsinbyushin, came to the throne after a short reign by his elder brother, Naungdawgyi (1760-1763). He continued his father's expansionist policy and after seven years of fighting, subdued Ayudhya in 1767. In the defense of its realm, the dynasty fought four wars successfully against the Qing Dynasty of China that saw the threat of the expansion of Burmese power in the East. In 1770, despite his victory over the Chinese armies, King Hsinbyushin pursued for peace with China and concluded a treaty in order to maintain bilateral trade with the Middle Kingdom which was very important for the dynasty at that time. The Qing Dynasty then opened up its markets and restored trading with Burma in 1788 after reconciliation. Thenceforth a pact was sealed between China and Burma that lasts to modern day. At the other front, their contact with the West was not that successful. The end of king Bodawpaya (1781-1819) marked an intense conflict with the British India, already extending its control out of India into the western side of Burma. The new concept of state and nation, introduced by the West, caught the Indianized Burma Empire off guard. To the west, the concept of states or countries had to be based on concise nationality, within a fix boundary of frontier. Often of false identity, new nations were formed along their colonized path. Following the lost to the First Anglo-Burmese war in 1824, Bagyiday (1819-1838) had to reassess its traditional administrative style inherited from Angkor. Conscious to the need of building its own identity, the Dynasty's next mission was to start on the Burmese demographic and cultural integration. For the first time in its history, the Burmese language and culture came to dominate the entire Irrawaddy valley by 1830. By adopting tougher measures on alliance, Ava also deviated itself from the peaceful concept of a Cakravatin Empire. As a consequence, the new established order alienated further Ava's own allies as they became in tighter control under the Central Burmese Court. The first to suffer the consequence were the southern Mon Countries that were to be absorbed completely as Burmese. Being a close relative for many generations, the risk of the Mon becoming a separate nation was not acceptable. To the Kambaung Dynasty, the elimination of the Mon royal houses for the sake of building up a strong centralized government was next in their agenda. Their conquest of neighboring kingdoms, the Shan and the northern Siam countries in particular, was followed also by the elimination of local royal houses and the imposition of Burmese governorship.
The Fall of the Konbaung Dynasty
The Success of the Konbaung Dynasty did not last and Burma was turning into another Dark Age. The centralizing campaign that brought the Konbaung Dynasty into a lime light of success, during previous strong leaders, finally caught up with kings of lesser conviction to the Burmese cause. Enjoying unlimited personal power, their most preoccupation was to sustain their own and immediate circle' s security. Internal intrigues were crushed and collaborations were blindly rewarded. In 1837, King Bagyidaw's brother, Tharrawaddy (1838-1846), seized the throne and had the chief queen Me Nu and her brother executed. Conducted at the expense of national welfare, the crack down of opposition was seen as a must to curb foreign interference. The royal intrigue did not change the Ava court's diplomacy a bit in regard to foreign incursion. At the contrary, Tharrawaddy restarted on campaigning against the West and made no attempt to improve relations with Britain. His son Pagan Min (1846-1843) who became king in 1846, moreover strengthened his campaign to eliminate all foreign interference. Needless to say, his relationship with the British became increasingly strained and in 1852 the Second Anglo-Burmese War broke out. As soon he was on the throne, he executed thousands of his wealthier and influential subjects on suspicion of foreign influence. He was succeeded by a younger brother, Mindon who, facing with mounting pressures from the west, attempted to change the policy of his brother. Becoming friendlier with the outside world, Mindon obviously relaxed his stance against foreign incursion but his open policy however made Burma even more vulnerable. Taking the opportunity, Europeans began to set up more trading posts in the Irrawaddy Delta region and at the same time exerted more control on the politic of his fragile court. Mindon tried in vain to maintain Burma's independence by joggling between the French and the British. Without internal strength and expertise in handling world powers, the political game also ended in failure. After the British severed diplomatic relations in 1811, and the dynasty fought and lost three wars against the British Empire, culminating in total annexation of Burma by the British. Mindon died before he could name a successor. Thibaw, a lesser prince was then maneuvered onto the throne by one of Mindon's queens and her daughter, Supayalat. The new King Thibaw proceeded, under Supayalat's direction, to massacre all likely contenders to the throne. His action became an excuse for the British to intervene and annexed Burma as a British colony for good. The dynasty came to an end in 1885 with the forced abdication and exile of the king and the royal family to India.
