The Golden days of the Great Shan Empire III

The Golden days of the 

Great Shan Empire III

To make it easy for the busy readers who could not give much time to read, I have prepared another version in notes form  below_ 

  1. Shan (also known as Tai) lived independently up north round about 650 B.C. in China at the lower part of the Yangtze River.

  2. Shan’s (also known as Tai) migrated down through the present day Yunnan and desended further down into Burma and settled in the Shan Plateau.

  3. A large group of them made a detour U turn and went up north and climbed the Tibet hills and stayed there forming the Tibeto-Burman ancestors of the whole region. (According to Thailand history books.)

  4. One group continued their journey west, up to the present day Rakhine.

  5. Another group even decided to continue the long march up into the present day north eastern part of India.

  6. One of the group continued south in Burma and settled in lower Burma closely with Mon and  Kayins.

  7. Few of them decided to continue to just stay-put in the present day Yunnan.

  8. One group broke away from all others and decided to go straight southwards and settled in present Thailand.

  9. One of them also broke away from all and moved to the east, settling in present day Lao and Cambodia.

  10. Actually they are a little bit different, some had more of the Chinese blood and some even have mixed blood with Khamars and some even went further and said to be settled in Vietnam.

  11. One of the group, known as Thet mixed the Pyus and their decedents are part of the ancestors of Bamars.

  12. Some of the ethnic groups, who made a detour U turn, went up north, climbs the Tibet hills and later came down and they were known as Kan Yan and formed one of the ancestors of Bama.

  13. At last intermarriage of the groups who were the descendents of Pyu, Kan Yan and Thet give rise to the present day Bama ethnic group.

Note (A) : the long march travelers of Shan came down in different times in batches. Because it happened in the prehistoric times, I have searched and collected data, and made it simple and easy from various references below.

I hereby wish to go into some details of what I had given as a gist above: Shan’s other cousins descended from the same ancestors, now inhabit northeast Assam or Asom in India.

Note (B) : they established the Ahom kingdom in Assam, India, where the Burmese General Maha Bandula’s troops committed_

  • indescribable cruelties

  • and barbarities  as to

  • annihilate something like 2/3 of the population

  • and certainly 1/3 of the men and boys –

  • disemboweling them,

  • eating their flesh

  • and burning them alive in cages

  • to intimidate

  • and suppress the Shan Ahom of Assam, India.

This event so weakened and disorganized the Shan Ahom that by 1839 the kingdom was completely annexed by the British.

Before that from about 1220 – 1812 AD they maintained themselves under one Dynasty, (that of Mong Mao 568-1604 AD when its descendants ruled Hsenwi or Theinni in Burmese).

Indeed the Shan Ahom resisted conquest by the Mughals who had conquered much of India before the British incursion.

Some groups of Shan settled along the way, at  Yunnan in the north east of Burma.

Some mixed blooded with Chinese and Khamar, went to the east and founded the Laos and  Cambodia.

Others went down to the southeast and settled in Thailand. No wonder Thailand was known as Siam or we could even easily understand it is just a slang of Shan.

Shans were  gradually pushed south, at about the beginning of the Christian era by the advancement of the Tar Tars.

About 650 A.D. one group of Shans formed a powerful country at Nan Chao, now known as Yunnan.

Nan Chao Shans were quite powerful and could resist Chinese attempts at conquest until 1253.

During the years 754 to 763 A.D. the Nan Chao Shans extended their rule even up to the upper basin of the Irrawaddy River and came into contact with the Pyu.

Pyu was one of three ancestors who founded our Burma: viz, Pyu, Kan Yan and Thet.

Pyu was then the ruler of the Upper  Burmese Plains.

Some of Shan’s descendents ventured beyond Upper Burma into Lower Burma to mingle and live together with the Mons.

During the heydays of the Nan Chao Shans, some of them had even crossed Upper Burma to reach far west and established the once powerful Ahom Shan Kingdom, in the northeastern part of India, now known as Assam or Assom , as stated above.

Shans had moved into the area now known as the Shan Pyae of Burma in large numbers and settled down and were well established by the time our first Burmese King Anawrahta ascended his throne in 1st century.

Nan Chao  Shans tried desperately to defend their Nan Chao  kingdom from the Chinese attackers, but in 1253 the Nan Chao Kingdom fell.

Some of the Nan Chao Shans, unwilling to live under foreign domination there; move towards the south in strength, to seek freedom in present day Tailand area.

They joined forces with the other Shans, who had already settled in that area, and

  • in 1262 took over Chiang Rai,
  • in 1296 Chiang Mai 
  • and in 1315 took Ayuddhaya, and established their own kingdoms.

In Upper Burma the Shans established the kingdoms of

  • Mo Gaung (Mong Kawng),
  • and Mo Hnyin (Mong Yang),
  • and in the Shweli basin, the Mao Kingdom.

Anawrahta ruled the Pagan for 43 year. He was able to unify the whole Burma under his rule for the first time in history.

During this time he sent his armed soldiers into the Shan’s kingdoms to help ensure the security of his Pagan Kingdom. However, he had no intention of annexing or taking over of the Shan’s kingdoms. He merely wished to defend the low lying plains of his Burma from raids by the Shan’s disgruntled militias.

For this purpose he established a string of fortified towns along the length of the foothills.

Relations between Shan and Burma became friendlier under Anawrahta’s successors , but the Burmese Pagan fell to the attackers from China in 1287 A. D. and was destroyed.

Then in 1312 A. D. one of the groups of Shans took the kingly Title of “Thihathu” and ascended as the Burmese king or throned in Pinya.

The (Mao) Shans, who had established kingdoms in Mo Hnyin, Mo Gaung and the Shweli areas then overran the villages of Pinya and Sagaing in 1364 A.D.

After they had withdrawn, Shan’s from Ava, whose title was Thadominbya, combined Pinya and Sagaing and established a new Kingdom, over which he ruled.

So Shans effectively became Kings in Burma from 1282 A.D. to 1531 A.D.

In 1527 A.D. due to the attacks of the Mo Hnyin Saw Bwa on Ava, the Shan’s and Burmese of the area left their homes and descended southwards towards Toungoo, where they established a new kingdom.

Thohanbwa, the son of the Moehnyin Saw Bwa, who became the King of Ava, was soon assassinated due to his lack of skill in statecraft and administration, and in 1543 A.D. Onbaung Khun Maing succeeded him as the King.

Early Shan Settlements in North Myanmar

The successive conquests achieved by Sao Hsam Long Hpa over the northern territory encouraged greater Shan migration to these new areas and led to further establishment of their Ban-Mong system. Territories which now belong to Kachin State were once under the rule of the Mong Kawng Saohpa and many Shans (affiliated to the Thai-Long ethnic group) can still be found dominating the following Bans and Mongs of the region shown below:

1. Alambo
2. Aungthagon
3. Bilumyohaung or Waing Hpai Kao
4. Bilumyothit or Waing Hpai Mai
5. Gurkhaywa
6. Hopin or Ho-Pang
7. Htantabin or Ban Htan Ton Leo
8. Htopu or Ban Hto Hpu
9. Inbaung or ban Kyapt Naung
10. Ingyigon (old) or Ban Kaung Pao Kao
11. Ingyingon (new) or Ban Kaung Pao Mai
12. Kangon or Ban Kong Naung
13. Kanhla or Ban Naung Ngarm
14. Kayuchaung or Ban Nam Haung Hoi
15. Kondangyi or Ban Kong Khay
16. Kyakyikwin Ban Naung Mo Long
17. Letpandan
18. Lwelaw or Ban Loi Law
19. Mahaung
20. Maing Naung or Mong Naung
21. Mamana
22. Manywet or Ban Ywet
23. Mawhan
24. Mogaung or Mong Kawng
25. Mohnyin or Mong Yang
26. Moknaung
27. Myadaung
28. Myohla
29. Myothitgyi or Waing Mai
30. Nam Khwin
31. Namma
32. Nampoke
33. Namti
34. Nanhaing
35. Nansawlaw
36. Nansun
37. Natgyikon or Ban Hpi Long
38. Natyingya
39. Nyaunggaing
40. Nyaunggon or Ban Kon Nyaung
41. Ohnbaung
42. Pinbaw or Ban Pang Baw
43. Pinhe
44. Pinlon or Ban Panglong
45. Pintha or Ban Pyin Hsa
46. Pwinbusu
47. Sahmaw or Ban Mao Khay
48. Shanzu
49. Shwe-in or Ban Naung Hkam
50. Tagwin
51. Ta-paw
52. Taungbaw or Ban Ho Loi
53. Taungni or Ban Loi Leng
54. Tiggyaingsu
55. Theikwagon
56. Thutegon
57. Yawthit or Ban Mai
58. Yawathikyi or Ban Mai Long
59. Thayetta

In Kamaing Township:
1. Chaungwa or Ban Pak Haung
2. Haungpa or Ban Haung Par
3. Hepan or Haipan
4. Hepu or Haipu
5. Kamaing
6. Lawsun
7. Lepon
8. Letpangon
9. Lonsan or Long San
10. Lonton
11. Lwemun or Loimun
12. Maing Pok or Mong Pok
13. Mapyin
14. Maubin Natlatan
15. Nammun
16. Nanhlaing
17. Nankat
18. Nanya
19. Nyaungbin
20. Sezin
21. Taunghaw

In Myitkyina Township:
1. Akye
2. Ayeindama
3. Baingbin
4. Hokat
5. Katcho or Kat Kiao
6. Khaungpu or Hkaunghpu old
7. Khaungpu or Hkaungpu new
8. Kokma
9. Kwitu
10. Legon
11. Maingmaw or Mong Maw
12. Mainga or Mong Na
13. Male
14. Mangin
15. Mankin Saragatawng
16. Mankin Shewzet
17. Manmakan or Man Mark Karm
18. Manpwa
19. Mintha
20. Myitkyina
21. Nampong
22. Nanhe
23. Namkalan
24. Nankwe
25. Nanpomaw
26. Nanwa
27. Naunghi
28. Naungmun
29. Naungpakat
30. Nyaungbintha
31. Okkyin
32. Pamati
33. Panpa
34. Pidaung
35. Pinlontaw
36. Pinlonyana
37. Rampur
38. Sanga
39. Sangin
40. Sekow
41. Sinbo
42. Sitapur
43. Tahona or Ta Ho Na
44. Taiklon
45. Talawgyi
46. Tasaing
47. Talkon
48. Thagaya
49. Tonpakut
50. Ulauk
51. Wainglon
52. Waingmaw
53. Washaung
54. ZigyunSource:

The Kachin Hill Manual. Rangoon: The Superintendent Government Printing, Union of Burma, 1959. pp. 17-18

Appendix II: Shan Kings in Myanmar

The list of Shan kings who succeeded the kings of Bagan and reigned at Myinsaing and Pinya is:

  1. The three Shan brothers who acquired power after the fall of Bagan and governed the country with equal status from A.D. 1298:
    • Athinhkaya,
    • Yazathinkyan
    • and Thihathu, Their joint reign lasted fourteen years.
  2. Thihathu or Ta-tsi-shin, youngest of the three brothers who made himself king at Pinya in 1312 and reigned for ten years.
  3. Uzana son of Kyawswa (1287-98, deposed king of Bagan) and the adopted son of Thihathu.
  4. Ngasishin Kyawswa (half brother of 3), son of Thihathu, he became king in 1343 and reigned eight years.
  5. Kyawswa-nge (son of 4) became king in 1350 and reigned five years.
  6. Narathu (brother of 5) became king in 1354 and reigned nine years.
  7. Uzana Pyaung (brother of 6) became king in 1364, and was assassinated after three months’ rule by Thadonminbya.

Sagaing Kings

There were seven Shan kings who reigned from 1315 to 1364:

  1. Sawyun or Saoyun, the son of Thihathu or Tai-tsi-shin who also reigned at Myinsaing and Pinya. He became king in 1315 and reigned seven years.
  2. Tarabyagyi (step brother of 1), became king in 1323 and reigned fourteen years.
  3. Shwetaungtet (son of 2), became king in 1336 and reigned three years.
  4. Kyawswa (son of 2), became king in 1340 and reigned ten years.
  5. Nawrahtaminye (brother of 4), became king in 1350 and reigned seven months.
  6. Tarabyange (brother of 5) bcame king in 1350 and reigned three years.
  7. Minbyauk Thiapate (brother-in-law of 6) was driven from Sagaing by a Shan army from the north and murdered by his stepson, Thadonminbya in 1364.

Ava 

Ava, the capital of upper Myanmar for many years, was founded with the help of the Shan chief Thadominbya in 1364.

There were nineteen chiefs of Shan descent who reigned in Ava from 1364 to 1555:

  1. Thadominbya said to be descended from the ancient Shan kings of Takawng or Tagaung on his mother’s side, he was the grandson of Athinhkaya Sawyun, the Shan king of Sagaing. He founded Ava in 1364, became king in the same year and reigned three years.

  2. Nga Nu (usurper), a paramour of Sao Umma, became king in 1368, and reigned only for a few days.

  3. Mingyiswasawke, said to be descended from both the Bagan dynasty and the Shan brothers, became king in 1368 and reigned thirty-five years.

  4. Tarbya or Sinbyushin (eldest son of 3), became king in 1401 but reigned only seven months, being murdered by his attendant.

  5. Nga Nauk Hsan, became king in 1401 and reigned only a few weeks.

  6. Minkhaung (another son of 3) hesitated to accept the throne, but his younger brother Theiddat killed a cousin claimant and made him king. He became king in 1401 and reigned twenty-one years.

  7. Thiathu (son of 6) became king in 1422 and reigned four years. He was murdered at the instigation of Queen Shin Bo Me.

  8. Minhla Ngai (son of 7) king in 1426 and reigned only three months before he was poisoned.

  9. Kalekyetaungnyo (usurper) became king in 1426 but reigned only seven months.

  10. Mohnyithado or Mohnyinmintara, chief of Shan descent who justified his claim to the throne as a descendant of the kings Narapatisithu (1173-1210) and Ngasishin (1343-1350) of Bagan and of the family of the three Shan brothers. He became king in 1427 and reigned thirteen years.

  11. Minrekyawswa (son of 10) became king in 1440 and reigned three years.

  12. Narapati (Thihathu) (brother of 11), became king in 1443 and reigned twenty-six years.

  13. Thihathu or Mahathihathura (son of 12), became king in 1469 and reigned twelve years.

  14. Minhkaung (son of 13), became king in 1481 and reigned twenty-one years.
    15. Shwenankyawshin (son of 14), became king in 1502 and reigned twenty-five years. He was killed by Thohanbwa or Hso Hom Hpa.

  15. Thohanbwa or Hso Hom Hpa, son of Mohyin Saolon who conquered Ava. He became king in 1527 and reigned sixteen years. He was murdered.

  16. Hkonmaing or Hkun Mong, Saohpa of On Baung or Hsipaw and related to Shwenanshin, was elected king of Awa in 1543 and reigned three years.

  17. Mobye (or Mong Pai) Narapati (son of 17), Saohpa of Mong Pai became king in 1546 and reigned six years and abdicated.

  18. Sithukyawhtin, a Shan chief of Salin, seized Ava and became king in 1552, and reigned three years. He was conqured and deposed by Bayinnaung in 1555.

Source: G.E. Harvey. History of Burma, from “The Earliest Time to March 1824, The Beginning of English Conquest”. London: Frank Case and Co. Ltd., 1967. p. 160.

Appendix III:

Shan Kings of Bago

The following is the list of the Shan kings of Bago of the dynasty established by Wareru in 1287:

  1. Wareru, the Shan chief who established the dynasty but had his capital at Madama. He became king in AD 1287 (S 649) and reigned nineteen years.

  2. Khun-lau’ or Tha Na’ran Bya Keit who became king in 1306 and reigned four years.

  3. Dza’u-a’u or Theng-Mha’ing (nephwe of 2), who became king in 1310 and reigned thirteen years.

  4. Dzau-dzip, or Binya-ran-da (brother of 3) who became king in 1323 and reigned seven years.

  5. Binya-e’-la’u (son of 2, Khun-lau and cousin of 4) who became king in 1330 and reigned eighteen years.

  6. Byinya-u or Tseng-Pyu-Sheng (son of 4 and cousin of 5), who restored the ancient capital Bago or Hansawadi. He became king in 1348 and reigned thirty-eight years.

  7. Binya-nwe, or Ra’dza’ Di-rit (son of 6) who became king in 1385 and reigned thirty-eight years.

  8. Binya Dham-ma Ra’-dza (son of 7) who became king in 1423 and reigned three years.

  9. Binya-Ra’n-kit (brother of who became king in 1426 and reigned twenty years.

  10. Binya-Wa-ru (nephew of 9) who became king in 1446 and reigned four years.

  11. Binya Keng (cousin of 10) who became king in 1450 and reigned three years.

  12. Mhau-dau (cousin of 11) who became king in 1453 and reigned seven months.

  13. Queen Sheng Tsau Bu or Binya-dau’ who became queen in 1453 and reigned seven years.

  14. Dham-ma Dze-di (cousin of 13) who became king in 1460 and reigned thirty-one years. He did not belong to the royal family.

  15. Binya Ran’ (son of 14 and son-in-law of 13) who became king in 1491 and reigned thirty-five years.

  16. Ta-ka’-rwut-bi (son of 15) who became king in 1526 and reigned fourteen years.He was conquered and deposed by Tabeng-Shweti, king of Taungoo in 1540.

Source: Sir Arthur P. Phayre. History of Burma, Including Burma Proper, Taungu, Tenasserim and Arakan. London: 1883. pp. 290-291. 

Meanwhile from Toungoo Kingdom, in the year 1555 A.D. King Bayinnaung succeeded in unifying the whole of Burma for the second time in our history.

He was able to “persuade’ the Shan Saw Bwa to submit his suzerainty. In accordance with the traditions of the earlier Burmese Kings, the administrative setup was that the Shan Saw Bwas who submitted to the suzerainty of the Burmese King retained full powers to rule over their kingdom.

This relationship was based on mutual respect.The military forces of Burma included contingents of Shan soldiers who proved their valour on the foreign battlefields.

That is how Shan and Burmese descendents had lived closely together, like brethren, till the fall of Upper Burma in 1886.

Then the Shan Saw Bwas, with the intention of restoring freedom to Burma and to the Shan State, chose the Burmese Princes Limbin and Saw Yan Naing to head their alliance, and started waging war against the colonialism.

We could see in the above mentioned era how Shans  migrated and grew mightier.

We should study how political, economical, social and philosophical patterns changed according to their coming.

To sum up again, after the fall of Bagan , Ava kingdom was built in 1364 M.E.

Subsequently, until Pinya, Sagaing and Myinsaing  eras, the power of Bagan collapsed and rebellious small kingdoms spread.

When the invading conqueror Shans came across Burmese, they accepted the Buddhist cultures and Burmese customs.

In this case, the saying, ‘conquerors are conquered’ need to be explained thoroughly.

Anyway no one is sure the source of Shan ancestors’ conversion to Buddhism. We should consider the fact that Shans had very good relations with Mon and Khamars. Shans could even get the Buddhism directly from them. (This is my personal idea only without reference. So I may be wrong. Please do not take this fact seriously as I am a non Buddhist and not an historian) We could see that Shan Pagodas look more like Thai and Cambodia Pagodas than our Burmese.

This episode of the history, Shans’ conquering over the  Burma, I have just highlighted is regarded by Myanmar governments as a taboo.  Our successive Bama governments’ history text books just used to mention one line only and always skipped forward to the glorious Burmese warrior Toungoo King Baying Naung who successfully established the 2nd Bama Empire.  

