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CHAPTER III.



THE STORY OF THE AVA KINGDOM (1298 TO 1555)


I.The Rise of the Ava Kingdom - (1298—1368)
II.The Reign of the important rulers of Ava - (1368—1422)
III.Sawbwa Influence - (1422—1527)
IV.Causes for the downfall of the Ava Kingdom.


The above indicates that the story of the Ava Kingdom can be divided into four major divisions.

I. The Rise of the Ava Kingdom: (1298 TO 1368)


This kingdom arose out of the small state of Myinsaing. The Chinese appointed Shan officers to govern this state also. Close to 1290 three Shan brothers took shelter at Myinsaing. They soon received work under the Chinese Governor. After the lapse of a few years this Shan family received a marriage alliance with the chief of Pagan. In 1298 they forced the chief of Pagan to leave the throne. The Pagan kingdom was now annexed by the Shan brothers. In 1300 the Chinese government tried to suppress the power of these Shan brothers. The Shans united together and they succeeded in pushing the Chinese out of the frontiers of Burma, far above Myedu in the north.

The new ruler then shifted the capital from Pagan to Ava. The Shans wanted their capital at Ava because it was situated in the fertile district of Kyaukse. Thus the Ava Kingdom was established which continued nearly for three centuries. From 1300 till 1364 the Kingdom was still very weak. The Shans remained disunited.

In 1365 the Maw Shans from the north plundered this kingdom. They pulled down Ava and carried away the white elephant of Linya. After this raid a great chief axose at Ava. He was THADOMTNBYA. He united the She ns and instructed them to adopt the Burmese customs. He became very popular with his Burmese subjects. He built the Golden Palace at Ava. He was succeeded by his brother-in-law Myinkyiswasawke in 1368.


II. The Reign of the to Important Rulers of Ava (1368 TO 1422)


A. MYINKYISWASAWKE (1368 TO 1401)


 1.His Ascendancy.
 2.His Administration.
 3.His wars & the significance of his reign.


1. His Ascendancy:


Minkyiswaswke was the brother-in-law of Thadominbya. He succeeded him in 1368 and continued to rule till his death in 1401. He had a son called Minkhaung.


2. His Administration.


Minkyiswasawke loved his subjects and he desired to do much towards the prosperity of his kingdom. He gave much help towards construction of irrigational canals in order to improve the production of rice. Like Anawrahta he also won the love and admiration of his subjects in a very short time. Both the Burmans and the Shans loved him for his wise administration. He adopted the Burmese customs and in this manner he soon became a popular ruler. This wise step of Minkyiswaisawke brought him still closer to his subjects. He gave high ranks to all his deserving subjects. He kept no class distinctions. It is said that he raised a poor villager called Wunzinyaza to the rank of a Prime minister because of the latter’s abilities.


3. His War.


Minkyiswasawke followed a peaceful policy. He made no oftensive wars. On the contrary he tried to maintain the integrity of his his kingdom by giving peaceful and wise administration. He had however to enter war in alliance with the neighboring states whenever they approached him for aid.


Aarakan: The Arakanese had a civil war. They had heard of the able government of Minkyiswasawke, and so approached him to send them an able ruler. Thereupon Minkyiswasawke sent his uncle to help the Arakanese to govern their state properly. The Arakanese were happy under the wise administration of this Shan ruler. But this lasted only for a short period as the new ruler died suddenly. The Arakanese again requested Minkyiswasawke to send them another ruler. The two kingdoms became very friendly. It is quite probable that Arakan might have become a part of the Ava Kingdom. But unfortunately the second ruler gave cruel treatment to the Arakanese. In a few years’ time the Arakanese rebelled against him and drove him out of their country. Thus ended the close friendship between the two kingdoms.


Myaungmya: Laukpaya was the chief of Myaungmya. He was the uncle of Razadarit the king of Pegu. The latter wanted Laukpaya to cede Myaungmya to his kingdom. Towards 1385 Laukpaya asked help from Minkyiswasawke against Razadarit. The ruler of Ava agreed to give the necessary help and sent his forces to help Laukpaya. In the battle the allied forces were crushed by Razadarit. The latter than captured and annexed Myaungmya. He marched against Ava. While the war was being fought Minkyiswasawke died suddenly. The war was then continued by his son Minkhaung. Thus ended the reign of Minkyiswasawke in 1401.



THE SIGNIFICANCE OF HIS REIGN:

 1.It had helped o consolidate the Ava Kingdom. His wise and peaceful administration had helped the kingdom to prosper.
 2.He had also made his kingdom popular by extending help to his neighboring countries.





MINKHAUNG (14O1 TO 1422)


1.His Ascendancy.
2.His Wars.
3.His Administration.


1. His Ascendancy


Minkhaung was the son of Minkyiswasawke. He succeeded his father in 1401 and continued to rule till his death in 1422. Minkhaung had a son called Minrekyawswa. The latter was like Kyanzittha. He became a very popular figure during his lather’s reign. It was only with Minrekyawswa’s help that Minkhaung was able to defeat the Sawbwas of the north. A peculiar story is mentioned about the suspicions of Razadarit regarding Minrekyawswa. Some years earlier to his march towards Ava, Razadarit had put his son to death fearing that he was trying to plot against him. It is told that Razadarit’s son spoke words of revenge for the injustice which was inflicted on him. Razadarit the ruler of Pegu felt that Minrekyawswa possessed the soul of his dead son, and he was therefore eager to march on Ava.