Burma was virtually the last Southeast Asian Countries that openly fought colonialism from the start to the end. Standing up as a strong local powerhouse, Burma was seen as a threat to the European monopoly. As it once stood as a regional leader, Burma was seen as the main competitor of European ventures in Southeast Asia. Because of its tendency to fight off the colonization, Burma was in the colonial black list since the start. It was in a sense, a second breakdown of the Indochinese Cakravatin Empire after Angkor. Similar to the fall of the latter, Burma fell because its governmental infrastructure as a union of states failed under British's attacks. Without adequate cultural bondage, military intervention was not enough to keep close alliance in check.
The lost Legacy of the Lao Country
Historically, the part of Indochina that became Laos today had been in connection with the formation of Nokor Khmer since its early stage. During the high apogee of the Angkorian Empire, Laos was part of Rajapati that was itself an Angkorian gateway to the west. The Khmer chronicle reveals that Laos was actually the royal house formed by the descendants of king Botomsurya that was no other than Suryavarman II whose reign was credited to the completion of the Angkor Wat' s construction. It is important to note that this lineage was of Angkorian Cholan Dynasty and was not the same as the Sri Vijayan tradition of Khun Borom that was shared by both ancient Lanna and Lan-xang royal houses. Resuscitated back by the Phukha dynasty of Rajapati, the two royal lines had strong tie with the Burmese Dynasty of Ava. Through Ayudhyan interference, the next Lao kings detached themselves from both the Ava and the Khmer court and sided themselves with Ayudhya. The formation of Thonpuri by King Taksin moreover stopped altogether the long tradition of close relationship between the Lao and Ava countries. During the campaign that was conducted by the two brothers Chao Chakri and Surasi in the late 1770, the Lao Royal house was dispersed and some were captured and brought to Thonpuri. In Champassak, when king Sainyakuman died in 1791, the Siamese installed King Visainyarat. In 1778, the Vientian royal house, on the other hand, had been removed to Bangkok and the Lao royal family served the Siamese court during the warfare of the next decade. We had argued that Bangkok was able to subdue these Lao courts because they had the support of the Khmer king Ramadhipti Non. The Khmer King later lost his life by his own people during their uprising against him. The revolt that was diverted by Chaopha Mo's family members, was the retaliation to the Khmer King Non' s support to the invasion of Laos by Thonpuri. The political changes at Udong after the uprisings obviously limited Thonpuri and later Bangkok to intervene in the next Lao development. Now that the Siam court could no longer count on Cambodia for help, Bangkok was too far away to stop the restoration. According to the Nan chronicle, Burma also sent its troops back to take control of Lanna. One by one, the Lao court regrouped themselves and restored back their past heritage. The Siamese control was furthermore restricted by the return of Burmese troops back in control of northern Siam countries. In 1707, the King of Ava appointed a local named Noi In as acting Governor of Nan. It was in recognition to his help in establishing the Burmese control in the Nan country. During the siege of Nan by Bangkok, he created havoc to help the Burmese troops taking back Nan. After the Burmese withdrawal, he then persuaded the local people to return back to their home. A year later, the Kaeo and Lao army invaded Nan and took the people to Muang Kaeo and Munag Lao as prisoners. Noi In once against rebuilt Nan after they left. In recognition of his patriotic works, the Burmese king finally appointed Noi In as a full governor. After the death of Fa Muang Khong die in 1714, the King of Ava changed his mind and appointed another prince, Chao Fa Miao Sa to replace Noi In. When Chao Fa Miao Sa died in 1078, Noi In was made again governor. Realizing that he was not of royal family and of his humble loyalty, he invited a prince from Chiang-mai to rule Nan. The King of Ava sent Chao Praya Tin as requested. Soon after, Noi-in regretted what he had done and plotted to overthrow Chao Praya Tin. The latter however knew of the plot and confronted Noi-in of his involvement. Found himself in an awkward situation and having no other solution, Noi In decided to commit suicide. Needless to say, his death would defy the stability of the Burmese control in northern Siam to come. In 1766, the Burmese general heard about the uprising in Lanna and brought his troops to fight off the rebellion. When the Burmese troops stationed at Pak Ngo, Chao Luang Aryavong of Nan came with his force to attack the Burmese. In 1785, the King of Ava Bodawpaya sent a huge army to invade