Renascences of the Golden days of the Great Shan Empire

Renascences of the Golden days

of the Great Shan Empire

that shaped the present South East Asia

Brief history review
Burma, Shan and Thailand

It is interesting to note that the linkage and emergence of the modern Shan State, its national day and the formation of the Union of Burma are so intertwined; it is almost impossible to discuss the making of this historical formation separately. And the history of Shans had greatly influence the history of the establishment, the evolution the modern present-day Myanmar/Burma and Thailand.

burma_en.png
Burma or Myanmar

Shans

Shan is a Burmese rendering of Siam. The Thai call our Shans as Thai-yai or Elder Thai – and Tai or Thai is only a dialectical rendering. The Tai  Speaking Peoples stretch from NE India, through Burma, the Kachin and Shan States, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and south and southwest China  Chinese Prime Minister Chou-en-lai of PRC [Communist Mainland China] said in 1957 to Soa Shwe Thaike, who was the first President of the Independent Burma, that in China there were then 100million Tai/Dai Speaking Peoples  in China.

myanmarshan.png
Orientation of Shan State

Ethnic Groups in Yunnan and Myanmar

The regions of Southwestern China and mainland Southeast Asia have been settled by many ethnic peoples since ancient times.

Effects of the Himalaya mountain range between China and India.

 

 

 

 

himalaya-map-3.png

Their history has been marked by struggles, wars, alliances, the creation and disintegration of their Baans (villages), Mongs (city-states), kingdoms and empires, and the efforts to re-create new ones in new lands.

Myanmar Neighbours, China and  India separated by Himilayan mountain ranges.

himalaya-map-4.png

Situation of Myanmar as a convenient highway between India and China

Some ethnic groups succeeded in creating highly organized kingdoms and empires, but others failed and, abandoning their old settlements, continued their migration south- and southeastward.

Their migration was sometimes gentle, sometimes forceful depending on the pressures from new emigrants and the conflicts that took place among themselves.

bur-china-india-himalaya-map-7.png

(d) Myanmar highway along the valleys with water-supply along it, connecting China and ASEAN.

Indonesians, Malays and Polynesians were believed to be the earliest migrants came down from Yunnan through Burma to their homelands in south.

bur-china-india-himalaya-map-5.png

(d) Strategic situation of Myanmar between its Neighbours (China, India, Bangladesh, Thailand and Laos)

bur-asean-map-5.png

(e) Myanmar in ASEAN.

Myanmar highway, connecting China and ASEAN. Indonesians, Malays and Polynesians were believed to be the earliest migrants came down from Yunnan through Burma to their homelands in south.

bur-asean-map-2.png

 

 

 

 (f) Orietation of Myanmar in the world map

bur-map-8.png

(g) Burma or Myanmar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

bur-map-1.png

 

 

 

 

 

Those who picked hilltops and deep valleys for their settlements and were cut off and isolated from their parent stock became in the process of time a new ethnic group with a distinctive culture of their own, their linguistic affiliation later to be established by linguists and philologists. They survived on a simple sustainable type of economy and came to have new local names.

Yunnan, where numerous ethnic peoples make their homeland, is situated in southwest China, bounded on the north by Sichuan and Sizang (Sikang), on the east by Guizhou and Guangxi, on the south by Vietnam and Myanmar, and on the west by Myanmar and Assam. It is extremely mountainous with only a limited area of level plains.

It is furrowed by the Taiping, Shweli, Salween, Mekong, Black and Red rivers.

The Salween and the Mekong are rivers of great length, having their sources in the interior part of Tibet, and flowing through Yunnan and the neighboring lands of Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.

The basins of these rivers and their tributaries form deep, narrow valleys which, with the high parallel mountain ranges running generally north and south, constitute a favourable home for numerous ethnic minorities.

Yunnan shares a long common border with Myanmar and many ethnic groups that live in Yunnan can also be found in Myanmar.

For example, the following ethnic nationalities, among many others, are common to both Yunnan and Myanmar:
1. Miao (Mhong)
2. Yao
3. Minchia (Pe-tso)
4. Wa
5. La
6. P’u-man
7. Palaung
8. K’a-mu
9. Shan (Tai)
10. Chinese
11. Tibetan (Petorpo)
12. Li-so (Li-su)
13. Mo-so (Na-She)
14. La-hu (Lo-hei)
15. A-ch’ang (Maingtha)
16. Ma-ru
17. La-shi
18. Kachin (Ching P’aw)
19. A-K’a
Linguistically these ethnic peoples belong to three families: Mon-Khmer, Tai, Chinese and Tibeto-Burman.

Human migration from one region to another is known to have taken place since time immemorial.

Even after “national” boundaries appeared in history, the migration process remained an on-going one, and the trends of human migration have continued to the present time, gathering momentum and involving large numbers of people at certain times more than others. In some places ethnic crossings over national boundaries become serious problems and disputes over such issues are common between adjacent countries. Today any ethnic problem occurring along a border can precipitate an international crisis, which may need either a short or a long term solution.

 

 

Ethnology has also become a subject of study for scholars of international relations. Words such as ethnic identity, ethnic adaptation, ethnicity, ethnic politics, ethnic consciousness, ethnocentrism, ethnic discrimination, ethnic conflict, ethnic attachment, ethnic ideology, ethnic aspects, ethnic responses, ethnic issues, ethnic plurality, ethnic relations, ethnic misunderstanding, multi-ethnic problems, ethnogency and ethnography have become catch-words of the ethnologists in their dealings with ethnic issues in our international setting.

In some countries, national governments have explicitly provided in their Constitutions certain provisions, regulations, and laws regarding the rights and roles of ethnic minorities.

Assurances and guarantees are given for the promotion and preservation of their cultures, languages, customs, traditions and beliefs.

Usually, boundaries and areas that we call ethnic autonomy, ethnic centers, ethnic zones, ethnic belts, or ethnic communities are demarcated by national governments with the intention of having harmonious relationships among ethnic nationalities. Opportunities are also provided to ethnic nationalities to participate in local administration, in the management of national development projects and in the defense of sovereignty. In some countries provided with such assurances and guarantees, ethnic peoples co-exist peacefully and have cordial relations with each other.

But in other places, racial prejudices are so deep-seated and socio-religious differences so great that conflict has occurred, quarrels have developed into armed clashes and ethnic cleansing, leading to loss of lives and property, and upheavals on a large scale. Such unrest and violent outbreaks have led to renewed ethnic migrations from one region to another and across national boundaries.

Migration and Settlement of Tai Ethnic Groups

 

 

Like many other ethnic peoples the Tai once had their homeland in China. Some historians believe that the Tai people first came to settle north of the Yellow (Huang Ho) river, occupying the region known as Hebei and Shanxi round about 2515 B.C. The Chinese annals also mention Tai settlements in the middle basin of the Yellow River in 850 B.C. They made their homeland here for a long time, establishing small feudal kingdoms and spreading their “Na” culture to neighboring regions. But new emigrants coming from Central Asia later impelled the Tai and other ethnic groups to move southwards to new fertile areas between the Yellow and Yangtze (Chang Jiang) rivers covering the present provinces of Hunan and Hubei.
With the Yellow River in the north and the Yangtze river in the south as their natural boundaries, the Tai and other ethnic peoples felt safe, and rebuilt their feudal kingdoms and erected their “Na” which lasted for several centuries. However, another wave of emigrants from the north, which became powerful and aggressive, put new pressure on the Tai ethnic group. With inter-state rivalries and an inability to establish unity, the Tai and ethnic people of the south were unable to resist the intrusion from the north, and split up into numerous groups. Some took refuge in the neighboring hills and valleys of Sichuan, Guizhou and Yunnan, where they picked up new local names which concealed their identity and turned themselves into little-known hill tribes of the region, remaining obscure for centuries. Other Tai groups who were displaced by the new immigrants migrated into Honan to Hubei, and crossing the Yangtze river, fanned out in different directions to settle in Hunan, Guangxi, Guangdong, Hainan, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, Myanmar and Assam.
The central point of my paper here is to trace the routes of migration of the Tai people and their areas of settlement in Myanmar. The Tai in Myanmar are known to the Myanmar people as Shan, to Kachins, A-ch’angs, Zis and La-shis as Sam, to the Ma-ru as Sen, to the Palaung as Tsen, to the Wa as Shem and to the Talaing or Mon as Sem and to the Yunnanese as Pai-Yi. But they themselves like to be called “Tai.” The Shans are the most widespread ethnic people in Myanmar, being found in every region. Their Baan or Maans (villages), Mongs (city-states) and settlements stretch from the northernmost region of Hkamti Long down to Taninthayi in the south, and from the eastern tip of Kengtung to Hsawng Hsup and Ta-mu to the west. In central Myanmar their settlements and communities can be found around Ava, Pinya, Sagaing, Taungoo, Phyu, Pyinmana and Pyay.
As to when exactly the Shans entered Myanmar, scholars have different views. Some believe that the migration of the Shans into Myanmar started 2000 years ago citing three reasons: first, their restless character which prompted them to find new lands to settle; second, their warlike character; and third, the pressure of new invasions from the north, such as those of A.D. 78 and A.D. 1253.
Most Shan chronicles say that a big wave of Shan migration took place in the 6th century A.D., the Shans moving from southern Yunnan into the Nam Mao valley and adjacent regions and establishing many Mongs, among them Bhamo, Mong Mit, Hsipaw, and Hsenwi. Making these places their first homeland in Myanmar, they spread out over the whole of the Shan State, establishing more Mongs and Kengs (towns) like Mong Naung, Mong Nang, Mong Hsu, Mong Kung, Mong Keshi-Mansam, Mong Laihka, Mong Nai, Mong Pan, Mong Maukmai, Mong Yawnghwe, Mong Sakoi, Mong Sam Kar, Mong Hsamongkham, Mong Lawk Sawk, Mong Pai, Keng Tawng, Keng Hkam and Keng Rom.
From Mong Kawng, Mong Yang, Waing Hso, Kat Hsa, the Shans moved northwards to the Hkamti Long area where they established the eight Mongs of the Khamti Shans: Lokhun, Mansi, Lon Kyein, Manse-Hkun, Mannu, Langdao, Mong Yak and Langnu. Moving to the west, they then occupied and established new Mongs like Hsawng Hsup, Sinkaling Hkamti, Mong Kale, Mong Leng (Mohling), Maing Kaing or Mong Kang, Hu-Kawng, Maw Leik, Mong Nyaung, Homalin, Phaungbyin, Hkam-Pat and Ta-Mu, between the Ayeyarwaddy and the Chindwin, along the Uyu river and even up to Manipur and Assam.
The Shan immigrants of north and northeastern Myanmar were recognized as the earliest branch of the Tai migration southwards, and they came to be known as Tai Long or Tai Yai, that is, “Great Tai”. The later branch of the Tai migration to Laos and Thailand were known as Tai Noi or “Little Tai.”
More migration of Shans into Myanmar took place when the powerful Shan kingdom of Mong Mao Long was established in the Mao valley. According to the Shan chronicles, the Mao political power reached its height in the 14th century, especially during the reign of the twin brothers Sao Hso Hkan Hpa and Sao Hsam Long Hpa.
All the principalities of northern and southern Shan State were united under the leadership of Sao Hso Hkan Hpa. He also extended his power to Laos, Cambodia and Thailand around about 1350. For the westward expansion, he assigned the task to his brother Sao Hsam Long Hpa who marched with his army to Mong Kawng which he easily annexed. Mong Kawng became the second capital next to Mong Mao. Making Mong Kawng his military base, Sao Hsam Long Hpa crossed the Ayarwaddy and Chindwin rivers to annex more new lands which included all the regions of the Kabaw valley, northern Rakhine, Manipur and Assam. New immigrants were settled into these newly conquered areas. Some of the followers who preferred to remain in Assam established their feudal communities along the Brahmaputra river and pledged their allegiance to the king of Tai Ahom. These Shans along the Brahmaputra river split in the course of time into Tai Ahom, Tai Aton, Tai Hkamyang, Tai Phake and Tai Tarong, to be later joined by Tai Hkamti from Myanmar. They survive to this day, although some have become Hinduized.
During the reign of Sao Hsam Long Hpa in Mong Kawng, several Baans and Mongs were established throughout northern Myanmar. Each Mong was under the Chief or Saohpa, and there were altogether ninety-nine Saohpas who who pledged their allegiance to Mong Kawng. The ethnic Tai people who came with Sao Hsam Long Hpa to northern Myanmar called themselves Tai Leng, but were called Shan-Myanmar by others. They became very Myanmarized. The Tai Leng settlements were scattered all over the present-day Kachin State, which at that time was Shan (see Appendix I). Those who settled at the northern tip of Myanmar around Putao came to be known as Tai Khamti. There were also Tai Long, Tai Mao and Tai Nu settlements in Bhamo, Mong Mauk, Waing Maw, Kat Kiao, Nam Ma, Nam Ti, Mong Kawng, Mong Yang and many other places in north and northeastern Myanmar. The Shans in northern Myanmar were skilled farmers. They brought along with them from Mong Mao Long the art of cultivation and turned the fertile lands of northern Myanmar into Na or rice fields. These Shan farmers concentrated their settlements in places with good soil and fresh water. In the Kyaukse area, they improved the land and irrigation system and turned the place into a rice bowl for Bagan. After the reign of King Narathihapate (1254-87) Bagan became very weak from the effects of the Mongol invasion. The Three Shan Brothers, Athinkaya, Yazathinkyan and Thihathu who controlled the economic base of Kyaukse area became very powerful and played a leading role in Bagan power politics. For two and a half centuries the Shans established their dynasties and made their power felt over Myanmar (see Appendix II).
In southern Myanmar there were several Shan settlements around Thaton, Mawlamyine, Madama and Bago. As elsewhere in Myanmar, the local chiefs of southern Myanmar locked themselves into the game of power politics. The most prominent and active of these was a Shan local chief named Wareru . He was the son of a Shan immigrant to Thaton and was born in a village called Doonwun near Thaton. When he grew up he went to Sukhotai and became a stable boy of the king. He was assigned to look after the royal elephants and to lead the elephant troops in times of war. He was also a good soldier and after a few successful campaigns he was promoted to the rank of captain of the guards. He later became acquainted with the king’s daughter, eloped with her and brought her to Thaton. He involved himself in the local politics and later became the governor of Madama in 1281. He next turned his attention to Bago and was able to take it over in 1369, following which he established a dynasty which lasted from 1287 to 1539 (see Appendix III). During the reign of king Wareru, the Shans from Chiangmai and Thailand moved to Lower Myanmar. There they mixed and mingled with the Mons and became good cultivators in the delta area which later became the rice bowl of Southeast Asia. During the period of the Wareru dynasty, trade and commercial relations developed with European countries, bringing prosperity to Bago, Madama and the Taninthayi coastal region. Native products such as rubies and other gems of northern Myanmar, lac, ivory, horn, lead, tin, Bago or Madama jars, long peppers, and nyper wine made from dani palm were exchanged with products brought by European merchants such as camphor, pepper, scented wood, Chinese porcelain and velvet.
East of the Nam Kong river or the Salween, there are numerous Shan settlements called Waans and Kengs. The region is shaped like a triangle. Although the Shan immigrants of this area were closely affiliated ethnically to the Tai race, they retained local names such as Hkun, Lu, Lem, Ngio, Yun and Tai Nu. Based upon their Waan-Baan-Keng system the Tai ethnic people of this area established several Mongs and Kengs as their feudal states (see Appendix IV).
Kengtung is the largest of the feudal states in the eastern Shan State. It covers an area of over 12,000 square miles and is bounded by Thailand on the south, China on the north, and Laos on the east. Its inhabitants are mostly Hkun, Lu, Tai Long and many other ethnic groups, among them Yun, Ngio, Tai Nu, Lem, Laotian, Wa, La, Tai Loi, Kaw, Mu-Hso (La Hu), Ako, Li Saw, En, Hsen Hsum, Pyen, Palaung, Kwi (La Hu Chi), Kang, Yao, Hsem, Miao, Mang Tam, Sawn (son) and Thai.
The majority of the Tai Nu people have settlements mostly along the Yunnan-Myanmar border and the upper part of the Salween river in Yunnan where they had several feudal city states. Inside Myanmar the Tai Nu people live in Bhamo, Myitkyina, Mong Kawng, Mong Yang, Muse, Namhkam, Mong Kung, Laihka and Kengtung area especially in the northeastern part of the region around Mong Lem.
The Shans penetrated deep into Myanmar in the long course of their history, to occupy its plains, hills and valleys and turn wasteland into Na to produce rice either for their own consumption or for trade. They were hardy farmers and food cultivators and adopted a feudal type of administration and a self-sufficient sustainable economy. Wherever they migrated they introduced their system of Mong and Keng city-states. They frequently fought among themselves but also formed alliances against common enemies. Endless wars are recorded in their local chronicles. The constant fighting among themselves and against neighboring foes exhausted their strength so that they eventually became very weak. They split and settled so much and so far that it became impossible for them to retain their unity as in the days of the Nanchao and Mong Maw Long. 

To make it easy for the readers, there is another version in notes form I prepared below_ 

Shan (also known as Tai) lived independently up north round about 650 B.C. in China at the lower part of the Yangtze River.

1. Shan’s (also known as Tai) migrated down through the present day Yunnan and desended further down into Burma and settled in the Shan Plateau.

2. A large group of them made a detour U turn and went up north and climbed the Tibet hills and stayed there forming the Tibeto-Burman ancestors of the whole region. (According to Thailand history books.)

3. One group continued their journey west, up to the present day Rakhine.

4. Another group even decided to continue the long march up into the present day north eastern part of India.

5. One of the group continued south in Burma and settled in lower Burma closely with Mon and  Kayins.

6. Few of them decided to continue to just stay-put in the present day Yunnan.

7. One group broke away from all others and decided to go straight southwards and settled in present Thailand.

8. One of them also broke away from all and moved to the east, settling in present day Lao and Cambodia. Actually they are a little bit different, some had more of the Chinese blood and some even have mixed blood with Khamars and some even went further and said to be settled in Vietnam.

9. One of the group, known as Thet mixed the Pyus and their decedents are part of the ancestors of Bamars.

10. Some of the ethnic groups, who made a detour U turn, went up north, climbs the Tibet hills and later came down and they were known as Kan Yan and formed one of the ancestors of Bama.

11. At last intermarriage of the groups who were the descendents of Pyu, Kan Yan and Thet give rise to my present day Bama ethnic group.

Note (A): the long march travelers of Shan came down in different times in batches. Because it happened in the prehistoric times, I have searched and collected data, and made it simple and easy from various references below.I hereby wish to go into some details of what I had given as a gist above: Shan’s other cousins descended from the same ancestors, now inhabit northeast Assam or Asom in India.

Note (B) : they established the Ahom kingdom in Assam, India, where the Burmese General Maha Bandula’s troops committed_

  • indescribable cruelties
  • and barbarities  as to
  • annihilate something like 2/3 of the population
  • and certainly 1/3 of the men and boys
  • disemboweling them,
  • eating their flesh
  • and burning them alive in cages
  • to intimidate
  • and suppress the Shan Ahom of Assam, India.

This event so weakened and disorganized the Shan Ahom that by 1839 the kingdom was completely annexed by the British.Before that from about 1220 – 1812 AD they maintained themselves under one Dynasty, (that of Mong Mao 568-1604 AD when its descendants ruled Hsenwi or Theinni in Burmese). Indeed the Shan Ahom resisted conquest by the Mughals who had conquered much of India before the British incursion.

Some groups of Shan settled along the way, at  Yunnan in the north east of Burma.

Some mixed blooded with Chinese and Khamar, went to the east and founded the Laos and  Cambodia.

Others went down to the southeast and settled in Thailand. No wonder Thailand was known as Siam or we could even easily understand it is just a slang of Shan.

Shans were  gradually pushed south, at about the beginning of the Christian era by the advancement of the Tar Tars.

About 650 A.D. one group of Shans formed a powerful country at Nan Chao, now known as Yunnan.Nan Chao Shans were quite powerful and could resist Chinese attempts at conquest until 1253.

300px-hsipawcountry.jpg

Hsipaw country

During the years 754 to 763 A.D. the Nan Chao Shans extended their rule even up to the upper basin of the Irrawaddy River and came into contact with the Pyu.

