THE TOUNGOO DYNASTIES IN MYANMAR

THE TOUNGOO DYNASTIES IN MYANMAR

The King Mingyinyo founded the First Toungoo Dynasty (1486–1599) at Toungoo, south of Ava, towards the end of the Ava dynasty. After the conquest of Ava by the Shan invaders in 1527 many Burmans migrated to Toungoo which became a new center for Burmese rule.

Mingyinyo’s son king Tabinshwehti (1531-50) unified most of Myanmar. By this time, the geopolitical situation in Southeast Asia had changed dramatically. The Shan gained power in a new kingdom in the North, Ayutthaya (Siam), while the Portuguese had arrived in the south and conquered Malacca. With the coming of European traders, Myanmar was once again an important trading centre, and Tabinshwehti moved his capital to Pegu due to its strategic position for commerce. Tabinshwehti was able to gain control of Lower Burma up to Prome, but the campaigns he led to the Arakan, Ayutthaya, and Ava in Upper Burma were unsuccessful.

When Bayinnaung (1551-81), Tabinshwehti’s brother-in-law, succeeded to the throne he launched a campaign of conquest invading several states, including Manipur (1560) and Ayutthaya (1569). His wars stretched Myanmar to the limits of its resources, however, and both Manipur and Ayutthaya were soon independent once again.

Faced with rebellion by several cities and renewed Portuguese incursions, the Toungoo rulers withdrew from southern Myanmar and founded a second dynasty at Ava, the Restored Toungoo Dynasty (1597–1752). Bayinnaung’s grandson, Anaukpetlun, once again reunited Myanmar in 1613 and decisively defeated Portuguese attempts to take over Myanmar. His successor Thalun reestablished the principles of the old Pagan kingdom, but concentrated his efforts on religious merit and paid little attention to the southern part of his kingdom. Encouraged by the French in India, Pegu finally rebelled against Ava, further weakening the state, which fell in 1752.