The Shan settlements in Myanmar
The Shan settlements in Myanmar
Ethnologically speaking, Myanmar is one of the richest countries in the world. More than a hundred ethnic peoples are presently scattered all over the country, making it their homeland and sharing their griefs and joys for centuries. When Myanmar was about to get its independence, a historic conference was held at a small town called Panglong in central Shan State which brought together representatives of the ethnic representatives of the ethnic people led by the Shan leaders and of the Myanmar Government led by General Aung San. At the conference it was agreed that the ethnic people would cooperate in all the activities for independence and than they would enjoy full autonomy in internal administration as well as fundamental rights and privileges. When Myanmar gained independence in 1948 the Union of Myanmar with three States of the ethnic minorities, viz Kachin State, Kayah State and Shan State came into existence. Subsequently other States of the ethnic minorities were created, so that at present there are Seven States1 of the ethnic minorities and Seven Divisions2 of different nationalities with Myanmar as the major unit. Of the Seven States of ethnic minorities, Shan State is the largest and is located in the eastern portion of Myanmar. The majority of its inhabitants are commonly known to the Myanmar people as "Shan".
The Shan are the most widely scattered of the ethnic people in Myanmar and they can be found in every part of the country. Their Mans (villages), Mongs (city-states) and settlements stretch from the northernmost region of Hkamti Long down to Tharrawaddy and then to southern Taninthayi (Tenasserim) and from the tip of Kengtung in the east to Hsawng Hsup, Kabaw valley and Ta-mu in the west. In central Myanmar many Shan settlements can be found around Ava, Pinya, Sagaing, Toungoo, Pyinmana and Pyi (Prome).
Reasons for Migration
The question here is: When did the Shans enter Myanmar? In fact, they had migrated into this country so long ago that nobody could exactly ascertain the actual date of their coming. Some scholars, including Dr. Cushing believe that the migration of the Shans into Myanmar took place two thousand years ago. The reasons for the migration being:
The restlessness of their character which urged them to move to find new places where they could settle independently and in isolation. Because of this, their migration was, in general, rather slow and peaceful.
Their peculiar war-like character which occasionally manifested itself. Because of this, their migration was at times rather forceful and aggressive, such as the military expeditions into Myanmar, once before the Christian era and another in A.D. 2413. A combined force of "Taroks" and "Tareks" which invaded Bagan and the Taroks are probably "Shan".
The pressure of Chinese invasion and conquests such at those which happened in A.D. 78 and A.D. 1253.
In A.D. 78 a quarrel broke out between Chinese and Shan leaders over the question of the appointment of a Chinese official to represent the suzerainty of China over the Shan and a fierce battle broke out between the Shans and the Chinese. The Shan leader Lei-Lao, being defeated took his followers and migrated to the present northern Shan State, that being one of the earliest migrations of the Shans into Myanmar4.
A similar migration in great strength took place in A.D. 1253 as a direct result of the conquest of the Shan Kingdom of Ta-li-fu by Kablai Khan.
Establishment of Mongs
Most of the northern Shan chronicles also indicate that a great wave of Shan migration took place in the 6th century A.D. with the Shans shifting from the mountains of southern Yunnan into the Nam Mao valley and to the adjacent region, establishing many Mongs like Bhamo, Mong Mit, Hsipaw, Hsenwi and other. Making these places their first homeland they spread out to the present Shan State to establish more Mongs and Kengs like Mong Nawng, Mong Hsu, Mong Kawng, Mong Keshi-mansam, Mong Laika, Mong Nai, Mong Pan, Mong Mawkmai, Keng Rom, Keng Tawng, Keng Hkam, Yawnghwe, Mong Lawk Sawk, Hsamonghkam, Mong Sam Ka, Mong Pai and others; and from Mong Kawng, Mong Yang, Waing Hso, Kat Hsa moving north-westwards to Hkamti Long area where they established the eight Mongs of Hkamti Shans; Lokhun, Mansi, Lon Kyein, Mansehkun, Mannu, Langdao, Mong Yak and Longnu5. Moving to the west the Shans occupied and established the new Mongs of Hsawng Hsup6, Singkalaing Hkamti (Kanti) 7, Mong Kale8, Mong Leng (Mohling) Main Kaing9 or Mong Kang, Hu-Kawng, Mawlek, Mong Yaung (Mong Nyaung), Homalin (Hom Mark Leng), Paungbyin, Hkam-Pat, Ta Mu, etc. between the Ayarwaddy and the Chindwin and along the Uyu river and ever up to Manipur and Assam.