Pyu was one of three ancestors who founded our Burma: viz, Pyu, Kan Yan and Thet. Pyu was then the ruler of the Upper  Burmese Plains.

Some of Shan’s descendents ventured beyond Upper Burma into Lower Burma to mingle and live together with the Mons.

During the heydays of the Nan Chao Shans, some of them had even crossed Upper Burma to reach far west and established the once powerful Ahom Shan Kingdom, in the northeastern part of India, now known as Assam or Assom , as stated above.

Shans had moved into the area now known as the Shan Pyae of Burma in large numbers and settled down and were well established by the time our first Burmese King Anawrahta ascended his throne in 1st century.

Nan Chao  Shans tried desperately to defend their Nan Chao  kingdom from the Chinese attackers, but in 1253 the Nan Chao Kingdom fell.

Some of the Nan Chao Shans, unwilling to live under foreign domination there; move towards the south in strength, to seek freedom in present day Tailand area.

They joined forces with the other Shans, who had already settled in that area, and in 1262 took over Chiang Rai, in 1296 Chiang Mai and in 1315 took Ayuddhaya, and established their own kingdoms.

In Upper Burma the Shans established the kingdoms of Mo Gaung (Mong Kawng), and Mo Hnyin (Mong Yang), and in the Shweli basin, the Mao Kingdom.

Anawrahta ruled the Pagan for 43 year. He was able to unify the whole Burma under his rule for the first time in history.During this time he sent his armed villagers into the Shan’s kingdoms to help ensure the security of his Pagan Kingdom. However, he had no intention of annexing or taking over of the Shan’s kingdoms. He merely wished to defend the low lying plains of his Burma from raids by the Shan’s disgruntled militias. For this purpose he established a string of fortified towns along the length of the foothills.

Relations between Shan and Burma became friendlier under Anawrahta’s successors , but the Burmese Pagan fell to the attackers from China in 1287 A. D. and was destroyed.

Then in 1312 A. D. one of the groups of Shans took the kingly Title of “Thihathu” and ascended as the Burmese king or throned in Pinya.The (Mao) Shans, who had established kingdoms in Mo Hnyin, Mo Gaung and the Shweli areas then overran the villages of Pinya and Sagaing in 1364 A.D.

After they had withdrawn, Shan’s from Ava, whose title was Thadominbya, combined Pinya and Sagaing and established a new Kingdom, over which he ruled.

So Shans effectively became Kings in Burma from 1282 A.D. to 1531 A.D.In 1527 A.D. due to the attacks of the Mo Hnyin Saw Bwa on Ava, the Shan’s and U Burmese of the area left their homes and descended southwards towards Toungoo, where they established a new kingdom.

Thohanbwa, the son of the Moehnyin Saw Bwa, who became the King of Ava, was soon assassinated due to his lack of skill in statecraft and administration, and in 1543 A.D.

Onbaung Khun Maing succeeded him as the King.

Former Shan Settlements in North Myanmar

The successive conquests achieved by Sao Hsam Long Hpa over the northern territory encouraged greater Shan migration to these new areas and led to further establishment of their Ban-Mong system. Territories which now belong to Kachin State were once under the rule of the Mong Kawng Saohpa and many Shans (affiliated to the Thai-Long ethnic group) can still be found dominating the following Bans and Mongs of the region shown below:
1. Alambo
2. Aungthagon
3. Bilumyohaung or Waing Hpai Kao
4. Bilumyothit or Waing Hpai Mai
5. Gurkhaywa
6. Hopin or Ho-Pang
7. Htantabin or Ban Htan Ton Leo
8. Htopu or Ban Hto Hpu
9. Inbaung or ban Kyapt Naung
10. Ingyigon (old) or Ban Kaung Pao Kao
11. Ingyingon (new) or Ban Kaung Pao Mai
12. Kangon or Ban Kong Naung
13. Kanhla or Ban Naung Ngarm
14. Kayuchaung or Ban Nam Haung Hoi
15. Kondangyi or Ban Kong Khay
16. Kyakyikwin Ban Naung Mo Long
17. Letpandan
18. Lwelaw or Ban Loi Law
19. Mahaung
20. Maing Naung or Mong Naung
21. Mamana
22. Manywet or Ban Ywet
23. Mawhan
24. Mogaung or Mong Kawng
25. Mohnyin or Mong Yang
26. Moknaung
27. Myadaung
28. Myohla
29. Myothitgyi or Waing Mai
30. Nam Khwin
31. Namma
32. Nampoke
33. Namti
34. Nanhaing
35. Nansawlaw
36. Nansun
37. Natgyikon or Ban Hpi Long
38. Natyingya
39. Nyaunggaing
40. Nyaunggon or Ban Kon Nyaung
41. Ohnbaung
42. Pinbaw or Ban Pang Baw
43. Pinhe
44. Pinlon or Ban Panglong
45. Pintha or Ban Pyin Hsa
46. Pwinbusu
47. Sahmaw or Ban Mao Khay
48. Shanzu
49. Shwe-in or Ban Naung Hkam
50. Tagwin
51. Ta-paw
52. Taungbaw or Ban Ho Loi
53. Taungni or Ban Loi Leng
54. Tiggyaingsu
55. Theikwagon
56. Thutegon
57. Yawthit or Ban Mai
58. Yawathikyi or Ban Mai Long
59. Thayetta

In Kamaing Township:
1. Chaungwa or Ban Pak Haung
2. Haungpa or Ban Haung Par
3. Hepan or Haipan
4. Hepu or Haipu
5. Kamaing
6. Lawsun
7. Lepon
8. Letpangon
9. Lonsan or Long San
10. Lonton
11. Lwemun or Loimun
12. Maing Pok or Mong Pok
13. Mapyin
14. Maubin Natlatan
15. Nammun
16. Nanhlaing
17. Nankat
18. Nanya
19. Nyaungbin
20. Sezin
21. Taunghaw

In Myitkyina Township:
1. Akye
2. Ayeindama
3. Baingbin
4. Hokat
5. Katcho or Kat Kiao
6. Khaungpu or Hkaunghpu old
7. Khaungpu or Hkaungpu new
8. Kokma
9. Kwitu
10. Legon
11. Maingmaw or Mong Maw
12. Mainga or Mong Na
13. Male
14. Mangin
15. Mankin Saragatawng
16. Mankin Shewzet
17. Manmakan or Man Mark Karm
18. Manpwa
19. Mintha
20. Myitkyina
21. Nampong
22. Nanhe
23. Namkalan
24. Nankwe
25. Nanpomaw
26. Nanwa
27. Naunghi
28. Naungmun
29. Naungpakat
30. Nyaungbintha
31. Okkyin
32. Pamati
33. Panpa
34. Pidaung
35. Pinlontaw
36. Pinlonyana
37. Rampur
38. Sanga
39. Sangin
40. Sekow
41. Sinbo
42. Sitapur
43. Tahona or Ta Ho Na
44. Taiklon
45. Talawgyi
46. Tasaing
47. Talkon
48. Thagaya
49. Tonpakut
50. Ulauk
51. Wainglon
52. Waingmaw
53. Washaung
54. Zigyun

Source: The Kachin Hill Manual. Rangoon: The Superintendent Government Printing, Union of Burma, 1959. pp. 17-18
Appendix II: Shan Kings in Myanmar

The list of Shan kings who succeeded the kings of Bagan and reigned at Myinsaing and Pinya is:

1. Athinhkaya, Yazathinkyan and Thihathu, the three Shan brothers who acquired power after the fall of Bagan and governed the country with equal status from A.D. 1298. Their joint reign lasted fourteen years.
2. Thihathu or Ta-tsi-shin, youngest of the three brothers who made himself king at Pinya in 1312 and reigned for ten years.
3. Uzana son of Kyawswa (1287-98, deposed king of Bagan) and the adopted son of Thihathu.
4. Ngasishin Kyawswa (half brother of 3), son of Thihathu, he became king in 1343 and reigned eight years.
5. Kyawswa-nge (son of 4) became king in 1350 and reigned five years.
6. Narathu (brother of 5) became king in 1354 and reigned nine years.
7. Uzana Pyaung (brother of 6) became king in 1364, and was assassinated after three months’ rule by Thadonminbya.

Turning to Sagaing, there were seven Shan kings who reigned from 1315 to 1364:

1. Sawyun or Saoyun, the son of Thihathu or Tai-tsi-shin who also reigned at Myinsaing and Pinya. He became king in 1315 and reigned seven years.
2. Tarabyagyi (step brother of 1), became king in 1323 and reigned fourteen years.
3. Shwetaungtet (son of 2), became king in 1336 and reigned three years.
4. Kyawswa (son of 2), became king in 1340 and reigned ten years.
5. Nawrahtaminye (brother of 4), became king in 1350 and reigned seven months.
6. Tarabyange (brother of 5) bcame king in 1350 and reigned three years.
7. Minbyauk Thiapate (brother-in-law of 6) was driven from Sagaing by a Shan army from the north and murdered by his stepson, Thadonminbya in 1364.

Awa, the capital of upper Myanmar for many years, was founded with the help of the Shan chief Thadominbya in 1364. There were nineteen chiefs of Shan descent who reigned in Awa from 1364 to 1555:

1. Thadominbya said to be descended from the ancient Shan kings of Takawng or Tagaung on his mother’s side, he was the grandson of Athinhkaya Sawyun, the Shan king of Sagaing. He founded Awa in 1364, became king in the same year and reigned three years.
2. Nga Nu (usurper), a paramour of Sao Umma, became king in 1368, and reigned only for a few days.
3. Mingyiswasawke, said to be descended from both the Bagan dynasty and the Shan brothers, became king in 1368 and reigned thirty-five years.
4. Tarbya or Sinbyushin (eldest son of 3), became king in 1401 but reigned only seven months, being murdered by his attendant.
5. Nga Nauk Hsan, became king in 1401 and reigned only a few weeks.
6. Minkhaung (another son of 3) hesitated to accept the throne, but his younger brother Theiddat killed a cousin claimant and made him king. He became king in 1401 and reigned twenty-one years.
7. Thiathu (son of 6) became king in 1422 and reigned four years. He was murdered at the instigation of Queen Shin Bo Me.
8. Minhla Ngai (son of 7) king in 1426 and reigned only three months before he was poisoned.
9. Kalekyetaungnyo (usurper) became king in 1426 but reigned only seven months.
10. Mohnyithado or Mohnyinmintara, chief of Shan descent who justified his claim to the throne as a descendant of the kings Narapatisithu (1173-1210) and Ngasishin (1343-1350) of Bagan and of the family of the three Shan brothers. He became king in 1427 and reigned thirteen years.
11. Minrekyawswa (son of 10) became king in 1440 and reigned three years.
12. Narapati (Thihathu) (brother of 11), became king in 1443 and reigned twenty-six years.
13. Thihathu or Mahathihathura (son of 12), became king in 1469 and reigned twelve years.
14. Minhkaung (son of 13), became king in 1481 and reigned twenty-one years.
15. Shwenankyawshin (son of 14), became king in 1502 and reigned twenty-five years. He was killed by Thohanbwa or Hso Hom Hpa.
16. Thohanbwa or Hso Hom Hpa, son of Mohyin Saolon who conquered Awa. He became king in 1527 and reigned sixteen years. He was murdered.
17. Hkonmaing or Hkun Mong, Saohpa of On Baung or Hsipaw and related to Shwenanshin, was elected king of Awa in 1543 and reigned three years.
18. Mobye (or Mong Pai) Narapati (son of 17), Saohpa of Mong Pai became king in 1546 and reigned six years and abdicated.
19. Sithukyawhtin, a Shan chief of Salin, seized Awa and became king in 1552, and reigned three years. He was conqured and deposed by Bayinnaung in 1555.

Source: G.E. Harvey. History of Burma, from “The Earliest Time to March 1824, The Beginning of English Conquest”. London: Frank Case and Co. Ltd., 1967. p. 160.
Appendix III: Shan Kings of Bago

The following is the list of the Shan kings of Bago of the dynasty established by Wareru in 1287:

1. Wareru, the Shan chief who established the dynasty but had his capital at Madama. He became king in AD 1287 (S 649) and reigned nineteen years.
2. Khun-lau’ or Tha Na’ran Bya Keit who became king in 1306 and reigned four years.
3. Dza’u-a’u or Theng-Mha’ing (nephwe of 2), who became king in 1310 and reigned thirteen years.
4. Dzau-dzip, or Binya-ran-da (brother of 3) who became king in 1323 and reigned seven years.
5. Binya-e’-la’u (son of 2, Khun-lau and cousin of 4) who became king in 1330 and reigned eighteen years.
6. Byinya-u or Tseng-Pyu-Sheng (son of 4 and cousin of 5), who restored the ancient capital Bago or Hansawadi. He became king in 1348 and reigned thirty-eight years.
7. Binya-nwe, or Ra’dza’ Di-rit (son of 6) who became king in 1385 and reigned thirty-eight years.
8. Binya Dham-ma Ra’-dza (son of 7) who became king in 1423 and reigned three years.
9. Binya-Ra’n-kit (brother of 8) who became king in 1426 and reigned twenty years.
10. Binya-Wa-ru (nephew of 9) who became king in 1446 and reigned four years.
11. Binya Keng (cousin of 10) who became king in 1450 and reigned three years.
12. Mhau-dau (cousin of 11) who became king in 1453 and reigned seven months.
13. Queen Sheng Tsau Bu or Binya-dau’ who became queen in 1453 and reigned seven years.
14. Dham-ma Dze-di (cousin of 13) who became king in 1460 and reigned thirty-one years. He did not belong to the royal family.
15. Binya Ran’ (son of 14 and son-in-law of 13) who became king in 1491 and reigned thirty-five years.
16. Ta-ka’-rwut-bi (son of 15) who became king in 1526 and reigned fourteen years.

He was conquered and deposed by Tabeng-Shweti, king of Taungoo in 1540.
Source: Sir Arthur P. Phayre. History of Burma, Including Burma Proper, Taungu, Tenasserim and Arakan. London: 1883. pp. 290-291.

 Meanwhile from Toungoo Kingdom, in the year 1555 A.D. King Bayinnaung succeeded in unifying the whole of Burma for the second time in our history.

He was able to “persuade’ the Shan Saw Bwa to submit his suzerainty. In accordance with the traditions of the earlier Burmese Kings, the administrative setup was that the Shan Saw Bwas who submitted to the suzerainty of the Burmese King retained full powers to rule over their kingdom. This relationship was based on mutual respect.

The military forces of Burma included contingents of Shan soldiers who proved their valour on the foreign battlefields.That is how Shan and Burmese descendents had lived closely together, like brethren, till the fall of Upper Burma in 1886.

Then the Shan Saw Bwas, with the intention of restoring freedom to Burma and to the Shan State, chose the Burmese Princes Limbin and Saw Yan Naing to head their alliance, and started waging war against the colonialism.We could see in the above mentioned era how Shans  migrated and grew mightier.

We should study how political, economical, social and philosophical patterns changed according to their coming.To sum up again, after the fall of Bagan , Ava kingdom was built in 1364 M.E. Subsequently, until Pinya, Sagaing and Myinsaing  eras, the power of Bagan collapsed and rebellious small kingdoms spread. When the invading conqueror Shans came across Burmese, they accepted the Buddhist cultures and Burmese cultures.In this case, the saying, ‘conquerors are conquered’ need to be explained thoroughly.Anyway no one is sure the source of Shan ancestors’ conversion to Buddhism. We should consider the fact that Shans had very good relations with Mon and Khamars. Shans could even get the Buddhism directly from them.We could see that Shan Pagodas look more like Thai and Cambodia Pagodas than our Burmese.

This episode of the history, Shans’ conquering over the  Burma, which our successive Bama governments’ history text books just used to mention one line only and skipped forward to the glorious Burmese warrior Toungoo King Baying Naung who successfully established the 2nd Bama Empire. 

The date 7th February 1947 is a defining moment in the record of the Shan history as a modern nation. On that day, Shan princes and the people’s representatives of the Shan States demonstrated their newfound unity to declare it a “national day” which were followed by the resolutions of “Shan National Anthem”, “Shan National Flag” and the formation of “Shan State Council” on the 11th and 15th of February, 1947 respectively. The people of Shan States and leaders decided in this very year later at Panglong, on the 12th of February, to join with U Aung San and the AFPFL (Anti-Fascist People’s Freedom League) and leaders of other nationalities, to live together under one flag as co-independent and equal nations. This marks the birth of a nation-state now known as “Union of Burma”.

National flag

1.     The design of the national flag is as sanctioned at the Panglong Treaty conference in 1947.

2.     The size of the flag is ( 5ft. x 3ft)

3.     Diameter of the Moon is (1. ½ ft)

4.     The breath of the three colors: yellow, green and reddish (1 ft) each.

Example

shanstateflag.png

The meaning of the color:

  1. yellow is religion
  2. green is forest, and rich in natural resources and peace
  3. red is  bravery,
  4. white is purity
sao.jpg

Saopha-loong, Soa Shwe Thaike, who was the first President of the Independent Burma. When Burma fell under military dictatorship, Soa Shwe Thaike was put into jai by the military regime, and later died in jail under suspicious circumstances.

Failed Cohabitation

The experiment to live together in harmony within the Union of Burma has been a disaster. In 1962, the Burmese military sized state power in a coup and declared the Union Constitution abolished. In so doing, the Burmese terminated the only existing legal bond between them and the other ethnic nationalities. So much time has gone by since February 7 1947…A lot of changes have occurred, and many of them have been very painful and unfair. the leaders of Burma from Prime Minister U Nu in 1948, to General Ne Win in 1962, to General Than Shwe (now), have missed the opportunity to build a peaceful and prosperous nation based on mutual respect, understanding, and cooperation. As a result, the people of Burma are suffering unnecessarily.

 

The problem that exist is not ethic “minority” rights versus the “majority” Burmese rights but rather of equality of rights for all.
                     

The 1948 Union of Burma was understood by us to be a federal  union of equals. And though the intent of the 1948 Constitution was federal, in rushing it through the Constituent Assembly by the AFPFL [Fa-sa-pa-la], the federal Union  in practice became unitary.
                    

When we during 1958-62 tried to institute constitutional reforms in the Union Parliament towards a more equitable federal system as envisaged by the 1947 Panglong Agreement, Ne Win staged his military coup and he and his successor Burmese military troops in Shan country raped, murdered & tortured to oppress, suppress and intimidate.”Since then, Shan State has been treated as a de facto colony and occupied territory by the Burmese army. Its forced assimilation and Burmanization policies to subdue our national identity have devastated the Shan homeland and make the people homeless and refugees. Looking at the contemporary situation, one could only term the Shan nation as a downtrodden and battered one, reeling under the occupation of the oppressive Burmese military regime. Gross human rights violations, genocide and cultural genocide, population transfer designed to make the Shan a minority in their homestead, and robbing them of their birthright sovereignty and self-determination are glaring injustice, which push the Shan into the category of sub-human or slaves, especially in the eyes of their occupiers.    But even under such circumstances and after more than four decades of brutal suppression and occupation, the Shan sense of “national identity” and the aspiration to be the master of their own faith have not diminish but have grown stronger.

  • The Shan Nationalities League for Democracy’s (SNLD) victory in 1990 nation-wide election in the whole Shan State;
  • the continued political activities of the Shan State Army North within the limited political space provided by the Burmese military junta;
  • the active armed resistance of the Shan State Army South,
  • together with the bulk of Shan State National Army;
  • and the highly self-conscious Shan civil societies in keeping the national identity alive under intense pressure of the Burmese military junta; are indications of a nation, which refuses to be cowed.
  • the mainstream Shan organizations are endorsing the notion to rebuild a new Federal Union – together with all the other ethnic nationalities, Burman included

Practically, the Shan are faced with a dilemma to choose between secession and genuine federalism. But it is also important to note that the Federal Proposal of 1961, before the military coup,

  • is the brainchild of the Shan leadership at that time,
  • which was aimed at changing the Burman dominated unitary system into a genuine federal structure
  • with equal status for all ethnic nationalities.
  • All non-Burman ethnic groups endorse this as a balanced and acceptable solution until today.
  • Meanwhile, this proposed arrangement also find acceptance among most of the Burman opposition camps as a way to resolve the conflict as a whole.

