Alaungpaya Konbaung

Alaungpaya Konbaung (1714 - 1760)

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King Alaungpaya "Aung Zeya" Konbaung
Born in Shwebo, Sagaing, Myanmarmap
Ancestors ancestors
Son of and
[sibling(s) unknown]
Husband of — married in Burmamap
Descendants descendants
Died in Burma, Myanmarmap
Profile last modified | Created 16 May 2017
This page has been accessed 238 times.

Categories: Burmese Royalty | Burmese Notables.

Biography

Alaungpaya Konbaung is Notable.

Alaungpaya (Burmese: အလောင်းဘုရား, pronounced: [ʔəláʊɴ pʰəjá]; also spelled Alaunghpaya or Alaung Phra; 24 August [O.S. 13 August] 1714 – 11 May 1760) was the founder of the Konbaung Dynasty of Burma (Myanmar). By the time of his death from illness during his campaign in Siam, this former chief of a small village in Upper Burma had unified Burma, subdued Manipur, conquered Lan Na and driven out the French and the British who had given help to the Mon Restored Hanthawaddy Kingdom. He also founded Yangon in 1755.

He is considered one of the three greatest monarchs of Burma alongside Anawrahta and Bayinnaung for unifying Burma for the third time in Burmese history. [1]

The future king was born Aung Zeya (အောင်ဇေယျ "Victorious Victory") at Moksobo, a village of a few hundred households in the Mu River Valley about 60 miles northwest of Ava on 24 August 1714 to Min Nyo San (မင်းညိုစံ) and his wife Saw Nyein Oo (စောငြိမ်းဦး). He was the second son of a lineage of gentry families that had administered the Mu Valley for generations. His father was a hereditary chief of Moksobo and his uncle, Kyawswa Htin (ကျော်စွာထင်), better known as Sitha Mingyi (စည်သာမင်းကြီး), was the lord of the Mu Valley District. [2] Alaungpaya claimed descent from kings Narapati I and Thihathura and ultimately the Pagan royal line.[3]

In 1730, Alaungpaya married his first cousin Yun San (ယွန်းစံ), daughter of chief of a neighboring village, Siboktara (စည်ပုတ္တရာ). They went on to have six sons and three surviving daughters. (The fourth daughter died young.)[4][5]

Alaungpaya was a charismatic military "leader of the first quality" who deeply inspired his people to do greater things. He was lavish in his praise and rewards but also merciless in failure. According to GE Harvey, "men felt that when he led them they could not fail", and "to be named at one of his investitures was the ambition of men's lives."[6]

The most important legacy of Alaungpaya was the restoration of central rule in Burma for the first time in four decades, and the rise of the Konbaung Dynasty. Alaungpaya, according to the Burmese historian Htin Aung, led a people "divided and broken, humiliated and ashamed" and "left to his successors a people united and confident, holding up their heads again in pride and in glory". But Htin Aung also cautions that Alaungpaya "had led his people in waging war but his leadership was still sorely needed to wage a peace. He had roused his people to the fever heat of nationalism but he was denied the time and the opportunity to calm them down to tolerance and restraint". Indeed, overconfident Konbaung kings that followed him would go to war with all the neighbors in the next seven decades on their way to founding the second largest Burmese empire, until they ran into the British in present-day northeastern India.

Alaungpaya died on Sunday, 11 May 1760 (12th waning of Kason 1122 ME) at the dawn, at Kinywa, near Martaban, after being rushed back from the Siamese front by the advance guard. He had longed for the sights and sounds of home, Shwebo for one last time but it was not to be. His death was made public at Yangon, and his body was taken up stream on a state barge. At Kyaukmyaung landing stage near Shwebo, the whole court came out to meet it, and bore it solemnly through the Hlaingtha Gate of Shwebo. He was buried with the ritual of the kings in the palace city, which once had been his lowly village, amid the mourning of an entire people. He had reigned only eight years, and was not yet 46 when he died. Historian Harvey writes that "men are remembered by the years they use, not by the years they last".[7]

Alaungpaya was succeeded by his eldest son, Naungdawgyi, despite his second son Hsinbyushin's attempt to take over the throne.

Sources

  1. Wikipedia entry on Alaungpaya, accessed May 2017.
  2. Hmannan Vol. 3 1829: 391.
  3. Myint-U, Thant (2006). The River of Lost Footsteps—Histories of Burma. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Page 90
  4. Buyers, Christopher. The Royal Ark: Burma – Konbaung Dynasty. Retrieved 14 April 2011.
  5. Letwe Nawrahta and Twinthin Taikwun (c. 1770). Hla Thamein, ed. Alaungpaya Ayedawbon (in Burmese) (1961 ed.). Ministry of Culture, Union of Burma. Page 12
  6. Harvey, G. E. (1925). History of Burma: From the Earliest Times to 10 March 1824. London: Frank Cass & Co. Ltd. Page 236-237
  7. Harvey, G. E. (1925). History of Burma: From the Earliest Times to 10 March 1824. London: Frank Cass & Co. Ltd. Page 241


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Images: 3
Statue of King Alaungpaya in front of the National Museum of Myanmar in Yangon
Statue of King Alaungpaya in front of the National Museum of Myanmar in Yangon

Alaungpaya's tomb in Shwebo
Alaungpaya's tomb in Shwebo

Statue of Alaungpaya in front of the DSA
Statue of Alaungpaya in front of the DSA

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