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Pinya Kingdom

Kingdom of Pinya


Capital Pinle, Pinya
Languages Burmese, Shan
Religion Theravada Buddhism, Mahayana Buddhism, animism
Government Monarchy
 -  1310–1325 Thihathu
 -  1325–1340 Uzana I
 -  1344–1350 Kyawswa I
 -  1359–1364 Narathu
 -  Founding of Kingdom 13 April 1310
 -  Move of capital to Pinya 7 February 1313
 -  Secession of Sagaing 16 May 1315
 -  Shan raids 1359–1364
 -  Fall of Pinya September 1364

The Pinya Kingdom (Burmese: ပင်းယခေတ်, pronounced: ) was a kingdom that ruled part of central Burma (Myanmar) from 1310 to 1364. It was the successor state to the Myinsaing Kingdom, one of many petty kingdoms that emerged after the fall of the Pagan Empire in 1287.

Led by Burmanized Shan kings, Pinya occasionally clashed with the cross-river rival Sagaing Kingdom for the control of central Burma but was largely kept on the defensive throughout its existence by Shan raids from the north. Both Pinya and Sagaing kingdoms collapsed in 1364 when Shan raiders from Mogaung sacked the capitals of both kingdoms in succession.

The Kingdom of Ava, founded by Thadominbya, a Sagaing prince, came to replace both Pinya and Sagaing in 1364, and became the major kingdom of central Burma for the next 150 plus years.


  • History 1
    • Origins 1.1
    • Secession of Sagaing (1315) 1.2
    • Middle years 1.3
    • Fall of Pinya 1.4
  • Notes 2
  • References 3
  • Bibliography 4



The Pinya Kingdom was the continuation of the Myinsaing Kingdom, founded in December 1297 by three brothers, Athinhkaya, Yazathingyan and Thihathu. Indeed, were it not for the secession of Sagaing in May 1315, it would still have been called Myinsaing Kingdom. In April 1310, Thihathu, the youngest brother, consolidated his power by poisoning his eldest brother after the middle brother had died of natural causes.[1][2]

Thihathu initially planned to move his capital from Pinle to a more strategic location by the Irrawaddy, and close to the Kyaukse granary. (By then, Pagan which had about 200,000 inhabitants before the Mongol invasions was largely deserted.) Thihathu initially chose the location of what would later become Ava, by the Irrawaddy and Myitnge rivers and close to Kyaukse. But court astrologers advised against the location as bad omen. Thihathu instead chose Pinya (near Ava), also by the Irrawaddy.[3]

Thihathu moved into his new palace in Pinya on 7 February 1313,[note 1] over two years after he became the sole king, and adopted the style and title of the ancient kings of Pagan. In his coronation ceremony, the dowager Queen Saw, wife of King Narathihapate (the last sovereign king of Pagan), presented Thihathu the golden belt and the golden tray which had been handed down in the royal family since the time of King Anawrahta (r. 1044–1078). Thihathu now officially considered himself the heir to Pagan kings. So much so that he appointed Uzana I, a son of the fallen king Kyawswa and Mi Saw U, as crown prince in 1315. (Mi Saw U was pregnant with Uzana when Thihathu seized her, and gave birth to Uzana c. June 1298. Thihathu adopted Uzana as his own son.)[3]

Secession of Sagaing (1315)

Thihathu's 15-year-old eldest son Sawyun did not take news that he had been passed over kindly. Encouraged by forest dweller monks, Sawyun left with his followers to Sagaing, directly across Pinya on the western bank of the Irrawaddy on 16 May 1315 (12th waxing of Nayon 677 ME).[4] Sawyun never formally revolted and nominally remained loyal to his father. Thihathu, who never wanted to share power with anyone, even with his own brothers, uncharacteristically did not (or could not) punish Sawyun for his thinly veiled insurrection. Perhaps a younger Thihathu would not have tolerated it. At any rate, after Thihathu's death in 1325, the two kingdoms formally went separate ways, with Pinya controlling eastern and southern parts of central Burma and Sagaing the western and northern regions.[5]

Middle years

When Thihathu died in 1325, Uzana I came to power as designated by Thihathu. Uzana, a vestige of Pagan dynasty, was an anomaly in the Pinya court dominated by Shan ministers and warriors. Although his reign lasted for 15 years, he was essentially a caretaker of the throne for his eventual successor and maternal half-brother, Kyawswa I. The younger Kyawswa, the son of Thihathu and a grandson of Narathipate, was a perfect choice as he possessed lineage from both the old (Pagan) and new (Pinya) dynasties. Uzana abdicated the throne in 1340, and became a hermit.[2]

The two rival kingdoms were engaged in sporadic warfare against each other in the following years. But neither side could gain upper hand as they were more concerned about Shan raids from the north.[5] Shan raids became more intensified in the late 1350s.[6]

Fall of Pinya

In 1364, King Narathu of Pinya thought he had a perfect plan to defeat his arch-rival Sagaing and the pesky Shan raiders from the north. He made an alliance with Saopha of Mogaung to jointly attack Sagaing. However, when the Mogaung forces attacked Sagaing, Pinya's armies simply watched from the other side. For Narathu, his plan backfired. Mogaung's armies sacked Sagaing anyway, and turned their aggression to Pinya for Narathu's betrayal. The Shan forces then crossed the river, sacked the city of Pinya, and brought Narathu to Mogaung as prisoner.[5]

While the Shans did not occupy central Burma, the raids left central Burma in tatters. Narathu's eldest brother, Uzana II succeeded the Pinya throne but lasted for only three months. The Kingdom of Pinya, and along with the House of Myinsaing, was finished.[2]


  1. ^ (Hmannan Vol. 1 2003: 370) gives Wednesday, 15th waxing of Tabaung 674 ME, which translates to 10 February 1313. But 15th waxing is most probably a copying error since it is highly uncommon to say 15th waxing instead of full moon. The date was probably 12th waxing of Tabaung, which correctly translates to Wednesday, 7 February 1313. Burmese numerals 2 (၂) and 5 (၅) are similar and can easily be miscopied.


  1. ^ Kala Vol. 1 2006: 254; in footnote by the Dept of Universities History Research, citing an inscription date
  2. ^ a b c Phayre 1883: 58–59
  3. ^ a b Harvey 1925: 78–80
  4. ^ Hmannan Vol. 1 2003: 375
  5. ^ a b c Htin Aung 1967: 71–79
  6. ^ Lieberman 2003: 119–121


  • Hmannan Yazawin (in Burmese) 1–3 (2003 ed.). Yangon: Ministry of Information, Myanmar. 1829. 
  • Hall, D.G.E. (1960). Burma (3rd ed.). Hutchinson University Library.  
  • 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. 
  • Kala, U (1720). Maha Yazawin Gyi (in Burmese) 1–3 (2006, 4th printing ed.). Yangon: Ya-Pyei Publishing. 
  • Lieberman, Victor B. (2003). Strange Parallels: Southeast Asia in Global Context, c. 800–1830, volume 1, Integration on the Mainland. Cambridge University Press.  
  • Phayre, Lt. Gen. Sir Arthur P. (1883). History of Burma (1967 ed.). London: Susil Gupta. 

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