This is perhaps lowering the aspiration to a certain degree but nevertheless, a pragmatic approach and in line with the international mood. But this is not to say that the global trend will stay forever in favor of status quo. The people concerned would eventually adjust their needs and value system, according to the prevailing international norm and structure of the time.    Finally, if the Shan wants to be heard and advance their aspirations, they would need to seriously think globally and act locally.

  • It would need to sell the idea
  • that it is part and parcel of a viable force,
  • in collaboration with all non-Burman ethnic nationalities
  • and Burman opposition groups,
  • to replace the illegitimate military junta.
  • To do this, “broad coalition-building” among all the opposition is essential,
  • even those within the rank of the enemies, who are ready to reform, embrace justice, equality and democracy should not be neglected.
  • The Shan cannot win this fight alone
  • and it is crucial that the “multi-pronged” approach is employed,
  • coupled with the motto of “diverse actions, common goal”, as urged time and again by the late Chao Tzang Yawnghwe.

If we can bring about change now, in twenty years, Burma can still be a peaceful and prosperous country.

 

“Yugoslavia did break up into its components parts. The Shan States are larger both in population then Cambodia for instance and larger in area than some 24 States of the US and 20 or so Nation-States in Europe.
                    

“I support all ethnic groups’ rights to have their own federal states, probably in US style or Canadian style. I understand that Quebac Province in Canada is an autonomic federal state. Shan state can be like that.
                

I never believe that “total separation of Union of Burma/Myanmar into a large number of totally separated & independent but very small tiny little countries” might be a wise decision.”

Burma (Pagan) 1044

Anawrata (d. 1077) seized royal power at Pagan and made it the political, religious, and cultural center of Burma; the Burmese written language was developed and Buddhist scriptures translated;

  • architectural monuments followed the inspiration of Ceylon and southern India.
  • In 1057, conquest of Thaton, Mon kingdom, which was in maritime contact with Ceylon and the Indian subcontinent and was a center for Buddhism as well as overseas trade.
  • Mon had a strong cultural influence at Pagan.
  • In 1060s-1070s, Anawrata initiated communication and exchanges with Vijayabahu I, Ceylon’s ruler (1055-1110), including the sharing of Pali Buddhist texts and monks.  

Rule of Kyanzittha, (1084-1112 )best known for his _

  • synthesis of various cultural developments
  • and the process of assimilation of different ethnic groups that took place during his reign.
  • He created a distinctive Burman style.  
  • In 1106, a Burmese embassy at the Sung capital in China was received as from a fully sovereign state.    

Pagan disintegrated into smaller states in ( 1287 )_

  • Following the rejection of Mongol demands for tribute in 1271
  • and later, Burmese raids into Yünnan,
  • and the death of Narathihapate (who ruled 1254-87),
  • Mongol forces looted Pagan and destroyed its power.
  • The invasion of Shan tribes, forced southward by the Mongols, led to the division of Burma into a number of petty states.

The chief states among them being_

  • Toungoo (established 1280),
  • Pegu in southern Burma,
  • and Ava in the middle and lower Irrawaddy Valley (established as capital 1365).

After the collapse of Pagan authority, Burma was divided.

Sagaing had been established as a capital, but later Sagaing fell to the Shan, the court moved across the river to Ava.

  1. Burmese Ava Dynasty (1364-527) was eventually established at the city of Ava by 1364.
  2. The kings of Ava set about restoring Burmese supremacy, which had disintegrated after the collapse of Pagan to the Mongol invasion under Kublai Khan that ended the First Burmese Empire founded by King Anawrahta in 1057.
  3. The kingdom lacked easily defendable borders, however, and was overrun by the Shan in 1527.
  4. There were repeated Shan/Tai raids on the capital of Ava and Ava sent military northwards to attack Tai fiefdoms such as Mong Mao.
  5. The Kingdom of Ava was involved in continuous warfare with Tai (Shan) princelings to the north on the frontier with Yunnan.
  6. The Ming dynasty that ruled China from the late fourteenth century often tried unsuccessfully to put an end to this warfare through traditional Chinese diplomacy.
  7. Ava occasionally became involved in the warfare between the Ming and Tai in Yunnan such as in the Luchuan-Pingmian Campaigns (1436-49).

Toungoo Dynasty  

King Mingyinyo founded the First Toungoo Dynasty (1486-1599) at Toungoo, south of Ava, towards the end of the Ava dynasty.

  1. After the conquest of Ava by the Shan invaders in 1527 many Burmans migrated to Toungoo which became a new center for Burmese rule.
  2. The dynasty conquered the Mohnyin Shan peoples in northern Burma.By this time, the geopolitical situation in Southeast Asia had changed dramatically.
  3. Mingyinyo’s son king Tabinshwehti (1531-50) unified most of Burma.
  4. The Shan gained power in a new kingdom in the North, Ayutthaya (Siam), while the Portuguese had arrived in the south and conquered Malacca.
  5. With the coming of European traders, Burma was once again an important trading centre, and Tabinshwehti moved his capital to Pegu due to its strategic position for commerce. Tabinshwehti was able to gain control of Lower Burma up to Prome,
  6. but the campaigns he led to the Arakan, Ayutthaya, and Ava in Upper Burma were unsuccessful.
  7. When Tabinshwehti’s brother-in-law, Bayinnaung (1551-81), Tabinshwehti’s brother-in-law, succeeded to the throne he launched a campaign of conquest invading several states, including Manipur (1560) and Ayutthaya (1569).
  8. An energetic leader and effective military commander, he made Toungoo the most powerful state in Southeast Asia,
  9. and extended his borders from Laos to Ayutthaya, near Bangkok.
  10. His wars stretched Myanmar to the limits of its resources, however, and both Manipur and Ayutthaya, which had remained under Myanmar domination for 15 years, were soon independent once again.
  11. Bayinnaung was poised to deliver a final, decisive assault on the kingdom of Arakan when he died in 1581.

 The Toungoo rulers withdrew from southern Burma and founded a second dynasty at Ava as the Restored Toungoo Dynasty (1597-1752), because_

  • they Faced with rebellion by several cities
  • and renewed Portuguese incursions

Bayinnaung’s grandson, Anaukpetlun, once again reunited Burma in 1613 and decisively defeated Portuguese attempts to take over Burma.

Encouraged by the French in India, Pegu finally rebelled against Ava, further weakening the state, which fell in 1752.

Siam (Thailand)

Early in the 11th century, Dvaravati (See Mainland Southeast Asia) was annexed to Cambodia; Haripunjaya retained its independence.

  • In the 13th century, Haripunjaya was overrun by a migration of Tai, or Shan, peoples from the north.  
  • In the year 1281, Tai leader Mangrai (1239-1317) conquered the kingdom of Haripunjaya at Lamphun. For two decades he fought Mongols who were threatening Tais from the north.
  • He is known as the founder of the kingdom of Lan Na, centered at Chiengmai, with cultural contributions influenced by Buddhist thought.  
  • In the year 1279-98, Ramkamhaeng ruled over the kingdom of Sukothai,
  • which he extended from Vientiane in the east to Pegu in the west.
  • Most important contributions were in areas of literature, sculpture, and religion; these developments strongly influenced Tai (+ Myanmar) cultural attainments as well.  
  • In the year 1350, migration of Tai, or Shan, accelerated by the Mongol conquest of the Tai state of Nan-chao (in modern Yünnan and southern Szechwan) in 1253,
  • led eventually to the suppression of the Khmer kingdoms

and the setting up of the Tai kingdom of Siam, with its capital at Ayuthia, founded by Rama Tiboti.

The early Siamese state was from the first under the influence of both Hinayana Buddhism and Chinese political institutions. The location of the Siamese state at a center of maritime commerce gave it a distinct advantage in its power struggle with Angkor. The ability to_

  • adopt the Angkorian-style administrative skills of the Mons and Khmers,
  • the martial skills of the Tais,
  • and the wealth and commercial skills of the local Chinese merchant communities was its legacy to the Tais’ cultural development.

Toward the end of the 13th century, a form of writing had been invented for the Siamese language.  

Siamese invasion of Cambodia in 1350-1460  finally led to the abandonment of Angkor (1431) and collapse of the Khmer Empire.  

In the year 1371, Siamese embassy at Nanking inaugurated tributary relations with the newly founded Ming dynasty.    

Intermittent friction between Siam and the Tai state of Chiengmai in the northern Menam Valley in 1376-1557 _

  • ended with the destruction of Chiengmai by the Burmese.  
  • During the 14th and 15th centuries, strong Siamese influence was exerted over the disunited states of Burma
  • and the northern part of the Malay Peninsula.

 Siam (Ayutthaya)

Administrative centralization of Siam attributed to efforts of King Trailokanat (r. 1448-88); but most of institutionalized form of government probably resulted from reign of King Naresuen the Great (r. 1590-1605).

  • Under this king, Siam regained its independence from Burma
  • and emerged as most powerful kingdom in mainland Southeast Asia.  
  • Development of overseas trade can be dated as early as 1368. By the early modern period, Siam was a major source for sappanwood and pepper in the Chinese trading network.  
  • Siamese adopted Hinduism along with Theravada Buddhism.
  • Hindu concept of divine kingship,
  • and accompanying rituals, provided important sources of legitimation.

But in Siamese society, the claim to divinity operated without the internal checks characteristic of India, for Brahmans had little influence at the court. This may explain the pronounced aspect of absolutism in Siam.

  • Yet Buddhism was dominant in the cultural system that emerged in the early modern period, particularly in providing signs of legitimation (and delegitimation in the face of popular unrest) for rulers.
  • Royal interaction with sangha (groups of monks) provided especially important occasions for public statements of rulers’ support of Buddhist precepts; nevertheless, Thai rulers closely controlled the sangha through cultural patronage (their support ranged from sponsorship of architecture and sculpture to public processions).  

In 1569, first fall of Ayutthaya to invading Burmese army although_ 

  • In 1538, as a measure of impact of military technology, King Phrachai (r. 1534-46) retained 120 Portuguese to instruct Siamese soldiers in musketry.  
  • In 1550, new fortification style was introduced around the Siamese capital.
  • King Maha Thammarcha (r. 1569-90) also purchased large supplies of foreign cannon.

In 1590, King Naresuen the Great regained independence and utilized political, economic, and military forces to transform fragmented kingdom into relatively centralized state.  

  • Portuguese trading stations were established in the 16th century.
  • Around the beginning of the 17th century large numbers of Japanese were active in Siam in war and trade.
  • In 1602 a Dutch trading post was established at Patani,
  • where the English soon followed, until their withdrawal from Siam in 1623.
  • R. 1656-88 King Narai most energetic in pursuit of trade with foreigners.
  • His curiosity about Persian and French cultures made his court known for its openness.  
  • 1664 By a commercial treaty, the Dutch gained a monopoly of Siamese foreign trade,
  • which was, however, thwarted by French intrigue; a French embassy and military expedition (1685) in turn failed to secure the acceptance of Christianity and French influence and led to 
  • In 1688 a popular revolt that began a period of prolonged civil war. Prompted in part by reaction against Narai’s openness, it became anti-European. European trade languished,
  • But Chinese and Muslim trade continued at a high level to take up the slack.  
  • In 1690s, a dramatic decline in trade with Muslims and Europeans could be measured, although the Chinese trade helped to fill the gap. 

In 1767, Burmese invasion destroyed Ayuthia

  • and compelled temporary acceptance of Burmese rule until 1782,
  • when Rama I founded a new Siamese dynasty, with its capital at Bangkok.
  • Even in period of political anarchy, great cultural activity emerged.
  • Rama issued royal decrees aimed at controlling the sangha and addressing the need to harness the manpower represented by idle monks.

Contemporary Shan State

 From the Wikipedia enclyclopedia_

Shan State is a state located in Myanmar (Burma), which takes its name from the Shan people, the majority ethnic group in the Shan State. Shan State comprises 69 townships, including 24 newly-created townships in Special Region 2 (Wa Area). Its capital is Taunggyi. The state is largely rural. Major cities of Shan State are Lashio, Kengtong and Taunggyi.

Contents

  1. Sub states, districts and townships
  2. Geography
  3. Education
  4. Economy
  5. Population History References

Continue to read about the Shan State in the Wikipedia enclyclopedia.

Contemporary Shan Nationals 

From the Wikipedia enclyclopedia_ 

The Shan (Burmese: ; IPA: [ʃán lùmjóʊ]; Chinese: 掸族; pinyin: dǎn zú) are a Tai ethnic group of Southeast Asia. The Shan live primarily in the Shan State of Burma (Myanmar), but also inhabit parts of Mandalay Division, Kachin State, and Kayin State, and in adjacent regions of China, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. The Shan are estimated to number ~6 million; a reliable census has not been taken since 1935. The capital of Shan State is Taunggyi, a small city of about 150,000 people. Other major cities include Thibaw (Hsipaw), Lashio, Kengtong and Tachileik.

The valleys and tableland are inhabited by the Shans, who in language and customs resemble the Thais, Dai, and the Lao. They are largely Buddhists and are mainly engaged in agriculture. Among the Shans live the Bamar, Chinese, and Karens. The hills are inhabited by various peoples, notably the Wa, who are numerous in the north and along the Chinese border.The Palaung People are numerous in the Northern Shan State, in Namkham, Muse, Nampaka, Kut Kai, and Lashio Townships along the Burma China Border and also in the middle of Shan State, in Namsarn, Kyat Mae and Thipal Townships. The population of the Palaung people is over 1 million. Some of the Palaung people in Kalaw and Aung Pan in the Southern Shan State. There is a dwindling population of Anglo-Burmese in major hill stations, such as Kalaw and in Taunggyi, a hold-over from the colonial period.

Contents

  1. Etymology  
  2. Culture
  3. Language
  4.  History List of Shan States and rulers
  5. Politics Independence and exiled government

 

Etymology

The Shan identify themselves as “Tai”, which means “free men” while “Shan” is a Burmese language term.[1] The Shan share their creation myth with the Lao people and believe their race was founded by Khun Borom the first king to establish Sip Song Pan Na (12 thousand Fields) along the Mekong (Mae Nam Kong).

The Shan people as a whole can be divided into four major groups:

  1. The Tai Yai or “Shan Proper”
  2. The Tai Lue, located in Sipsong Panna (China) and the eastern states
  3. The Tai Khuen, the majority of Keng Tung (Thai:เชียงตุง)
  4. The Tai Neua, mostly in Sipsong Panna(Thai:สิบสองปันนา or สิบสองพันนา).

Culture

The Shan are traditionally wet-rice cultivators, shopkeepers, and artisans. Most Shan are Theravada Buddhists and/or observe their traditional religion, which is related to animist practices.

Language

The Shan language, which is spoken by about 5 or 6 millions is closely related to Thai and Lao, and is part of the family of Tai-Kadai languages. It is spoken in Shan State, some parts of Kachin State, some parts of Sagaing Division in Burma, parts of Yunnan, and Mae Hong Son Province in northwestern Thailand.[2] The two major dialects differ in number of tones: Hsenwi Shan has six tones, while Mongnai Shan has five.[3] Its written script is an adaptation of the Mon script (like Burmese), although several other scripts exist.[3] However, few Shan are literate, and many are bilingual in Burmese.

History

The Tai-Shan people are believed to have migrated from Yunnan in China. The Shan are descendants of the oldest branch of the Tai-Shan, known as Tai Long (Great Tai) or Thai Yai (Big Thai). The Tai-Shan who migrated to the south and now inhabit modern-day Laos and Thailand are known as Tai Noi (or Tai Nyai), while those in parts of northern Thailand and Laos are commonly known as Tai Noi (Little Tai – Lao spoken) [1] The Shan have inhabited the Shan Plateau and other parts of modern-day Myanmar as far back as the 10th century AD. The Shan kingdom of Mong Mao (Muang Mao) existed as early as the 10th century AD but became a Burmese vassal state during the reign of King Anawrahta of Bagan (Pagan)(1044-1077). Note: the Mao people are consider a Shan subgroup.

After the Bagan kingdom fell to the Mongols in 1287, the Tai-Shan people quickly gained power throughout South East Asia, and founded:

  • Lan Xang (Laos)
  • Lanna (Chiang Mai)
  • Ayutthaya (Siam)
  • Assam
  • Ava by Burmanized Shan kings
  • Bago by Monized Shan kings
  • Several Shan states in the Shan hills, Kachin hills, Yunnan and parts of Vietnam.

Many famous Ava and Bago kings of Burmese history were of (partial) Shan descent. The Burmanized Shan kings of Ava fought Monized Shan kings of Bago for control of Ayeyarwady valley. Various Shan states fought Burmanized Shan kings of Ava for the control of Upper Myanmar. The Shan kingdom of Monyin (Mong Yang) defeated the Ava kingdom in 1527, and ruled all of Upper Myanmar until 1555.

Burmese king Bayinnaung (1551-1581) conquered all of the Shan states in 1557. Although the Shan states would become a tributary to Ayeyarwady valley based Burmese kingdoms for many centuries, the Shan Saophas retained a large degree of autonomy and often allied themselves with either ChiangMai, Ayuttaya or Siam.

After the Third Anglo-Burmese War in 1885, the British gained control of the Shan states and pushed the borders to the mountains, thereby robbing Siam of thousands of square miles of territory. (The last Burmese king Thibaw was half-Shan.) Under the British colonial administration, the Shan principalities were administered separately as British protectorates with limited monarchical powers invested in the Shan Saophas. [4]

After World War II, the Shan and other ethnic minority leaders negotiated with the majority Burman leadership at the Panglong Conference, and agreed to gain independence from Britain as part of Union of Burma. The Shan states were given the option to secede after 10 years of independence. The Shan states became Shan State in 1948 as part of the newly independent Burma.

General Ne Win’s coup d’etat overthrew the democratically elected government in 1962, and abolished Shan saopha system. In an effort to extract themselves from under the Burmese thumb, various Shan political organizations have attempted ro reassert Siam’s (Thailand) ancient claim to the Shan States, but without success.

List of Shan States and rulers

See List of Shan states and rulers.

Politics

The Shan have been engaged in an intermittent civil war within Burma for decades. There are two main armed rebel forces operating within Shan State: the Shan State Army/Special Region 3 and Shan State Army/Restoration Council of Shan State. In 2005 the SSNA was effectively abolished after its surrender to the Burmese government, some units joined the SSA/RCSS, which has yet to sign any agreements, and is still engaged in guerrilla warfare against the Burma Army.

During conflicts, the Shan (Thai Yai) are often burned out of their villages and forced to flee into Thailand. There, they are not given refugee status, and often work as undocumented laborers. Whether or not there is an ongoing conflict, the Shan are subject to depredations by the Burmese government; in particular, young men may be impressed into the Burmese Army for indefinite periods, or they may be enslaved to do road work for a number of months — with no wages and no food. The horrific conditions inside Burma have led to a massive exodus of young Shan males to neighboring Thailand, where they typically find work in construction, at daily wages which run about 100-200 baht. However unsatisfactory these conditions may be, all of these refugees are well aware that at least they are being paid for their work, and that every day spent in Thailand is another day that the Burmese government cannot impress or enslave them. Some estimates of Shan refugees in Thailand run as high as two million, an extremely high number when compared with estimates of the total Shan population at some six million.

Independence and Exiled Government

His Royal Highness Prince Hso Khan Fa (sometimes written as Surkhanfa in Thai) of Yawnghwe, lives in exile in Canada. He is campaigning for the government of Burma to respect the traditional culture and indigenous lands of the Shan people, and he works with Shan exiles abroad helping to provide schooling for displaced Shan children whose parents are unable to do so. He hopes to provide Shan children with some training in life skills so they can fend for themselves and their families in the future.

