Burma seen as ‘Periphery of China’

Source: Kings of Burma

The principle behind this page and this index is that of China as the “Middle Kingdom”, with the rest of the world arranged around it. This works pretty well for the countries listed, as does the Chinese five element theory. For Earth (yellow), in the Center, is China itself. For Water (black), in the North, is Mongolia. For

Metal

(white), in the West, is Tibet. For Fire (red), in the South, are Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Burma. And for Wood (green/blue), in the East, are Korea and Japan.

Anomalies here are the Southeast Asian group, of Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Burma, and then Japan and Mongolia. Thailand (with Laos), although seeking and accepting a diploma from China for its ruler as a king (wang), nevertheless is largely a sub-Indian rather than a sub-Chinese culture, with Theravada Buddhism and a Sanskrit-derived alphabet. Burma, which was occasionally invaded from China, and sometimes under Chinese suzerainty, was also a sub-Indian civilization. Cambodia, with Champa, at first developed quite independently of China, under Indian influence from Indonesia, later, like Thailand, came under Chinese influence. These Theravada states are thus all colored more orange than red, to indicate their cultural status in relation to India rather than China.

Japan, although definitely a sub-Chinese culture and addressed as a “kingdom” in Chinese diplomacy, was never in any doubt that it was the equal or superior of China; and so is given separately with India and China under its own principle as a member of the Sangoku, the “Three Kingdoms.” Japan’s Great Power status in the 20th century, and brief East Asian hegemony, certainly rates this. Mongolia was also never in doubt about its superiority, and it is the only one of the listed countries that ever conquered and ruled China itself (not to mention most of Central and Western Asia, and Eastern Europe). Although then conquered by (Manchu) China, Mongolia is sui generis and rates its own page, including many successor states (the Golden Horde, etc.) that never had anything to do with China.

While Vietnam eventually styled itself an “empire,” equal to China, Korea, into which Chinese force was the most easily and frequently projected, seems to have accepted its status. Tibet, while a sub-Indian culture like Thailand, and which was once strong enough to drive China out of Sinkiang, was never subordinate to a native Chinese government (i.e. had only been conquered by the Mongols and the Manchus) until the Communist invasion of 1950. Politically and diplomatically, Tibet was always within the Chinese sphere of action, but its modern annexation is an anomaly both of Tibetan and of (Han) Chinese history.