The Shan immigrants of upper Myanmar were the oldest branch of the Tai ethnic group being known as "Tai Long" or "Tai Yai", that is "Great Tai". Tai Mao and Tai Nua were also classified as "Tai Long". Later Shan immigrants to Laos and Thailand were call "Tai Noi" or "Little Tai".
More Migration during the Reign of Sao Hso Khan Hpa and Sao Hsam Long Hpa
A constant flow of the Shan migration was made possible when a powerful Shan Kingdom called Mong Mao Long was established in the Mao valley. For many decades the Mao Shans had concentrated on the building of the Mao power in this valley and a number of old capitals existed in this valley, a well-known one being Se-Lan10. All the chronicles of the northern Shan State agree that the Mao political power reached its height in the 7th century and that it maintained itself with varying degree of progress and prosperity, especially during the reign of the twin brothers Sao Hso Hkan Hpa and Sao Hsam Long Hpa.
The first thing Sao Hso Khan Hpa did, when he came to the throne was to consolidate and to bring all the Shan principalities of the neighbouring areas and those located in the northern and southern Shan State under his suzerainty. To achieve his objective, he employed two methods. One was to request all the neighbouring Shan Chiefs to voluntarily acknowledge his overlordship; the other was to bring those who failed to submit under his rule by force of arms. Both methods were successful and within a few years he brought all such regions under his rule. Emboldened by success, he embarked upon a policy of expansion towards the southeast and the south, undertaking the military expeditions in person. The campaigns were successful and he annexed a strip of land from Tali on the north to Keng-sen, Ving-chang and some territories far down to Cambodia. In the southern Thailand and also Ayuthia, in 135011. In the south-west, he overran the Monland right down the Taninthayi peninsular. Bagan was also included in the list of his captured kingdoms12.
To expand the Mao power towards the west, he assigned the task to his brother General Sao Hsam Long Hpa. The General with his army marched down to Mong Kawng which he easily annexed. Then, making Mong Kawng his military base and second capital next to Mong Mao Long, he crossed the Ayeyawady, the Uyu and the Chindwin rivers and easily brought all the existing Shan principalities to acknowledge the suzerainty of the Mao King, Sao Hso Hkan Hpa. Then Sao Hsam Long Hpa marched up to northern Rakhine (1294) to bring Waisali, Manipur, region around Brahmaputra and Assam (1229) under the rule of the Mao King. The Mong Kawng annals mention that there were eight races of people who acknowledged the overlordship of the Mong Kawng Chief, the Nora, divided into tribes like the Ai-Ton, the Ai-Kham, and Fakei (the latter were not Khaung or Khang-sei (i.e. the Khyen or Nagas); the Singphos or Kachyens: the Pwons, divided into great and small Pwons; the Kadus, a kindred people to the latter were similarly divided; the Yaws, a tribe of Burmans on the right bank of the Ayarwaddy; the Kunbaw, said to be the Burmese of the neighbourhood of Mautshobo (Moksobo), the Kunungs and Kunmuns, or Mishmis, divided by the Assamese into Mkju and Chullicotta Mishmis 13. About ninety-nine Saohpas of northern Myanmar pledged their allegiance to the Chief of Mong Kawng and Mong Mao Long14.