In addition, opinion has been voiced in Shan State and in neighbouring Thailand, and to some extent in farther-reaching exile communities, in favour of the goal of “total independence for Shan State.” This came to a head when, in May 2005, Shan elders in exile declared independence for the Federated Shan States.

The declaration of independence, however, was rejected by most other ethnic minority groups, many Shan living inside Burma, and Burma’s leading opposition party, the National League for Democracy led by Aung San Suu Kyi. Despite this dissenting opinion, the Burma Army has begun a crackdown on Shan civilians as a result of the declaration, and Shan people have reported an increase in restrictions on their movements, and an escalation in Burma Army raids on Shan villages.

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khun_Sa

Country Profile 

Size:
Lies between 19 and 24 degrees latitude North, and Stretches from 96 to 101 degrees longitude East, covering approximately 64,000 square miles; shares boundaries with Burma, China, Laos, Thailand and the Karenni.

Topography and Drainage:

Bisected north to south by the Salween River, one of the longest rivers in Asia. It lies at an average of 2,000 feet above sea-level, and the highest point, Mount Loilaeng, is 8,777 feet. It is composed of broad valleys, thickly wooded mountain ranges and rolling hills forming scenic landscapes. Jong-ang, the biggest waterfall (972 feet) can be found near the town of Kengtong in Mongnai State.

Climate

There are three seasons: Monsoon (May to October), Cold season(November to January) and Summer (February to April). Annual rainfalls average between 40-60 inches. The overall temperature is equable throughout the year: not too cold and not too hot.

Vegetation

Pine and evergreen forests can be found in abundance. Teak and various kinds of hardwood cover over 47,210 square miles.

Minerals


The bulk of the so-called Burmese natural resources are in the Shan State: silver, lead, gold, copper, iron, tin, wolfram, tungsten, manganese, nickel, coal, mica, antimony, fluorite, marble, gemstones and even uranium. Major Operating Mines are: the Mogok (Mognkut in Shan) and Mongsu ruby mines, and the Namtu Bawdwin silver mines discovered by the Chinese traders and renovated in 1904 by none other than Herbert Clerk Hoover (1874-1964) who became the 31st President of the United State.

A study of the Indian geological reports made by Drs Cogging and Sondhi in 1993 reveals Northern Shan States as incredible mining potential…As for Southern Shan’s remarkable resources, they can be studied from the reports made by a G.V. Hovson (Shanland’s Grievances, by Htoon Myint of Taunggyi, )

People :

The population of these multi-racial people, described by ancient travelers as the most peace loving people who trust everybody and envy nobody is estimated at 7-10 million, the majority of whom are Tai, of the same ethnological stock as Thai and Laos, plus several other racial groups including Pa-o, Palaung and Wa of Mon-Khmer stock; and Kachin, Akha and Lahu of the Tibeto-Burman stock. All in all, it’s various indigenous races have lived harmoniously together for centuries. This fact is supported by the political analyst Josef Silverstein, who say’s: “Although the Shans dominated the people in the area both politically and numerically, they never assimilated the minorities; as a result, cultural pluralism existed through out the Shan States”. (Politics in the Shan State, The Question of Secession from the Union of Burma, 1958, by J. Silverstein). The Shan’s stand on the racial question is best described by Sao Shwe Thaike, who in his capacity as the Speaker of the Constituent Assembly, countered the objection that Muslims could not be considered as being indigenous by saying : “Muslims of the Arakan certainly belong to one of the indigenous races of Burma. If they do not belong to the indigenous races, we also cannot be taken as indigenous races.”

Culture:

Shan is still the first language of the majority, though due to 60 years under the British Protectorate and 40 years under Burmese neo-colonialism, usage of English and Burmese has become fairly common.

As for attire, Shan men, unlike the Burmese, who wear longyis or long skirts, don long baggy trousers. Theravada Buddhism is the pre-eminent faith, and perhaps due to this tolerant religion, Hinduism, Christianity, Islamism and even animisms flourish in this land.

Agriculture:

Primarily a self-sufficient agricultural economy, being blessed with fertile soil, it produces rice, tea, cheroot leaves, tobacco, potatoes, oranges, lemon, pears, and opium. Cattle-and horse-breeding is also a common sight in low grasslands. Added to the fact that it is rich in mineral resources and abundant in teak timber, there is no reason why the Shan State could not become one of the richest and most economically dynamic countries in Southeast Asia, given a favorable political climate. 

Shan States is a beautiful and fertile land, with green hills and mist-covered mountains.  Shans are on the whole, good natured gentle, independent people.

Shan States have a diverse mix of ethnic groups; Tai Yai, Tai Khurn, Tai Lui or Tai Neir, Tai Keiy, Pa-O or Daung Su, Daung Yoe, Palaung, Kachin, Dai Nawng or in Burmese Intha, Danu, Lisu, Lahu, Wa, Kaw, Padaung, as well as Chinese, Indians, Burmans and others. 

The Shans are the most widely scattered of the ethnic people in Myanmar and they can be found in every part of the country. Their Mans (villages), Mongs (city-states) and settlements stretch from the northernmost region of Hkamti Long down to Tharrawaddy and then to southern Taninthayi (Tenasserim) and from the tip of Kengtung in the east to Hsawng Hsup, Kabaw valley and Ta-mu in the west. In central Myanmar many Shan settlements can be found around Ava, Pinya, Sagaing, Toungoo, Pyinmana and Pyi (Prome).

 

250px-shanstatevillage.jpg
Shan State Village

Now-a-days, Shan people are spread around the world, many having left Burma to escape the persecution and brutality of the SPDC, many to study overseas.  Shans live overseas in Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada, Europe, Taiwan, China, Japan and elsewhere. 

250px-shanfields.jpg
Shan Fields

Many overseas groups are actively campaigning for freedom in Shan States and Burma.  Until recently many groups worked almost independently.  In recent years the more widespread use of e-mail and internet technology means that overseas Shan groups can communicate more easily with one another, sharing ideas, discussing campaigns and global change. Shans feel immensely sad that their beautiful homeland has been ravaged and abused by SPDC, and because they have deep love for their motherland, they feel deeply bereft and betrayed.

250px-hsipaw2.jpg
Hsipaw

sss.png

Two photos of the His Royal Highness Tzao Hso Khan Pha, President and Head of States, Interim Shan Government of the Federated Shan States. The remaining  are Shan Freedom Fighters’ photos, Six photos are copyright of Chris Sinclair mailto:csinclair@pobox.com.Four........ Four other photos are courtesy of TSY taisamyone@yahoo.co.uk. All are taken from Burma Digest.

Soa Hso Kham Pha is the eldest son of the late Last year Soa Hso Kham Pha, also known as Tiger Yawnghwe, founded the Interim Shan Government with the cooperation of a group of Shan elders. Recently the ISG has established a freedom fighting force called Shan State Army (Central) with thousands of troops to fight against the neo-fascist military regime in Burma.  

List of Shan state rulers

 Read more in Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

The Shan State of Burma (Myanmar) was once made up of a large number of traditional monarchies or fiefdoms. Three ranks of chiefs where recognized by the Burmese king and later by the British administration. These ranks were Saopha or Chaofa (Shan for king or chieftain) or Sawbwa in Burmese, Myosa (“duke” or chief of town), and Ngwegunhmu (silver revenue chief).

Contents

1 Shan states

  1. 1.1 Hierarchy and Precedence
  2. 1.2 Baw (Maw)
  3. 1.3 Hopong (Hopon)
  4. 1.4 Hsahtung (Thaton)
  5. 1.5 Hsamönghkam (Thamaingkan)
  6. 1.6 Hsawnghsup (Thaungdut)
  7. 1.7 Hsenwi (Theinni)
    1. 1.7.1 North Hsenwi
    2. 1.7.2 South Hsenwi
  8. 1.8 Hsihkip (Thigyit)
  9. 1.9 Hsipaw (Thibaw)
  10. 1.10 Kehsi Mangam (Kyithi Bansan)
  11. 1.11 Kengcheng (Kyaingchaing)
  12. 1.12 Kenghkam (Kyaingkan)
  13. 1.13 Kenglön (Kyainglon)
  14. 1.14 Kengtung (Kyaingtong)
  15. 1.15 Kokang
  16. 1.16 Kyon
  17. 1.17 Kyawkku Hsiwan (Kyaukku)
  18. 1.18 Laihka (Lègya)
  19. 1.19 Lawksawk (Yatsauk)
  20. 1.20 Loi-ai (Lwe-e)
  21. 1.21 Loilong (Lwelong)
  22. 1.22 Loimaw (Lwemaw)
  23. 1.23 Mawkmai
  24. 1.24 Manglon
  25. 1.25 Monghsu
  26. 1.26 Mawkmai (Maukme)
  27. 1.27 Mawnang (Bawnin)
  28. 1.28 Mawsön (Bawzaing)
  29. 1.29 Möngkawng (Mogaung)
  30. 1.30 Mongkung
  31. 1.31 Möngleng (Mohlaing)
  32. 1.32 Mönglong
  33. 1.33 Möngmit (Momeik)
  34. 1.34 Mong Nai (Monè)
  35. 1.35 Mongnawng
  36. 1.36 Mong Pai (Mobye)
  37. 1.37 Mong Pan
  38. 1.38 Mong Pawng (Maing Pun)
  39. 1.39 Möngping (Maingpyin)
  40. 1.40 Möngsit (Maingseik)
  41. 1.41 Möngtung (Maington)
  42. 1.42 Möngyang (Mohnyin)
  43. 1.43 Möngyawng
  44. 1.44 Namhkai (Nanke)
  45. 1.45 Namhkok (Nankok)
  46. 1.46 Namhkom (Nankon)
  47. 1.47 Namtok (Nantok)
  48. 1.48 Namkhok-Nawngwawn
  49. 1.49 Panglawng
  50. 1.50 Pangmi
  51. 1.51 Pangtara (Pindara)
  52. 1.52 Pwehla (Poila)
  53. 1.53 Sakoi
  54. 1.54 Samka
  55. 1.55 Tawngpeng
  56. 1.56 Wanmaw (Bhamo)
  57. 1.57 Wanyin (Banyin)
  58. 1.58 Yawnghwe (Nyaungshwe)
  59. 1.59 Ywangan (Yengan)
  60. 1.60 Bibliography

Shan states

State Area (sq. mi) Classical Name Notes
Sawbwas      
Kengtung 12,400 Khemarata Tungaburi  
Hsipaw 4,524 Dutawadi  
Mongnai 2,717 Saturambha/Nandapwa  
Yawnghwe 1,392 Kambawsarata  
Tawngpeng 800 Pappatasara  

South Hsenwi

2,400 Siwirata or Kawsampi Also known as Mongyai

North Hsenwi

6,330 Siwirata or Kawsampi  
Mongmit 3,733 Gandhalarata  
Mongpai 730    
Lawksawk 2,362 Hansawadi?  
Laikha 1,560 Hansawadi  
Mawkmai 2,557 Lawkawadi  
Mongpan 2,988 Dhannawadi  
Mongpawn 366 Rajjawadi  
Manglun   Jambularata  
Kantarawadi 3,015    
Samka 314    
Mongkung 1,593 Lankawadi  
Myosas      
Nawngwawn 28 Pokkharawadi Amalgamated with Mong Pawn, 1931
Mongnawng 1,646 Nandawadi  
Mongsit      
Kehsi-bansam 551    
Mawnang     Amalgamated with Hsamongkham, 1934
Loilong (Pinlaung) 1,098    
Hsahtung 471    
Wanyin 219    
Hopong 212    
Namkhok 108   Amalgamated with Mong Pawn, 1931
Sakoi 82    
Mongshu 470 Hansawadi  
Kenglun 54   Amalgamated with Kehsh Bansam, 1926
Bawlake 565    
Kyetbogyi 700    
Hsamongkham 449    
Baw 741    
Pwela 178    
Ngwegunhmus      
Yengan (Ywangan) 359    
Pangtara (Pindaya) 86    
Pangmi 30    
Loi-ai 156   Amalgamated with Hsamongkham, 1930
Kyaukku 76   Amalgamated with Pwela, 1928
Loimaw 48   Amalgamated with Yawnghwe, 1928
Kyone 24    
Namtok 14   Amalgamated with Loilong, 1931

    Chinese provinces with the name Shan

  1. Shan is another name of the Dai, an ethnic group in China.
  2. Shan, an abbreviation for the Shaanxi province of the People’s Republic of China
  3. Shan, or Shan county, also refers a county in Shandong province of PRC
  4. Shan, or Shantou (汕头), a city in Guangdong province of PRC
  5. Shan, name for a region in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region
  6. Shan, also refers to the name of ancient Western Regions (西域)

Shan also means hill, peak, or mountain in Chinese languages and Japanese There is also Chinese surname, Shan (surname), is a in Chinese.There is also river name with Shan , in Zhejiang Province of PRC

Reference

  1. Wikipedia encyclopedia
  2. “Story of Myanmar told in pictures” by Dr Than Tun and translated by Maung Win War.
  3.  The Shan Herald Agency News’ Shan State Affairs section, Shan History.
  4. the folk tales of our Ethnic Minorities,
  5. the old records of Chinese and Indian travelers’ chronicles,
  6. Thailand and Khmer chronicles,
  7. from Hman Nan Yar Za Won, The Glass Palace Chronicle of the Kings of Burma (Pe Maung Tin and G.H.Luce, Rangoon University Press, Rangoon, Burma, January 1960.),
  8. Dr Than Tun (History Professor, Mandalay University) “Chin, Myu and Khumi, Notthern Rakhine” in Myanmar Magazine Kalya 1994 August and other publications
  9. and HGE Hall History of Southeast Asia
  10. and Burma’s old history text books published by Burmese Education Ministry. 
  11.  Edward Albert Gait’s “A history of Assam” book, published by Thacker, Spink in1963 at Calcutta.
  12. Shan State and Union of Burma“_ Editorial: Sai Wansai, .02.2006 Issue of Burma Digest
  13. Believing in a Change“_ Interview withSao Harn Yawnghwe
  14. Dialogue with a Shan Leader“_ Interview with Tiger Yawnghwe
  15. We Shall Cooperate with All Genuine Democrats“_ The Shan’s Pledge: Sao Hso Khan Pha
  16. Shan People, Shan State & Shan Government” _ Special Report: Interim Shan Government
  17. Shan Nationals“_ Commentary: Feraya Nangmone 
  18. Letter 1: A Valentine Present with Love” _  Compassionate Letters: Bo Aung Din
  19. Shan Freedom Fighters Photo article: Chris Sinclair & Tai Sam Yone
  20. SAI AUNG TUN, Yangon University, ” The Tai Ethnic Migration and Settlement in Myanmar” By the assistance of the Yunnan Institute for Nationalities, China and the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University, Japan he had  attended the Kunming International Workshop on the “Dynamics of Ethnic Cultures Across National Boundaries in Southwestern China and Mainland.
  21. Detained Ethnic Leaders Denied Outside Medical Aid“, By Shah Paung, January 8, 2008, Irrawaddy.
  22. The Kachin Hill Manual. Rangoon: The Superintendent Government Printing, Union of Burma, 1959. pp. 17-18
  23. G.E. Harvey. History of Burma, from “The Earliest Time to March 1824, The Beginning of English Conquest”. London: Frank Case and Co. Ltd., 1967. p. 160.
  24. Sir Arthur P. Phayre. History of Burma, Including Burma Proper, Taungu, Tenasserim and Arakan. London: 1883. pp. 290-291. 

 See also_

 

  1. Compassionate letter No 1: A Valentine Music DVD with Love for Dear Nan
  2. Compassionate letter number two, for my beloved Nan Sai   
  3. Renascences of the Golden days of the Great Shan Empire           
  4. The Golden days of the Great Shan Empire II
  5. The Golden days of the Great Shan Empire III
  6. The Golden days of the Great Shan Empire IV
  7.  The Golden days of the Great Shan Empire V
  8.  The Golden days of the Great Shan Empire VI
  9.   The Golden days of the Great Shan Empire VII
  10.  A Valentine Present with Love, Letter 1A (In Burmese)View
  11. A Valentine Present with Love, Letter 1B (In Burmese) View
  12. A Valentine Present with Love, Letter 1C (In Burmese) View
  13. Compassionate Letters to Dear Nan, No. 6 C (in Burmese) View
  14. Compassionate Letters to Dear Nan, No. 6 B (in Burmese) View
  15. Compassionate Letters to Dear Nan, No. 6 A (in Burmese) View 
  16. Basic factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part I
  17. Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part II
  18. Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part III
  19. Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part IV
  20. Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part V
  21. Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part VI
  22. Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part VII
  23. The Golden days of the Great Mon Empire I

 

NOTE:  Compassionate Letters to Dear Nan letters 1 to 12 were first written in English as my earlier contribution to BURMA DIGEST on the Shan National day/Burma’s National day/Valentine day after I read about the Shan leaders intention to separate Shan from Burma/Myanmar.

Later I tried to made that letters in series imitating famous Indian first PM Neru’s letters to his daughter, who later the very famous and strong PM Indera Ghandi. I tried to rewrite the whole history of Burma like him but once I wrote about Burmese Muslims, some racists opposed.

But BD Chief editor Dr Tay Za even allowed me to write with different pseudonyms (author names). I love BURMA, SHAN, all the ethnic minorities and I even try to learn about all thee religions esp Buddhism, Hindu, JEWS and found out the essence and common basic good things. 

BD Chief editor Dr Tay Za even appointed me as a think tank member, editor and later senior editor, I tried to fulfill 99.99% of his request topics but I tried to squeeze in my interested topics. You all can see with your eyes what I have done for three years on Shan National day. THOSE WERE NOT APPRECIATED BUT I WAS RUDELY ORDERED NOT TO WRITE ANY RELIGIOUS ARTICLE. So without any quarrel or argument, I left BD sadly.

The true secular politics is just a myth only.

Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part VIII

Factors that influenced

the evolution of Burma Part VIII

Shans

Shan (also known as  Tai) lived independently up north round about 650 B.C. in China at the lower part of the Yangtze River.

1. Shan’s (also known as Tai) migrated down through the present day Yunnan and desended further down into our  Burma and settled in the Shan Plateau.

2. A large group of them made a detour U turn and went up north and climbed the Tibet hills and stayed there forming the Tibeto-Burman ancestors of the whole region.

3. One group continued their journey west, up to the present day Rakhine.

4. Another group even decided to continue the long march up into the present day north eastern part of India.

5. One of the group continued south in Burma and settled in lower Burma closely with Mon and  Kayins.

6. Few of them decided to continue to just stay-put in the present day Yunnan.

7. One group broke away from all others and decided to go straight southwards and settled in present Thailand.

8. One of them also broke away from all and moved to the east, settling in present day Lao and Cambodia. Actually they are a little bit different, some had more of the Chinese blood and some even have mixed blood with Khamars and some even went further and said to be settled in Viet Nam.

9. One of the group, known as Thet mixed the Pyus and their decedents are part of the ancestors of Bamars.

10. Some of the ethnic group who made a detour U turn and went up north and climbs the Tibet hills later, came down and they were known as Kan Yan and formed one of the ancestors of Bama .

11. At last intermarriage of the groups who were the descendents of Pyu, Kan Yan and Thet give rise to my present day Bama ethnic group.

Note (A): the long march travelers of Shan came down in different times in batches. Because it happened in the prehistoric times, I have searched and collected data, and made it simple and easy from:

  1. the folk tales of our Ethnic Minorities,
  2. the old records of Chinese and Indian travelers’ chronicles,
  3. Thailand and Khmer chronicles,
  4. from Hman Nan Yar Za Won, The Glass Palace Chronicle of the Kings of Burma (Pe Maung Tin and G.H.Luce, Rangoon University Press, Rangoon, Burma, January 1960.),
  5. Dr Than Tun (History Professor, Mandalay University) “Chin, Myu and Khumi, Notthern Rakhine” in Myanmar Magazine Kalya 1994 August and other publications
  6. and HGE Hall History of Southeast Asia
  7. and Burma’s old history text books published by Burmese Education Ministry.

