Mohnyin Thado

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Mohnyin Thado
King of Ava
Reign 16 May 1426 – May 1439
Predecessor Kale Kyetaungnyo
Successor Minye Kyawswa I
Born 20 October 1379
Thursday, 9th waxing of Tazaungmon 741 ME[1]
Died May 1439 (aged 59) [2]
Ava (Inwa)
Consort Shin Myat Hla
Shin Bo-Me
Shin Sawbu
Issue Minye Kyawswa I of Ava[3]
Narapati I of Ava
Shin Hla Myat of Pakhan
Saw Hla Htut of Pagan
Ottama Thiri Zeya Nawrahta
Full name
Myo Hla
Father Saw Diga of Mye-Ne [4]
Mother Saw Pale of Nyaungyan
Religion Theravada Buddhism

Mohnyin Thado (Burmese: မိုးညှင်းသတိုး, pronounced [móɲ̥ɪ́ɴ ðədó]; Mohnyin Mintaya; 1379 – 1439) was king of Ava from 1426 to 1439. The ethnic Burman saopha (chief) of Mohnyin came to power after overthrowing King Kale Kyetaungnyo and his queen Shin Bo-Me in 1426. His reign marks the plateauing of Ava's power. Left exhausted by the Forty Years' War with Hanthawaddy Pegu (Bago) in the south, and long-running wars against various Shan States in the north, Ava was no longer in a position to expand. Mohnyin Thado spent his 12-year reign keeping restive regions of Ava in one piece. He never controlled Toungoo. He had to tolerate the governors of other regions who treated him as at best a senior. Hanthwaddy aided the Toungoo rebellion in 1426 and seized the region in 1436. But the two kingdoms did not resume a full-scale war.

In 1438, Mohnyin Thado renumbered the Burmese calendar by subtracting two years on the advice of a court astrologer. The change did not stick as he died a year later.

King Alaungpaya of Konbaung Dynasty claimed descent from Mohnyin Thado.

Ancestry and early life

Mohnyin Thado was born Myo Hla (also known as Min Nansi) to a minor nobility family that attended King Swa Saw Ke's court. He was born in Nyaungyan (near Meiktila).[2] He was a 7th generation descendant of kings Naratheinkha and Sithu I of Pagan, and a great grandson of Kyawswa I of Pinya.[5] He was also a descendant of Chief Minister Yazathingyan of Pagan through his great-great grandmother Khin Hpone, who was a daughter of Gen. Yanda Pyissi, the younger son of Yazathingyan.[6]

As a youngster, Nansi was given a small region east of Shwebo in fief by King Swa Saw Ke. The king also made him an attendant of his sons Minkhaung and Theiddat, who were sent to their respective fiefs away from Ava. The princes lived as wandering minstrels and nat dancers, one of the older attendants playing a drum, another the horn, and so on. They strayed down to Taungdwingyi, and then crossing over to Minbu District and lived at Ngape and Padein.[7]

Saopha of Mohnyin

When Minkhaung became king in 1400, he brought his young attendants to court. In 1406, Nansi served under Prince Minye Kyawswa in one of the crucial campaigns against the Hanthawaddy Kingdom in the Forty Years' War. He fought his way into Prome (Pyay) with pack-ponies carrying rice. Having provisioned the garrison, he fought his way out through the Hanthawaddy lines. Minkhaung was so pleased with Nansi's wartime performance that in 1410 he made Nansi the Saopha (Chief) of the Shan State of Mohnyin,[7][8] and in addition gave the youngster in marriage his queen of five months, Shin Myat Hla, daughter of Thihapate, Lord of Taungdwin.[9] At Mohnyin, he gained the title of "Mohnyin Thado" (Lord of Mohnyin) that he would be known thence. Despite his mainly Burman heritage—he had a small amount of Shan blood as he was a descendant of Kyawswa I of Pinya—he successfully ruled Mohnyin, a restive Shan state which had launched numerous raids into Ava territories for decades. (Inter-marriage blur the lines of ethnicity among the ruling elite in Upper Burma and the Shan realm during this period.[10])


In 1426, two successive kings of Ava (Thihathu and his 7-year-old son Minhlange) were assassinated by the designs of Queen Shin Bo-Me, who put her lover Kale Kyetaungnyo, the Saopha of Kale, on the throne. Mohnyin Thado refused to submit to the usurpers, and came down with his army to Ava, forcing the usurpers to flee the capital. He became the new king of Ava on 16 May 1426[11] or 20 May 1426.[12] Kyetaungnyo later died in the jungle.[13] Queen Bo-Me, a dashing beauty who had already been queen of four kings Tarabya, Minkhaung I, Thihathu and Kale Kyetaungnyo, was brought back and made a junior queen of Mohnyin Thado.[14] According to the Burmese Chronicles, when Mohnyin Thado enquired about her health after she was brought back from the forest, she replied insultingly "I think I smell a slave." The king had a residence built for her within the walls of the palace.[7]


Mohnyin Thado's reign marks the plateauing the Ava Kingdom, though it was not of his making. After the Forty Years' War (1385–1424) with Hanthawaddy Pegu (Bago) in the south, and long-running wars against various Shan States in the north, Ava by Mohnyin Thado's reign was thoroughly exhausted, and no longer in a position to expand. Unlike his predecessors Swa Saw Ke and Minkhaung who launched the wars, Mohnyin Thado spent his 12-year reign keeping restive regions of Ava in one piece. Taungdwingyi, Yamethin, Pinle, and above all Toungoo, under princes of much the same standing as himself went their own way and treated him as best a senior.[7]

Toungoo rebellion (1426–1440)