Bangkok by way of Tavoy and another army of ten thousands men, under the command of a prince of Pagan to capture Lanna, by way of Chiang-saen. Facing with strong local resistance, the Burmese troops were defeated by the Siamese coalition led by King Taksin of Bangkok. Back home, Ava would face with even greater crisis in handling the French interference in the Mon country and the invasion of British India in Arakan. The Dynamic of European involvement in Southeast Asia, had played its part in preventing Burma for more interference in the Siam country. By reducing Burma from a powerful empire of the past to a mere nation, the Colonial British authority saved Ayudhya of future Burmese attacks. If Burma was not strained by the British invasion, the probability was high that Thonpuri would suffer the same fate as Ayudhya.
The lost Legacy of Ramandesa
Under repetitive British military and political incursions, alliances broke free from the Burmese central government and became enemies. One of Burma' s close allaince was actually its own self under a different identity. As many scholars had pointed out, the Mon legacy was the most ancient of all existing legacies in Southeast Asia. It was thought at first that the Mon communities were native of Indochina along with their Khmer counterpart. Mon legacies were found strong in Burmese societies as well as in many other indigenous tribes of Indochina. As we had argued, it confirmed the dominance of the Mon culture during many centuries of Ramandesa' s existence side by side with the Angkorian Empire. With leadership of different background, the Mons politically split itself from the Khmer Empire during the Dynastic Crisi, but many of their shared legacies remained (The Sri Vijaya Connection: Introduction: The Mon's Account of the dynastic Crisis). During the time of Jaraveman VII, evidences show that the Mon country was back under the Angkorian control but was breaking again by the Mongols's incursion. The new history of the Mon started when Vareru split Southern Mon from upper Burma to become an allie of Sokhodaya. Hamsavati became later as the remnant of the Mon country while Arimaddanapur was made as a new cultural center for Upper Burma. The Vareru's court, on the other hand, having no or little past connection with Ramandesa, could not care less about preserving the Mon legacy. The legacy's lost happened later during the colonial rule. Its close approximation with India and the strait of Mallaka made Hamsavati and the Southern Mon country becoming the next target of Westernization. The new formed city of Dagon, in particular, became the meeting point of new migrants from India, Malaka and China to mix-in with scarce original Mon people. Under the initiative of British India, Dagon became a new Worldwide Trade Center to eclipse any one of the major Mon cities in the past. In this new development, the Southern Mon countries set themselves more and more apart, demographically and politically from Upper Burma. On the other hand, Upper Burma absorbed new immigrants from Chinese Shan communities and became known as the Mien country. Through more extensive Chinese interference, Pagan was incurring a transformation that further changed its past Mon' s legacy. To make the matter worst, both countries were locked in a deadly rivalry feud. To tip the balance, the British India joined in the fight for its own ambition. The first Anglo-Burmese war, erupted in 1824, was launched to break the Burmese alliances with its allies. The Mons obviously saw it as an opportunity to free themselves from Ava's control. As the Burmese court was fighting for unification and the Peguan court was fighting for their own independence, both courts became bitter enemies. Their conflict was so deep that to form a union, their unison could only be done through elimination process. While settling at Pegu, both the Taungoo and the Konbaung dynasties topped themselves over the Peguan court. Their fights continued on until the Peguan royal houses were eliminated. Under repeated Burmese attacks, the Mon people were gradually absorbed into the mainstream of the Burmese development. After the final take-over of the Konbaung Dynasty of the Mon countries, Burma alone stood and stayed as a nation to become the unified Burma of Today. The final absorption was done in 1830 when Burmese language was spread to replace the Mon languages of the Irrawadi Valley. At the end, the Mons were completely wiped-out and to modern scholars, Ramandesa was virtually non-existent. The fall of Burma under the colonization moreover aggravated the lost of the Mon's legacies as Burma itself had trouble to establish it own identity (Notes: The last of the Mon' s legacy). Remnants of the Mon societies however subsisted mainly through demographic and political isolation. They subsisted as a living proof of the existence of Ramandesa that was once a powerful country.