I hereby wish to go into some details of what I had given as a gist above: Shan’s other cousins descended from the same ancestors, now inhabit northeast Assam or Asom in India.

Note (B) : they established the Ahom kingdom in Assam, India, where the Burmese General Maha Bandula’s troops committed_

  • indescribable cruelties
  • and barbarities  as to
  • annihilate something like 2/3 of the population
  • and certainly 1/3 of the men and boys
  • disemboweling them,
  • eating their flesh
  • and burning them alive in cages
  • to intimidate
  • and suppress the Shan Ahom of Assam, India.

Edward Albert Gait’s “A history of Assam” book, published by Thacker, Spink in1963 at Calcutta

This event so weakened and disorganized the Shan Ahom that by 1839 the kingdom was completely annexed by the British.

Before that from about 1220 – 1812 AD they maintained themselves under one Dynasty, (that of Mong Mao  568-1604 AD when its descendants ruled Hsenwi or Theinni in Burmese). Indeed the Shan Ahom resisted conquest by the Mughals who had conquered much of India before the British incursion.

DIALOGUE WITH A SHAN LEADER, H.R.H HSO KHAN PHA”. Tiger Yawnghwe or His Royal Highness Prince Hso Khan Pha; he is the eldest son of Sao Shwe Thaik, the former Saopha[Prince] of Yawnghwe[Nyaung-Shwe] and the first President of Burma after Burma’s Independence from British colonial rule. Interview with Dr Tayza, Chief Editor of Burma Digest.

Some groups of Shan settled along the way, at  Yunnan in the north east of Burma. Some mixed blooded with Chinese and Khamar, went to the east and founded the Laos and  Cambodia. Others went down to the southeast and settled in Thailand. No wonder Thailand was known as Siam or we could even easily understand it is just a slang of Shan.

Shans were  gradually pushed south, at about the beginning of the Christian era by the advancement of the Tar Tars. About 650 A.D. one group of Shans formed a powerful country at Nan Chao, now known as Yunnan.

Nan Chao Shans were quite powerful and could resist Chinese attempts at conquest until 1253.

During the years 754 to 763 A.D. the Nan Chao Shans extended their rule even up to the upper basin of the Irrawaddy River and came into contact with the Pyu.

Pyu was one of three ancestors who founded our Burma: viz, Pyu, Kan Yan and Thet. Pyu was then the ruler of the Upper  Burmese Plains.

Some of Shan’s descendents ventured beyond Upper Burma into Lower Burma to mingle and live together with the Mons.

During the heydays of the Nan Chao Shans, some of them had even crossed Upper Burma to reach far west and established the once powerful Ahom Shan Kingdom, in the northeastern part of India, now known as Assam or Assom , as stated above.

Shans had moved into the area now known as the Shan Pyae of Burma in large numbers and settled down and were well established by the time our first Burmese King Anawrahta ascended his throne in 1st century.

Nan Chao  Shans tried desperately to defend their Nan Chao  kingdom from the Chinese attackers, but in 1253 the Nan Chao Kingdom fell. Some of the Nan Chao Shans, unwilling to live under foreign domination there; move towards the south in strength, to seek freedom in present day Tailand area.

They joined forces with the other Shans, who had already settled in that area, and in 1262 took over Chiang Rai, in 1296 Chiang Mai and in 1315 took Ayuddhaya, and established their own kingdoms.

In Upper Burma the Shans established the kingdoms of Mo Gaung (Mong Kawng), and Mo Hnyin (Mong Yang), and in the Shweli basin, the Mao Kingdom.

Anawrahta ruled the Pagan  for 43 year. He was able to unify the whole Burma under his rule for the first time in history.

During this time he sent his armed villagers into the Shan’s kingdoms to help ensure the security of his Pagan Kingdom. However, he had no intention of annexing or taking over of the Shan’s kingdoms. He merely wished to defend the low lying plains of his Burma from raids by the Shan’s disgruntled militias. For this purpose he established a string of fortified towns along the length of the foothills.

Relations between Shan and Burma became friendlier under Anawrahta’s successors , but the Burmese Pagan fell to the attackers from China in 1287 A. D. and was destroyed.

Then in 1312 A. D. one of the groups of Shans took the kingly Title of “Thihathu” and ascended as the Burmese king or throned in Pinya.

The (Mao) Shans, who had established kingdoms in Mo Hnyin, Mo Gaung and the Shweli areas then overran the villages of Pinya and Sagaing in 1364 A.D.

After they had withdrawn, Shan’s from Ava, whose title was Thadominbya, combined Pinya and Sagaing and established a new Kingdom, over which he ruled.

So Shans effectively became Kings in Burma from 1282 A.D. to 1531 A.D.

In 1527 A.D. due to the attacks of the Mo Hnyin Saw Bwa on Ava, the Shan’s and U Burmese of the area left their homes and descended southwards towards Toungoo, where they established a new kingdom.

Thohanbwa, the son of the Moehnyin Saw Bwa, who became the King of Ava, was soon assassinated due to his lack of skill in statecraft and administration, and in 1543 A.D. Onbaung Khun Maing succeeded him as the King.

Meanwhile from Toungoo Kingdom, in the year 1555 A.D. King Bayinnaung succeeded in unifying the whole of Burma  for the second time in our history.

He was able to “persuade’ the Shan Saw Bwa to submit his suzerainty. In accordance with the traditions of the earlier Burmese Kings, the administrative setup was that the Shan Saw Bwas who submitted to the suzerainty of the Burmese King retained full powers to rule over their kingdom. This relationship was based on mutual respect.

The military forces of Burma included contingents of Shan soldiers who proved their valour on the foreign battlefields.

That is how Shan and Burmese descendents had lived closely together, like brethren, till the fall of Upper Burma in 1886.

Then the Shan Saw Bwas, with the intention of restoring freedom to Burma and to the Shan State, chose the Burmese Princes Limbin and Saw Yan Naing to head their alliance, and started waging war against the colonialism.

(I hereby acknowledged that I have adapted the above facts from the Shan Herald Agency News’ Shan State Affairs section, Shan History.)

We could see in the above mentioned era how Shans  migrated and grew mightier. We should study how political, economical, social and philosophical patterns changed according to their coming.

To sum up again, after the fall of Bagan , Ava kingdom was built in 1364 M.E.

Subsequently, until Pinya, Sagaing and Myinsaing  eras, the power of Bagan collapsed and rebellious small kingdoms spread. When the invading conqueror Shans came across Burmese, they accepted the Buddhist cultures and Burmese cultures.

In this case, the saying, ‘conquerors are conquered’ need to be explained thoroughly.

I adapted this last paragraph from the “Story of Myanmar told in pictures” by Dr Than Tun and translated by Maung Win War.

Anyway no one is sure the source of Shan ancestors’ conversion to Buddhism. We should consider the fact that Shans had very good relations with Mon and Khamars. Shans could even get the Buddhism directly from them.

We could see that Shan Pagodas look more like Thai and Cambodia Pagodas than our Burmese. from (

This episode of the history, Shans’ conquering over the  Burma, which our successive Bama governments’ history text books just used to mention one line only and skipped forward to the glorious Burmese warrior Toungoo King Baying Naung who successfully established the 2nd Bama Empire.

The same thing happened to the conqueror Tar Tars. They took over Turkey, Iran and Iraq, and they killed millions of the men and children but married those Muslim women.

Their new wives strangely converted them into Islam and they accepted the Islamic cultures. In this case also, as the saying goes, ‘conquerors are conquered’.

And those Tar Tar/Turk descendents’ armies invaded Afghanistan, India subcontinent (future India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.) and established the Moghol Islamic Empire.

So the Central Asia Muslims, Chinese Muslims, Yunan Chinese Muslims and Burma’s Chinese Muslims or Panthays and many of the Burmese Muslims are also their descendents. Even the Muslims in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia got Islam from those Chinese Muslims.

Ko Tin Nwe @ BO AUNG DIN

Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part V

Factors that influenced

the evolution of Burma Part V

Mon

Early History of Burma_

Humans lived in the region that is now Burma as early as 11,000 years ago, but the first identifiable civilisation is that of the Pyu although both Burman and Mon tradition claim that the fabled Suvarnabhumi mentioned in ancient Pali and Sanskrit texts was a Mon kingdom centred on Thaton in present day Mon state.

The 6th century Mon kingdom of Dvaravati in the lower Chao Phraya valley in present day Thailand extended its frontiers to the Tenasserim Yoma (mountains).

With subjugation by the Khmer Empire from Angkor in the 11th century the Mon shifted further west deeper into present day Burma. Oral tradition suggests that they had contact with Buddhism via seafaring as early as the 3rd century BC and had received an envoy of monks from Ashoka in the 2nd century BC.

The Mons adopted Indian culture together with Theravada Buddhism and are thought to have founded kingdoms in Lower Burma including Thaton in the 6th or 7th century and Bago (Pegu) in 825 with the kingdom of Raman’n’adesa (or Ramanna which is believed to be Thaton) referenced by Arab geographers in 844–8.

The lack of archaeological evidence for this may in part be due to the focus of excavation work predominantly being in Upper Burma.

The first recorded kingdom that can undisputedly be attributed to the Mon people was Dvaravati, which prospered until around 1000 AD when their capital was sacked by the Khmer Empire and most of the inhabitants fled west to present-day Burma and eventually founded new kingdoms. These, too, eventually came under pressure from new ethnic groups arriving from the north.Mon kingdoms ruled large sections of Burma from the 9th to the 11th, the 13th to the 16th, and again in the 18th centuries.

About the same period, southward-migrating Burmans took over lands in central Myanmar once dominated by Pyu city-states and the Tai started trickling into South-East Asia.

The Burman ( Bamar ) established the kingdom of Bagan. In 1057, Bagan defeated the Mon kingdom, capturing the Mon capital of Thaton and carrying off 30,000 Mon captives to Bagan.After the fall of Bagan to the invading Mongols in 1287, the Mon, under Wareru an ethnic Tai, regained their independence and captured Martaban and Bago, thus virtually controlling their previously held territory.

Mon kingdoms

A main body of ethnic Shan / Tai migration came in the 13th century after the fall of the Kingdom of Dali to the Mongol Empire and filled the void left by the fall of the Bagan kingdom in northern Burma forming a loose coalition of city-states.

These successive waves of Bamar and Tai groups slowly eroded the Mon kingdoms, and the next 200 years witnessed incessant warfare between the Mon and the Burmese, but the Mon managed to retain their independence until 1539. The last independent Mon kingdom fell to the Burmese when Alaungpaya razed Bago in 1757. Many of the Mon were killed, while others fled to Thailand.Hanthawaddy (or Hanthawady; in Thai หงสาวดี Hongsawadi) is a place in Burma.

Hongsawatoi ( Bago/Pegu/ Handawaddy )

Hongsawatoi, Capital city of old Mon kingdom. It was destroyed by Burman King, U Aungzeya or Aloungpaya in 1757. Hongsawatoi ( Mon language pronounce) (Pali Hamsavati) Bago is about 50 miles from Rangoon.

According to legend, two Mon princess from Thaton founded Bago in 573 AD. It was written in the chronicles that eight years after enlightenment, Lord Buddha along with his disciples went air-borne around Southeast Asian countries.

The earliest mention of this city in history is by the Arab geographer Ibn Khudadhbin around 850 AD. At the time, the Mon capital had shifted to Thaton. The area came under rule of the Burmese from Bagan in 1056.

After the collapse of Bagan to the Mongols in 1287, the Mon regained their independence.

From 1369-1539, Hanthawaddy was the capital of the Mon Kingdom of Ramanadesa, which covered all of what is now lower Burma. The area came under Burman control again in 1539, when it was annexed by King Tabinshweti to his Kingdom of Taungoo. The kings of Taungoo made Bago their royal capital from 1539-1599 and again in 1613-1634, and used it as a base for repeated invasions of Siam.  

See also_

  1. Basic factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part I
  2. Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part II
  3. Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part III
  4. Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part IV
  5. Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part V
  6. Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part VI
  7. Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part VII
  8. The Golden days of the Great Mon Empire I
  9. Renascences of the Golden days of the Great Shan Empire
  10. The Golden days of the Great Shan Empire II
  11. The Golden days of the Great Shan Empire III
  12. The Golden days of the Great Shan Empire IV
  13. The Golden days of the Great Shan Empire V
  14. The Golden days of the Great Shan Empire VI
  15. The Golden days of the Great Shan Empire VII

Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part II

 

    

 

Factors that influenced

the evolution of Burma Part II

 

2. History of Burma

The History of Burma (or Myanmar) is long and complex. Several races of people have lived in the region, the oldest of which are probably the Mon or the Pyu. In the 9th century the Bamar (Burman) people migrated from the then China-Tibet border region into the valley of the Ayeyarwady, and now form the governing majority.     

 

‘Bamars are descendants of Sakyans who are of the Aryan Race or of some other descendants of Aryans’.

Though there is ‘scarcely any race that can claim descent from exclusively one original race’, nevertheless, Burma’s proximity to India permits the claim that the Burmans have ‘an ornamental Aryan superstructure on the existing Mongoloid foundation’, resulting in some historians proclaiming that ‘Myanmars were descendants of Aryans’.

The history of the region comprises complexities not only within the country but also with its neighbouring countries, China, India, Bangladesh, Viet Nam, Laos and Thailand.

 

Artefacts from the excavated site of Nyaunggan help to reconstruct Bronze Age life in Burma and the more recent archaeological evidence at Samon Valley south of Mandalay suggests rice growing settlements between about 500 BC and 200 AD which traded with Qin and Han dynasty China.

India has been particularly influential in Burmese culture as the cradle of Buddhism, and ancient Hindu traditions can still be seen in brahmins presiding over important ceremonies such as_

  1. weddings
  2. and ear-piercings
  3. but most notably in Thingyan, the Burmese New Year festival.

    Traditions of kingship including coronation ceremonies and formal royal titles as well as those of lawmaking were also Hindu in origin.

    In the defence of its realm, the Konbaung dynasty fought four wars successfully against the Qing Dynasty of China which saw the threat of the expansion of Burmese power in the East.  

    1. In 1769, despite his victory over the Chinese armies, King Hsinbyushin sued for peace with China and concluded a treaty in order to maintain bilateral trade with the Middle Kingdom which was very important for the dynasty at that time.

     2. The Qing Dynasty then opened up its markets and restored trading with Burma in 1788 after reconciliation.  3. Thenceforth peaceful and friendly relations prevailed between China and Burma for a long time.    

     Early history of Burma

    Humans lived in the region that is now Myanmar as early as 11,000 years ago, but the first identifiable civilisation is that of the Mon. The Mon probably began migrating into the area in about 3000 BC, and their first kingdom Suwarnabhumi (pronounced Suvanna Bhoum), was founded around the port of Thaton in about 300 BC. Oral tradition suggests that they had contact with Buddhism via seafaring as early as the 3rd century BC, though definitely by the 2nd century BC when they received an envoy of monks from Ashoka. Much of the Mon’s written records have been destroyed through wars. The Mons blended Indian and Mon cultures together in a hybrid of the two civilisations. By the mid-9th century, they had come to dominate all of southern Myanmar. From that time, Northern Burma was a group of city-states in a loose coalition.

    The ‘King’ of each city-state would change allegiance as he saw fit, so throughout history,

    much of the Shan-Tai north has been part of the_

    1. Tai countries of Nan Zhao (now Yunnan and GuangXi, China),
    2. SipSong Panna, Lanna (Chiangmai in Thailand – Siam), Ayuttaya (old capital of Siam)
    3. and even affiliated with Laos.

    Even U Pyu, one of the three founding brothers of Shwe Bama village was believed to be mixture of three groups;

     

(i) one local inhabitant since Stone Age, Bronze Age and Iron Age,

(ii) another came from Ko Kala’s village bringing in Hinduism and Buddhism along with their cultures and literatures successively

(iii) and the another group believed to came down from north, Tibeto-Burman group.

 

Daw Daw Mon was also rumoured to have two groups of ancestors:(i) One came down from above like Daw Daw Shan,

(ii) and another from U Kala’s village tract , Orrisa village and Talingna village bringing in Hinduism and Buddhism to our land.

Ko Ta Laings originated from the Talingana village of Ko Kala’s village tract and arrived to lower Shwe Bama village part, met and married with Daw Daw Mon’s children, who came down from Ko Yu Nan’s village, spreads through our village up to Ko Thai, Ko Laos and Ko Cam Bodia’s villages.

They give us the Buddhism arts, culture, literature etc. You see Nan, our Shwe Bama spoken language was from Tibeto-Burman family and there are a lot of similarities with Chinese spoken language.

But our Shwe Bama writing language was from U Ka Lar’s village, Brami Script we took not from our native Daw Daw Mon but her cousin U Mon resided in U Thai Land’s village.

I am revealing this to you so that my dear Nan could accept our whole Shwe Bama villagers as the same family. Instead of dividing into numerous weak small countries we could even plan for the Future Federal Union of Burma working with ASEAN+++ formula, I proposed to you in my first letter sent together with my Valentine Music DVD.

Dear Nan, when I wrote in formal style, you complained that it was very dull, not attractive, you have to skip some lines and paragraphs, and you admitted that you even fell asleep before finishing my letter.

Now what? When Daw Khin Myo Chit wrote “The Heroes of Pagan” historians said she was playing with the history books like a child with a crayon. Now if you accuse me of attempting to imitate her, I would be glad and would felt honoured and reply with pride, “Thank you with my pleasure.” But I have to admit that my English could not even touch her toes’ level.

And in the Story of Myanmar told in pictures by the famous historian Dr Than Tun, he had attempted to simplify the Burmese History.

Dear Nan, you have to understand me that I used to and need to quote the famous personalities frequently because I have an inferiority complex. I am afraid you would not be serious if I cannot support my words or the style of writing with the world accepted great persons’ works. I have to use them at least as an excuse for my deeds or words. You know I am just a graduate and were forced to waste my precious time with my business matters but you had already got two post graduate degrees, a Master and a PhD. So I hope my darling Nan is not sneering at my letter as a show off.

Please kindly let me continue to enjoy with my false sense of grandeur by quoting those famous persons.

You see Nan, with the growing age and fading memory, I used to sway away from my primary target of answer your question.

The recent discovery of the Genetic DNA researchers’ claim of the finding of the Chinese to be migrated from Africa or “Out of Africa theory” may reveal the longer and winding trail of our great ancestors. From Africa to China and then continue to Burma. If we consider the origin of the Southern Indians from Africa and Arian Migration from the north or tall blue or brown eyed and fair people proved to be genetically related to east Europeans, some of our ancestors had endlessly marched quite a long distance.

Actually if I am allowed to sum up the above:

  1. U Pyu, U Kan Yan and U Thet were my ancestors.
  2. Most of the U Kan Yan’s descendants stayed along Chin Dwin River and between Chindwin and Irrawady rivers.
  3. As I had stated above, few groups of villagers came down from northern Ko Yu Nan’s village, one of them went and established Daw Tibet’s village.
  4. One group went further west to Ko Ya Khines village and some went further into Ko Kala’s territory.
  5. One group stayed along our mother Irrawady and formed my ancestors.
  6. One group stayed in Ko Ka Chin’s village.
  7. Actually Ko Ka Yin, Daw Mon and almost all our ethnic brother villagers came down the same path.
  8. Dear Nan, no wonder your great grandmother Daw Daw Shan was the elder sister of Ko Thai and Ko Laos’ great grandfathers. Because of the same language and culture you even cruelly planned to divorce me and go and marry with one of them. I know, I know, you just wanted to hurt me because you were angry with me and never really intended to do so.
  9. Dear Nan, because of that, there are larger number of cousins of Ko Ka Chin , Ko Chin and Ko Na Ga in Ko Ti Bet’s village and Ko Kala’s village than in Shwe Bama village.
  10. And there are a lot more of Ko Ka Yin and Daw Mon’s relatives in Ko Thai, Ko Cam Bodia’s villages.

