Taungoo Dynasty

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Taungoo Dynasty

Taungoo empire at its greatest extent (1580)
Capital Toungoo (1485–1539)
Pegu (1539–1599)
Ava (1599–1752)
Languages Burmese
Religion Theravada Buddhism
Government Monarchy
 -  1530–1550 Tabinshwehti
 -  1550–1581 Bayinnaung
 -  1606–1628 Anaukpetlun
 -  1629–1648 Thalun
 -  1733–1752 Mahadhammaraza Dipadi
Legislature Hluttaw
 -  Founding of dynasty c. April 1485
 -  Independence from Ava Kingdom 16 October 1510
 -  Conquest of Hanthawaddy January 1539
 -  Bayinnaung's Empire 1550–1581
 -  Nyaungyan Restoration 1599–1615
 -  Fall of Inwa 23 March 1752
 -  1550[1] 317,000 km² (122,394 sq mi)
 -  1581[1][2] 1,300,000 km² (501,933 sq mi)
 -  1635 675,000 km² (260,619 sq mi)
 -  1725 595,000 km² (229,731 sq mi)
 -  1581[1][2] est. 3,000,000 
     Density 2.3 /km²  (6 /sq mi)
 -  1635 est. 2,000,000 
     Density 3 /km²  (7.7 /sq mi)
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Ava Kingdom
Hanthawaddy Kingdom
Shan States
Lan Na
Prome Kingdom
Konbaung Dynasty
Restored Hanthawaddy Kingdom
Today part of  Cambodia

The Taungoo Dynasty (Burmese: တောင်ငူခေတ် [tàʊɴŋù kʰɪʔ]; also spelled Toungoo Dynasty) was the ruling dynasty of Burma (Myanmar) from the mid-16th century to 1752. Its early kings Tabinshwehti and Bayinnaung succeeded in reunifying the territories of the Pagan Kingdom for the first time since 1287 and in incorporating the Shan States for the first time. At its peak, the First Toungoo Empire also included Manipur, Chinese Shan States, Siam, and Lan Xang, but the largest empire in the history of Southeast Asia collapsed in 1599, 18 years after Bayinnaung's death.

The dynasty quickly regrouped under the leadership of Nyaungyan Min and his son, Anaukpetlun, who succeeded in restoring a smaller, more manageable kingdom, encompassing Lower Burma, Upper Burma, Shan States and Lan Na by 1616. The Restored Toungoo kings, now based in Inwa, created a legal and political system whose basic features would continue under the Konbaung Dynasty well into the 19th century. The crown completely replaced the hereditary chieftainships with appointed governorships in the entire Irrawaddy valley, and greatly reduced the hereditary rights of Shan chiefs. Its trade and secular administrative reforms built a prosperous economy for more than 80 years.

The kingdom entered a gradual decline due to the "palace rule" of its kings. Starting from the 1720s, the kingdom was beset with pesky raids by the Meitei people of the Chindwin River and a nagging rebellion in Chiang Mai. Raids by the Meitei intensified in the 1730s, reaching increasingly deeper parts of central Burma. In 1740, the Mon people in Lower Burma began a rebellion, founding the Restored Hanthawaddy Kingdom. The Hanthawaddy armies captured Inwa in 1752 and ended the 266-year-old Toungoo Dynasty.


King Mingyi Nyo founded the First Taungoo Dynasty (1485–1599) at Taungoo far up the Sittaung River south of Inwa towards the end of the Ava Kingdom in 1510. After the conquest of Inwa by the Shan people in 1527, many Bamars migrated to Taungoo, which became a new center. The dynasty conquered the Mohnyin Shan in Upper Burma.

Mingyi Nyo's son, King Tabinshwehti, unified most of Burma, consolidating his power and pushing southward, overrunning the Irrawaddy Delta and crushing the Hanthawaddy capital of Bago. In 1544, Tabinshwehti was crowned as king of all Burma at the ancient capital of Bagan. By this time, the geopolitical situation in Southeast Asia had changed dramatically. The Shan gained power in a new kingdom in the north, the Ayutthaya Kingdom, while the Portuguese Empire had arrived in the south and conquered Malacca.

