Alaungpaya, King


Alaungpaya, King
   (r. 1752-1760)
   Founding king of the Konbaung Dynasty, he was a local leader at Moksobomyo, north of Ava (Inwa), which he made into a fortified capital and renamed Shwebo. In 1752, Binnya Dala, the ruler of the Mon state of Hanthawaddy, captured Ava, but Alaungpaya (as he styled himself after proclaiming himself king, meaning "embryo Buddha") recaptured it the following year and led an armed expedition down the Irrawaddy (Ayeyarwady) River into Lower Burma, capturing Dagon, which he renamed Rangoon (Yangon), meaning "end of strife," in 1755, Syriam (Thanlyin) in 1756, and Pegu in 1757. With Pegu's fall, Binnya Dala was deposed and the history of independent Mon states ended. Alaungpaya attacked the small but troublesome state of Manipur in northeastern India, dealt harshly with Mon uprisings in Lower Burma, and launched an unsuccessful invasion of Siam (Thailand) by way of Tenasserim (Tanintharyi) in 1760. On this expedition, he died of disease or injury.
   An exemplar of warlike Burman values, historians believe that Alaungpaya's reign marked the beginning of polarization between the Burmans and the ethnic minorities, especially the rebellious Mons. Earlier kings, such as Bayinnaung, were great admirers of Mon culture. Lower Burma was largely depopulated by Alaungpaya's campaigns.

Historical Dictionary of Burma (Myanmar). . 2014.

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