Narapati I of Ava

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Narapati I
နရပတိ (အင်းဝ)
King of Ava
Reign25 April 1442 – 24 July 1468
PredecessorMinye Kyawswa I
SuccessorThihathura I
Viceroy of Prome
Reign1429 – 1442
PredecessorMin Maha
SuccessorMinye Kyawswa II
Born7 June 1413
Wednesday, 10th waxing of First Waso 775 ME
Died24 July 1468(1468-07-24) (aged 55)
Sunday, 5th waxing of Wagaung 830 ME[1]
Prome (Pyay)
ConsortAtula Thiri Maha Yaza Dewi[2]
IssueThree sons and five daughters including:
Thihathura of Ava
Mingyi Swa of Prome
Thado Minsaw of Prome
FatherMohnyin Thado
MotherShin Myat Hla
ReligionTheravada Buddhism

Narapati I of Ava (Burmese: နရပတိ (အင်းဝ), pronounced [nəɹa̰pətḭ]; 7 June 1413 – 24 July 1468) was king of Ava from 1442 to 1468. In the early years of his reign, this former viceroy of Prome (Pyay) was forced to deal with raids from the Shan State of Mogaung as well as the Ming Chinese intrusions into Avan territory (1444–1446). In the wake of renewed Chinese determination to pacify the Yunnan frontier region, Narapati was able to maintain Ava's control of northern Shan States of Kale and Mohnyin, and gained allegiance of Thibaw. However, he continued to have trouble with Toungoo which was in revolt between 1451 and 1459. One of his grandsons attempted on his life in June 1467. The king fled Ava for Prome and died there in July 1468.

Ancestry and early life[edit]

Narapati was born to Mohnyin Thado, then Governor of Mohnyin, and his wife (later chief queen) Shin Myat Hla on 7 June 1413.[note 1] He was the second child of the couple's four children. He has an elder brother and two younger sisters. He was given Wuntho in fief.[3]

Viceroy of Prome[edit]

In 1429, he was appointed by his father, who had become king of Ava, Viceroy of Prome (Pyay), the southernmost and most important territory of Ava. His new title was Thihathu. He continued to rule Prome when his father died in 1439, and was succeeded by his brother and heir-apparent Minye Kyawswa.


In January 1442 (Tabodwe 803 ME), Minye Kyawswa suddenly died.[4] At that time, Ava's forces had been laying siege to Mogaung, the capital of the Shan State of Mogaung. When the king died, the ministers at Ava first chose Minye Kyawswa's son-in-law and brother-in-law Thihapate who was at the front at Mogaung. Thihapate was recalled to Ava by ministers to assume the throne, but he declined the offer, declaring that he was neither a son nor a brother of the deceased king. He suggested they recall the king’s brother Thihathu from Prome. The ministers then invited Thihathu who ascended to the throne with the reign name of Narapati on 25 April 1442 (1st waning of Kason 804 ME).[5] Thihapate, having refused the throne, went back to the front, and captured Mogaung the very day the new king, who was also Thihapate's brother-in-law, ascended the throne. Their leader Thonganbwa was captured, and brought back to Ava.[6]


As customary with all Ava kings, Narapati after becoming king, first had to assert his rule over the kingdom. With Mogaung defeated, Narapati gained the allegiance of the saopha of Onpaung Hsipaw (Thibaw) in the northeast. He made Thihapate the new saopha of Mohnyin, and his son-in-law the new saopha of Kale. Despite his success in peripheral regions, Narapati continued to have problems with regions much closer to Ava. In late 1443, he sent his armies to Yamethin and Pinle, both of which had been in revolt since the start of his brother's reign in 1441. While his armies were laying siege to Pinle, the new king was forced to deal with a far larger threat from the north: China.[6]

Ming invasions[edit]

The Ming Chinese had conquered Yunnan after their campaigns of 1380–1388, but never completely controlled the frontier which was still occupied by several Shan States. The Chinese were forced to send troops back to the region due to the constant Shan raids into Yunnan by Thonganbwa, the saopha of Mogaung. In 1443, Zhengtong Emperor sent yet another expeditionary force (third campaign since 1436) to punish the pesky Shan raiders. After learning that Ava had already defeated and captured Thonganbwa at Mogaung, the Chinese forces, encamped at the frontier, demanded that Ava surrender Thonganbwa, and send a payment of tribute, or it would face attack.[7]

Narapati refused the Chinese demand. In 1444, Ava forces marched north to meet the Chinese. The Burmese Chronicles report that the Chinese forces numbered three million, and that the Ava forces numbered 200,000. The numbers clearly were an exaggeration but an exaggeration that does indicate a grave threat. (Noted historian of Burmese history, GE Harvey, believes that the military numbers reported during the Ava-Pegu era were an order of magnitude higher.) Chinese troops descended on Bhamo, and war broke out. The Burmese met the invaders at Kaungton near Bhamo and held their ground. The Chinese soon faced a food supply problem, and retreated to Mong Wan (Mo Wun). Narapati appointed the saophas of Mogaung and Mong Nai (Mone) to watch over Bhamo and returned to Ava.[6]

