Min Saw Mon

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Narameikhla Min Saw Mon
နရမိတ်လှ မင်းစောမွန်
Saw Mon III of Launggyet
Suleiman Shah
King of Arakan
Reign April 1404 – 29 November 1406 (1st reign)
18 April 1429 – 9 May 1433 (2nd reign)
Successor Khayi
Consort Saw Sit
Saw Pu Nyo
Saw Pyauk
Issue Sons: Min Kyaw, Min Mandat, Min Mon Thin
Daughters: Saw Pu Shwe, Saw Pyo
Father Razathu II[1]
Mother Saw Nyet Htwa[1]
Born 1380/1381
Thursday, 742 ME
Died 9 May 1433 (aged 52)
Saturday, 6th waning of Kason 795 ME
Religion Theravada Buddhism
In this Burmese name, Min Saw is an honorific.

Narameikhla Min Saw Mon (Burmese: နရမိတ်လှ မင်းစောမွန်, Burmese pronunciation: [nəɹa̰ meiʔl̥a̰ mɪ́ɴ sɔ́ mʊ̀ɴ], Arakanese pronunciation: [máɴ sɔ́ mʊ̀aɴ]; also known as Suleiman Shah; 1380–1433) was the last king of Launggyet Dynasty and the founder of Mrauk-U Dynasty of Arakan.

He became king in 1404 but was driven out of Launggyet in 1406 by Crown Prince Minyekyawswa of Ava. He went into exile in Bengal, and later entered the military service of Sultan Jalaluddin Muhammad Shah. In 1429, he reclaimed the Arakanese throne with the help of the sultan, and ruled the kingdom, which was still restricted to northern Arakan, as a vassal of Bengal. He founded a new capital, Mrauk-U, in 1430 at a more strategic location. The king died in 1433, and was succeeded by his younger brother Khayi.

Early life[edit]

The future king was born in 1380/81 (742 ME) to Prince Razathu II (ရာဇသူ) and Princess Saw Nyet Htwa (စောညက်ထွား) of Launggyet Kingdom, located in modern northern Rakhine State.[1] The young prince's teenage years were drawn into court politics, and his fortunes were closely tied to those of his father. His father Razathu became king but he was deposed in 1395. He regained the throne in 1397 until his death in 1401. Razathu's younger brother Theinkhathu (သိင်္ခသူ) succeeded Razathu, who died in 1404.

Last king of Launggyet[edit]

When Saw Mon ascended to the throne in April 1404, the Arakanese (Rakhine) kingdom had been on its last legs for three decades. The kingdom had seen seemingly endless episodes of political instability and interference from its two stronger neighbors to the east Ava Kingdom (Ava) and Hanthawaddy Kingdom (Pegu). In 1373/74 (735 ME), the Launggyet court had to ask for a nominee from Ava, which sent Saw Mon II. Saw Mon II was a good ruler but died in 1381 without an heir. Ava sent another nominee, King Swasawke's son. The new king proved to be a tyrant, and was driven out by the court in 1385. From 1385 to 1404, the Arakanese throne was subject to rival factions of the court, often supported by Ava and Pegu.[2]

Saw Mon could not escape the commotion either. Within two years of Saw Mon's accession, the kingdom was drawn into the Forty Years' War between Ava and Pegu. In November 1406, King Minkhaung I of Ava sent in troops led by its crown prince Minyekyawswa. Ava troops overran Launggyet on 29 November 1406 (Monday, 5th waning of Natdaw 768 ME).[3] Minkhaung I appointed Anawrahta Saw, then governor of Kale (Kalay), to be "king" of Arakan.[2]

Saw Mon barely escaped to Bengal with a few of his retinue.