He found it difficult to control the mainly Burman region of Toungoo (Taungoo), over which Ava had only nominal suzerainty. When Thinkhaya, the ruler of Toungoo, came to Ava in 1426, he was treated almost as equal by Mohnyin Thado.[13][14] Mohnyin Thado tried to encircle Toungoo by making his brother the governor of Tharrawaddy, an adjacent region of Toungoo, and staying on good terms with King Binnya Ran I of Hanthawaddy. Nonetheless, Thinkhaya formed an alliance with Binnya Ran, decided to raise a rebellion and laid siege to Prome. However Binnya Ran simply wanted to keep Ava occupied, and was not eager to restart a war with Ava. He sent envoys to Ava, asking for a princess of Ava as the price of alliance. Mohnyin Thado was so angry that he kept the envoys for three months without audience, and had to be dissuaded from killing them. He finally decided to ally with Hanthawaddy and gave his niece to the Hanthawaddy king.[7] Toungoo remained out of his reach for the rest of his reign.

Other regions

Mohnyin Thado did not have much authority over other regions of the kingdom either. The rulers of regions as close to Ava such as Yamethin and Pinle, which controlled the all important Kyaukse granary behaved like sovereigns. Pinle was ruled by Minye Kyawhtin, son of the famous warrior prince Minye Kyawswa. On top of that, Shan raids continued. The Shan state of Hsipaw (Thibaw) attacked Myedu and the northern frontier in Shwebo district, and even for eight months drove him out of his palace, withdrawing only on payment of a large sum.[7]

Flight of Shin Sawbu (1430)

When he came to power, he took Shin Sawbu, who was a queen of Thihathu of Ava and the elder sister of Binnya Ran I of Hanthawaddy, from the lord of Pagan to whom she had been given after Thihathu was assassinated. As Mohnyin Thado bestowed his affections elsewhere, Shin Sawbu planned to flee Ava. In 1430, she fled Ava with the help of two ethnic Mon monks who were studying in Ava.[7] At Pegu, her brother Binnya Ran received her with great honors.[13]

Relics from Ceylon

In 1430, two monks returned from Ceylon with five relics. The king built the monks a huge monastery two miles west of Sagaing, and nearby a pagoda named Yadanazedi, now called Payabyu, to enshrine the relics.[7]

Alteration of Burmese Calendar (1438)

In 1438, at the turn of Burmese calendar year 800, Mohnyin Thado on the advice of a court astrologer decided to renumber the calendar by subtracting two years. When the monks cautioned him that kings who alter the calendar die, he said "If I must die, let me die. I will not be put in a song as a king who was afraid to do his duty".[7] The king died just over a year later, and his change of the calendar was discarded. He was succeeded by his son Minye Kyawswa.[13]


Mohnyin Thado died circa May 1439 at age 59.[note 2]


  1. ^ See (Alaungpaya Ayedawbon 1961: 12) which traces King Alaungpaya's ancestry to Mohnyin Thado and beyond. Mohnyin Thado was a four times great-grandson of kings Naratheinkha and Sithu II.
  2. ^ (Hmannan Vol. 2 2003: 76): The king died in his 60th year just before completing his 13th year of reign. Since he came to power on 14th waxing of Nayon 788 ME (20 May 1426), he probably died in early Nayon 801 ME (14 May to 11 June 1439).


  1. ^ Zata 1960: 75
  2. ^ a b c Hmannan Vol. 2 2003: 75–77
  3. ^ Hmannan Vol. 2 2003: 62
  4. ^ Hmannan Vol. 2 2003: 61–62
  5. ^ Sein Myint, Aung Thein Han 1967: 50
  6. ^ Letwe Nawrahta 1961: 12
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i Harvey 1925: 95–100
  8. ^ Kam Mong 2004: 62
  9. ^ Tun Aung Chain 2004: 63
  10. ^ Fernquest 2006: 51
  11. ^ Yazawin Thit Vol. 1 2012: 272
  12. ^ In the footnotes of (Maha Yazawin Vol. 2 2006: 62)
  13. ^ a b c d Phayre 1967: 82–84
  14. ^ a b Htin Aung 1967: 93–94


  • Fernquest, Jon (Autumn 2006). "Crucible of War: Burma and the Ming in the Tai Frontier Zone (1382–1454)" (PDF). SOAS Bulletin of Burma Research. 4 (2). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-02-19.
  • Harvey, G. E. (1925). History of Burma: From the Earliest Times to 10 March 1824. London: Frank Cass & Co. Ltd.
  • Kam Mong, Sai (2004). The history and development of the Shan scripts. Silkworm Books. ISBN 9789749575505.
  • Letwe Nawrahta and Twinthin Taikwun (c. 1770). Hla Thamein (ed.). Alaungpaya Ayedawbon (in Burmese) (1961 ed.). Ministry of Culture, Union of Burma.
  • Phayre, Lt. Gen. Sir Arthur P. (1883). History of Burma (1967 ed.). London: Susil Gupta.
  • Royal Historians of Burma (c. 1680). U Hla Tin (Hla Thamein) (ed.). Zatadawbon Yazawin (1960 ed.). Historical Research Directorate of the Union of Burma.
  • Royal Historical Commission of Burma (1832). Hmannan Yazawin (in Burmese). 1–3 (2003 ed.). Yangon: Ministry of Information, Myanmar.
  • Sein Myint, Aung Thein Han (1967). Beyond Ava (in Burmese). Yangon: Gandama Publishing.
  • Tun Aung Chain (2004). Selected Writings of Tun Aung Chain. Myanmar Historical Commission.
Mohnyin Thado
Born: 20 October 1379 Died: May 1439
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Kale Kyetaungnyo
King of Ava
20 May 1426 – May 1439
Succeeded by
Minye Kyawswa I
Royal titles
Preceded by
Saopha of Mohnyin
Succeeded by
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