The lost Legacy of Muang Pukha
Under Angkor, we had argued that Muang Yang, known in Shan tradition as Muang Pukha extended itself until Bengal. Under the leadership of Angkor's high priest Mangalavarman and descendants, Bengal and Muang Phukha was unified under the Vanga flag of ancient Ta-tsin. We also argued that Vanga had played important role in the formation of Muang Pugarama, known later as Burma. After the Mongols incursion all ties broke loose. Leaving the eastern part to the local rulers who were descendants of Phraya Phukha, the last of Three Brothers, Tihathu, moved the last of pagan's court to Sagain. One of his sons, Athinkaya, went further to build Ava to be the next seat of Upper Burma. By including both the western side of the Shan country and Arakan, Burma was then a Union of States, a reminiscence of Kiao-tche in the Chinese texts of the old days. Under the Kambaung Dynasty, Burma strenghtened their controls over the Shan countries by reducing the hereditary powers of the local Subwas. It is important to note that originally, these Subwas were not of ethnic Shan and, as their titles implied, most belonged to the Yueh aristocrats who migrated south during the Han era. Their migration was wrongly postulated by some scholars as the Tai people ' s migration down south. The postulation claims that the Tais migrated into Indochinese continents from South China. Many other versions also proposed different locations that might have been their origin. The migration from Yunnan which remnants of the Tai tribesmen still subsisted was so far the most viable of all the propositions. However the Tai source confirmed that they were formed from the ground of Lawa tribesmen at the Menam Valley supposedly by a handful of Tai leadership. In contrast to the Tai migration theory, the tradition confirms that, due to natural disasters, they migrated to Yunnan and formed the Tai communities that are still found today. Our own study concluded that the Shan country was formed originally on the ground of the Jin and Lawa tribemen and was known in Khmer tradition as Nokor Phnom. Unlike their southern Khmer-mon compatriots, they were subjected for mixtures with migrants from both Central Asia and China in later times. The last to come were the Miao-Yao families from Southern China who were responsible to the emergence of the Tai language and culture of modern days. Still the Shan retained ancient legacies of Bramhmanism that was the progenator of the Khmer-mon legacies. During the formation of upper Burma, many Burmese legacies were resuscitated back mostly from Manipura and the northern Shan countries that were left untouched from Anuruddha's campaign of making Hinayan Buddhism as the sole religion of Ramandesa. Unfortunately we had no other proofs to support that the Shan and Burmese relationship was very much closer before than after the British incursion. The tough measures to consolidate the Burmese control over the Shan States that were adopted by later dynasties and modern Burmese government became since a favorable theme to break off the two nations. Nevertheless, the Shan still retained both the Buddhist and Barma faith that reflected theirs past Angkorian shared legacy during the formation of Upper Burma.
