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CHAPTER VI.



ARAKAN (146 A.D TO 1824 A.D)


The history of Arakan can be traced as far back as 146 A.D. Though shut off from Burma by a hill range, Arakan has had a history closely connected with that of Burma. The history of Arakan can be classified as follows: —

(A)First Period (146—1404 A.D.).
(B)Second Period (1404—1531 A.D.).
(C)Third Period (1531 —1684 A.D.).
(D)Fourth Period 1681—1824 A.D.).



(A) FIRST PERIOD (146 TO 1404 A.D)


There are no authentic records to disclose much about this period However Historians mention that this period began with the reign of SANDATHURIA. It is said that the MAHAMUNI IMAGE was built by this ruler. The Arakanese religion and customs were much influenced by the Hindus of India. The later kings of Arakan after Sandathuria had names by the ward “Chandra “. This has been proved by the medallions made by the kings.
After the tenth century Arakan became thoroughly a Buddhist country. Buddhism arrived here earlier than the interior of Burma.
From (1044—1287 A.D.) the Burmese under the Pagan Dynasty successfully established their suzerainty over N. Arakan while South Arakan remained independent. One can easily remember the invasion made by Anawrahta, and the subsequent village of the Mahamuni Image. He subjected the Arakanese prince, whose capital was at Pyinsa in Akyab district. Anawrahta did not remove the Mahamuni Image, probably because he lacked sufficient means to carry it to his capital. He however took away the gold and silver vessels of the shrine and also burned the magical figures, lest the charms should bring the Arakanese to his kingdom.
Later we hear of the help given by Alaungsithu to Letyaminnon, the crown prince of North Arakan. The latter had been driven out of his capital together with his father. With Alaungsithu’s help, the Arakariese prince was able to defeat the usurper. As a token of gratitude Letyaminnon agreed to send annual tributes, and also repaired the shrine at Buddhagaya. The successors of Letyaminnon continued to be hereditary kings, and not governors appointed by the Pagan rulers. They however sent the annual tributes to the Burmese kings.
Towards 1374 a civil war broke out in Arakan. Some of the Arakanese approached Minkyiswasawke of Ava kingdom to nominate a ruler. He sent them his uncle telling him to rule with justice and mercy. The Arakanese liked him so well that after his death, they again asked the Ava ruler to send them a successor. It appeared that Ava and Arakan would gradually merge to be one kingdom. Minkyiswasawke then sent one of his sons to rule the Arakanese. He failed to rule them wisely, and within a short period, the Arakanese drove him back to Ava. In 1401 Minkyiswasawke died, and the Arakanese made no further requests for a successor.






(B) SECOND PERIOD (1404 TO 1531 A.D)


This period began with the reign of NARAMEIKHLA (1404—1434) He unnecessarily invited war on his kingdom. Under him the Arakanese raided Yaw and Laungshe in Pakokku District of Ava Kingdom. Thereupon Minkhaung, the ruler of Ava sent his son Minrekyawswa with a large force to suppress the Arakanese. The Ava Prince defeated the Arakanese and successfully, and Narameikhla had to flee to Bengal in 1404. Here he was well received by the king of Gaur, and he remained here in exile till 1430. During his absence, Arakan was first invaded by the Burmese forces, and then by the Talaings under Razadarit. Launggyet was occupied and the son-in-law of Minkhaung was made the ruler of the Arakanese.
Towards 1415 Arakan was invaded by the Talaing forces of Razadarit. The latter was at war with Minkhaung, the ruler of Ava. Razadarit therefore overthrew Minkhaung’s son-in-law at Launggyet in Arakan, and re-instated a son of the old Arakanese house.
In 1430 Narameikhla received help from the king of Gaur. The forces sent by the ruler of Gaur helped him to regain his throne. Narameikhla then sent tributes to the ruler of Gaur as a token of gratitude. Further he allowed his Mahomedan followers to build the Sandihkan mosque at MROHAUNG. Narameikhla shifted his capital to Mrohaung in 1433 because Launggyet had repeatedly suffered foreign invasions. His reign is also remembered for the historic song YAH KAINOMINTHAMI-EGYIN, which was written by a court bard called ADUMINNYO. In 1434 he died, and was succeeded by his brother ALI KHAN.
The next two successors of Narameikhla succeeded in expanding the Arakan Kingdom. ALT KHAN—(1434— 1459) added Ramu to this kingdom, while BASAWPYO— (1459—1482) occupied Chittagong. These successors, though Buddhists, adopted mahomedan designations arid names, and even issued medallions bearing the KALIMA “, or mahomedan confession of faith in Persian script.