Former Shan Settlements in North
The successive conquests achieved by Sao Hsam Long Hpa over the northern territory encouraged greater Shan immigration to these new areas and led to further establishment of their Ban-Mong system. Territories which now belong to Kachin State were once under the rule of the Mong Kawng Saohpa and many Shans (affiliated to Tai-Long ethnic group) can still be found dominating in the Bans and Mongs of the region as follows:
- Bilumyohaung or Waing Hpai Kao
- Bilumyothit or Waing Hpai Mai
- Hopin or Ho-Pang
- Htantabin or Ban Htan Ton Leo
- Htopu or Ban Hto Hpu
- Inbaung or Ban Kyapt Naung
- Ingyingon-Old. Ban Kaung Pao Kao
- Ingyinon-New. Ban Kaung Pao Mai
- Kangon or Ban Kon Naung
- Kanhla or Ban Naung Ngarm
- Kayuchaung or Ban nam haung Hoi
- Kondangyi or Ban Kong Khay
- Kyakyikwin Ban Naung Mo Long
- Lwelaw or Ban Loilaw
- Maing Naung or Mong Naung
- Manywet or Ban Ywet
- Mogaung or Mong Kawng
- Mohnyin or Mong Yang
- Myothitgyi or Waing Mai
- Nam Khwin
- Natgyikon or Ban Hpi Long
- Nyaunggon or Ban Kon Nyaung
- Pinbaw or Ban Pang Baw
- Pinlon or Ban Panglong
- Pintha or Ban Pyin Hsa
- Sahmaw or Ban Mao Khay
- Taungni or Ban Loi Leng
- Yawthit or Ban Mai
In Kamaing Township
- Chaungwa or Ban Pak Haung
- Hepan or Haipan
- Hepu or Haipu
- Lonsan or Long San
- Lwemun or Loimun
- Maing Pok or Mong Pok
- Maubin Nalatan
In Myitkyina Township
- Katcho or Kat Kiao
- Khaungpu or Hkaunghpu old
- Khaungpu or Hkaunghpu new
- Maingmaw or Mong Maw
- Maingna or Mong Na
- Mankin Saragatawng
- Makin Shwezet
- Manmakan or Man Mark Karn
- Tahona or Ta Ho Na
Although the majority of the Shan in these areas are ethnologically affiliated to the Taileng ethnic group, there are also Shans who belong ethnologically to Tai Hkamti and Tai-nua groups. They live together in some regions and each tries to maintain its own traditions, customs, beliefs and dialect. But we find that the Shans affiliated to Tai-leng group are gradually becoming Myanmarnized. In some of the Shan Bans and Mongs there are also new immigrants of Sinpho ethnic groups coming to live among the Shans and strangely enough there are also some Nepalese or Gurkhas who live together happily with the Shans in some Bans and Mongs in northern Myanmar.
The twin brother kings, Sao Hso Kham Hpa and Sao Hsam Long Hpa did much to enable Shan immigrants to migrate and settle down in various parts of Myanmar and make it their homeland. They made the Shan power felt everywhere and encouraged the Shan immigrants to establish wherever possible their city-states which came to be known as "Mong" or "Keng". They also encouraged the Shans to reclaim forests for rice plantation. Thus the land became the rice bowl of Southeast Asia. Having developed agricultural skills since their stay in China, the Shan farmers improve the land to increase the rice production for the people of Bagan. After Narathihapate (1254-87) Bagan had become very weak with the effect of the Mongol invasion being felt everywhere. The three Shan brothers Athinkaya. Yazathinkyan and Thihathu, Chief of Mynsaing, Mekkhaya and Pinle located in the strategic district of Kyaukse got themselves concerned in Myanmar politics and that gave rise to a period of two and a half centuries of Shan domination in Myanmar.
Shan Kings in Myanmar
The list of Shan kings who succeeded the kings of Bagan and reigned at Myinsaing and Pinya is:
Athinhkaya, Yazathinkyan and Thihathu, the three Shan brothers who acquired power after the fall of Bagan and governed the country with equal status form A.D. 1298, their joint reign lasted fourteen years.
Thihathu or Ta-tsi-Shin, youngest of the three brothers who made himself king at Pinya form 1312 for ten years.
- < align="justify">Uzana (stepson of No.2) son of Kyawswa (1287-98), deposed king of Bagan and the adopted son of Thihathu.
Ngasishin Kyawswa (half brother of No. 3), son of Thihathu or Ta-tsi-shin, became king in 1343 and reigned eight years.