Being among the first to fall under the British colony, Burma was often blamed for its failure to cope with modern development. Further analysis however shows that Burma was not left with any other options. Located between India and Siam, one was already a British colony, the other cooperated fully with Britain, Burma 's fate was bleak. Nevertheless, Burmese court fought until the last minute to safeguarding its independence. During the fighting, Burma tried to strengthen its control over dependency by installing its own people to run its allied state, but was facing with resistance than cooperation. With its close allies falling one after the other under British control, Burma 's era as a free state was over.
The British Incursion
Under European incursion, Burma lost its supremacy and had to fight constantly against its former allies. The Mon and Arakan, in particular, were in the process of building their own nations and took any opportunities to detach themselves from the central Burmese control. As they were already in contact with westerners and took part of westernization against Burma, the Peguan and Arakanese courts became close allies of the western world. However, The real setback of the Konbaung Dynasty was actually Thonburi, formed by king Taksin after the fall of Ayudhya in 1767. After the final attacks, the Burmese King Naungdawgyi left the Siam country in shamble but did not instill measures to prevent the restoration of Ayudhya. Like in previous campaign, the Burmese intention was not the elimination of Ayudhya but, at the contrary, was to allow a friendlier Ayudhyan court a chance to form itself. According to Khmer source, local districts soon recovered themselves and were in a position to reform the Ayudhyan court in no time (The Kingdom of Syam: The last legacy of Ayudhya: The fall of Ayudhya). As the surviving son of the late king Suryamarin was still alive in the Khmer court of Udong, there was no question that the Ayudhyan court could not be revived back. At the same time, the Khmer court was making its move to recover the lost territories to Ayudhya and in the process, could install the son of the last king Suryamarin on the Ayudhya throne. Along with the Tay-son brothers, the court of Udong could then set Ayudhya under its dependency. It was then the opportunity for a lifetime to restore the Khmer Cakravatin Empire, if an unexpected event did not occur to hinder the plan. What the Burmese and the Khmer court did not expect was that Taksin, a minor figure of the Ayudhyan court, could sprung immediately to fight off opposition and formed Thonpuri on the ground of Chinese communities of the seacoast. By preventing the Khmer court from reforming Ayudhya, Taksin cut off Cambodia from laying claim to the Siam country. In the process, he reduced the plan set by the Khmer consortium into a stand still. With western support, he built Thonpuri into becoming a new powerhouse of Southeast Asia and challenged head-on the Burmese supremacy. Thonpuri soon became Burma' s serious rival as northern Siam countries joined with Taksin to revolt against Burmese control. As colonization was under way, the final blows to Burmese supremacy came from both its southern Mon and northern Siam allies (Notes: The alliance in the war against Britain). The last attempts to restore back the Burmese control during the reign of King Bodawpaya (1782-1819) failed. Under the British India's attack, the last of the Konbaung Dynasty lost their stance and became prey to the next British colonization. In three consecutive Anglo-Burmese Wars, Britain subdued Burma and changed it as a province of British India. The First Anglo-Burmese War arose from the friction between Arakan in western Burma and British-held Chittagong to the north. As a consequence, various portions of Burmese territories, including Arakan, Tenasserim were annexed to the British control after their victory. When Burmese forces attempted to wrestle back in 1823, the British navy responded with a large sea-borne expedition that took Rangoon without a fight in 1824. Lower Burma, including the Mon countries, was later annexed in 1852 after the Second Anglo-Burmese War. The wrested territories were designated as the minor province of British India in 1862. After the Third Anglo-Burmese War and the absolution of the last Burmese royal house, the annexation of the whole Burma was announced on January 1886 in the British parliament as a New Year gift to Queen Victoria.