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

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

ARAKAN
WETHALI
Mahataingsandra 788-810
Thuriyataingsandra .810-830
Maulataingsandra 830-849
Paulataingsandra 849-875
Kalataingsandra 875-884
Dulataingsandra 884-903
Thiritaingsandra 903-935
Thingghathataingsandra 935-951
Tsulataingsandra 951-957
Amyathu 957-964
Paiphyu 964-994
Ngamengngatum 994-1018
First PINGTSA
Khettarheng 1018-1028
Tsandatheng 1028-1039
Mengrengphyu 1039-1049
Nagathuriya 1049-1052
Thuriyaradza 1052-1054
Punnaka 1054-1058
Mengphyugyi 1058-1060
Tsithabeng 1060-1061
Mengnanthu 1061-1066
Menglade 1066-1072
Mengkula 1072-1075
Mengbhilu 1075-1078
Thengkhaya 1078-1092
Mengthan 1092-1100
Mengpadi 1100-1103
PARIN
Letyamengnan 1103-1109
Thihaba 1109-1110
Radzagyi 1110-1112
Thakiwenggyi 1112-1115
Thakiwengngay 1115-1133
Gauliya 1133-1153
Datharadza 1153-1165
Ananthiri 1165-1167
KHYIT
Mengphuntsa 1167-1174
Pintsakawa 1174-1176
Gannayubaw 1176-1179
Tsalengkabo 1179-1180
Second PINGTSA
Midzutheng 1180-1191
Ngaranman 1191-1193
Ngapuggan 1193-1195
Ngarakhoing 1195-1198
Ngakyun 1198-1201
Ngatshu 1201-1205
Ngatswaitheng 1205-1206
Mengkounggyi 1206-1207
Mengkhoungngay 1207-1208
Kambhalounggyi 1208-1209
Kambhaloungngay 1209-1210
Letyagyi 1210-1218
Letyangay 1218-1229
Thanabeng 1229-1232
Nganathin 1232-1234
Nganalum 1234-1237
LOUNG-KYET
Hlanmaphyu 1237-1243
Radzathugyi 1243-1246
Tsaulu 1246-1251
Utstsanagyi 1251-1260
Tsaumwungyi 1260-1268
Nankyagyi 1268-1272
Mengbhilu 1272-1276
Tsithabeng 1276-1279
Meng Di 1279-1385
vassal of Ava, 1379-1430
Utstsanangay 1385-1387
Thiwarit 1387-1390
Thintse 1390-1394
Radzathu 1394-1395,
1397-1401
Tsithabeng 1395-1397
Myintsoingkyi 1397
Thinggathu 1401-1403
MYOUK-U
Mengtsaumwun 1404-1406,
1430-1434
Vacant, 1406-1430
Menkhari 1434-1459
Batsauphyu 1459-1482
Daulya 1482-1492
Batsonygo 1492-1494
Ranoung 1494
Tsalenggathu 1494-1501
Menradza 1501-1523
Gadzabadi 1523-1525
Mengtsau-o 1525
Thatsata 1525-1531
Mengbeng 1531-1553
Dik-Kha 1553-1555
Tsau-Lha 1555-1564
Mengtsekya 1564-1571
Mengphaloung 1571-1593
Mengradzagyi 1593-1612
Mengkhamoung 1612-1622
Thirithudhamma 1622-1638
Mengtsani 1638
Thado 1638-1645
Narabadigyi 1645-1652
Tsandathudhamma 1652-1684
Thirithuriya 1684-1685
Wara Dhammaradza 1684-1692
Munithu Dhammaradza 1692-1694
Tsandathuriya Dhammaradza 1694-1696
Naukahtadzau 1696
Mayuppiya 1696-1697
Kalamandat 1697-1698
Naradhibadi 1698-1700
Tsandawimala I 1700-1706
Tsandathuriya 1706-1710,
1731-1734
Tsandawidzaya 1710-1731
Naradhibadi 1734-1735
Narapawararadza 1735-1737
Tsandawidzala 1737
Katya 1737
Madarit 1737-1742
Nara-Apaya 1742-1761
Thirithu 1761
Paramaradza 1761-1764
Maharadza 1764-1773
Thumana 1773-1777
Tsandawimala II 1777
Thamitha-Dhammayit 1777-1782
Thamada 1782-1784
to Burma, 1784

 

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

KINGDOM of PAGAN
Pyinbya c.900-c.925
Tannet c.925-c.950
Nga Khwe c.950-c.955
Theinkho c.955-c.970
Ngyaungusaw Rahan c.970-c.995
Kwonsaw Kyung Phyu c.995-c.1014
Kyitso c.1014-c.1020
Tsukkata c.1020-1044
Anawrahta 1044-1077
Sawlu 1077-1084
Kyanzittha 1084-1113
embassy to China, 1106
Alaungsithu 1113-1167
Mengshengtsau 1167
Narathu I 1167-1170
Narathenkha 1170-1173
Narapatisithu 1173-1210
Nantonmya 1210-1234
Kyaswa 1234-1250
Uzana I 1250-1254
Narathihapate,
“He who ran
from the Chinese”
1254-1287
Mongols loot Pagan, 1287
Kyawswa Mongol Vassal,
1287-1298
Sawahnit 1298-1325
Combined with Pinya
KINGDOM of PINYA 
Athinhkaya 1298-c.1312
Yazathinkyan 1298-c.1312
Thihathu 1298-1324
Uzana II 1324-1343
Ngashishin 1343-1350
Kyanswange 1350-1359
Narathu II 1359-1364
Uzana Pyaung 1364
KINGDOM of AVA 
Thadominbya 1364-1368
Nga Nu the Usurper 1368
Minkyiswasawke Chinese Vassal,
1368-1401
Tarabya 1401
Nga Nauk Han usurper,
1401
Minhkaung I 1401-1422
Thihathu 1422-1426
Minhlange 1426
Kalekyetaungnvo 1426-1427
Mohnyinthado 1427-1440
Minrekyansa 1440-1443
Narapati Chinese Vassal,
1443-1469
Thihathura 1469-1481
Minhkaung II 1481-1502
Shwenankyawshin 1502-1527
Thohanbwa the Usurper 1527-1543
Hkonmaing the Shan 1543-1546
Mobye Narapati Shan Vassal,
1546-1552
Sithkyawhtin Shan Vassal,
1552-1555
to Taungu, 1555

