Royal Historical Commission of Burma

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Royal Historical Commission
Formation 11 May 1829
Type Historical research
Headquarters Inwa Palace (1829–1832)
Mandalay Palace (1867–1869)
Location
Head
Monywe Zetawun Sayadaw (1829–1832)
Patron
King Bagyidaw (1829–1832)
King Mindon (1867–1869)

The Royal Historical Commission (Burmese: တော်ဝင် မြန်မာနိုင်ငံ သမိုင်း ကော်မရှင်, [tɔ̀wìɴ mjəmà nàɪɴŋàɴ θəmáɪɴ kɔ̀məʃìɴ]) of the Konbaung Dynasty of Burma (Myanmar) produced the standard court chronicles of Konbaung era, Hmannan Yazawin (1832) and Dutiya Yazawin (1869).[1]

Commission (1829–1832)[edit]

In May 1829, three years after the disastrous First Anglo-Burmese War (1824–1826), King Bagyidaw created the first Royal Historical Commission to write an official chronicle of Konbaung Dynasty. The standard official chronicle at the time was Maha Yazawin (The Great Chronicle), the standard chronicle of Toungoo Dynasty that covers from time immemorial to October 1711. It was the second attempt by Konbaung kings to update Maha Yazawin. The first attempt, Yazawin Thit (The New Chronicle), commissioned by Bagyidaw's predecessor and grandfather Bodawpaya, had not been accepted because the new chronicle contained severe criticisms of earlier chronicles. Although it was Bodawpaya himself who had ordered the author of Yazawin Thit, Twinthin Taikwun, to verify the accuracy of Maha Yazawin by consulting a variety of sources including hundreds of inscriptions, the king did not accept the new chronicle when it was presented to him.[2]

The members of the commission consisted of learned monks, court historians and court Brahmins:[3] The commission first convened for the first time on 11 May 1829 (1st waxing of Nayon 1191 ME). Three years and four months later, the commission had brought up the history to 1821, producing Hmannan Yazawin.[4]

Name Description Responsibility
Monywe Zetawun Sayadaw Chief Abbot of Monywe Zetawun Monastery Head of the Commission
Consulting editor; responsible for verifying Maha Yazawin and Yazawin Thit[5]
Thawkabin Sayadaw Chief Abbot of Thawkabin Monastery Consulting editor; responsible for verifying Maha Yazawin and Yazawin Thit[5]
Maha Dhamma Thingyan Minister councilor to the king Responsible for verifying Maha Yazawin and Yazawin Thit[5]
U Yauk Minister of the Royal Cavalry Responsible for checking minor chronicles and poems[5]
U Chein Royal Messenger Responsible for checking minor chronicles and poems[5]
U Maung Liaison to Privy Council
Thiri Maha Nanda Thingyan Deputy Minister, Governor of Hsaw
U Wa Deputy Minister, Governor of Singu
Zayadewa Court Brahmin Responsible for checking Indian sources for ceremonial customs of the court[5]
Kamondra Court Brahmin Responsible for checking Indian sources for ceremonial customs of the court[5]
U Hpyaw Court scribe Chief Scribe
Lu Gyi Court scribe Scribe
Aung Tha Court scribe Scribe

Commission (1867–1869)[edit]

The second commission was formed in 1867. It was about 15 years after an even more disastrous Second Anglo-Burmese War (1852), and about a year after a serious rebellion that killed Crown Prince Kanaung Mintha. A shaken King Mindon commissioned another committee of scholars to update Hmannan. The commission consisted of five members—senior court officials, a librarian, and a scribe.[6] Whereas the first commission had stopped short of the First Anglo-Burmese War, the second commission had no choice but to tackle the two disastrous wars that had their dismembered kingdom on the brink. The commission updated the chronicle up to 1854, right after the second war. The Second Chronicle's account of the two wars, according to historian Htin Aung, was "written with the objectivity of a true historian, and the great national defeats were described faithfully in detail."[7] The second chronicle in ten volumes was completed in 1869.[1]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Allot et al 1989: 13–14
  2. ^ Thaw Kaung 2010: 50–51
  3. ^ Hmannan 2003: xxxvi–xxxvii
  4. ^ Hmannan 2003: v–vi
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Thaw Kaung 2010: 53–55
  6. ^ Khin Maung Nyunt 2009: 1
  7. ^ Htin Aung 1967: 254

References[edit]

  • Allot, Anna; Patricia Herbert; John Okell (1989). Patricia Herbert, Anthony Crothers Milner, ed. South-East Asia: Languages and Literatures : a Select Guide. University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 9780824812676. 
  • Htin Aung, Maung (1967). A History of Burma. New York and London: Cambridge University Press. 
  • Royal Historical Commission (1829–1832). Hmannan Yazawin (in Burmese). 1–3 (2003 ed.). Yangon: Ministry of Information, Myanmar. 
  • Khin Maung Nyunt (2009). "The Second Myanmar Historical Commission". Association of Myanmar Archaeologists. 
  • Thaw Kaung, U (2010). Aspects of Myanmar History and Culture. Yangon: Gangaw Myaing.