Dear Nan, it is too late tonight to continue my letter as you know, I need to wake up early to prepare to go and work intime.

Your loving hubby

(Ko Tin Nwe)

BO AUNG DIN

 

 

History of ASIA

 

  • Alexander the Great conquered an area from Turkey to India in the 4th century BC.

  • The Roman Empire would later control parts of western Asia. The Achaemenid, Seleucid, Parthian and Sassanian empires were based in Ancient Persia.

  • Many ancient civilizations were influenced by the Silk Road, which connected China, India, the Middle East and Europe.

  • The religions of Hinduism and Buddhism, which began in India, were an important influence on South and East Asia.

        Middle Ages

  • The Islamic caliphate and other Islamic states took over the Middle East starting in the 7th century, and later expanded into India and Indonesia.

  • The Crusades would be fought from the 12th century, in Christian Europe’s attempt to retake the Holy Land from the Muslims.

  • The Mongol Empire conquered a large part of Asia in the 13th century, an area extending from China to Europe.

        Modern period

 

Basic factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part I

Basic factors that influenced

the evolution of Burma Part I

1. Geographical factor 

Burma: “The highway between India and China” India and China are the world’s biggest and ancient cradle of civilizations. High, snow peaked, rough and steep Himalaya mountain ranges block the direct interaction or travelling between the two of them except for the virtual highway through Myanmar/Burma. So there were a lot of travelers, migrants, victims of disasters and famine, war refugees and etc moving along this Burma Highway and some of them settled in Burma.

In the official Thailand History books, they even claim that all of the Tibeto-Burman groups including Tibet came down from Yunnan stressing that Tibet had made an almost U turn and climbed beck onto the Tibet Highlands.

There was the Burma Road which linked Burma and China. Its terminals are Kunming in China and Lashio in Burma. The road is about 1,130 kilometres long and runs through rough mountain country. General Merrill and General Stillwell built during the colonial times under British. When the Japanese overran sections of the Burma Road the Allies built the Ledo Road, also later known as the Stillwell Road. Ledo Road was built from Ledo in Assam into the Hukawng Valley as an alternative to the Burma Road. It was completed in January 1945 and was renamed Stilwell Road by Chiang Kai-shek. Now China and India are negotiating with Myanmar to build a modern high way liking their countries through Burma including to lay natural gas pipe line from Rakhine to India, Yunnan, China.

(Copied from my own contributions in Wikipedia)

And I would like to use data from Wikipedia and my old Dear Nan letters to continue this series of     

 

Basic factors that influenced the evolution of Burma.

 

 

 

A. Maps (Geography of Burma)       

 

(a) Effects of the Himalaya mountain range between China and India.

 

 

 

 

himalaya-map-3.png

 

 

 

(b) Myanmar Neighbours, China and  India separated by Himilayan mountain ranges.

himalaya-map-4.png

(c) Situation of Myanmar as a convenient highway between India and China

bur-china-india-himalaya-map-7.png

(d) Myanmar highway along the valleys with water-supply along it, connecting China and ASEAN.

Indonesians, Malays and Polynesians were believed to be the earliest migrants came down from Yunnan through Burma to their homelands in south.

bur-china-india-himalaya-map-5.png

(d) Strategic situation of Myanmar between its Neighbours (China, India, Bangladesh, Thailand and Laos)

bur-asean-map-5.png

(e) Myanmar in ASEAN.

Myanmar highway, connecting China and ASEAN. Indonesians, Malays and Polynesians were believed to be the earliest migrants came down from Yunnan through Burma to their homelands in south.

bur-asean-map-2.png

 

 

 

 (f) Orietation of Myanmar in the world map

bur-map-8.png

(g) Burma or Myanmar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

bur-map-1.png

 

 

 

 

(h) Geography of Burma
Continent
Asia
Region
Southeast Asia
Coordinates
22°00′N 98°00′E / 22, 98Coordinates: 22°00′N 98°00′E / 22, 98
Area
Ranked 39th
678,500 km² (261,970.3 sq mi)
96.94% land
3.06 % water
Borders
Total land borders:
5876 km (3651.18 miles)
Bangladesh:
193 km (119.92 miles)
People’s Republic of China:
2185 km (1357.7 miles)
India:
1463 km (909.07 miles)
Laos
235 km (146.02 miles)
Thailand:
1800 km (1118.47 miles)
Highest point
Hkakabo Razi
5881 m (19,294.62 feet)
Lowest point
Andaman Sea
0 m (0 feet)
(sea level)
Longest river
Ayeyarwady River
Largest lake
Indawgyi Lake

 The Encyclopedia of World History

From early times Burma came under Indian influence. By the 3rd century C.E., expanding Hindu peoples had established commercial settlements on the Tenasserim coast and at the principal river mouths, which developed small kingdoms in contact with the Tibeto-Burman tribes of the Irrawaddy Valley. Commercial relations with China were less influential, although an embassy from a Burmese state reached Ch’ang An in 802. (See Burma (Pagan)) See The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.

Excerpts from the Dear Nan letters of my split personality to his wife.

Now China and India are negotiating with Shwe Bama villagers to build a modern high way liking their villages through our land. Recently Ko Ka Lar’s village chairman U Mus Lim went to Shwe Bama and signed an agreement to lay natural gas pipe line from Ko Ya Khine’s part of our village to Ko Ka Lar’s village.

And there is already an agreement to connect the gas pipe line from Ko Ya Khine’s part of the village to Ko Yu Nan’s village. So these high ways and pipelines would become the renaissance of our forefather’s migration.

Dear Nan, why are you very sensitive, I am just mentioning the coincidences but not supporting those pipe-lines. You already know that I supported your policy of sanctions on SPDC. If you are not short sighted, you could still read our Burma Digest’s strong condemnation of TOTAL in recent issues.

It is funny that those who play with fire and burnt sometimes blamed the fire. Recently one of the ASEAN PM complaint that their state owned oil company suffered some losses because of the sanctions in the host countries they operate. Then why did they foolishly decided to follow their greed to buy the shares of TOTAL and invested more than RM 4000 million in Myanmar/Burma oil exploration and refinery?

Instead of redeeming themselves by supporting the US, UK and EU led pressure on Myanmar Generals for the rapid democratization, they are still blocking them to give protection to those killer criminals? Giving protection to killer criminal illegal cruel rulers are guilty to the Laws of the human and God.

So there were a lot of travelers, migrants, victims of disasters and famine, war refugees and etc moving along the road and some of them settled in our Shwe Bama Village as we are located along their high way through out the history.

Dear Nan, do you now accept the concept that our village was and still is a highway from west Ko Kala’s village to Ko Ta Yoke’s village in the north. People from Northwest of Ko Kala’s village came to our village through Ko Ya Khine’s village.

Since 500 BC Hindu Orrisa village colonists had migrated towards Southeast and settled in lower part of our Shwe Bama village. Later other migrant villagers from the Andhra Dynasty from Ko Kala’s village similarly migrated to our village in 180 BC. Some took the long march on land and then some had sailed here.

Your loving hubby (Ko Tin Nwe)

BO AUNG DIN

See also_

  1. Basic factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part I
  2. Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part II
  3. Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part III
  4. Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part IV
  5. Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part V
  6. Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part VI
  7. Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part VII
  8. The Golden days of the Great Mon Empire I
  9. Renascences of the Golden days of the Great Shan Empire
  10. The Golden days of the Great Shan Empire II
  11. The Golden days of the Great Shan Empire III
  12. The Golden days of the Great Shan Empire IV
  13. The Golden days of the Great Shan Empire V
  14. The Golden days of the Great Shan Empire VI
  15. The Golden days of the Great Shan Empire VII

Our Islamic roots in China

china_map.pngchina_ethnolinguistic_83.jpg  Our Islamic roots in China

We hereby want to mention the propagation of Islam in China.

Facts taken and summarized from_

1. “The Root of Islam in China”  by Haji Kahar Hoh Kok Hoong, from the article in Islamic Herald, PERKIM.

2. And Wikipedia China and Islam articles.

3. My article, Panthay Muslims or Myanmar Chinese  Muslims

In China many Muslims are said to be from Huis and some are from Hans. Islam went to China through the ‘Silk Road’, a transcontinental pas­sage from Turkey in Europe across Asia right into Sin-kiang province of northwestern China, the homeland of the Huis.

The word ‘Hui’ is actually an abbreviation derived from three Chinese characters pro­nounced as ‘Hui vu er’ which means Huighur or Uighur; the name of a nomadic tribesmen.

When China became a republic, President Dr. Sun Yat­sen classified the fifty-six differ­ent races of people into five major categories i.e. the Hans, the Mans, the Mongs, the Huis and the Chuangs, with its first five-colour national flag (Red’, yellow, blue, white and black) representing them.

The Hans are the ‘Children of Yan Huang’ (Emperor Yan and Emperor Huang), living on the southern side of the Great Wall of China and right down to the coasts of the Pacific Ocean and the South China Sea.  The Mans are the Manchurians of northeast­ern China.  The Mongs are Mongolians of Inner-Mongolia Province of China.  The Chuangs are the Tibetans of Tibet Province of China. 

The Huis; the collective name for the various tribesmen such as Huighurs, Kazaks, Salars, Tajiks, Tatars etc, lived along the Chinese-Russian border and beside the ‘Silk Road’ in Sin­kiang Province of China which the westerners refer it as Eastern Turkistan.

Long before the advent of Islam in Saudi Arabia the Arabs were already brave seafarers and excellent navigators.  Arab mer­chants were trading well with China and Southeast Asia. 

Our Prophet Muhammad S.A.W. knew that China was a civilized and prosperous nation and so advised, “Seek knowledge even as far as unto China”. 

The historical records the arrival of Islam in China varies with dates ranging from 571 A.D. during the Sui Dynasty to 651 A.D. the Tang Dynasty.  According to a Muslim legend, Islam was first preached in China as early as the Sui Dynasty by a maternal uncle of our Prophet Muhammad S.A.W. for his reputed tomb at Canton is highly venerated by Muslims there until now.  Ano­ther popular legend, Islam went to China in 628 AD brought by three companions of our Prophet Muhammad S.A.W.

In the history of China, Islam first arrived at the Port of Canton (now Guangzhou) in southern China during the early Tang Dynasty in 651 AD. by the ‘Silk-voyage’.  Muslim mis­sionaries sailed through the Red Sea, across the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean; through the Straits of Malacca and across the South China Sea.  They traded with the countries along the shores of this sea route as well.

The third Caliph Osman of the Kingdom of Tasik, the Kingdom of Arabia then, dispatched an emissary to Chang Ann; the Capital city of the Tang Dynasty, to pay homage to the emperor and also introduced the social, cultural ethnic and religion of Islam to him. There were many Muslims residing in China at that time.

In fact the first Masjid outside the sacred land Makkah; The Prophet’s Memorial Masjid or the Kwang-ta Qi (the Bright-tower Masjid) was built in Canton. Arab maritime traders stayed mainly in Canton. Special residence areas and cemeteries were allotted for Muslims where-by tombstones with Arabic inscriptions can still be found there. They inter-married with local Hans and adopted Chinese surnames and even Chinese names. Some of the prominent ones were awarded Chinese surnames by the emperor. They preached Islam to the Hans, especially some of the intellectuals quietly embraced Islam.

The Huis were at those time still wanderers in the wild steppes of northwestern China.  But somehow the western and non-Muslim writers linked Islam, Hui and the ‘Silk Road’ together and thought the Huis were the prime and only Muslims in China.

Western historians also stressed that thousands of Muslims had already rushed into China by the ‘Silk Road’ in 751 AD, after the Tang Empire lost Central Asia to the Abbasids in the war at Taraz.  The Tang emper­or seek help from Samarkand (Samarkand was Timur’s royal city, celebrated its 2500th anniversary in 1970. It is an ancient site, located in modern-day Uzbekistan.)  and Abbasid soldiers to crush the revolt of his general Ann Lu-shan  of Turkey origin.  All these sol­diers stayed back in Sin-kiang and were later assimilated into the Hui race.  These events hap­pened during the sixth emperor of Tang, i.e. two hundred years after the Arab-Muslims settled down in Canton, Chuanahou, Hangzhou, Yangzhou, Emgzhou and other southern cities of China and developed good relation­ships with the Hans.

During the Song Dynasty 960AD-1279AD, the govern­ment then was very liberal and allowed its subjects to practice in whatever religions they be­lieved.  Islam expanded fast into the interior of China. The import and export trades of China were almost in the hands of the Muslims; they monopolized the beef and mutton; the precious stones and carpets business as well.  Islam spread fast and became another major reli­gion with more and more Hans embracing it.

In 1250 AD Islam was so popular that an Arab merchant who won the Chinese name from the Emperor as Pu’ Shou-keng, was even appointed as the Superintendent of Merchant shipping at the Port of Chuan­zhou in southerrn China.  He owned great wealth and con­ducted a mercantile fleet bet­ween China and Saudi Arabia. 

In 1270 AD Sayyid Edjill Chams ed-Din Omar a great grandson of our Prophet Muhammad S.A.W of the 31 st. generation, was made the governor of Yunan Province in southern China. 

In 1279 AD China was invaded for the first time by the Mongolians from outside the Great Wall of China and had its name changed to Yuan Dynasty.

During the Yuan Dynasty 1279 AD – 1368 AD, after Ghengis Khan conquered the whole of Asia and part of Europe; as far as the plain of Hungary, he returned with his multiracial military hordes of Turks, Persians, Babylonians Syrians and other middle-east mercenary soldiers to China. 

Besides ensuring his relations and kins in positions along the ‘Silk Road’ he stationed warriors and fighters in various cities and major towns of China to assist him to rule the Hans who out­numbered the Mongols many times.  The Mongol Empire was so powerful that the ‘Silk Road’ was completely under its control. Some Arabs migrated to Central Asia with many residing in Sin Kiang Province of China.

The Yuan dictator divided his people into three classes.  Of course the first class were the Mongols themselves.  The sec­ond class was his loyal and faithful foreign Muslims and their families and the third class were the defeated Hans of vari­ous religions.

The Huis embraced Islam in very large numbers.  Subsequently Hui-Muslims grew tremendously and Islam was eventually named after them as ‘Hui Chiaw’ the Hui-rehgion.  Till today there are less than ten per­cent of Huis who are not Muslims.  As in the Chinese language ‘Hui Chiaw’ is more easier to pro­nounce than’Yi Si Lan Chiaw’, ‘Hui Chiaw’ automatically became the official name for Islam in China.  Furthermore some Han Muslims (the descendants of the intermarriage between Hans and Arabs also called themselves Huis for the sake of not to be despised by the authority. The Yuan Government lasted for only ninety over years (the shortest dynasty in Chinese history) and was overthrown by the Hans again and named it the Ming Dynasty.

During the Ming Dynasty 1368AD-1644AD, Islam flourished; because its first em­peror Chu Hoong-vu was a Muslim himself. 

There are sever­al distinguish features to support this claim such as:

 

(i)    his empress was a well known Muslim as stated in the Chinese history;

 

(ii)      all his daily food and drinks were under strict supervision and scruti­nized by the empress her-self.  In other words he ate only halal meals;

 

(iii)     he wrote a ‘One Hundred Words Praise’ poem in Chinese to honour our Prophet Muhammad S.A.W, the first and only emperor in China to have written such an inscription while the calligraphy of the poem was carved on a wooden board carefully preserved in the Nanking Masjid until now; and

 

  • (iv) he entrusted the life of his son to a Muslim soldier Cheng Ho.

But there is nothing written about his faith in Chinese history, because he knew very well that his subjects, mostly belonged to other religions,  would not like to be ruled by a Muslim emperor.

Muslims then, no matter of whatever origins, were treated equally and lived peacefully and harmoniously with each other.  Foreign Muslim settlers were easily assimilated into the Han’s way of life, absorbed into the Chinese civilization.  In every major port and city Muslims community set up its own coun­cil headed by kadis and imams. 

According to a Muslim mer­chant, Sayyid Akbar; in the city of Kenjanfu alone, there were as many as thirty thousand Muslim families.  They were exempted from paying taxes by the emper­or, enjoyed complete toleration in exercising their religion and any­one on his own free will be per­mitted to embrace Islam.

Besides, Muslim charity-homes and welfare centers shel­tered and nestled Han orphan in time of famine and disaster.  When famine occurred in other tropical countries, peo­ple there can at least eat roots of bushes or barks of trees, but in China its lands are so barren that when disruptions in nature occurred, people can only filled their stomachs with ‘Kwanin Tu’ (the mud of the Goddess of Mercy).  One example, during a famine that devastated the province of Kwangtung left more than ten thousand homeless Han children seeking refuge in these institutions.  These youngsters were brought up and taught to be good Muslims.  Furthermore mil­itary officers reverted most of their soldiers serving under them to Islam and they took advantage of the their authorities to win new brothers.  Thus the number of conversion to Islam through this were countless.

The most remarkable thing was that the emperor even gave Islam a new name i.e. ‘Ching Cheng Chiaw’ which mean Pure and True Religion to replace ‘Hui Chiaw’. The name for Islam written in Chinese had been regularized but then changed for more than thirty times from the first one ‘Ah La Bi Chiaw’ to ‘Hui Chiaw’ (‘Chiaw’ in Chinese means religion).

He also assigned a young Muslim soldier, Muhammad Cheng Ho to protect his prince, the heir to his throne.  When this prince succeeded him to be the second Ming emperor, he pro­moted this faithful bodyguard to the rank of Admiral and sent him set to the sacred land Makkah and south east Asia to search for his long lost brother as many as seven times. 

Each time Admiral Cheng Ho led a fleet of about one hundred ocean-bond vessels carrying more than twen­ty-five thousand soldiers and sailors.  Its flagship alone was fifty feet wide, four hundred feet long weighing one thousand five hundred tons. (This fleet when estimated at that time is compa­rable with the Seventh Fleet of the United States of America).

Muhammad Cheng Ho was a Muslim from the Yunan Province of Southern China.  But the Chinese media named him as ‘Eunuch Sam Poh’ sarcastically or may be mistakenly due to he was circumcised during childhood, and others take for granted that he was castrated.  When he was young he joined the army and fought and served his way up from an ordinary soldier to the imperial guard and at last became the famous ‘Admiral Cheng Ho’.  He took charge of the greatest expedition of that era, sailed half way round the world to as far as the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa eighty years before Colombus accidentally discovered America and wrongly named its natives as Indians.

According to the ‘Malay Annals’ (Sejarah Melayu) it was also during this period that Sultan Mansur Shah of Malacca married one of the daughters of the Ming Emperor, Princess Hang Li Po.  Through this mar­riage Malacca gained Chinese protection against attacks and threats from Siam (Thailand), Sumatra, Java, India etc.

  Ming dynasty was the hey-day of Islam in China. 

The Golden Age of Islam in China lasted almost one millenium from the Sui Dynasty 571 A.D. to the Tang Dynasty, the Song Dynasty, the Yuan Dynasty right to the Ming Dynasty in 1644 A.D.

Nevertheless after surviving for nearly three centuries, it fell to the Manchurians outside the great wall for the second time. The Manchus named its kingdom as the Qing Dynasty, 1644AD – 1911 AD. They adopted the ‘Divide and Rule’ tactic in China by creating vengeance and hatred between the Hans and the Huis. 

The Manchus, however regarded Muslims as the lowest caste of people in China and exercised strict and stem control over them.  They raised sensitive religious issues and even kindled quarrels and skirmishes among the two major races

In 1912 China was freed again from outsider’s control. Dr. Sun Yat-sen pro­claimed China a Republic and one of his ‘Doctrine of Nationality’ stat­ed that as most of the Huis were actually of Han stock who only practiced the Islamic faith and were thus different only in reli­gious beliefs from the other non­-Muslim Hans.