Exile years and restoration[edit]

Arakan was to be a battlefield between Ava and Pegu for the next six years. Pegu finally got the upper hand in Arakan in 1412, and placed its nominees in Launggyet and Sandoway (Thandwe). Ava set up a rival outpost in North Arakan at Khwethin-Taung in 1413 but the western principality was spared further warfare as Ava focused on finishing off Pegu. Ava came close but could not topple Pegu. The Avan garrison at Khwethin-Taung was also driven out in 1416 by the local northern Arakanese.[4] A divided Arakan was tributary to Pegu at least until King Razadarit's death in 1421.[2] It is not clear if then vassal kings remained loyal to the successors of Razadarit. The Arakanese chronicle Rakhine Razawin Thit notes at least two rival courts—one at Launggyet and one at Sandoway.[4]

Meanwhile Saw Mon had entered the service of Sultan Jalaluddin Muhammad Shah of Bengal, and proved to be a good commander. He became close to the sultan, and convinced the sultan to help him regain the Arakanese throne. The sultan agreed. In February/March 1429 (Tabaung 790 ME),[5] Saw Mon aided by troops "largely made up of Afghan adventurers" invaded Arakan.[6] The first attempt at the invasion failed because Saw Mon got into an argument with Gen. Wali Khan of Bengal, and was imprisoned by the general. Saw Mon escaped, and the sultan agreed to another attempt. The second invasion went well. Saw Mon was proclaimed king at Launggyet on 18 April 1429 (Thursday, 1st waning of Kason 791 ME). (According to some Arakanese chronicles, such as Inzauk Razawin, the second invasion took place in 1430, a year later.)[5]

Founder of Mrauk-U Kingdom[edit]

Seated Buddhas at Le-myet-hna temple

Saw Mon became king of Arakan but as a vassal of Bengal. His domain was still restricted to northern Arakan where southern Arakan (Sandoway (Thandwe)) was still independent. He decided to move the capital from Launggyet. The new capital, though not far from Launggyet, was much more strategically located, and would prove much more difficult for invaders to attack. He founded the new capital of Mrauk-U on 16 November 1430 (Sunday, 1st waxing of Natdaw 792 ME)[7] (or 20 August 1430 / Sunday, 1st waxing of Tawthalin 792).[8]

According to the Arakanese chronicles, the king was warned by court astrologers that he would died within a year of the new capital. He answered that he would rather die to have a safer kingdom for the posterity than to live long, and leave a weak kingdom. The king promptly moved to the new capital when it was completed in 1432/33 (794 ME). Part of the new city, a few miles north of the Mrauk-U Palace, was the Le-myet-hna Temple, which was built in the classical style of Pagan Kingdom.[9]

He died soon after on 9 May 1433 (Saturday, 6th waning of Kason 795 ME).[note 1] He was succeeded by his younger half-brother Khayi.


  1. ^ (Sandamala Linkara Vol. 2 1999: 18): Saturday, 6th waning of Kason 795 ME = 9 May 1433. (Harvey 1925: 139–140) says he moved to the capital in 1433 and died in 1434.


  1. ^ a b c Sandamala Linkara Vol. 1 1997: 183
  2. ^ a b c Harvey 1925: 137–139
  3. ^ Sandamala Linkara Vol. 2 1999: 9
  4. ^ a b Sandamala Linkara Vol. 2 1999: 10
  5. ^ a b Sandamala Linkara Vol. 2: 11
  6. ^ Myint-U 2006: 73
  7. ^ Myanma Swezon Kyan Vol. 9 1964: 425
  8. ^ Sandamala Linkara Vol. 2 1999: 13
  9. ^ Gutman 2001: 86–87


  • Gutman, Pamela (2001). Burma's Lost Kingdoms: Splendours of Arakan. Bangkok: Orchid Press. ISBN 974-8304-98-1. 
  • Harvey, G. E. (1925). History of Burma: From the Earliest Times to 10 March 1824. London: Frank Cass & Co. Ltd. 
  • Myat Soe, ed. (1964). Myanma Swezon Kyan (in Burmese) 9 (1 ed.). Yangon: Sarpay Beikman. 
  • Myint-U, Thant (2006). The River of Lost Footsteps—Histories of Burma. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. ISBN 978-0-374-16342-6. 
  • Sandamala Linkara, Ashin (1931). Rakhine Yazawinthit Kyan (in Burmese) 1–2 (1997–1999 ed.). Yangon: Tetlan Sarpay. 
Min Saw Mon
Born: 1380 Died: 9 May 1433
Regnal titles
Preceded by
King of Mrauk-U
18 April 1429 – 9 May 1433
Succeeded by
Preceded by
King of Launggyet
April 1404 – 29 November 1406
Succeeded by