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April 02, 2020

The Second last old capital city “Amarapura” Part V Amarapura under the four successors of Badonsachen [Bodawpaya]

Badonsachen’s son the Crown Prince passed away in 1808 after his military expedition to Rakhine and transfer of Maha Muni Buddha Image to Amarapura. The Crown Prince had two sons (1) Sagaing Min and (2) Thayawaddy Min. Thayawaddy Min had two sons Pagan Min and Mindon Min who called Sagaing Min Bagyidaw [senior uncle]. So Sagaing Min was more wellknown as King Bagyidaw. Badonsachen selected Sagaing Min as his successor to throne. When Badonsachen died in 1819 Bagyidaw became king. Hardly a year passed when he became king, he moved back to old capital city Inwa, where he reigned till 1837 when he was overthrown by his younger brother Thayawaddy Min.
Thayawaddy Min thought that the glary and auspiciousness of Inwa were gone forever as proved by the defeat of his elder brother Sagaing Min [Bagyidaw] in the first Anglo-Myanmar War of 1824-26, causing loss of territories, heavy war indemnity and damaging national pride and prestige which the infamous Treaty of Yandabo which the British unfairly imposed upon Myanmar. His elder brother Sagaing Min was weak and under the influence chief queen Namadaw Mei Nu frequently suffered moments of mental derangement. So Thayawaddy Min thought that weak king must be replaced. Besides he never signed the Treaty of Yandabo which he wanted to flout at any given opportunity, and fight the British aggressors out of the kingdom. Accordingly, with his followers he marched to Shwebo, the Land of Victory of King Alaungpaya and staged a coup. Sagaing Min and royal family were arrested. Although the deposed Sagaing Min was well treated, Nanmadaw Mei Nu and her followers were put to death. After these events, Thayawaddy moved his capital back to Amarapura. Since then Inwa was deserted for good.
When Amarapura became Capital City again it was renovated, extended and modernized. Each of the three kings namely Thayawaddy Min, Bagan Min and Mindon Min rebuilt Amarapura in his own idea and design. The events that took place during their reigns were remarkably significant for Myanamr history.
To begin with, King Thayawaddy renovated and re-embellished Amarapura where he built a new palace. In Myanmar chronicle he was recorded as “the founder of Second Amarapura and builder of a new palace”. On the 10th waxing moon of Waso [July] in the Myanmar Era 1202 [1846 AD] the ceremonially received “Raja Bisaka” [formal coronation] and was conferred the regal title “Thiri Pawara Loka Dipati Mahadhamma Rajahdhirajah”. His chief queen was also given the regal title “Thiripawara Mahayadana Padoma Devi”.
Within nine years of his reign, King Thayawaddy was pre-occupied with the idea of redemeaning the two lost territories—Rakhine and Taninthayi. He tried to reform and modernize his armed forces. He reconstructed fortifications and replanned and rebuilt his capital and towns including Yangon. He patronized and awarded rewards to outstanding writers and performing artists. True to the tradition of a noble Buddhist king, he repaired and renovated old religious monuments and built now ones of which a big pagoda of a fine architectural design, built by the side of a natural lake “Zaung Kalaw” to the north east of his capital was “Loka Muni Culla”. A big stone inscription set up in the precinct full records his deeds of good merit.
In politics, Thayawaddy was farsighted and were informed of the Anglo-French colonial rivalry reaching South-east Asia. He knew that these two Western Powers would come to his kingdom unless he took timely measures to prevent them. Burney suggested the exchange of Rakhine and Taninthayi with Pegu. That indicated to King Tharawaddy that the British would proceed with their territorial aggression in Myanmar. When Burney found that he was no longer a persona grata as a British Resident at the Court of Tharawaddy, returned home on the excuse of ill health.
