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Suvarṇabhumī (Pali Suvaṇṇabhumī; Burmese: သုဝဏ္ဏဘူမိ, Burmese pronunciation: [θṵwʊ̀ɴna̰bùmḭ], Khmer: Sovannaphum, Thai: สุวรรณภูมิ, RTGS: Suwannaphum) is the name of a land mentioned in many ancient sources such as the Chronicle of Sri Lanka ("Mahavamsa"), some stories of the Jatakas, and Milinda Panha. Literally, this name means "Golden Land" or "Land of Gold", and might be a region named "Aurea Regio" in "India beyond the Ganges" of Claudius Ptolemy.
There is a common misunderstanding that the Edicts of Ashoka mention this name. The truth is the Edicts relate only the Kings' names and never reference Suwannaphum in the text. Moreover, all of the Kings referenced in the text reigned their cities in the region that located beyond the Sindhu to the west. The misunderstanding might come from a mixing of the story of Ashoka sending his Buddhist missionaries to Suwannaphum in "Mahavamsa" and his Edicts.
The location of Suwannaphum has been the subject of much debate, both scholarly and nationalistic. It remains one of the most mythified and contentious toponyms in the history of Asia. Asian history scholars have identified two regions as possible locations for the ancient Suwannaphum : Insular Southeast Asia or Southern India. 
Insular Southeast Asia theory 
One theory[by whom?] is that it referred to a powerful coastal/island kingdom in present-day Indonesia and Malaysia, possibly centered on Java. This theory is based on such a kingdom's potential for power and wealth (hence, "Land of Gold") as a hub for sea-trade and on vague descriptions provided by contemporary Chinese pilgrims to India. Due to the Chinese writing system, however, the interpretations of Chinese historical sources are based on supposed correspondences of ideograms – and their possible phonetic equivalents – with known toponyms in the ancient Southeast Asian civilizations.
Southern India theory 
The other theory maintains that Ashoka's missionaries did not travel further east than Sri Lanka (called "Tamraparni" in the Mahavamsa) and identifies Suwannaphum as a toponym in the extreme South of present-day India, outside of Ashoka's empire but still on the subcontinent, possibly in the land of the Cholas or Pandyas. This theory is based on equally vague archaeological evidence in southern India and the claim that there is no independent evidence, either historical or archaeological, proving Ashoka's missionaries ever visited South-East Asia.
Bengal theory 
Many claim that Suvarnabhumi was actually situated in central Bengal. In some Jain texts, it is mentioned that merchants of Anga (in present-day Bihar) regularly sailed to Suvarnabhumi, and ancient Bengal was in fact situated very close to Anga, connected by rivers of the Ganges-Brahmaputra Delta. Bengal has also been described in ancient Indian and Southeast Asian chronicles as a "seafaring country", enjoying trade relations with Dravidian kingdoms, Sri Lanka, Java and Sumatra. Sinhalese tradition holds that the first king of Sri Lanka, Vijaya Singha, came from Bengal. Moreover the region is commonly associated with gold- the soil of Bengal is known for its golden color (gangetic alluvial), golden harvest(rice), golden fruits(mangoes), golden minerals (gold and clay) and yellow skinned people. Bengal is described in ancient Sanskrit texts as 'Gaud-Desh'(Golden/Radiant land). During the reign of the Bengal Sultans and the Mughal Empire, central Bengal was home to a prosperous trading town called "Sonargaon" (Golden village), which was connected to North India by the Grand Trunk Road and was frequented by Arab, Persian and Chinese travelers, including Ibn Batutta and Zheng He. Even today, Bengalis often refer to their land as 'Shonar Bangla' (Golden Bengal), and the national anthem of Bangladesh- Amar Shonar Bangla (My Bengal of Gold)- is based on this theme.
Other traditions 
Due to many factors, including the lack of historical evidence, the absence of scholarly consensus, various cultures in Southeast Asia identify Suwannaphum as an ancient kingdom there and claim ethnic and political decendancy as its successors. As no such claim or legend existed prior to the translation and publication of the Edicts, scholars see these claims as based in nationalism or attempts to claim the title of first Buddhists in South-East Asia.
In Burma, both the ethnic Burmans and the Mons claim that Suwannabhumi (သုဝဏ္ဏဘူမိ) was a kingdom located on the Tenasserim coastal area centered on Thaton. This belief may stem from two references in the fourth century Sri Lankan history "Mahavamsa" and Dîpavamsa which told the story of the Ashoka missionaries (seven centuries removed), stating "Sona and Uttara were dispatched to Suvarnabhumi" and identifies this land with the contemporary (fourth century) area of Râmaññadesa or Thaton. If true, however, it is unlikely that the people of this area were either Burman or Mon since, according to accepted archaeogical and historical evidence, the Tibeto-Burman peoples had not yet begun their migration into the peninsula and the Mon were just beginning to filter into and settle the Khorat area of modern-day Thailand in the third century BC.
Thailand theory 
In Thailand, government proclamations and national museums insist that Suwannaphum was somewhere in the coast of central plain, especially at the ancient city of U Thong, which might be the origin of the Dvaravati Culture. Although they have not based their claims on any historical records, the Thai government named the new Bangkok airport, Suvarnabhumi Airport, after the mythic kingdom of Suwannaphum, in celebration of this tradition. This tradition, however, is doubted by scholars for the same reason as the Burman claim. The migration of the Tai peoples into Southeast Asia did not occur until centuries later, long after the Pyu, Malays, Mons and Khmers had established their respective kingdoms.
- Dîpavamsa VIII. 12
- The Siam Society: Miscellaneous Articles Written for the JSS by His Late Highness Prince Damrong. The Siam Society, Bangkok, B.E. 2505 (1962)