- Kyawswa-nge (son of No. 4) became king in 1350 and reigned nine years.
- Narathu (brother No. 5) became king in 1354 and reigned five years.
Uzana Pyaung (brother No. 6) became kin in 1364, and assassinated after three months rule by Thadominbya.
Turning to Sagaing there were seven Shan kings who reigned at Sagaing from 1315 to 1364:
Sawyun or Saoyun, the son of Thihathu or Ta-tsi-shin who also reigned at Myinsaing and Pinya. He became king in 1315 and reigned seven years.
Tarabyagyi (step brother of No. 1), became king in 1323 and reigned fourteen years.
Shwetaungtet (son of No. 2), became king in 1336 and reigned three years.
Kyawswa (son of No. 2), became king in 1340 and reigned ten years.
Nawrahtaminye (brother of No. 4), became king in 1350 and reigned seven months only.
Tarabyange (brother of No. 5), became king in 1350 and reigned three years.
Minbyauk Thihapate, (brother-in-law of No. 6) was driven from Sagaing by a Shan army from the north and murdered by his stepson, Thadominbya in 1364.
Ava the capital of upper Myanmar for many years was founded with the help of the Shan Chief Thadominbya in 1364. There were nineteen Chiefs of Shan descent who reigned in Ava from 1364 to 1555.
Thadominbya said to be descended from the ancient Shan kings of Takawng or Tagaung on his mother's side, he was the grandson of Athinhkaya Sawyun, the Shan king of Sagaing. He founded Ava in 1364, became king in the same year and reigned three years.
Nga Nu (usurper), a paramour of Sao Umma, became king in 1368, and reigned only a few days.
Mingyiswasawke, said to be descended from both the Bagan dynasty and the Shan brothers, became king in 1368 and reigned thirty-five years.
Tarabya or Sinbyushin, (eldest son of No. 3), became king in 1401 but reigned only seven months, being murdered by his attendant.
Nga Nauk Hsan, became king in 1401 and reigned only a few weeks.
Minkhaung (another son of No. 3) hesitated to accept the throne but his younger brother Theiddat killed a cousin claimant and made him king. He became king in 1401 and reigned twenty one years.
Thihathu (son of No. 6) became king in 1422 and reigned four years. He was murdered at the instigation of Queen Shin Bo Me.
Minhla Ngai (son of No. 7) became king in 1426 but reigned only three months. He was poisoned.
Kalekyetaungnyo (usurper) became king in 1426 but reigned only seven months.
Mohnyinthado or Mohnyimintara, Chief of Shan descent who enforced his claim ot the throne, as descent of the kings of Bagan, Narapatisithu (1173-1210) and Ngasishin (1343-1350) and of the family of the three Shan brothers. He became king in 1427 and reigned thirteen years.
Minrekyawswa (son of No. 10) became king in 1440 and reigned three years.
Narapati (Thihathu) (brother of No. 11), became king in 1443 and reigned twenty six years.
Thihathu or Mahathihathura (son of No. 12) became kin in 1469 and reigned twelve years.
Minhkaung (son of No. 13) became king in 1481 and reigned twenty-one years.
Shwenankyawshin, (son of No. 14) became king in 1502 and reigned twenty five years. He was killed by Tho-han-bwa or Hso Hom Hpa who succeeded to the throne.
Thohanbwa or Hso Hom Hpa, son of Mohnyin Saolon who conquered Ava. He became king in 1527 and reigned sixteen years. He was murdered.
Hkonmaing or Hkun Mong, Saohpa Onbaung or Hsipaw and related to Shwe-nan-Kyaw-shin, was elected king of Ava. He became king in 1543 and reigned three years.
Mobye (or Mong Pai) Narapati (son of No. 17) Saohpa of Mong Pai became king of Ava in 1546, reigned six years and abdicated.
Sithukyawhtin, a Shan Chief of Salin, seized Ava and became king in 1552, and reigned three years. He was conquered and deposed by Bayinnaung in 155516.
