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Main Burmese Dynasties

Since the 2nd century A.D., sixteen important and influential Main Burmese Dynasties or kingdoms have been recorded in Myanmar’s history. According to some scholars Buddhism was brought to Burma/Myanmar around the 2nd century A.D., others believe not until the 5th century A.D. There is some evidence that it could have been as early as 2 A.D., or earlier, although there has been a lack of Buddhist iconography or proof found in Myanmar to support this belief.

Main Burmese Dynasties

Buddhism was first introduced into Myanmar by its Indian neighbours through travelling Buddhist monks visiting Myanmar or adjoining countries and through trade. Animism was the main belief system in Myanmar up until the 9th century when King Anawratha, a devout Buddhist, and the first King of the Pagan Empire ruling from 1014 A.D – 1077 A.D., declared Buddhism the predominant religion of Myanmar.

Although Anawrahta couldn’t persuade his people to give up their animistic beliefs, he decided, that to encourage his subjects to adhere to Buddhist beliefs he would have to make some of the Nats worshipped by his people official and acceptable. Of the myriad of Nats, he chose 37 main Nats. Up until present times, nat worship has coincided with Buddhism.

The thirty-seven Nats are a combination of spirits of the departed, tree or water spirits and ghosts. Every year from the 31st of July until August 7th just a a few miles out of Mandalay the Taungbyone Nat Festival is held to honor the Nats.

The history of Burma (now Myanmar) is marked by several dynasties that have ruled the region over the centuries. Among the most significant are the Pagan Dynasty, which laid the foundation for the Burmese culture and language; the Toungoo Dynasty, known for its military conquests and administrative reforms; and the Konbaung Dynasty, the last dynasty that ruled before British colonization.

The Pagan Dynasty (1044-1287) was Burma’s first empire and one of its most enduring. It was during this period that Theravada Buddhism became deeply entrenched in Burmese society, influencing art, culture, and politics. The dynasty’s most notable king, Anawrahta, initiated a series of conquests that expanded the empire’s reach and also embarked on a massive building campaign, which included constructing thousands of Buddhist temples in the capital city of Bagan.

Following a period of fragmentation, the Toungoo Dynasty (1510-1752) emerged as one of the most powerful entities in Southeast Asia. Under the leadership of Tabinshwehti and his successor Bayinnaung, the dynasty unified much of modern-day Myanmar and even extended its control over neighbouring territories. The Toungoo rulers are also remembered for their efforts to centralize administration and foster trade.

The final dynasty before British colonization was the Konbaung Dynasty (1752-1885), founded by Alaungpaya. It is known for its attempts to modernize the army and administration. However, despite its initial success in resisting British encroachment, it eventually succumbed to three Anglo-Burmese Wars, leading to British rule in Burma.

These dynasties collectively shaped the history and identity of Burma, leaving behind a rich cultural heritage that continues to influence Myanmar today.

Main Burmese Dynasties

Beikthano Pyu City State
Located in the middle part of Myanmar north of Kookogwa Village. 11 miles north of Taung Dwingyee.
2nd Century BCE 9th Century A.D.

Thuwunna Bonmi (Ramanya) City State (AD 100)
Located in southern Myanmar near Beelin, at the foot of Mount Kaylartha.

Tharay Kittarar Pyu City State (AD 400-1000)
Located in lower Myanmar, 5 miles southeast of Pyay.

Hanlin Pyu City State (AD?-832)
Located in upper Myanmar in Shwebo District, Wetlet Township.

Waytharlee Kingdom (BC 500-?)
Located in western Myanmar about 6 miles north of Myauk Oo or Mrauk-U

Bagan (Pagan) Dynasty (AD 107-1287)
Located in Upper Myanmar.

Pinya Dynasty (1309-1360)
Located in central Myanmar

Sagaing Dynasty (1315-1364)
Located in upper Myanmar in Sagaing.

Toungoo Dynasty (1486-1752) – split by the Shan state in the north and east of Myanmar (Burma).
Located in central Myanmar.

Innwa Dynasty (1364-1555)
Located in central Myanmar.

Bago/Hantharwaddy Dynasty
Located in lower Myanmar in Bago.

Kone Baung Dynasty or Alaungpaya Dynasty (1752-1885) – The last ruling Burman dynasty
Shwebo Palace: built by King Ahlaung Pharar

Kone Baung Dynasty
Amarapura Palace: Built by King Bodaw Pharar – Sanscript name for Amarapura “City of Immortality”

Kone Baung Dynasty:
Golden Palace Mandalay: built by King Mindon 1858.

Main Burmese Dynasties
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