The British Policy
From the first Anglo-Burmese War that started the British incursion over controlled Burmese territories, the British Colonists had plenty of time to take appropriate measures to set a policy that worked for their advantage. Their first task was to retrieve enough information of Burmese governmental structure and to use them to inhibit Burmese resistance. They might not know that under Ava' s royal house, Burma was governed as a Cakravatin Empire, but they knew at least that Burma was a union of multiethnic states. Thank to the knowledge, the transition from feudalism to colonialism was taken care through careful planning. At each stage of its incursion, the British India not only preserving the feudal system in their controlled territory, but at the contrary encouraged the feudal leaders to exert greater initiative. This measure caught the Ava's court off guard and forced the change of its internal politic in regard to its close alliance. In strengthening its position against its aggressor, the Burmese Court appeared to adopt the opposite measure of whatever its enemy was taking over its controlled territory. Not only that they started to centralize their military resources they also made serious attempt to exert stronger control on the rest of their dependencies. From the formation of the Taungoo Dynasty, the Ava' s court started replacing the rightful village headman with theirs own people. At the late stage of the fallen dynasty, they finished installing the ring headmen or governor of Burmese administrator, known as myothugyis or taikthugyis, to take control of all their dependency. At first, the measures appeared to work in their favor as the Burmese administrators tried to exercise their power to induce native communities to fight on their side. Nevertheless, the oppression soon worked against Burma as uprising of its dependency increasingly set Ava into becoming isolated. By replacing satellite courts with Burmese governor offices, Ava turned their allies into rebellious enemies. At the eastern front, local rulers at Chiang-mai and Laos took advantage of Thonpuri's support to free themselves from the Ava's control (The Kingdom of Siam: The formation of Thonpuri: The submission of Northern Siam). At the western front, the situation was even worst. Evidences show that local uprising gave the British India, the opportunity to wrest Aracan and Bengal from Ava. Under the attack of both fronts, the wrong policy deprived Ava of crucial supports from its former allies and accelerated its own fall. During the reign of King Mindon and later of King Thibaw, Ava was completely isolated and needless to say became an easy prey for the British final takeover.
A British Colony
The first round of colonists to lay hand over Burma were generally knowledgeable, obviously not of the country's deep past, but at least of the Burmese recent history (HSEA: The Challenge to European Domination: British Burma: P. 733). The two commissioners, Sir Arthurs Phrayre and Sir Albert Fytche, had spent most of their previous careers in the country. They spoke the language, understood its religion and customs. Arthurs Phyre wrote the first standard history of Burma in English. Their study indicates that Burma was formed as a union of states. From the findings, the British colonists took appropriate time to set up their policy. The new British commissioners, who were responsible to make the transition from previous administration to colonial rule, knew that complete and fast transformation could jeopardize their control. As revenue and civil justice were concerned, their original intention was to leave the administration intact. After Fytche's retirement in 1871 however, the office of Chief Commissioner, and therefore of Lieutenant governor, was held by men who had been trained in India. Looking forward to receive their promotion upon returning back to India, they never learnt the language and had only a smattering of knowledge of the country. Bypassing altogether previous administration system, they transformed Burma into a second India. Bernard' s Successor, sir Charles Crostwaite, came firmly with the plan of transforming the Burmese low administrative organization as in India. After taking office, Croswaite started on campaigning to breakup the existing Burmese ring into villages and restore back of the traditional authority of the local village headman. The scheme worked in India and as far as the new generation of British colonists was concerned, it should also worked in Burma. This measure would be of course widely supported by low ranking Burmese administrator who were allowed to take full responsibility for sustaining law and order. The villages were then regrouped into political districts run by colonial officers. Under the new organization, Upper Burma was divided into fourteen districts, each under a deputy or assistant commissioner. The civil services were largely staffed by Anglo-Burmese and Indians (Notes: Anglo-Burmese new breed). Burmese were also excluded from the military service, which was staffed primarily with Indians, Anglo-Burmese, Mien and other Burmese minority groups. In the new order, Burma had been reconditioned back to its previous local Cakravatin Empire. The difference was that the British officers were now on the top of the ring. This organization worked best for the British colony as it reduced friction between the British authority and the locals and most importantly it preserved the Union of Burma intact until the end of colonial era. On the other hand, the Shan states and the extensive hill tracts inhabited by indigenous people were left to their own initiatives. Beside their brilliant military career, they were left with little supervision for the most part of the Colonial era. Without a central leadership, each headman transformed himself into warlord king and fought for supremacy.
