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Myanmar - Ava / Innwa Dynasty (1364 - 1527/1555)




Relationship to Predecessor


11364-1368 Thadominbya
Thado Minbya
[Thadoe Minphyar]
Grandson of Sawyun
21368-1400Swasawke Elected Grandson of Kyawswa of Pagan and grandnephew of Thihathu
41401-1422Minkhaung I Half-brother
51422-1426Thihathu Son
61426-1426Minhlange Son Assassinated
71426-1427Kale Kyetaungnyo Uncle
81427-1440Mohnyin Thado Descended from Kyawswa I of Pinya
91440-1443Minyekyawswa Son
101443-1468Narapati Brother
111469-1481Thihathura Son
121481-1502Minkhaung II Son
131487-1502Thihathura II Son Joint-king during Minkhaung II's reign
[Shway Nan Kyawt Shin]
Son of Minkhaung II
151527-1543Thohanbwa Son of Sawlon of Mohnyin
[Kone Hmaing]
Saopha of Thibaw
171546-1552Mobye Narapati
[Moebyae Narapati]
Son Saopha of Mobye (Mong Pai)
181552-1555Sithu Kyawhtin
[Sithu Kyaw Htin]
Saopha of Salin

The Mongol invasion destroyed the unified kingdom of King Anawrahta. The Mon and the Burmans retreated to the south and founded the city of Bago. In the northern part of the country, the Shans established a kingdom at Innwa. Of this kingdom, which forms another part of that called the empire of Ava, from the king or emperor's residing at the capital of that name, European accounts were very impersect, the inland country of this peninsula having been very little frequented by Europeans. Ava, as a particular kingdom, was said to be inclosed by Jangoma, or Siam, on the east ; Pegu on the south ; and Arrakan on the west.

In 1298 AD a Shan dynasty was founded in Burma, which reigned for about seventy years with Myinzaing, Panya, and Sagaing as the capitals. The literary history of the Inwa Period (1346-1526 C.E.) lasted longer than its political history. The dynasty of Inwa kings began with therise of King Thado Min Bya in C.E. 1364 and ended with the overthrow of King Sithu Kyaw Htin in C.E. 1555; a span of 191 years. The literature that flourished in this period continued to grow and influence the new literary forms of subsequent periods. The literati of the Inwa Period included laymen and clergymen from various classes including royalty, nobility,aristocracy, higher clergy, and commoner.

In 1364, a new Burmese dynasty was founded by Thado Minbya, who dethroned the contemporaneous rulers at Panya and Sagaing, and established his capital at Ava. Said to be a descendant of the ancient kings of Tagaung, Thado Minbya was of Shan extraction on his mother's side. The kings of Ava set about restoring Burmese supremacy, which had disintegrated after the collapse of Pagan to the Mongol invasion under Kublai Khan that ended the First Burmese Empire founded by King Anawrahta in 1057. A Burman Inwa Dynasty (1364-1527) was eventually established at the city of Inwa by 1364. Pagan culture was revived and a great age of Burmese literature ensued. The kingdom lacked easily defendable borders, however, and was overrun by the Shan in 1527.

The Burmans were followers of Buddha under the form of Guadama; but the kings of Ava had always been partial to the Brahmins, who were the astrologers of the court, and without consulting whom no affair, either of public or private importance, was undertaken; and that has made them so popular that it was rare to find a viceroy or great lord who had not one or more in his household.

The Kingdom of Inwa was involved in continuous warfare with Tai (Shan) saophas to the north on the frontier with Yunnan. There were repeated Tai raids on the capital of Inwa and Inwa sent military northwards to attack Tai fiefdoms such as Mong Mao. The Ming dynasty that ruled China from the late fourteenth century often tried unsuccessfully to put an end to this warfare through traditional Chinese diplomacy. Inwa occasionally became involved in the warfare between the Ming and Tai in Yunnan such as in the Luchuan-Pingmian Campaigns (1436-1449).

All the seventeen kings of his dynasty, which held the reins of government till 1554, were mainly of Shan descent. On the last king of this line being conquered and deposed by Bayin Naung, of the Toungoo dynasty, King of Pegu, the kingdom of Burma was held as a tributary of the kingdom of Pegu.

Upper Burma was commonly called the Kingdom of Inwa or the Court of Inwa. The Kingdom of Ava, or Burmah, changed its capital very often. These cities are only a few miles from each other, and whenever the capital is changed the inhabitants of the old city were mostly taken along to start the new one. Five hundred years ago the city of Ava was made the capital, and it remained so for nearly three centuries. Inwa, capital of Burma from 1364-1841, was founded by King Thadominbya on an artificial island at the confluence of the Ayeyarwady and the Myitnge Rivers, created by digging a canal linking the two rivers. Prior to this, Sagaing had been capital, but after Sagaing fell to the Shan, the court moved across the river to Ava. Ava was first made the capital about 1364; and since then the Burman kings shifted the capital eight or nine times.

In 1555, Inwa fell to the southern Burmese Kingdom of Taungoo which led to the founding of the Second Burmese Empire by King Tabinshwehti, but in 1636, the king of Taungoo relocated his own capital to Inwa. Monchobo was the capital from 1740 to 1782, and then the seat of government was taken to Amarapoora, where it remained till 1819, when it went back to Ava. In 1752, the Mon revolted against Burmese rule and sacked Inwa. A couple of years later, the founder of the new Konbaung Dynasty and the Third Burmese Empire, Alaungpaya, crushed the Mon revolt, and after a period with Shwebo as his capital, re-established the court in Inwa. During the reign of King Bodawpaya (lit. Lord Royal Grandfather, 1781-1819), the capital was moved to nearby Amarapura. However, his successor, King Bagyidaw (lit. Royal Elder Uncle, 1819-1837), moved the Court back to Inwa in 1823.

In 1839 every substantial edifice in Ava was destroyed by an earthquake; in consequence of which Monchobo, the birthplace of Alompra, and once the seat of the court, again became temporarily the capital of the Burman empire. When a tremendous earthquake caused extensive damage in 1841, Inwa was finally abandoned for Amarapura. Little remains of the ancient capital today. Because of the earthquake, most of the palaces in Inwa were destroyed. Afterward both Amarapura and Ava were honored by the preference of the kings. Following the British conquest of Lower Burma after the Second Anglo-Burmese War (1852-53), the capital was fixed at Mandelay in 1857.

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Page last modified: 08-10-2011 12:16:40 ZULU