Bayinnaung

Bayinnaung

Bayinnaung Kyawhtin Nawrahta (Burmese: ဘုရင့်နောင် ကျော်ထင်နော်ရထာ ; Thai: พระเจ้าบุเรงนอง; 16 January 1516 – 9 November 1581) was the third king of the Toungoo dynasty of Burma (Myanmar). During his 30-year reign, which has been called the "greatest explosion of human energy ever seen in Burma", Bayinnaung assembled the largest empire in the history of Southeast Asia, which included much of modern day Burma, Manipur, Mong Shan States (southern Yunnan), Lan Na (northern Thailand), Siam (central and southern Thailand) and Lan Xang (Laos and northeastern Thailand).

Although he is best remembered for his empire building, Bayinnaung's greatest legacy was his integration of Shan States into the Irrawaddy-valley-based Burmese kingdoms, which eliminated the threat of Shan raids into Upper Burma, an overhanging concern to Upper Burma since the late 13th century. After the conquest of Shan States in 1557, the king put in an administrative system that reduced the power of hereditary Shan saophas (chiefs), and brought Shan customs in line with low-land norms. His Shan policy was followed by Burmese kings right up to the final fall of the kingdom to the British in 1885.

He could not replicate this administrative policy everywhere in his far flung empire, however. His empire was a loose collection of former sovereign kingdoms, whose kings were loyal to him as the Cakravartin (Universal Ruler), not the kingdom of Toungoo. Indeed, Siam revolted just after three years of his death in 1584. By 1599, all the sub-kings had revolted, and Bayinnaung's empire completely collapsed.

He is considered one of the three greatest Burmese kings, along with Anawrahta and Alaungpaya. Some of the most prominent places in modern Myanmar are named after him. He is also well known in Thailand on account of a popular song and a popular book both titled "Phu Chana Sip Thit" meaning "the Conqueror of Ten Directions."

Read more about BayinnaungEarly Life, Death (1581), Legacy

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