Shan Settlements in Southern
As for the Shans of Southern Myanmar, Myanmar history tells us that there were several Shan settlements around Thaton, Mawlamyine, Madana and Bago. Like elsewhere in Myanmar the local chiefs of Southern Myanmar locked themselves into the game of power politics. The most prominent of them was a local Shan chief called Wareru who became the most active player of the game. He was the son of a Shan immigrant to Thaton and was born in a village called Doonwun near Thaton. When he grew up he went to Sukhotai and rendered his services to the king as a stable boy. His duty was to look after the royal elephants, sometime going along with the king on an expedition. He proved himself capable and efficient and was promoted to the rank of captain of the guard. Also because of his close association with the king he came to be acquainted with the king's daughter. One day, during the absence of the king he eloped with the daughter and brought her to his native place Thaton.
He was an ambitious young man and Machiavellian in his actions, using every possible means to achieve his political ambitions. When he returned to his native land his first political move was to eliminate Aleimma the governor of Madana. He tricked Aleimma, with the beauty of his sister as a lure; the governor fell into his trap and was murdered. He thus gained control of the strategic sea-port of Madana in 1281. He next turned his attention to Bago which was the time ruled alternately by Myanmar and Mon. He made a alliance with the Mon prince Tarabya by giving his daughter in marriage to him. The two of them jointly attacked Bago outsted the Myanmar governor and occupied much of the territories south of Pyi and Taungoo. A quarrrel arose over the division of their new territories and Tarabya hatched a plot to ambush Wareru but failed. Unable to solve their territorial problem peacefully, they finally agreed to solve the problem through a single combat on elephants. Tarabya lost the combat and was executed. After that Wareru emerged as the sole ruler of southern Myanmar and was recognized by China and Thailand. The king of Sukhotai who was his father-in-law sent him a white elephant as symbol of his appreciation and recognition of his political achievement. Wareru shifted his capital from Madana to Bago in 1369 and established a dynasty which lasted from 1287 to 1539. The following is the list of the Shan kings of Bago of the dynasty established by Wareru in 1287:
Wareru, A.D. 1287 (S. 649). The Shan chief who established the dynasty but had his capital at Madana. He reigned nineteen years.
Khun-lau' or Tha na' ran bya keit who became king in A.D. 1306 (S. 668) and reigned four years.
Dza'u-a'u or Theng-Mha'ing (nephew of 2), who became king in A.D. 1310 (S. 672) and reigned thirteen years.
Dzau-dzip, or Binya-ran-da (brother of 3) who became king in A.D. 1323 (S. 685) and reigned seven years.
Binya-e'-la'u (son of 2, Khun-Lau and cousin of 4) who became king in A.D. 1330 (S. 692) and reigned eighteen years.
Byinya-u, or Tshen-Pyu-Sheng (son of 4 Dzau-dzip and cousin of 5), who restored the ancient capital Bago or Hansawadi. He became king in A.D. 1348 (S. 710) and reigned thirty-seven years.
Binya-nwe, or Ra'-dza' di-rit (son of 6) who became king in A.D. 1485 (S. 747) and reigned 38 years.
Binya Dham-ma Ra'-dza (kson of 7) who became king in A.D. 1423 (S. 785) and reigned three years.
Binya-Ra'n-kit (brother of 8) who became king in A.D. 1426 (S. 788) and reigned twenty years.
Binya-Wa-ru (nephew of 9) who became king in A.D. 1466 (S. 808) and reigned four years.
Binya Keng (cousin of 10) who became king in A.D. 1450 (S. 812) and reigned three years.
Mahau-dau (cousin of 11) who became king in A.D. 1453 (S. 815) and reigned seven months.
Queen Sheng tsau bu, Binya dau' (cousin of 12) who became queen in A.D. 1453 (S. 815).
Dham-ma Dze-di (cousin of 13) who became king in A.D. 1460 (S. 822) and reigned thirty-one years. He did not belong to the Royal Family.
Binya Ran' (son of 14 and son-in-law of 13, Sheng-tsau-bu) who became king in A.D. 1526 (S. 853) and reigned thirty-five years.
Ta-ka'-rwut-bi (son of 15) who became king in A.D. 1526 (S. 888) and reigned fourteen years. He was conquered and deposed by Tabeng-Shwehti, king of Taungoo in A.D. 154017.
