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For other people named Thihathu, see Thihathu (disambiguation).
Co-Regent of Myinsaing
King of Pinya
Reign 17 December 1297 – 13 April 1310 (Co-Regent)
13 April 1310 – February 1325
Coronation 20 October 1309 at Pinle
11 February 1313 at Pinya
Predecessor None
Successor Uzana I
Consort Mi Saw U
Issue Uzana I (adopted)
Kyawswa I
Saw Pale (daughter)
House Myinsaing
Father Theinkhabo
Born 1265
Monday, 627 ME
Died c. February 1325 (aged 59)[1]
Religion Theravada Buddhism

Thihathu (Burmese: သီဟသူ, pronounced: [θìha̰θù]; 1265–1325) was a co-founder of Myinsaing Kingdom, and the founder of the Pinya Kingdom in today's central Burma (Myanmar). A former commander in Pagan Empire's military, Thihathu was the youngest and most ambitious of the Three Shan Brothers that founded Myinsaing Kingdom, which filled the void in central Burma following the collapse of Pagan's authority in 1287. In October 1309, Thihathu, not satisfied with his co-regent status, declared himself king. In April 1310, he took over as the sole king of central Burma by killing his eldest brother Athinhkaya. (His middle brother Yazathingyan had died of natural causes c. 1302.) He moved the capital to Pinya in February 1313.

His decision to appoint Uzana I, son of the fallen king Kyawswa, as crown prince caused his eldest son, Sawyun to set up a rival kingdom at Sagaing in 1315. Although Sawyun nominally remained loyal to his father and ruled as viceroy of Sagaing, after Thihathu's death in 1325, the two houses of Myinsaing officially became rival kingdoms in central Burma.

Early life[edit]

Thihathu was a born to a Shan father and a Burman mother in 1265. He had two elder brothers Athinhkaya, Yazathingyan and a sister. Their father, Theinkhabo, was a younger brother of Shan saopha from the Shan Hills who had taken shelter in Kyaukse as a political refugee in 1260. Their mother was a daughter of a Burman banker from Myinsaing.[2]

When the brothers became young men, they all entered King Narathihapate's service in the waning days of Pagan. After a few years, they received minor titles of nobility and were appointed joint commanders of the garrison at Myinsaing, their hometown. Their only sister was even married to a son of the king, Prince Thihathu, later governor of Prome (Pyay).[3]


After the Pagan Empire fell in 1287, the brothers gradually gained control of central Burma based out of their hometown of Myinsaing located in Kyaukse district. On 19 February 1293 (12th waxing of Tabaung 654 ME), they were formally recognized by the king as lords of Kyaukse.[4] In December 1297, the brothers formalized their rule of central Burma by forcing the nominal king of Pagan Kyawswa, who had become a Mongol vassal, to abdicate the throne, and ruled as co-regents from their respective palaces in Myinsaing, Mekkara and Pinle.[5] Thihathu married Kyawswa's half-sister and queen Mi Saw U, a daughter of Narathihapate.[6]

In January–April 1301, the brothers successfully fought off another (and last) invasion by the Mongols who sought to restore Kyawswa. After the Mongols also vacated their Upper Burma base of Tagaung in April 1303, all of central Burma came under their rule.[3] Nonetheless Myinsaing, along with Hathawadddy, Launggyet and Toungoo (Taungoo) kingdoms and various minor Shan States, was still one of many petty kingdoms that sprouted across the former territories of Pagan Empire.