 

 

 

SHAN
Wareru 1287-1306
Khunlau 1306-1310
Dzau-au 1310-1323
Dzaudzip 1323-1330
Binya-e Lau 1330-1348
Binya-u 1348-1385
Binya-Nwe 1385-1423
Binya Dhamma Radza 1423-1426
Binya Rankit 1426-1446
Binya Waru 1446-1450
Binya Keng 1450-1453
Mhaudau 1453
Shengtsaubu (f) 1453-1460
Dhamma Dzedi 1460-1491
Binya Ran 1491-1526
Takarwutbi 1526-1540
TAUNGU/TOUNGOO 
Tabin Shwehti 1531-1550
captures Pengu, 1539; King of Lower Burma, 1542; captures Pagan, 1546; King of all Burma
Thamindwut 1550
Thaminhtau 1550-1551
Bayin Naung 1551-1581
captures Ava, 1555; captures Chiang Mai, 1557; attacks Ayuthya, 1563; captures Ayuthya, 1569
Nandabayin 1581-1599
driven from Siam, 1593; Chinese intervention, 1599-1600
TAUNGU
Ngyaung Ram Meng 1599-1605
Mahadhammaraja 1605-1628
Mengre Dippa 1628-1629
Thalwun Mengtara 1629-1648
Bengtale 1648-1661
Pyi Meng 1661-1672
Narawara 1672
Thiri Pawara
Mahadhammaraja
1672-1698
Thiri Maha
Thihathura Thudhamma
1698-1714
Thiri Pawara
Mahadhammaraja
Dibati Hsengphyusheng
1714-1733
Mahadhammaraja Dibati 1733-1751
to Konbaung, 1751
SHAN
Buddha Thi Gwe Meng 1740-1746
Binya Dala 1746-1757
KONBAUNG 
Alaungpaya 1753-1760
Naundawgyi 1760-1763
Hsinbyushin 1763-1776
Chinese invasion, 1765-1769; Ayuthya destroyed, 1767
Singu Min 1776-1781
Maung Maung 1781
Bodawdaya 1781-1819
captures Arakan, 1784; invasion of Siam defeated, 1785; Peace with Siam, acquisition of Tenasserim coast, 1793
Bagyidaw 1819-1837
First Burmese War, 1824-1826, loss of Assam, Arakan, & Tenasserim to Britain, 1826
Tharrawaddy 1837-1846
Pagin Min 1846-1852
Mindon Min 1853-1878
Second Burmese War, 1852-1853, Lower Burma to Britain, 1853; Manalay becomes capital, 1857
Thibaw 1878-1885,
d.1916
Third Burmese War, 1885, Burma annexed by Britain,
1886-1942, 1945-1948; Japanese occupation, 1942-1945
 

 

British Chief
Commissioners
Sir Arthur Purves Phayre 1862-1867
Albert Fytche 1867-1871
Ashley Eden 1871-1875
Sir Augustus Rivers Thompson 1875-1878
Charles Umpherston Aitchinson 1878-1880
Sir Charles Edward Bernard 1880-1883
Sir Charles Haukes Todd 1883-1886
Third Burmese War, 1885, Upper Burma annexed by Britain, 1886
Sir Charles Edward Bernard 1886-1887
Sir Charles Haukes Todd 1887-1890
Alexander Mackenzie 1890-1895
Frederick William Richard Fryer 1895-1897
Lieutenant Governors
Frederick William Richard Fryer 1897-1903
Sir Hugh Shakespear Barnes 1903-1905
Sir Herbert Thirkell White 1905-1910
Sir Harvey Adamson 1910-1915
Sir George Shaw 1913-1913
Sir Spencer Harcourt Butler 1915-1917
Walter Francis Rice 1917-1918
Sir Reginald Henry Craddock 1918-1922
Sir Spencer Harcourt Butler 1922-1923
Governors
Sir Spencer Harcourt Butler 1923-1927
Sir Charles Alexander Innes 1927-1932
Sir Hugh Landsdowne Stephenson 1932-1936
Sir Archibald Douglas Cochrane 1936-1941
Sir Reginald Hugh Dorman-Smith 1941-1946
Japanese Occupation, 1942-1945; Military Commanders
Shojiro Iida 1942-1943
Masakazu Kawabe 1943-1944
Heitaro Kimura 1944-1945
Allied Military Governors
Louis Mountbatten 1944-1945
Sir Hubert Elvin Rance 1945-1946
Governor
Sir Hubert Elvin Rance 1946-1948