During his rule in southern Myanmar, Wareru achieved one important thing by compiling the customary law in Pali. It is called after him as the Wareru Dhammathat, supposed to be one of the earliest lawbook in Myanmar.
During the period of the Wareru dynasty trade and commercial relations were established with European countries which brought prosperity to Bago, Madana and Taninthayi. Native products like rubies and other gems of northern Myanmar, lac, ivory, horn, lead, tin, Bago or Madana jars, long pepper, and nyper wine made form the dani palm where exchanged with products like camphor, pepper, scented wood either from Sumatra or Borneo, Chinese porcelain, velvets, opium and other wares which were brought in by Portuguese and other European merchants.
Shan Settlement on East of
As in northern and other parts of Myanmar, Shan settlements can also be found east of the Salween River. The region here is shaped like a triangle. Although the Shan immigrants of this areas, were ethnologically affiliated to the Tai race, they retained their local names such as Hkun, Lu, Lem, Ngio, Yun and Tai Nua. Based upon their Ban-Mong or Ban-Keng system the immigrants were able to establish many Mongs and Kengs as their city-states. Some of the Mongs established by the Shan immigrants were:
Mong Yang Mong Mang
Mong Lwe Mong Leng
Mong Hkak Mong Set
Mong Ka Mong Hum
Mong Pawk Mong Tang
Mong Hka Mong Mau
Mong Leng Mong Pak
Mong Tum Mong Yoi
Mong Ka Mong Hkawn
Mong Hism Mong Ngawn
Mong Pan Mong Rom
Mong Pu Mong Nung
Mong Hit Mong Nyen
Mong Leng Mong Tung
Mong Mu Keng Hkam
Mong Hsen Keng Taung
Mong Ing Keng Lap
Mong Pu-awn Keng Hkawng
Mong Ping Keng Hkang
Mong Hpong Keng Hkum18
Kengtung is the largest city and the capital of Eastern Shan state. Kengtung has an area of rather over 12,000 square miles, and a population of about 500,000. It is bounded by Thailand and the south; China on the north and Laos on the east. It extends form the Mekong to the Salween and also includes some territories west of the Salween. According to legend what is now Kengtung city and valley was originally a vast lake. Kengtung was founded by the Saohpa of Mong Rai and his sons. They brought sixty-nine Hkun families to settle down there, and Kengtung became a Mong of Hkun people. The Hkun people who settled on his region came from the east and formed part of the eastern wave of the southward migration of the Shan people.
Yun history also mentions that Kengtung plain was conquered from the Wa by the joint efforts of a son Paya Mong Rai and a Chieng-mai monk. They introduced Buddhism, established monasteries and introduced the Tai Yun written language 655 years ago19.
The Hkun people occupy much of the central parts of Kengtung and also the Kengtung valley. The Lu people occupy all the eastern valleys towards the Mekong and also along the border touching Hsip hsaung Panna especially around Mong Yawng. The Shan people are settled in the western portion of the state and along the Salween river and other parts. The Hkun, Lu and Shans are intermingled. The difference of dialect between Hkun and Lu is considerable, but they have little difficulty in understanding each other. The Lu and the Hkun have almost the same written character which is also close to the Laotian character, and educated Hkun and Lu can read Lao writing easily. Dr. Clifton Dodd made the following remarks of the Hkun:
The Kun are neither haughty nor servile. They have an air and manner of self respect and geniality. They look better groomed, they are finer grained, they are keener traders, more adroit diplomats in a small way, more sociable, more affable, more "like our folks". One soon becomes acquainted with them and acquaintance soon ripen into friendship20.
Lem, Ngio and Yun are also affiliated to Tai ethnic groups. The Laotian people, sometimes call the people form western Salween call the people form western Salween Ngio, but the pepole of the area do not accept the name. The name Ngio is also sometimes applied to the people living along the Mekong close to Lao. The people form Mong Lem are called Lem. They are also affiliated to Tai group especially to the Tai Nua. The Yun are pepople who live along the Kengtung-Thai border. They extend into Chiengmai and the people of Chiengmai are mostly Yun. The Yun people have their own written character and produced quite a lot of literary words especially on Buddhism. The Yun type of Buddhism is practised in Chiengmai and Kengtung among the Hkun, Lu, Lem, Ngio and Tai Loi of Kengtung.
