Myeik (Burmese: မြိတ်မြို့; MLCTS: mrit mrui., pronounced: [mjeɪʔ mjo̰] or [beɪʔ mjo̰]; Mon: ဗိက်, [pòik]; Thai: มะริด, rtgs: Marit, pronounced [ma.rít]; also Mergui) is a city in Tanintharyi Region in Myanmar (Burma), located in the extreme south of the country on the coast of an island on the Andaman Sea. As of 2010[update] the estimated population was over 209,000. The area inland from the city is a major smuggling corridor into Thailand. The Maw Daung pass international cross-border checkpoint has been recently developed.
Myeik was the southernmost part of the Pagan Empire between the 11th and 13th centuries. After the Pagan Empire's collapse in 1287, Myeik became part of successive Siamese kingdoms (first Sukhothai, and later Ayutthaya) from the late 13th century to the middle of 18th century (except between 1564 and 1593 when the Burmese temporarily regained control).
From the 16th century on, the city was an important seaport and trading center with the Europeans, who would land at Myeik (then called Mergui), travel upriver to Tanintharyi (Tenasserim) and then cross the mountains to reach Ayutthaya. The French officer Chevalier de Beauregard was made Governor of the city of Mergui after the Siam–England war (1687) that resulted in the English being expelled from Siam. De Beauregard was named Governor by Narai, the King of Siam, replacing an Englishman, Samuel White. The French were then expelled from Mergui following the 1688 Siamese revolution.
The Burmese captured Myeik in 1765 as part of an invasion that would ultimately topple the Ayutthaya kingdom in 1767. In 1826, the Burmese ceded the region to the British after the First Anglo-Burmese War (1824–1826).
Myeik has a tropical monsoon climate (Köppen climate classification Am). Temperatures are very warm throughout the year. There is a short winter dry season (December–January) and a long wet season (February–November), with particularly heavy rain falling from May to September.
|Climate data for Myeik|
|Average high °C (°F)||31.4
|Average low °C (°F)||20.7
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||4
|Source: NOAA (1961-1990) |
The population is engaged in fishing, production of rubber and coconuts, manufacture of fermented shrimp paste, the collection of edible bird's nests and pearl farming. Mergui is a gateway to the 800 offshore islands of the Mergui Archipelago which are developing a tourist trade. Tourism in the area is restricted to cruises as land based accommodations are currently non-existent on the islands. This keeps the area very attractive as low impact tourism preserves the area's natural beauty.
The inhabitants of the city are descended from many ethnic groups (Burmese, Chinese, Karen, Indian, Mon, and Moken). They speak Burmese with a distinctive accent. The island people, the Moken (Salone), are famous as the "Sea Gypsies" and are said to be related to island tribes from Malaysia.
- Marid เมืองมะริด (Myeik)
- "Myanmar: largest cities and towns and statistics of their population:calculation 2010". Archived from the original on September 19, 2012. World Gazetteer
- Maw-daung Pass
- Smithies, p.99
- Anderson, John (1890) English intercourse with Siam in the seventeenth century K. Paul, Trench, Trübner, & Company, London, Reprinted by Routledge, London in 2000 page 365, ISBN 0-415-24548-6
- "Myeik Climate Normals 1961-1990". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved January 12, 2013.
- "Mergui Archipelago" Mergui.org
- "Myeik Archipelago" Visitmyeik.com
- Smithies, Michael (2002) Three military accounts of the 1688 revolution in Siam Orchid Press, Bangkok, ISBN 974-524-005-2
- Pardieu, Vincent (December 2007) "South Sea Cultured Pearls From Mergui, Burma (Myanmar)" FieldGemology. org (author's webpage)