41 Facts About Alaungpaya


Alaungpaya added settlements around Dagon, and called the enlarged town Yangon.


Alaungpaya is considered one of the three greatest monarchs of Burma alongside Anawrahta and Bayinnaung for unifying Burma for the third time in Burmese history.


Alaungpaya was the second son of a lineage of gentry families that had administered the Mu Valley for generations.


Alaungpaya's father was a hereditary chief of Moksobo and his uncle, Kyawswa Htin, better known as Sitha Mingyi, was the lord of the Mu Valley District.


Alaungpaya claimed descent from kings Mohnyin Thado, Narapati I and Thihathura of Ava, and ultimately the Pagan royal line.


Alaungpaya came from a large family and was related by blood and by marriage to many other gentry families throughout the valley.


In 1730, Alaungpaya married his first cousin Yun San, daughter of chief of a neighboring village, Siboktara.


Alaungpaya assumed his father's responsibilities as chief of his village in his early twenties.


Alaungpaya found a ready audience in "an exceptionally proud group of men and women" of Upper Burma who longed to redress the numerous humiliations that their once proud kingdom had suffered.


Alaungpaya pointed out that although Alaungpaya had scores of enthusiastic men, they only had a few muskets, and that their little stockade did not stand a chance against a well-equipped Hanthawaddy army that had just sacked a heavily fortified Ava.


Alaungpaya had the jungle outside the stockade cleared, the ponds destroyed and the wells filled.


Nonetheless, Alaungpaya's forces wiped out the first two Hanthawaddy detachments sent to secure his allegiance.


Soon, Alaungpaya was mustering a proper army from across the Mu Valley and beyond, using his family connections and appointing his fellow gentry leaders as his key lieutenants.


Alaungpaya now received homage from the nearer Shan States as far north as Momeik.


Alaungpaya sought an alliance with the East India Company and sought out more arms, but no alliance or arms materialized.


In 1758, Alaungpaya dispatched an expedition to the northern Shan and Tai states which had been annexed by the Qing since the mid-1730s.


Alaungpaya then turned his attention to the East India Company outpost at Cape Negrais at the southwestern tip of the Irrawaddy Delta.


However, the British turned down Alaungpaya's offer, as they claimed they could not spare any arms because they too were engaged in their own war against the French.


In 1758, Alaungpaya got the news that the East India Company's agents had sold ammunition and arms to Mon rebels.


Alaungpaya, who grew up watching Manipuri raids ransacking his home region year after year, was determined to return the favor as soon as he was able.


Alaungpaya raised his nominee to the Manipuri throne and returned with his army.


Alaungpaya brought back many Manipuri cavalry, who became elite cavalry corps in the Burmese army.


Alaungpaya sought assurances from the Siamese king that they would not intervene in the Burmese affairs and to surrender rebel leadership.


Only five days into the siege Alaungpaya suddenly fell ill.


Alaungpaya had longed for the sights and sounds of home, Shwebo for one last time but it was not to be.


Alaungpaya's death was made public at Yangon, and his body was taken upstream on a state barge.


Alaungpaya was buried with the ritual of the kings in the palace city, which once had been his lowly village, amid the mourning of an entire people.


Alaungpaya had reigned only eight years, and was not yet 46 when he died.


Alaungpaya was succeeded by his eldest son, Naungdawgyi, despite his second son Hsinbyushin's attempt to take over the throne.


Alaungpaya spent most of his reign in the military campaigns.


Alaungpaya appointed only three viceroys: one at the Seven Hill Districts, another at Taungoo and the other at Bago, and none of them was hereditary.


Alaungpaya made the viceroyships only because of his special personal relationships with those men.


One key policy change that Alaungpaya initiated, and followed by latter Konbaung kings, was the establishment of military colonies and civilian settlement in Lower Burma.


Alaungpaya built a palace on the model of those erected by the ancient kings.


Alaungpaya built canals by damming the Mu river for agriculture but the work decayed after his death.


Alaungpaya was a charismatic military "leader of the first quality" who deeply inspired his people to do greater things.


Alaungpaya was lavish in his praise and rewards but merciless in failure.


The most important legacy of Alaungpaya was the restoration of central rule in Burma for the first time in four decades, and the rise of the Konbaung Dynasty.


Alaungpaya, according to the Burmese historian Htin Aung, led a people "divided and broken, humiliated and ashamed" and "left to his successors a people united and confident, holding up their heads again in pride and in glory".


Alaungpaya has been named as the first king of Burma to consciously manipulate ethnic identity as a means to military and political domination.


The charges need to be balanced with the fact that Alaungpaya was merely reacting to what historian Victor Lieberman calls "dismally self-defeating" policy of ethnic polarization of the Restored Hanthawaddy.