Now the way was opened to King Tharawaddy to move forward with the plan he deemed best. In 1841 the court of Amarapura issued the announcement of the king’s intended pilgrimage to Shwe Dagon Pagoda in Yangon. The announcement was soon followed by the sending of an advanced party to make preparation for the royal visit, causing much alarm among the British. The British Commissioner of Taninthayi sent an alarmist report to the Governor-General of British India saying the Burmese king was advancing to Yangon with 40 thousand troops to invade Taninthayi. The Brirish Intelligence learnt that the “Burmese were constructing in Yangon not only palace, court, and offices, but also barracks, armoury, stone-houses, war boats, and vessels as if they were preparing for war. Myanmar Communities in lower Myanmar were much excited to see their king coming in state.
The declared intention of the king’s riverine journey to Yangon was to worship Shwedagon. But did he have other motives? The following detail account of the king’s progress attested that he intended to recover his lost territories by his might and main.
“After security and defence measures were taken and arrangements for maintenance of law and order were carried out, King Tharawaddy took a stately trip to Dagon via the Ayeyawaddy River. The following was the order of his flotilla.
“(1) The white Sampan, carrying the Buddha Images and Shin Pyu Paya, copies of Tipitaka, 8 images of Arahat Saints and Minister in charge of glebe lands, and his clerks supervising, took the lead of the procession
(2) Boats, Sampans, and rafts, carrying over 1500 gunners from Amyint, Taungtha, Alakapa, Myo Tha, and Pyay towns who formed the army under the command of royal son Prince Pyay followed next Prince Pyay bearing the title “Thiri Maha Thiha Thura Dhamma Yaza” was appointed General.
(3) Boats, Sampans, Kattu, Lwan Kyin and other boats carrying soldiers from the army under the command of Prince Taik Kala followed next.
(4) Boats, Sampans, Kattu, Lwan Kyin and other boats carrying soldiers from the army under the command of Prince Myin Kun followed next.
(5) Boats, Sampans, Kattu, Lwan Kyin and other boats carrying soldiers from the army under the command of Prince Thibaw followed next.
(6) Boats, Sampans, Kattu, Lwan Kyin and other boats carrying soldiers from the army under the command of Prince Thonze next.
(7) Boats, Sampans, Kattu, Lwan Kyin and other boats carrying soldiers from the army under the command of Prince Tayoke Myaw followed next.
(8) The glass-mosaic gilt Sampan bearing the royal elder brother who was the fourth ruller of Ratanapura Capital and builder of the palace (ex-king Bagyidaw). It was led by two Let pyi boats.
(9) The Sampan bearing the daughter of the royal elder brother and her ladies-in-waiting followed next.
(10) The Sampan bearing the Myosa of Magwe and the concubines whom he looked after followed next.
(11) The raft carrying royal treasurers in the care of Mingyi Maha Min Hla Nawrahta the Atwin Wun and Myosa of Zayun, and Maha Min Hla Thinkhaya, the Minister of Royal Steeds followed next.
(12) Kattu, Lwan Kyin and other boats carrying Myo Wun, Ponna Wun, Min Gyi, Maha Thiri Thihathu, Jailor, Myo Sayey and troop of Shay Yon Taw.
(13) Boat, carrying two Mingala Cannons on wheel, 30 cannons on wheel, an artillery of over 100 Ferringees [Portuguese] and Pathi-Indian men under the command of the Minister of Artillery [Amyauk Wun].
(14) Barges, Kattu, Lwan Kyin and other boats, carrying the white standard of Shey Win war drums, war gongs, 6 big cannons, gold shields, gold hlwars, gold kas, Mone Lancers, Kaung Han troopers, Ywe Let ya gunners, Shwe Pyi gunners, gunners of Pyinzala town, totalling over one thousand in strength, with Mingyi Maha Min Khaung, the Commander of the Shey Win Taw in charge, Shey Win Sachi Ney Myo Theinkha Kyaw Thu as Sitke, Shey Win Sayey Nawrahta Kyaw Thu as Na Khan, Daing Sayey Nawrahta Yan Aung as
Tatyey.
(To be continued)

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