With the coming of European traders, Burma was once again an important trading centre, and Tabinshwehti moved his capital to Bago due to its strategic position for commerce. He then began assembling an army for an attack on coastal Rakhine State to the west. Tabinshwehti's forces were defeated at Arakan but he was able to gain control of Lower Burma up to Pyay. He led his retreating army eastward to the Ayutthaya Kingdom, where he was again defeated in the Burmese–Siamese War (1547–49), and his campaign to Inwa in Upper Burma was likewise unsuccessful. A period of unrest and rebellions among other conquered peoples followed and Tabinshwehti was assassinated in 1550.

Tabinshwehti's brother-in-law, Bayinnaung, succeeded to the throne in 1550 and reigned 30 years, launching a campaign of conquest invading several states, including Manipur (1560) and Ayutthaya (1569). An energetic leader and effective military commander, he made Taungoo the most powerful state in Southeast Asia, and extended his borders from Laos to Ayutthaya, near Bangkok. His wars stretched Burma to the limits of its resources, however, and both Manipur and Ayutthaya, which had remained under Burmese domination for 15 years, were soon independent once again. Bayinnaung was poised to deliver a final, decisive assault on the kingdom of Arakan when he died in 1581. His son Nanda Bayin and his successors were forced to quell rebellions in other parts of the kingdom, and the victory over Arakan was never achieved.

Faced with rebellion by several cities and renewed Portuguese incursions, the Taungoo rulers withdrew from southern Burma and founded a second dynasty at Ava, the Nyaungyan or Restored Taungoo Dynasty (1597–1752). Bayinnaung's grandson, Anaukpetlun (1605–1628), once again reunited Burma in 1613 and decisively defeated Portuguese attempts to take over Burma, but the empire gradually disintegrated. Anaukpetlun's successor Thalun (1629–1648) rebuilt the war torn country. Based on Thalun's revenue inquest in 1635, the kingdom's population was estimated to be around 2 million.[3]

The Taungoo Dynasty survived for another century and a half until the death of Mahadammayaza in 1752. Encouraged by the French in India, Bago finally rebelled against Inwa, further weakening the state, which fell in 1752.

Family tree[edit]

Yaza Dewi
Mingyi Nyo
r. 1510–1530
Yadana Dewi
r. 1530–1550
Atula Thiri
r. 1550–1581
Khin Pyezon
Shin Htwe Myat
r. 1581–1599
r. 1599–1605
Khin Hpone Myint
Min Lat
Mingala Dewi
Khin Myo Sit
r. 1629–1648
Khin Myat Hset
r. 1605–1628
Khin Myo Myat
Ne Myo Ye Kyaw
Khin Ma Min Sit
r. 1648–1661
r. 1661–1672
Khin Ma Lat
Minye Deibba
r. 1628–1629
Minye Kyawhtin
r. 1673–1698
Sanda Dewi
r. 1672–1673
r. 1698–1714
Maha Dewi
r. 1714–1733
Mingala Dewi
Maha Dhamma Yaza
r. 1733–1752


  1. ^ a b Victor B Lieberman (2003). Strange Parallels: Southeast Asia in Global Context, c. 800–1830, volume 1, Integration on the Mainland. Cambridge University Press. p. 4. ISBN 978-0-521-80496-7. 
  2. ^ GE Harvey (1925). "Notes: Numerical Note". History of Burma. London: Frank Cass & Co. Ltd. p. 333. 
  3. ^ Dr. Than Tun (December 1968). "Administration Under King Thalun". Journal of Burma Research Society. 51, Part 2: 173–188. 
  • Victor B. Lieberman, "Burmese Administrative Cycles: Anarchy and Conquest, c. 1580–1760", Princeton University Press, 1984.