2. His Wars


Minkhaung had to fight two wars, viz.
a.The suppression of the plundering raids made by the Sawbwas of the north.
b.The war with the Chief of Pegu.


a. War against the Sawbwas of the north

At the time of Minkhaung’s accession to the throne, the Shans in the north had migrated in considerable numbers. They became powerful Shan chiefs called Sawbwas. They often made raids on the districts around Ava. Minkhaung sent his son with a large force to suppress the Sawbwas. The attempt was successful. The hans were so badly defeated that they remained submissive for many years and gave no further trouble to Minkhaung.


b. The War with Razadarit

Immediately after his accession to the throne Minkhaung found Razadarit at the gates of Ava threatening the people and asking them to surrender. It was a critical moment. Minkhaung had to summon his councilors to his palace. They however advised Minkhaung to make peace with Razadarit. They were prepared to go to Razadarit to request him to give up war in the name of Buddhism. Razadarit welcomed the monks and he agreed to withdraw his soldiers in the name of the religion he so fervently worshipped. Ava was saved from further war and friendship was established between the two kingdoms, but this had ended the first phase of the war only.
The Second Phase began after a short time. On his retreat, Razadarit attacked Prome, which was under a chief related to Minkhaung who had then to send his forces to Prome in order help his relative. The forces from Ava were defeated and were asked to make peace with Razadarit.
The war began again after the lapse of a few years. The ruler of Ava tried to make a secret alliance with the chief of Chiengmai against Razadarit. The sealed letter Was found on two of Minkhaung’s officers. They ‘.ere arrested by one of the governors under Razadarit. Thereupon Razadarit made war against Ava for the third time. He took his forces up the Delta and captured the ruler of Launggyet, the son-in-law of Minkhaung. The latter rushed down to meet Razadarit. Minkhaung was again defeated disastrously, and he had to withdraw his forces from the delta. Then Minrekyawswa hurriedly took command and was successful in his attempt. He drove out Razadarit from the Delta and 1415 was the sole monarch of the states in the Delta. In 1417 Razadarit made a treacherous plan for capturing Minrekyawswa. He was successful. The Burmese forces located in the Delta fled back to Ava as soon as they were told of Minrekyawswa’s death. Razadarit then occupied the Delta again. Minkhaung did not continue the war for he found the Sawbwas often within the gates of Ava. Moreover Prome had become powerful and now stood as a buffer state between Ava and Pegu.


3. His Administration


Minkhaung was also a wise ruler. He adopted the policy of his father and tried to give a suitable government to his subjects. But unfortunately the people of Ava were often kept in war for many years. The wars had sapped the kingdom of all its wealth. The Ava kingdom was almost exhausted towards the close of Minkhaung’s reign. The ruler had unnecessarily invited the second and third phase of the war against Razadarit. Had he only kept peace with Razadarit then perhaps the Ava kingdom might have remained powerful and might have lasted for many centuries. His reign left the kingdom considerably weakened, and within a few years it fell into the hands of the Sawbwas of the north. Minkhaung died in 1422 and was succeeded by weak successors.


III. Ava under the Sawbwas Raids (1422 TO 1527)


Soon after the death of Minkhaung the Sawbwas of the north began to raid Ava. They took help from the Chinese who were interested in the Moegok ruby mines. Gradually the kingdom was stripped and in 1527 the Sawbwas of Mohnyin dethroned the ruler of Ava and appointed his own son THOHANBWA to rule Ava.


IV. The Period Leading to the end of the Kingdom (1527 TO 1555)


This period marks the rule of the Sawbwas over the Ava Kingdom. The first Sawbwas to rule Ava was THOHANBWA, the son of the chief of Mohnyin.


Thohanbwa (1527 TO 1543)

He was disliked by the people of Ava. Soon after his accession he began to pull down many of the temples and removed all the gold and precious stones because he considered the temples to be only treasure chambers. Thohanbwa thus invited the hatred of his subjects. Close to 1543 Tbohanbwa wanted to take revenge on the monks because they had often opposed him. He called a meeting of the monks and nearly 1330 monks attended this meeting. He sent his soldiers to kill them. Many were killed. This foul action of Thohanbwa brought about his death in 1543. A monk called MINKYIYANAUNG was determined to revenge the death of the monks. He entered the bed chamber of Thohanbwa and murdered him. The monk was then hailed by the people of Ava as their saviour. He was asked to become the ruler but he refused.
The succeeding Sawbwas were better than Thohanbwa. Ava remained in the hands of the Sawbwas till 1555. In 1546 Tabinshwetti invaded Ava, and the Sawbwas acknowledged him as their overlord. In 1555 Bayinnaung entered Ava and annexed it. Thus ended the Shan rule at Ava. The kingdom now became a part of the Toungoo Kingdom under Bayinnaung.






QUESTIONS ON CHAPTER III.


1.Write short notes on the following :—
Mirirekyawswa, reforms of Minkyiswasawke.
2.How was the Ava Kingdom formed? Who were the two important rulers of this Kingdom? Discuss in detail the reign of one of these rulers.


 
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