Tai Nua communities settled near Kengtung, on its north and along the Myanmar-China border, around Muse, Namhkam, Bhamo, Myitkyina, Mong Na, Kat Kiao, and further north up to Loi Kye.
There are also settlements along the east bank of the Ayarwady up to the Shweli area. The Tai Nua people have their own written language, literature and have produced some works on Buddhism. Their written characters are of an old type that looks like bean sprouts. So they are called "Leik Hto Ngok" in Shan. Now they have reformed the old characters and that makes it much easier to learn. The Tai Nua are a hardy type of people and many of them are good farmers and good blacksmiths.
The Shan migration into Myanmar dates back to a very remote period. The nature of their migration was usually slow and peaceful. But there were exception when it was war-like and forceful. They penetrated deep into Myanmar to occupy every plain, every hill and every valley and turn every available wasteland to produce rice either for own consumption or for trade. They were hardy farmers and good cultivators. They adopted a feudal type of administration. Whenever they migrated they introduced their Mong and Keng system of city-states. They frequently fought among themselves but they formed into alliance against common enemy. Endless wars are recorded in their local histories. The frequent fightings among themselves and against neighbouring foes exhausted their strength so that they finally became very weak. They also made the mistake of adopting new local names instead of adhering to their original unity. They split and scattered so much and so far that it became almost impossible for them to retain the unity of the old days. Some of the Shan chiefs became pawns in the game of Myanmar power politics, but they were unable to create enough unity for the establishment of a United Kingdom like Nanchao and Mong Mao Long of the old days. In 1555, a powerful King of Bago, Bayinnaung easily wiped out the feudal power of the chiefs of the Mongs and made it impossible for them to recover from their fall. The final blow came when the three wars took place between the Myanmar and the British. The Shan chiefs, being subordinate to the Myanmar kings, had to supply contingent after contingent to fight against the British. Many Shans lost their lives during the three wars and there are stories of Shan women fighting gallantly and bravely with their men against the British. But bravery alone could not stem the tide of British imperialism. The Myanmar army with the Shan levies suffered defeat and Upper Myanmar was finally conquered by the British. Likewise, the Shan States, the Shan Chiefs and the Shan people suffered.
Kachin State, Kayah State, Kayin State, Chin State, Mon State, Yakhine State and Shan State
Mandalay Division, Sagaing Division, Bago Division, Magwe Division, Yangon Division, Ayeyawaddy Division and Taninthayi Division.
J. George Scott and J.P Hardiman, Gazetteer of Upper Burma and the Shan States, part 1 and Vol 1 Rangoon, Government Printing, Burma, 1900. P. 192.
- Ibid, p. 193
The Kachin Hills Manual. Rangoon, The Superintendent, Government Printing, Burma, 1959, p. 194
Hsawng Hsup or Thaungthut in Myanmar. It was a Shan State lying between Manipur and the Chindwin. The Nampanga river has sometimes been regarded as the northern boundary, … A mountain range rising to 5000ft runs along the middle of the State continues northwards beyond the Nampanga river … the Manipuris call it the Angaw Chin, or Angaw mountain. The the west of this range is the upper part of the Kabaw valley, broad and fertile, … In the north of the State, where it does not form the boundary, sends its spurs down to the river on the east, leaving a comparatively small area for cultivation in the neighbourhood of Thaungthut. A history of the State from the time of Buddha is in the possession of the Saohpa … Gawmona, which is said to have been the capital of an independent kingdom up to the time of Anawrahta (about A.D. 1010 to 1052) was near the site marked in the greater inch map as "Thap or Old samjok" in latitude 34? 31', longitude 93? 34', "Thap is merely the Burmese tat, stockade (Note, the fact "Thap" is a Shan word meaning to bar, to prevent and also it means "Army"). Samjok is the Manipuri town of the name which appears in Shan as Hsawng Hsup and in Burmese as Thaungthut. Burma Gazetteer Upper Chindwin District, Vol. A, 1913. pp. 74-76.