(C) THIRD PERIOD (1531 TO 1684 A.D)


This period of over a century marked the greatest period in Arakanese history. It began with the reign of MINBIN in 1531, during his reign Arakan had to face the plundering raids of the Portuguese, and also a Burmese invasion under Tabinshwehti. MINBIN (1531—1553) was a very capable ruler. He immediately put the defenses at his capital Mrohaung. These defenses were so well planned that the Burmese failed to take the city. Mm bin also succeeded in keeping Ramu and Chittagong under his rule, inspire of the raids made by the Portuguese on the coasts. The Arakanese now were sufficiently strong, to threaten the Portuguese shipping. Minbin was a pious and a staunch worshipper of Buddhist religion. He built at Mrohaung, the SHITTHAUNG, DUKKATHEIN, LEMYATHNA and SHWEDAUNG pagodas. He also sent religious mission to Ceylon, and received a duplicate of the Lord’s Tooth, which he enshrined at the ANDAW TEMPLE. The Successors of MINBIN helped to consolidate their kingdom. They made friends with Portuguese, and CHITTAGONO became a thriving port. An Arakanese garrison was kept at Chittagong and Ramu, and thus the kingdom was well - guarded. The most powerful successors of Minbin were namely:—
(1)MINRAZAGYI (1593 —1612).
(2)MINHKAMAUNG (1612—1622).
(3)SANDATHUDAMMA (1652 —1684).



1. MINRAZAGYI (1593 — 1612)


He was also a pious worshipper of the Buddhist religion. He built the PARABAW pagoda at Mrohaung, and extended much help to the monasteries. The wise minister MAHAPINNYAGYAW made a collection of laws which were named MAHAPINNYAGYAW PYATTON. This was based on the interpretations of the MANU DHAMMATHATS on a purely Buddhist basis.
During Minrazagyi’s reign the Arakanese invaded the Pegu kingdom. The Prince of Toungoo asked the Arakanese ruler to help him to rebel against Nandabayin ruler of Pegu. Thereupon Minrazagyi shipped a force under a Portuguese officer called De Brito. The Minister Mahapinnyagyaw also accompanied the forces. The Arakanese won a brilliant victory, and Syriam was occupied and annexed. Pegu was besieged, and the allied forces of Toungoo and Arakan captured Nandabayin and his family. They were later put to death. The Arakanese then deported 3000 families, and also a white elephant, together with 50 bronze images of Ayuthia which had been brought to Pegu by Bayinnaung. The power of the Arakanese was therefore felt even in the interior of Burma.

2. MINHKAMAUNG (1612 — 1622)


He was also known as Husein Shah. He loved the Buddhist religion, and his queen helped him to build the RATANABON pagoda at Mrohaung. During his reign the Portuguese began to plunder the coasts again. They made their shelter-house at Sandwip Island. This island was a trade centre, and commanded the mouth of the Ganges Delta. Minhkamaung had to suppress the power of the Portuguese. He therefore made an alliance with the Dutch and in 1617; he successfully occupied the Sandwip Island. The Portuguese agreed to serve him. They settled at Chittagong and helped the Arakanese to annex Noakhali and the Sunderbans on the Delta. They even raided Dacca and Murshidabad, and brought many captives, and made them slaves. The Arakanese had now become powerful in the Southern parts of Bengal.