The economic Factor
Under the colonial rule, the economic nature of Burmese society changed dramatically from feudalism to capitalism. Though the country prospered, the Burmese people failed to reap the rewards. Common reaction from the west was to blame the Burmese people as not being industrious enough to take advantage of western new methodology. While the Burmese economy grew, all the power and wealth remained in the hands of British firms and some other petty aristocratic ventures. Lack of westernize knowledge and manner, they were often set behind foreign Indian migrants who spoke fluently English language. In the north, the condition of the mountainous tribesmen was very much affected. Virtually deprived of their natural resources, they turned to the lucrative drug production. With the approval of the British authorities, they turned Burma into becoming a top drug's supplier of Southeast Asia. The situation was different concerning agriculture that Ava was, through many centuries, reaping fair harvest that made Burma once a powerful country of Southeast Asia. It was obviously not the best harvest as compared to western standard, but was good enough for Burmese peasants to make a stable living. In the past, sea trading was quite common through direct intercourse between Middle East and Southeast Asia. In connection with its Middle-eastern colonies, the European now controls the international trading between the two continents. After the opening of the Suez Canal, the demand for Burmese rice grew. For specific reasons, the rice production at Middle East was not enough to feed its fast growing population. The British decision of colonizing Burma might have to do with this growing market of its western colony. Burma was then drawn into another fast pace development, administered by British colonists. The new industrial rice production however worked against Burmese traditional farmers. As vast tracts of land were opened up for cultivation, farmers lost themselves in the flow of monetary fund, made easy by foreign investment. In order to catch up with the market's trend, they were pressured to borrow money from foreign lenders to improve their rice production. Burmese peasants borrowed money in the hope of turning their debt into a lucrative investment but ended up using the money mostly for improving their own day to day living. Indian lenders called chettiars, in particular, were eager to make an easy deal for the highly optimistic peasants. At high interest rates, they often late in their payment and their land and belongings were often foreclosed and evicted. Not only that they failed to capitalize on this high demand of rice crop, they also lost their basic mean of living. Losing land and livestock land and belonging to speculators who received profits through accommodating big companies, high numbers of local peasants turned to illegal activities as a way of sustaining their living. It was not uncommon that a whole village was outlawed and was subjected to purge by the colonial law enforcement of the British India.

  1. BMAR:History of Burma: From the Earliest Times to 10 march 1824 The Beginning of the English Conquest, G. E. Harvey
  2. BMAR1:A History of Burma, Maung Htin Aung
  3. BMAR2:Burma, D. G. E. Hall
  4. SHAN:The Shan State and the British Annexation, by Sao Saimong Mangrai
  5. HSEA: A history of Southeast Asia, by D.G.E. Hall
  1. Chronology
    1309: The reign of Thihathu; 1310: Death of Asankaya; 1531-1550: The reign of Tabinshwehti; 1539: Tabinshwehti captured Pegu; 1548-1569: The reign of King Maha-Chakrapath-Raja-Thiraj at Ayudhya; 1551-1581: The reign of King Bayinnaung; 1569-1590: The reign of King Dharmaraja at Ayudhya; 1752-1760: The reign of Alaungpaya; 1767: Fall of Ayudhya; 1767-1782: The reign of King Tak-sin (Thonpuri); 1782-1819: The reign of King Bodawpaya; 1824: The first Anglo-Burmese war; 1830: Burmization of the Irrawadi Valley; 1852: The second Anglo-Burmese war; 1885: The third Anglo-Burmese war; 1886: Burma fell under British colony;
  2. Anuruddha as a Burmese
    Contrary to common quote in modern Burman history book, Anuruddha was not an ethnic Barma and worst yet, by prohibiting the practices of the ancient Paganism, was not liked by the Barman communities.
