Kingdom of Ava

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Kingdom of Ava
Ava c. 1450
Ava c. 1450
Common languagesOld Burmese
Old Shan
Theravada Buddhism
• 1364–1367
Thado Minbya
• 1367–1400
Swa Saw Ke
• 1400–1421
Minkhaung I
• 1426–1439
Mohnyin Thado
• 1527–1542
• Thado Minbya seized Sagaing
by 30 May 1364
• Ava Kingdom founded
26 February 1365
September 1367
• Start of House of Mohnyin
16 May 1426
• Toungoo secession
16 October 1510
• Start of Shan period
14 March 1527
• Toungoo conquest
22 January 1555
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Pinya Kingdom
Sagaing Kingdom
First Toungoo Empire
Prome Kingdom

The Kingdom of Ava (Burmese: အင်းဝခေတ်, pronounced [ʔɪ́ɰ̃wa̰ kʰɪʔ]) was the dominant kingdom that ruled upper Burma (Myanmar) from 1364 to 1555. Founded in 1365, the kingdom was the successor state to the petty kingdoms of Myinsaing, Pinya and Sagaing that had ruled central Burma since the collapse of the Pagan Empire in the late 13th century.

Like the small kingdoms that preceded it, Ava may have been led by Bamarised Shan kings who claimed descent from the kings of Pagan.[1][2] Scholars debate that the Shan ethnicity of Avan kings comes from mistranslation, particularly from a record of the Avan kings' ancestors ruling a Shan village in central Burma prior to their rise or prominence.[3]


The kingdom was founded by Thado Minbya in 1364[4] following the collapse of the Sagaing and Pinya Kingdoms due to raids by the Shan States to the north. In its first years of existence, Ava, which viewed itself as the rightful successor to the Pagan Kingdom, tried to reassemble the former empire by waging constant wars against the Mon Hanthawaddy Kingdom in the south, the Shan States in the north and east, and Rakhine State in the west.[1]

While it was able to hold Taungoo and some peripheral Shan States (Kalaymyo, Mohnyin, Mogaung and Hsipaw) within its fold at the peak of its power, Ava failed to reconquer the rest. The Forty Years' War (1385–1424) with Hanthawaddy left Ava exhausted. From the 1420s to early 1480s, Ava regularly faced rebellions in its vassal regions whenever a new king came to power. In the 1480s and 1490s, the Prome Kingdom in the south and the Shan states that were under the sway of Ava in the north had broke away, and the Taungoo dynasty became as powerful as its nominal overlord Ava. In 1510, Taungoo also broke away.[1]

Ava was under intensified Shan raids for the first quarter of the 16th century. In 1527, the Confederation of Shan States, led by the state of Mohnyin in alliance with Prome, sacked Ava. The Confederation placed nominal kings on the Ava throne and ruled much of Upper Burma. As Prome was in alliance with the Confederation, only the tiny Taungoo in the southeastern corner, east of the Bago Yoma mountain range remained as the last holdout of the independent kingdom.

The Confederation's failure to snuff out Taungoo proved costly. Surrounded by hostile kingdoms, Taungoo took the initiative to consolidate its position, and defeated a much stronger Hanthawaddy in 1534–1541. When Taungoo turned against Prome, the Shans belatedly sent in their armies. Taungoo took Prome in 1542 and Bagan, just below Ava, in 1544.[5] In January 1555, King Bayinnaung of the Taungoo dynasty conquered Ava, ending the city's role as the capital of Upper Burma for nearly two centuries.

See also[edit]

Kingdom of Ava in 1368.


  1. ^ a b c Htin Aung 1967: 84–103
  2. ^ Phayre 1883: 63–75
  3. ^ Aung-Thwin 2010: 881–901
  4. ^ Coedès 1968: 227
  5. ^ Phayre 1883: 100–101


  • Aung-Thwin, Michael (2010). "The Myth of the "Three Shan Brothers" and the Ava Period in Burmese History". The Journal of Asian Studies. Cambridge University Press. 55 (4): 881–901. doi:10.2307/2646527. JSTOR 2646527. S2CID 162150555.
  • Coedès, George (1968). The Indianized States of Southeast Asia (1967 ed.). University of Hawaii Press.
  • 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.