 

1422-1426

 

 

Minhlange

 

 

1426

 

 

Kalekyetaungnvo

 

 

1426-1427

 

 

Mohnyinthado

 

 

1427-1440

 

 

Minrekyansa

 

 

1440-1443

 

 

Narapati

 

 

Chinese Vassal,
1443-1469

 

 

Thihathura

 

 

1469-1481

 

 

Minhkaung II

 

 

1481-1502

 

 

Shwenankyawshin

 

 

1502-1527

 

 

Thohanbwa the Usurper

 

 

1527-1543

 

 

Hkonmaing the Shan

 

 

1543-1546

 

 

Mobye Narapati

 

 

Shan Vassal,
1546-1552

 

 

Sithkyawhtin

 

 

Shan Vassal,
1552-1555

 

 

to Taungu, 1555

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

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

 

 

  SHAN

 

 Wareru

 

 1287-1306

 

 Khunlau

 

 1306-1310

 

 Dzau-au

 

 1310-1323

 

 Dzaudzip

 

 1323-1330

 

 Binya-e Lau

 

 1330-1348

 

 Binya-u

 

 1348-1385

 

 Binya-Nwe

 

 1385-1423

 

 Binya Dhamma Radza

 

 1423-1426

 

 Binya Rankit

 

 1426-1446

 

 Binya Waru

 

 1446-1450

 

 Binya Keng

 

 1450-1453

 

 Mhaudau

 

 1453

 

 Shengtsaubu (f)

 

 1453-1460

 

 Dhamma Dzedi

 

 1460-1491

 

 Binya Ran

 

 1491-1526

 

 Takarwutbi

 

 1526-1540

 

TAUNGU/TOUNGOO

 

 

Tabin Shwehti

 

 

1531-1550

 

 

captures Pengu, 1539; King of Lower Burma, 1542; captures Pagan, 1546; King of all Burma

 

 

Thamindwut

 

 

1550

 

 

Thaminhtau

 

 

1550-1551

 

 

Bayin Naung

 

 

1551-1581

 

 

captures Ava, 1555; captures Chiang Mai, 1557; attacks Ayuthya, 1563; captures Ayuthya, 1569

 

 

Nandabayin

 

 

1581-1599

 

 

driven from Siam, 1593; Chinese intervention, 1599-1600

 

 

TAUNGU

 

 

Ngyaung Ram Meng

 

 

1599-1605

 

 

Mahadhammaraja

 

 

1605-1628

 

 

Mengre Dippa

 

 

1628-1629

 

 

Thalwun Mengtara

 

 

1629-1648

 

 

Bengtale

 

 

1648-1661

 

 

Pyi Meng

 

 

1661-1672

 

 

Narawara

 

 

1672

 

 

Thiri Pawara
Mahadhammaraja

 

 

1672-1698

 

 

Thiri Maha
Thihathura Thudhamma

 

 

1698-1714

 

 

Thiri Pawara
Mahadhammaraja
Dibati Hsengphyusheng

 

 

1714-1733

 

 

Mahadhammaraja Dibati

 

 

1733-1751

 

 

to Konbaung, 1751

 

 

SHAN

 

 

Buddha Thi Gwe Meng

 

 

1740-1746

 

 

Binya Dala

 

 

1746-1757

 

 

KONBAUNG

 

 

Alaungpaya

 

 

1753-1760

 

 

Naundawgyi

 

 

1760-1763

 

 

Hsinbyushin

 

 

1763-1776

 

 

Chinese invasion, 1765-1769; Ayuthya destroyed, 1767

 