Singkalaing Hkamti or Kanti State. A Shan State in the extreme north of the District, in two, district parts one lying more or less between 26? 10' and 25? 45' N 95? 20' and 96?E, and the other between 25? 30' and 25? 40'N, 95? 30'E. The State, however, has no boundaries except on the Chindwin itself … The State is called Singkakaing Hkamti to distinguish it from Hkamti Long, or Great Hkamti which lies between latitude 27? and 28?N. Singkalaing is the name of a Naga tribe which occupied the site of the present Kanti before its foundation, and which survives in a few houses at the mouth of the Namaw river in 26? 6'N, 75? 57'E. BGUCD, Vol. A, 1913. pp. 74-79.
Kale, Kalewa or Yazagyo. A small town covering 176 square miles, lying on both sides of the Chindwin. Almost all its villages are on the bank of the river. The people are mostly cultivators. A chronicle of unknown origin contains a list of princes in which Indian names give way to Shan as early as 210 B.C., when kingdom is said to have been united by marriage with that of Mohnyin (Kathy district) in the person of Saw Kantwe, son of Kumonde raja by the daughter of the Mohnyin Prince. The first capital was known as Nwepat or New Yazajyo. But this town was destroyed in A.D. 699 by Manipuris and Chins and a new seat for the capital was chosen at Theinnyin with the assistance of the Mohnyin Saohpa. In 967 A.D., Kalemyo was reported to have became the capital… At that time the state is said to have been bounded on the north by Taungthut, east by the Chindwin, south by the Yaw country, and west by the Chin Hills and Manipur. Remains of massive walks, enclosing an area of 134 acres, many still be seen at Kalemyo… Shan Kingdoms were founded in different parts of the country, and Kale, like its sister states of Mohnyin and Mongaung, became independent. BGUCD, Vol.A. 1913. pp. 8-9. 70-71.
Maing Kaing or Mong Kang (Lac Town). This township comprises nearly all the bed of Uyu and its tributaries, … on the north side it has no boundries… on the east it borders on Myitkyina and Katha. The people talk Shan or Kadu… The population is nearly all on the lower part of the Uyu and on its southern tributaries… In the rest of the township the ordinary rice cultivation is practised, with gold-washing as a minor occupation.
Se-Lan was located about 13 miles east of Namhkam and close to the Chinese frontier. It was situated on the high point of an irregular four-sided plateau, which was about 200 or 300 feet above the level of the valley. It was about a square mile in area. The plateau was surrounded by an entrenched ditch which was in many places 40 to 50 feet deep. An old well was also discovered but it had mouldered away completely. Diary of my movements and events as they occurred Report of Intelligence Branch Burma Division, London. The British Library, India Office Library and Records, 1894, p. 4 (map).
W.W. Cochrane, The Shans, Vol.1, Rangoon, The Superintendent, Government Printing, Burma. 1915. P. 64.
- Ibid, p. 70.
Sao Saimong Mangrai, The Shan States and the British Annexation, Ithaca, New York, Department of Asia studies, Cornell University, 1965. Appendix II, p. XIX.
The Kachin Hill Manual, Rangoon, The Superintendent, Government Printing, Union of Burma, 1959.pp.17-18.
G.E. Harvey. History of Burma, from The Earliest Time to March 1824. The Beginning of the English Conquest London, Frank Cass and Co.Ltd. 1967, 160.
Sir Arthur t.Phayre. History of Burma Including Burma Proper, Taungu, Tenasserim and Arakan, London 7 A High Street, Wanstead, 1883. Appendix pp. 290-291.
J. George Scott and J.P. Hardiman, Gazetteer of the Upper Burma and the Shan States, Part II Vol. I. Rangoon, The Superintendent, Government Printing, Burma, 1901, 374-5.
- William Clifton Dodd, The Tai Race, Iowa. The Torch Press, 1923, 207.
- Ibid, 211
Courtesy: Shan State Magazine, Year 2000, Taunggyi.