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Thado Minsaw

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Subject: Bodawpaya, Kingdom of Mrauk U, Konbaung dynasty, Myanmar–Thailand relations, Military history of Myanmar
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Thado Minsaw

Thado Minsaw
Heir-apparent of Burma
Prince of Shwedaung, Dabayin
Reign 13 July 1783 – 9 April 1808[1]
Successor Bagyidaw
Spouse Min Kye
Issue 32 sons, 26 daughters including...
Full name
Sri Maha Dharma Vijaya Sihasura (သီရိမဟာဓမ္မဝိဇယသီဟသူရ)
House Konbaung
Father Bodawpaya
Mother Me Lun Thu
Born (1762-06-15)15 June 1762
Died 9 April 1808(1808-04-09) (aged 45)

Thado Minsaw (Burmese: သတိုးမင်းစော ; 15 June 1762 – 9 April 1808) was Heir-apparent of Burma from 1783 to 1808, during the reign of his father King Bodawpaya of Konbaung dynasty. Prince of Shwedaung and Dabayin was entrusted by the king to manage the day to day affairs of the kingdom, and when necessary, to lead the Royal Army against enemies. Thado Minsaw is best known for his conquest of Arakan (now Rakhine State) in 1784–1785 and the subsequent removal of Mahamuni Buddha from Mrauk-U to Amarapura.[2] He also led the successful defense of Tenasserim (Taninthayi) coast in 1792 in the war with Siam. The crown prince also led the revitalization of Burmese theater in the late 18th century by bringing a group of young artists to his court.

Thado Minsaw died at age 45 in 1808, and was succeeded as crown prince by his son Prince of Sagaing (later King Bagyidaw). The rest of Konbaung kings traced lineage to him.

Early life

Thado Minsaw was born Maung Paw (မောင်ပေါ် ) to then Prince of Badon (later King Bodawpaya) and his third wife Me Lun Thu (later Queen of Northern Palace) in 1762 in Shwebo. On 26 March 1781, Maung Yit was granted Shwedaung in fief by King Singu, a first-cousin of his, and became known as Prince of Shwedaung. On 13 July 1783, nearly a year and a half after his father Bodawpaya ascended to Burmese throne, Prince of Shwedaung, just 21, was made crown prince, and was granted Dabayin and Taungdwingyi in fiefs.[1]

Crown prince

Conquest of Arakan

Thado Minsaw's first major assignment as crown prince was to lead the Burmese invasion of Arakan, an independent kingdom in the west, separated by the Arakan Yoma mountains. In October 1784, Thado Minsaw as commander-in-chief led an expedition force consisted of four divisions, totaling 30,000 men (including 2500 cavalry and 200 elephants). Three divisions crossed the Arakan Yoma from three different passes with Thado Minsaw's division crossing the mountains from its Minbu base. The fourth was a flotilla which came up from the Indian Ocean coastline from the erstwhile British base at Negrais. On the last day of the year, the Burmese forces captured the Arakanese capital Mrauk-U, ending nearly five centuries of Arakanese independence.[3][4] Twenty thousand people were deported to populate the king's new capital Amarapura. In the looting and destruction that followed, much of Arakan's cultural and intellectual heritage was lost. The royal library was burned to the ground. The country was annexed and ruled through four governorships, each backed by a garrison. The Mahamuni Buddha, the very symbol of Arakanese sovereignty, was forcibly brought back to Amarapura.[2]


Though still in his twenties, Thado Minsaw came to be relied upon by his father for both domestic and military affairs. In late 1785, Thado Minsaw was entrusted to govern in Amarapura while the king personally led a large scale invasion of Siam. After the invasion, which ended in total failure, Bodawapaya handed over managing the day-to-day affairs of the kingdom to Thado Minsaw, and concentrated on religion.

Defense of Tenasserim

The crown prince was called on to service again in 1792 when the Siamese again invaded Tenasserim, the coastal region directly west of Bangkok. The Siamese forces, which also invaded the region in 1787, successfully captured Tavoy (Dawei) this time in March 1792, and laid siege to Mergui (Myeik). Thado Minsaw as commander-in-chief of a 10,000 strong force first marched down to Burmese held Martaban (Mottama) at the north of Tenasserim coast as his forward base. By December 1792, Thado Minsaw was able to drive out the Siamese from Tavoy and relieved Mergui which the Burmese governor had successfully held. Thado Minsaw left a portion of troops to guard the southeastern frontier.[5]


The crown prince was also instrumental in revitalizing Burmese theater. In the 1780s, he brought together a circle of innovative young artists in his private court, including Maung Sa, the future Myawaddy Mingyi U Sa. In 1789, a Royal Commission consisted of princes and ministers was charged with translating Siamese and Javanese dramas from Thai to Burmese. With the help of Siamese artists captured from Ayutthaya in 1767,[6] the commission adapted two important epics from Thai to Burmese: the Siamese Ramayana and the Enao, the Siamese version of Javanese Panji tales into Burmese Yama Zatdaw and Enaung Zatdaw.


Crown Prince Thado Minsaw died at Amarapura at age 45 on 9 April 1808. He had 22 queens, 32 sons and 26 daughters. Although he was not to be king, the crown prince was father of two future kings, Bagyidaw and Tharrawaddy. The rest of Konbaung kings traced lineage to him.


  1. ^ a b Buyers
  2. ^ a b Myint-U 2006: 109–110
  3. ^ Myint-U 2001: 14
  4. ^ Harvey 1925: 267
  5. ^ Phayre 1967: 213–220
  6. ^ Brandon 1967: 27


Thado Minsaw
Born: 15 June 1762 Died: 9 April 1808
Royal titles
Preceded by
Heir to the Burmese Throne
as Prince of Shwedaung
Succeeded by
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