 

Singu Min

 

 

1776-1781

 

 

Maung Maung

 

 

1781

 

 

Bodawdaya

 

 

1781-1819

 

 

captures Arakan, 1784; invasion of Siam defeated, 1785; Peace with Siam, acquisition of Tenasserim coast, 1793

 

 

Bagyidaw

 

 

1819-1837

 

 

First Burmese War, 1824-1826, loss of Assam, Arakan, & Tenasserim to Britain, 1826

 

 

Tharrawaddy

 

 

1837-1846

 

 

Pagin Min

 

 

1846-1852

 

 

Mindon Min

 

 

1853-1878

 

 

Second Burmese War, 1852-1853, Lower Burma to Britain, 1853; Manalay becomes capital, 1857

 

 

Thibaw

 

 

1878-1885,
d.1916

 

 

Third Burmese War, 1885, Burma annexed by Britain,
1886-1942, 1945-1948; Japanese occupation, 1942-1945

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

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

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

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

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

British Chief
Commissioners
Sir Arthur Purves Phayre 1862-1867
Albert Fytche 1867-1871
Ashley Eden 1871-1875
Sir Augustus Rivers Thompson 1875-1878
Charles Umpherston Aitchinson 1878-1880
Sir Charles Edward Bernard 1880-1883
Sir Charles Haukes Todd 1883-1886
Third Burmese War, 1885, Upper Burma annexed by Britain, 1886
Sir Charles Edward Bernard 1886-1887
Sir Charles Haukes Todd 1887-1890
Alexander Mackenzie 1890-1895
Frederick William Richard Fryer 1895-1897
Lieutenant Governors
Frederick William Richard Fryer 1897-1903
Sir Hugh Shakespear Barnes 1903-1905
Sir Herbert Thirkell White 1905-1910
Sir Harvey Adamson 1910-1915
Sir George Shaw 1913-1913
Sir Spencer Harcourt Butler 1915-1917
Walter Francis Rice 1917-1918
Sir Reginald Henry Craddock 1918-1922
Sir Spencer Harcourt Butler 1922-1923
Governors
Sir Spencer Harcourt Butler 1923-1927
Sir Charles Alexander Innes 1927-1932
Sir Hugh Landsdowne Stephenson 1932-1936
Sir Archibald Douglas Cochrane 1936-1941
Sir Reginald Hugh Dorman-Smith 1941-1946
Japanese Occupation, 1942-1945; Military Commanders
Shojiro Iida 1942-1943
Masakazu Kawabe 1943-1944
Heitaro Kimura 1944-1945
Allied Military Governors
Louis Mountbatten 1944-1945
Sir Hubert Elvin Rance 1945-1946
Governor
Sir Hubert Elvin Rance 1946-1948

 

 

 

Viceroy of India. Mountbatten, however, was not the field commander on the ground. That was General, subsequently Field Marshall, Slim. Details of this campaign are discussed in more detail below.

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

 

Presidents of the Union of Burma, Democratic Period, 1948-1962
Sao Shwe Thaik 1948-1952
Ba U 1952-1957
Win Maung 1957-1962
“Burmese Socialism” Military Government
Ne Win 1962-1981
San Yu 1981-1988
“8888” Democracy Uprising; Military Coup, 1988
Sein Lwin 1988
Maung Maung 1988
Dictator Chairmen of Military State Council
Saw Maung 1988-1992
Aung San Suu Kyi wins general election, nullified by Military, 1990; Burma becomes “Myanmar,” 1991
Than Shwe 1992-present
Widespread protests, suppressed by Military, 2007

 

rth Koreans). When some food was distributed to storm victims, reports are either that the government claimed to be the source or that the aid food was kept by the Military and rancid local food was distributed. These tyrants are so vile, it is a shame that the U.S. won’t just drop in Don Rumsfeld and the Delta Force and get rid of them. It is otherwise hard to know how the Burmese people will be free of them, though they could not remain in power without some kind of substantial support. While liberal opinion internationally is aroused over the matter, far too much energy is being expended by political activists on confused or vicious condemnations of the American role in overthrowing the late dictator of Iraq to have any serious intentions about overthrowing the dictators of Burma.

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