The Chinese forces, having regrouped, invaded again in the following year. On 3 November 1445, (Tuesday, 3rd waxing of Nadaw 807 ME), the Burmese troops evacuated Bhamo.[8] The Chinese forces penetrated all the way down to the fortified city of Ava, and threatened to attack if Thonganbwa was not handed over to them. Narapati negotiated a deal to hand over Thonganbwa if the Chinese helped him subdue Yamethin first. The Chinese agreed, and together with a contingent of troops from Ava, conquered Yamethin. Thonganbwa, rather than being handed over to the Chinese, committed suicide. His dead body was handed over to the Chinese in early 1446.[6][7] Narapati maintained that he did not accept Chinese suzerainty. But the Chinese considered the handover of the body as Ava's recognition of Chinese suzerainty.[9]

Mohnyin rebellion (1450)[edit]

The death of Thonganbwa did not solve the problem of Shan raids for the Chinese. The Maw Shans, now under the leadership of Thokyeinbwa (Chinese: Si Ji-fa), son of Thonganbwa, moved to the region west of Mogaung, and continued the raids into both Ava and Yunnan territories. In 1448, the Chinese chased them to near Bhamo but were defeated by the Shans.[7]

In 1450, the Burman saopha of Mohnyin, Thihapate, died. Thihapate's son Min U Ti in alliance with Maw Shan raiders Thokyeinbwa and Thopawbwa (Si Bu-fa) raised a rebellion. Narapati sent an army under the command of the crown prince to Mohnyin. The rebel leader Min U Ti was executed. The two Shan leaders then surrendered and took an oath of allegiance. Narapati made a son of Thopawbwa the new saopha of Mohnyin. He kept Thokyeinbwa and Thopawbwa at Ava. In 1454, Narapati handed over Thokyeinbwa over six people including Thokyeinbwa and his family at a village on the Irrawaddy in exchange for China's explicit recognition of Ava's control of Mohnyin.[note 2][6]

Toungoo rebellion (1451–1459)[edit]

In 1451, Viceroy of Toungoo Minkhaung I was assassinated, and the town entered a state of rebellion against Ava. Narapati tried in vain to recover the territory but could not.[7] However, the rebellious Toungoo king was assassinated by his servant in 1459 (821 ME). Ava regained nominal control. Narapati gave his brother-in-law who already had Taungdwingyi as an appanage to rule Toungoo.[10]


On 12 June 1467 (12th waxing of Waso 829 ME), Narapati was stabbed by his grandson whom he had reproved for a love intrigue with his cousin; the wound was not mortal. The king fled to Prome in where his son Mingyi Swa was governor. He died there a year later on 24 July 1468.[11][12]


  1. ^ Zatadawbon Yazawin (Zata 1960: 46, 76) says he was born on Wednesday, 9th nekkhat (10th day) of the 4th month (1st Waso) of 765 ME, which translates to Wednesday, 13 June 1403. But 1403 is a typographical error as his parents were not married until late 1409/early 1410 per Hmannan Yazawin (Hmannan Vol. 2 2003: 81). (Hmannan Vol. 2 2003: 99) instead suggests he was born in year 775 ME, or 10th waxing of Waso 775 ME (Wednesday, 7 June 1413).
  2. ^ Mohnyin had been under Ava's control since 1406. (Fernquest 2006): The Nanzhao Chronicle of Yunnan claims that the Ming recognized Mohnyin as Avan territory in 1452, not 1454. Thokyeinbwa arrived at Beijing in a cage on 30 August 1454 and was executed on 2 September 1454.


  1. ^ Hmannan Vol. 2 2003: 99
  2. ^ Hmannan Vol. 2 2003: 82–83
  3. ^ Hmannan Vol. 2 2003: 61–62
  4. ^ (Hmannan Vol. 2 2003: 80): Tabodwe 803 ME = 12 January 1442 to 9 February 1442
  5. ^ Hmannan Vol. 2 2003: 82
  6. ^ a b c d e Fernquest 2006: 62–66
  7. ^ a b c d Phayre 1967: 84–85
  8. ^ Hmannan Vol. 2 2003: 87
  9. ^ Htin Aung 1967: 94–95
  10. ^ Hmannan Vol. 2 2003: 170
  11. ^ Hmannan Vol. 2 2003: 97–99
  12. ^ Harvey 1925: 99–100


  • Fernquest, Jon (Autumn 2006). "Crucible of War: Burma and the Ming in the Tai Frontier Zone (1382–1454)" (PDF). SOAS Bulletin of Burma Research. 4 (2). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-02-19.
  • 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.
  • Phayre, Lt. Gen. Sir Arthur P. (1883). History of Burma (1967 ed.). London: Susil Gupta.
  • Royal Historians of Burma (c. 1680). U Hla Tin (Hla Thamein) (ed.). Zatadawbon Yazawin (1960 ed.). Historical Research Directorate of the Union of Burma.
  • Royal Historical Commission of Burma (1832). Hmannan Yazawin (in Burmese). 1–3 (2003 ed.). Yangon: Ministry of Information, Myanmar.
Narapati I of Ava
Born: 7 June 1413 Died: 24 July 1468
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Minye Kyawswa I
King of Ava
25 April 1442 – 24 July 1468
Succeeded by
Thihathura I
Royal titles
Preceded by
Min Maha of Prome
as governor
Viceroy of Prome
Succeeded by
Minye Kyawswa II of Prome
as governor