  3. The emergence of Burmese Culture
    But the fact remains that the Upper Burma inscriptions of this period are all composed in excellent Burmese, not in the Shan Language, and that before the end of the Shan period, Ava witnessed the birth of birth of Burmese vernacular literature. (BARMA2: The Shan penetration: P. 31)
  4. The rise of Burma
    The rise of Burma was due to the winning of many fights by the ruling houses of of Central Burma over the Southern Mon Countries. As we had argued up to the Mongol's incursion, the people of both regions were the same people of Ramandesa.
  5. Ava as the forefront of Burma
    Till two generations ago, the English and the Chinese referred Burma as Ava, and for the Shans the King of Burma was till the end "The Lord of the Golden Palace of Ava" (BMAR: Ava 1287-1555: Shan Migration).
  6. The title of Rajadhiraja
    The title of Rajadhiraja was a Khmer title for a Cakravatin monarch. Evidences also show that after the fall of Angkor, it was widely adopted in the Burmese court of Ava.
    Most subwas and some of the more important myosas have their titles suffixed with the word "raja" or Yaza, while the king suffixed his with "rajadhiraja" (The King of Kings). (SHAN: Past Shan-Burmese Relation: P. 54) It shows the ambition of the Ava's court in continuing the legacy of Angkor as a cakravatin empire.
  7. The Shan's submission
    In all his conquest, Bayinnaung's tactics had been the same. There had been no serious fighting and no town or city seemed to have been fired. The King of Kings would appear before a walley city with a mighty host commanded by various vassal princes, including his son, the crown prince, and his brothers, and the besieged would submit without any resistance. (SHAN: Past Shan-Burmese Relation: P. 51)
  8. The conquest of Byinnaung
    Within three years from 1556 to 1559, the Shan states of Hsipaw, Mongmit, Monzin, Mogaung, Mongpai, Samka, Yawnghwe, Lawsawk, Nawngwawn, Mongkung, Mongnai, and Chiang-mai became tributary to Pegu. In 1562 Bayinnaung set out with a huge army, consisting of divisions from all the vassal states, to conquer Koshampya- the Chinese Shan state of Moaung Mau, Hsikwan, Mongna, Sunda, Hosa, Lasa, Mongwan, Kungma and Monglem. (SHAN: Past Shan-Burmese Relation: P. 51)
  9. The use of firearms
    When some years later the Burmese leader Tabinshwehti invaded the Mon country and dethroned Takayutpi, Portuguese adventurers flocked to the country to take service in his armies and Burma began to learn the use of firearms.(BMAR2: The Mon Hegemony: P. 37)
  10. The clash with British India
    One of the ships belonged to the East India Company which some months earlier, he had sent envoys with presents to its Bassein timber depot asking the build a diplomatic relationship with the English.
  11. The alliance in the war against Britain
    No Mons or Shans seem to have participated in the second Anglo-Burmese War of 1852. By the time the third war of 1852 came, misrule by King Thibaw had caused the whole of the Shan States to revolt openly. Active Shan participation of affair of Mandalay seems to have ceased with the death of King Mindon, upon which nearly a hundred royal children were put to death in the customary succession blood bath. (SHAN: Past Shan-Burmese Relation: P. 54)
  12. Casting system of Southern India
    Under the Gupta Empire, Magadha was once the middle kingdom of the Indian Cakravatin Empire. Indias was then retaining its basic social and political administration subdivision down to village unit as a feudal state. After the fall of the Gupta Empire, the whole India had been drawn mostly under the South Indian Hindu development. Under the Hindu cast' s system, low level authority figures transformed themselves into warlord kings with unlimited powers over theirs subjects.
  13. Anglo-Burmese new breed
    Intermarriage between Europeans and Burmese gave birth to an indigenous Eurasian community known as the Anglo-Burmese who would come to dominate the colonial society. In close connection with Colonial development, they received the top privilege, second only to the British authority themselves.