3. SANDATHUDAMMA (1652 — 1684)


He had a long reign of over thirty years, and is remembered as one of the best kings. He built many pagodas at his capital, namely ZINAMANAUNG, THE KYAMANATJNG, RATANAMANAUNG-, SHWEKYATHEIN and LOKAMU Pagodas. He also sent Buddhist Mission to Ceylon. About 1660 he introduced coins in his kingdom. Coined money began to be struck in Arakan.
In 1660 Sandanathudamma gave shelter to Shuja brother of Aurangazeb, the Mogul emperor of India. He agreed to provide him with some of his famous steps to take him on the way of Mecca, because Shuja wanted to die in retirement. But when Shuja arrived in Arakan with his beautiful daughter, Sandathudamma demanded Shuja’s daughter in marriage. But the latter refused, and Shuja tried to escape from the capital by instigating the Mahomedan settlers to revolt. But Sandathudamma suppressed them in time. Shuja however escaped, and his daughter together with the other family members was captured by the Arakanese ruler. Later Sandathudamma executed them, including the beautiful Mogul princess.
Aurangazeb disliked this action of the Arakanese king. He therefore sent Shayista Kban, the Mogul Viceroy of Bengal to invade Sandwip Island, and later to attack Chittagong. In 1666 the Mogul forces successfully took Chittagong and captured 2000 Arakanese. The fall of Chittagong was a disastrous blow to the prosperity of the Arakanese. The power of the Arakanese race began to wane. Sandathudamma however kept his capital safe from the attacks of the Moguls. He died in 1684, and his death was followed by a period of disorder and chaos.






(D) FOURTH PERIOD (1684 TO 1824 A.D)


After the death of Sandathudamma, the Moguls invaded the capital and pillaged the country. They murdered and set up kings at will. Finally there arose an Arakanese lord called SANDAWIZIYA who crushed the Moguls thoroughly. He proclaimed himself as the king and ruled Arakan from 1710 to 1731. These were peaceful years for the Arakanese, because the Mogul settlers were sent to Ramree. In 1731 Sandawiziya was murdered, and chaos and disorder prevailed throughout Arakan for over half a century. Civil wars broke out, and king after king was murdered.
In 1782 THAMADA, another Arakanese lord came to power. He was the last king, People disliked his tyrannical rule. So in the same year a band of lords went to Ava, and asked Bodawpaya to take their country. The Burmese king granted their request, but he was afraid of the magical powers of the Mahamuni image. He therefore sent a few of his wizards dressed as monks to examine this temple, and to deprive the image of its power. Then in 1784 —1785 30,000 men were sent to annex Arakan. Many villagers came out with bands of music to greet his armies as deliverers. But soon the Arakanese began to rebel against the Burmese, because the latter brought a period of tyranny for them. Year after year the fighting continued, and many Arakanese fled across the English frontiers to Chittagong. In 1815 Nga Chin Pyan, the leader of the Arakanese died, and they had finally had to submit to the Burmese Rule.




QUESTIONS ON CHAPTER VI.


1.When did Buddhism arrive in Arakan? What did Minbin and his successors do for this religion?
2.In to how many periods ca you classify the Arakanese History? Name them, and write a brief account of the Third Period?
3.Which is considered to be the greatest period in the History of Arakan? Name the important rulers of this period, and write notes on any one of them.
4.Write short notes on the following:—Mahamuni Image Fall of Chittagong, Mahapinnyakyaw Pyatton. Mrohaung, Arakan, after 1684, Sandathudamma, Arakan under Pagan rulers.


 
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Date: 10/23/2015 5:55:28 AM

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The Chinese navy visit to Myanmar may be an innocuous trip as Chinese Paper climas, but what Chinese authorities need to understand is that other countries especially India will be surely concerned. The reason is that as India has seen in recent visa row of top Indian Army officer from Kashmir, what we fear is that effective break down of law & order & command & control structure, & thus anarchy in PRC. CPC is effectively loosing control on the system, we fear & any mid level rogue bureaucrat can take such a big decision of denying a visa to top army officer from other country. One thing seems clear that the denial of visa to Lt. Gen Jamwal was taken without consent of higher authorities. So has CPC taken strict action agst that rogue bureaucrat? I think it shld, to assure other countries that CPC is still in control. Or else how can it explain this visa row to India. India don’t have much of a problem with Chinese Navy ships visiting Myanmar. I think, what Indians are concerned more with is that was proper permission taken by captains of those ships for that trip from concerned higher authorities? Or they went on that trip of their own? Our concerned are genuine & CPC shld answer these question. Recently we learned that some 7000-11000 PLA soldiers are in POK, so are they with permission of CPC or they have turned rogue & acting of their own? We have seen what happens when Law & order & command & control breaks down in our neighbour Pakistan, we do not wish to see same trouble with our other giant neighbour. & thus the concern.
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