Thihathu did not want to share power, even with his own brothers. Yazathingyan died of natural causes c. 1302. On 20 October 1309, Thihathu blatantly crowned himself king.[7] Six months later, on 13 April 1310 he poisoned the eldest brother Athinhkaya, and took over as the sole king of central Burma.[8][9] Thihathu had previously planned to move his capital from Pinle to a more strategic location by the Irrawaddy, and close to the Kyaukse granary. (By then, Pagan which had about 200,000 inhabitants before the Mongol invasions was largely deserted.) Thihathu initially chose the location of what would later become Ava, by the Irrawaddy and Myitnge rivers and close to Kyaukse. But court astrologers advised against the location as bad omen. Thihathu instead chose Pinya (just north of today's Mandalay), also by the Irrawaddy.[6]

He moved his capital to Pinya on 11 February 1313 (15th waxing of Tabaung 674 ME).[10] The kingdom became known as the Pinya Kingdom. Thihathu now adopted the style and title of the ancient kings of Pagan. In his coronation ceremony, the dowager Queen Saw, wife of Narathihapate, presented Thihathu the golden belt and the golden tray which had been handed down in the royal family since the time of King Anawrahta (r. 1044–1078). Thihathu now officially considered himself the heir to Pagan kings. So much so that he appointed Uzana I, a son of the fallen king Kyawswa and Mi Saw U, as crown prince in 1315. (Mi Saw U was pregnant with Uzana when Thihathu seized her, and gave birth to Uzana. Thihathu adopted Uzana as his own son.)[3][6]

Secession of Sagaing[edit]

His eldest son Sawyun, by his first wife, was deeply unhappy that he would not be king. On 16 May 1315 (12th waxing of Nayon 677 ME),[11] Sawyun and his followers left for Sagaing, a few miles south of Pinya on the other side of the Irrawaddy, and founded a rival kingdom, controlling the area between the Irrawaddy and the Chindwin up to the Manipuri border.[9] Although Sawyun nominally remained loyal to his father and ruled as viceroy of Sagaing, after Thihathu's death in 1325, the two houses of Myinsaing officially became separate kingdoms, vying for supremacy in central Burma for the next 40 years.[3]


The king died in c. February 1325.[12] He was 59 (or in 60th year as reported in the chronicles.)[13]


  1. ^ a b Hmannan Vol. 1 2003: 369–377
  2. ^ Hall 1960: 28
  3. ^ a b c d Htin Aung 1967: 71–79
  4. ^ Hmannan Vol. 1 2003: 361–362
  5. ^ Than Tun 1959: 119–120
  6. ^ a b c Harvey 1925: 78–80
  7. ^ Kala Vol. 1 2006: 259; footnote by Dept of Universities Historical Research
  8. ^ Kala Vol. 1 2006: 254; in footnote by the Dept of Universities Historical Research, citing an inscription date
  9. ^ a b Phayre 1967: 58–59
  10. ^ Hmannan Vol. 1 2003: 370
  11. ^ Hmannan Vol. 1 2003: 375
  12. ^ Than Tun 1959: 127
  13. ^ Hmannan Vol. 1 2003: 377


  • Hall, D.G.E. (1960). Burma (3rd ed.). Hutchinson University Library. ISBN 978-1-4067-3503-1. 
  • Harvey, G. E. (1925). History of Burma: From the Earliest Times to 10 March 1824. London: Frank Cass & Co. Ltd. 
  • Htin Aung, Maung (1967). A History of Burma. New York and London: Cambridge University Press. 
  • Kala, U (1720). Maha Yazawin Gyi (in Burmese) 1–3 (2006, 4th printing ed.). Yangon: Ya-Pyei Publishing. 
  • Phayre, Lt. Gen. Sir Arthur P. (1883). History of Burma (1967 ed.). London: Susil Gupta. 
  • Royal Historical Commission of Burma (1832). Hmannan Yazawin (in Burmese) 1–3 (2003 ed.). Yangon: Ministry of Information, Myanmar. 
  • Than Tun (December 1959). "History of Burma: A.D. 1300–1400". Journal of Burma Research Society XLII (II). 
Born: 1265 Died: February 1325
Regnal titles
Preceded by
King of Pinya
13 April 1310 – February 1325
Succeeded by
Uzana I
Preceded by
Co-Regent of Myinsaing
17 December 1297–13 April 1310
Succeeded by
Royal titles
Preceded by
Viceroy of Pinle
19 February 1293 – 17 December 1297
Succeeded by