By right they should be absorbed back into the Han race just like the other Han Christians, Han Catholics Han Buddhists etc.  Unfortunately he passed away before his wise and just decision could materialized.

The Chinese Constitution Article 135, was amended in 1946 to differentiate and isolate Han ­Muslims from the rest of the Hans.  They were then labeled as “people in China who have their own conditions of living and habits”.  Therefore, Han Muslims were driven out of their own peo­ple. The original Muslim Turkish Huis and Han Muslims casting doubts on each other could not mix thoroughly together. 

After the Communists took over China in 1949, they banned all religious activities because they considered that these were the opiate of the people.  Worst of all under the Agrarian Reform they confiscated all land belong­ing to ancestral temples, monas­teries, churches and Masjids and redistributed the land to the peas­ants.

 After Premier Zhou Eng-lai attended the first Afro-Asian Conference held in Bandung, Indonesia in 1955, the Maoist regime wanted to gain support and goodwill from the Asian­ African Muslim countries, because the Islamic World has a strong political influence between the East and the West. He then permitted Islamic practices in China again.  Apparently it seem good for Islam, but the Communists had passed a bill in 1954 enforcing that all Muslims in China must be called ‘Hui mins’ (Hui people).

With this Red ultimatum ‘Hui min’ capped on all Muslims in China the term “Han Mus­lims” was completely wiped off.  At this juncture Muslims of the Han stock had no choice, either they forget about the Holy Qur’an and read the Mao’s Quotations or abandoned their Han-ancestry and pray side by side with the Huis.  Han Muslims after having suffered cruel perse­cutions, discriminations and elimination for several centuries resulted in them not knowing their roots. Fortunately their physical appearances, living habits, the Chinese staple food that they eat, the Chinese archi­tect Masjids that their forefa­thers constructed, their Chinese surnames and Chinese names with good meanings, remain.  Most important is that their mother tongue and the words they write are the Chinese Language.  They even read the Holy Qur’an printed in Chinese.

 

In the name of ‘The Cultural Revolution’ Mao, the ‘Gang of Four’ and the Red guards made all out attack on all Muslim areas. Wall­ posters appear all over the major cities demanding – the closures of Masjids, to disperse all religious institutes, abolish Qur’an classes, permit free and mix marriage etc.  Fortunately, the  Mao Tze-tung died in 1976 .

Veteran Deng Xiao-peng allowed the revival of all religions, including Islam.  Muslims can now per­form the five Islamic rituals again, their youths were allowed even to go oversea for further studies and there are many Chinese Muslim students in the International Islamic University of Malaysia.

The actual number of Muslims in China forever remains a conundrum.  The earli­est record in 1910, the mincheng­fu (Ministry of Interior) of the Qing government conducted a census with a total of 342.6 mil­lion people and the population of Muslims was between fifteen to twenty million.  After twenty-­eight years’ the 1938 Year Book of China printed a figure of forty ­eight million Muslims.  Then in 1950 The China Handbook stated fifty million Muslims.  After the Nationalist government retreat­ed to Taiwan it quoted in the 1957 Year Book of China with fifty million Muslims.

            According to the latest Communist government’s report, the figure declined to hardly thirty

million.  With its break-up as follows:

Five mil­lion Huighurs including all those of the Turkic-stock; five Hundred thousand Kazaks; four hundred

thousand Khirgizs, Tadjiks, Uzbeks, and Tartars; all these live in Sin-kiang province of  China and speak the

Turkish Language.

 Four hundred thou­sand Dongxians, Bao’ans and Mongolian Muslims living in the Kansu, Ningsia and Inner

 Mongolia provinces of China whose language belong to the Mongolian group. 

One hundred thousand Salars live mainly in the Tsinghai province of China with about fifty thousand

 Muslims in the provinces of Tibet and Manchuria. 

The remaining sixty per cent are Hui Muslims of the Han lineage, scattered all over China and Taiwan writing

 And  speaking mainly the Chinese language and adopting the Chinese habit­ual traditions and cultures.

After five decades Muslims in China should have increased but instead it decreased.  Where have the remaining Muslims gone?  The propaganda of the past Taiwan government stres­sed that they have been massa­cred, but the truth is that; besides those who had fled the mainland of China to Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Burma, Kashmir, Pakistan and other neighbouring countries many Muslims of the Han lineage were frightened to expose their real identity to the Communist.  Therefore the size of Muslim population in China has been a controversial subject for more than half a century.

Retired General Omar Pei Chung-Si was a Muslim born in Kwee-lin of the Kwangsi province of southern China.  After the Second World War General Pei became the first Minister of Defence of the Nationalist China and the Chief Commander of the Southern Chinese Army fighting the Communists.  The Mao’s Liberation Army charged him as the third greatest war crimi­nal after Chiang Kai-shek and Lee Chung-ren, the Vice presi­dent of China.

Another confidential affair was that when Chiang was losing all the battles to Mao’s Red Army in central and northern China, General Omar Pei was tempted by the separatists to revolt against Chiang and lead the few north­west provinces to form the, ‘Chinese Islamic Republic’.  But this faithful general gave his undivided loyalty to his presi­dent as a very truthful Muslim, rejected the offer and instead he followed Chiang with his batons of soldiers mostly Muslims to Taiwan.  Since then they formed the first Chinese Muslim Association in Taiwan as there were already few Muslims in Taiwan before.

 

 

Turkic-Huis wanted to get the Sin­kiang province out of China. Since the time of the Ottoman Empire, the 30th. ruler, Sultan Abdul-Hamid 11 (1842-1918 AD.) had been influ­encing and spiritually assisting the Turkic-Huis in Sin-kiang to form a Turkish government. In 1870 AD the British established a protec­torate in Sin-kiang.  However .seven years later the Russian intervened and after signing the Treaty of St. Petersburg the British withdrew from Sin-kiang and returned it to China but with a great portion of it annexed by the Russian.  Later in 1933-1944 AD, with the sup­port of the U.S.S.R, Sin-kiang was proclaimed as ‘The Republic of East Turkestan’, but unfortunately after the second world war it was returned to China. 

This article ‘The Root of Islam in China’ is the first of its kind presented by a Malaysian Han Muslim, Haji Kahar Hoh Kok Hoong. He wrote it, based on his nearly forty years of vast experience and crucial researches done in and out­side China.

 

 

 

 

Islam first arrived in China after the 7th century CE, only a few years after the Prophet Muhammad’s death, during the Tang Dynasty. Islam was later spread by merchants and craftsmen as trade routes improved along the Silk Road.

The Emperor of China took Islam highly, and the first mosque in China, the Huaisheng Mosque was built in Canton, Guangzhou in 630 AD.

 

In 1271, the Mongol leader and the fifth Khagan of the Mongol Empire Kublai Khan established the Yuan Dynasty, with the last remnant of the Song Dynasty falling to the Yuan in 1279. A peasant named Zhu Yuanzhang overthrew the Mongols in 1368 and founded the Ming Dynasty.

 

In the 19th century the Qing Dynasty adopted a defensive posture towards European imperialism, even though it engaged in imperialistic expansion into Central Asia itself.

 

The civil war was one of the bloodiest in human history, costing at least twenty million lives (more than the total number of fatalities in the First World War), with some estimates up to two-hundred million. In addition, more costly rebellions in terms of human lives and economics followed the Taiping Rebellion such as the Punti-Hakka Clan Wars (1855-1867), Nien Rebellion (1851-1868), Muslim Rebellion (1862-1877) and Panthay Rebellion (1856-1873).

 

The Dungan Revolt is also known as the Hui Minorities’ War and the Muslim Rebellion. The term is sometimes used to refer to the Panthay Rebellion in Yunnan as well. It was an uprising by members of the Hui and other Muslim ethnic groups in China’s Shaanxi, Gansu and Ningxia provinces, as well as in Xinjiang, between 1862 and 1877.

 

The uprising was directed against the Qing Dynasty and actively encouraged by the leaders of the Taiping Rebellion. When it failed, it instigated immigration of some of the Dungan people into Imperial Russia. In Shaanxi province, once-flourishing Hui Muslim communities fell from 700,000 or 800,000 to between 20,000 and 30,000 in ten years.

Between 1648 and 1878, more than twelve million Hui and Uyghur Muslims were killed in ten unsuccessful uprisings against the Qing Dynasty.

 

Rebellion in Gansu and Shaanxi

 

Background

 

Chinese Muslims had been traveling to West Asia for many years prior to the Hui Minorities’ War. In the 18th century, several prominent Muslim clerics from Gansu studied in Mecca and Yemen under the Naqshbandi Sufi teachers.

 

Two different forms of Sufism were brought back to Northwest China by two charismatic Hui sheikhs: Khafiya (also spelt Khafiyya or Khufiyah; Chinese: 虎夫耶, Hǔfūyē), associated with the name of Ma Laichi (马来迟, 1681-1766), and a more radical Jahriyya (also spelt Jahriya, Jahariyya, Jahariyah, etc.; Chinese: 哲赫林耶, Zhéhèlínyē, or 哲合忍耶, Zhéhérěnyē), founded by Ma Mingxin (马明新 or 马明心, 1719(?)-1781). The coexisted with the more traditional, non-Sufi Sunni practices, centered around local mosques and known as gedimu (格底目 or 格迪目). The Khafiya school, as well as non-Sufi gedimu tradition, both tolerated by the Qing authorities, were referred to by them as the “Old Teaching” (老教), while Jahriya, viewed as suspect, became known as the “New Teaching” (新教).

 

Disagreements between the adherents of Khafiya and Jahriya, as well as perceived mismanagement, corruption, and anti-Muslim attitudes of the Qing officials resulted in attempted risings by Hui and Salar followers of the New Teaching in 1781 and 1783, but they were promptly suppressed.

 

 

The course of the rebellion

As the Taiping troops approached south-eastern Shaanxi in the spring of 1862, the local Han Chinese, encouraged by the Qing government, formed tuanlian (trad. 團練, simplified 团练) militias to defend the region against the Taipings. Afraid of the armed Han, the Muslims formed their own tuanlian units.

 

According to modern researchers (Lipman (1998), p. 120-121), the Muslim rebellion started in 1862 not as a centralized planned uprising, but as coalescing of many local brawls and riots triggered by seemingly trivial causes. The prestige of the Qing dynasty being low and their armies being busy elsewhere, the rebellion that started in the spring of 1862 in the Wei River valley was able to spreadly rapidly throughout the southeastern Shaanxi. By late June 1862, the organized Muslim fighter bands were able to besiege Xi’an, which was not relieved by the Qing general Dolongga (Chinese: 多隆阿, Duo Long-a) until the fall of 1863.

 

A vast number of Muslim refugees from Shaanxi fled to Gansu. Some of them formed the “Eighteen Great Battalions” in eastern Gansu, intending to fight back to their homes in Shaanxi.

 

While the Hui rebels took over Gansu and Shaanxi, Yaqub Beg, who had fled from Kokand Khanate in 1865 or 1866 after losing Tashkent to the Russians, set himself up as the ruler in Kashgar, soon taking over the entire Xinjiang.

 

In 1867 the Qing government sent one of their best officials, Zuo Zongtang, a hero of the suppression of the Taiping Rebellion, to Shaanxi. His forces were ordered to help put down the Nian Rebellion and he was not able to deal with the Muslim rebels until December 1868. Zuo’s approach was to rehabilitate the region by promoting agriculture, especially cotton and grain as well as supporting orthodox Confucian education. Due to the poverty of the region Zuo had to rely on financial support from outside the North-West.

 

After suppressing the rebellion in Shaanxi and building up enough grain reserves to feed his army, Zuo attacked the most important Muslim leader, Ma Hualong (马化龙). Zuo’s troops reached Ma’s stronghold, Jinjibao (Chinese: 金积堡, Jinji Bao, i.e. Jinji Fortress) in what was then north-eastern Gansu[1][2][3] in September of 1870, bringing Krupp siege guns with him. After a sixteen months’ siege, Ma Hualong was forced to surrender in January of 1871. Zuo sentenced Ma and over eighty of his officials to death by slicing. Thousands of Muslims were exiled to different parts of China.

 

Zuo’s next target was Hezhou (now known as Linxia), the main Hui people center west of Lanzhou and a key point on the trade route between Gansu and Tibet. Hezhou was defended by the Muslim forces of Ma Zhan’ao (马占鳌). Not a Jahriya (New Teaching) adherent, he was a pragmatic member of the Khafiya (Old Teaching) movement, ready to explore avenues for peaceful coexistence with the Qing state. After successfully repulsing Zuo’s offensive against Hezhou in 1872, he offered to surrender his stronghold to the empire, and offered his assistance to the Qing for the duration of the war. His diplomatic skills are evidenced by the success he managed achieved in preserving his community: while Zuo Zongtang pacified other areas by moving the Muslims elsewhere (in the spirit of the 洗回 (xi Hui), “washing off the Muslims” approach that had been long advocated by some officials), in Hezhou it were the non-Muslims whom Zuo relocated out of the area. The Hezhou (Linxia) area remains heavily Muslim to this day, achieving the status of Linxia Hui Autonomous Prefecture under the PRC.

 

Zuo’s troops being reinforced by some of the Hezhou Muslims that have changed sides, he now planned to proceed westward, along the Hexi Corridor toward Xinjiang. However, he felt it necessary to first secure his left flank by taking Xining, which not only had a large Muslim community of its own, but also sheltered many of the refugees from Shaanxi. After three months’ resistance, Xining fell to Zuo’s commander Liu Jintang in the late fall of 1872. The defenders’ commander Ma Guiyuan was captured, and thousands of armed defenders was killed. The Muslim population of Xining was spared, however; the Shaanxi refugees sheltered there were resettled or arable lands in eastern and southern Gansu, isolated from other Muslim areas.

 

Despite repeated offers of amnesty, many Muslims continued to resist at their last Gansu stronghold in Suzhou (now known as Jiuquan), which sits astride the Hexi Corridor in the western part of the province. The defence of the city was commanded by Ma Wenlu, originally from Xining; many Hui that had retreated from Shaanxi were there as well. After securing his supply lines, Zuo besieged Suzhou the city in September 1873 with 15,000 troops under his personal command. The Huis’ rifles were no match to Zuo’s siege guns, and the fortress fell on October 24. Zuo had 7,000 Muslims executed, and resettled the survivors in southern Gansu, to ensure that the entire Gansu Corridor from Lanzhou to Dunhuang would remain Muslim-free, preventing a possibility of future collusion between the Muslims of Gansu and Shaanxi and those of Xinjiang.

 

 

Rebellion in Xinjiang

 

Shooting exercises of Yakub Beg’s Dungan and Chinese taifurchi (gunners)

 

Pre-rebellion situation in Xinjiang

By the 1860s, Xinjiang had been under Qing rule for a century. The entire Xinjiang was administratively divided into three parts (“circuits”; Chinese: 路, lu):

 

The North-of-Tianshan Cirucit (天山北路, Tianshan Beilu), including the Ili basin and Dzungaria. (This region roughly corresponds to the modern Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture, including prefectures it controls and a few smaller adjacent prefectures).

The South-of-Tianshan Circuit (天山南路, Tianshan Nanlu). Ir included the “Eight cities”, i.e. the “Four Western Cities” (Khotan, Yarkand, Yangihissar, Kashgar) and the “Four Eastern Cities” (Ush, Aqsu, Kucha, Karashahr).

The Eastern Circuit (东路, Donglu), in eastern Xinjiang, centered around Urumqi.

The General of Ili, stationed in Huiyuan Cheng (Ili), had the overall military command in all three circuits. He also was in charge of the civilian administration (directly in the North-of-Tianshan Circuit, and via local Muslim (Uyghur) begs in the South Circuit). However, the Eastern Circuit was subordinated in the matters of civilian administration to the Gansu province.

 

Trying (not always successfully) to prevent repetition of incursions of Afaqi khojas from Kokand into Kashgaria, such as those of Jahangir Khoja in the 1820s or Wali Khan in 1857, Qing government had increased the troops level in Xinjiang to some 50,000. There were both Manchu and Chinese units in the province; the latter, having been recruited mostly in Shaanxi and Gansu, had a heavily Hui (Dungan) component. A large part of the Qing army in Xinjiang was based in the Nine Forts of the Ili Region, but there were also forts with Qing garrisons in most other cities of Xinjiang as well.

 

The cost of maintaining this army was much higher than the taxation of the local economy could sustainably provide, and required subsidies from the central government – which, however, became infeasible by the 1850-60s due to the costs of fighting Taiping and other rebellions in the Chinese heartland. The Qing authorities in Xinjiang responded by raising taxes and introducing new ones, and selling official posts to the highest bidders (e.g. that of governor of Yarkand to Rustam Beg of Khotan for 2,000 yambus, and that of Kucha to Sa’id Beg for 1,500 yambus). The new officeholders would then proceed to recoup their investment by fleecing their subject population.

 

Increasing tax burden and corruption only added to the discontent of the Xinjiang people, who had long suffered both from the maladministration of Qing officials and the local begs subordinated to them and from the destructive invasions of the khojas. The Qing soldiers in Xinjiang, however, still were not paid on time or properly equipped.

 

With the start of the rebellion in Gansu and Shaanxi in 1862, rumors started spreading among the Hui (Dungans) of Xinjiang that the Qing authorities are preparing a wholesale preemptive slaughter of the Huis in Xinjiang, or in a particular community. The opinions on the veracities of these rumors differ: while Tongzhi Emperor described them as “absurd” in his edict of September 25, 1864, Muslim historian generally believe that massacres were indeed planned, if not by the imperial government, then by various local authorities. Thus it was the Dungans that usually were to revolt in most Xinjiang towns, although the local Turkic people – Uyghurs, Kyrgyz, or Kazakhs – would usually quickly join the fray.

 

 

Multi-centric rebellion

The first spark of the rebellion in Xinjiang was small enough for the Qing authorities to extinguish easily. On March 17, 1863, some 200 Dungans from the village of Sandaohe (a few miles west of Suiding), supposedly provoked by a rumor of a preemptive Dungan massacre, attacked Tarchi (塔勒奇城, Taleqi Cheng), one of the Nine Forts of the Ili. The rebels seized the weapons from the fort’s armory and killed soldiers of its garrison, but were soon defeated by government troops from other forts and killed themselves.

 

It was not until the next year that the rebellion broke out again – this time, almost simultaneously in all three Circuits of Xinjiang, and on a scale that made suppressing it beyond the ability of the authorities.

 

On the night of June 3-4, 1864, the Dungans of Kucha, one of the cities South of Tianshan, rose, soon joined by the local Turkic people. The Chinese fort, which, unlike many other Xinjiang locations, was located inside of the town, rather than outside of it, fell within a few days. Government buildings were burnt and some 1000 Chinese and 150 Mongols were killed. Neither of the Dungan or Turkic leaders of the rebellion having enough authority in the entire community to become commonly recognized as a leader, the rebels instead choose a person who had not participated in the rebellion, but was known for his spiritual role: Rashidin (Rashīdīn) Khoja, a dervish and the custodian of the grave of his ancestor of saintly fame, Arshad-al-Din (? – 1364 or 65). Over the next three years, he was to send military expedition east and west, attempting to bring the entire Tarim Basin under his control; however, his expansion plans were to be frustrated by Yaqub Beg.

 

Just three weeks after Kucha, the rebellion started in the Eastern Circuit. The Dungan soldiers of the Urumqi garrison rebelled on June 26, 1864, soon after learning about the Kucha rebellion. The two Dungan leaders were Tuo Ming (a.k.a Tuo Delin), a New Teaching ahong from Gansu, and Suo Huanzhang, an officer with close ties to Hui religious leaders as well. Large parts of the city were destroyed, the tea warehouses burned, and the Manchu fortress besieged. Then the Urumqi rebels started advancing westward through what is today Changji Hui Autonomous Prefecture, taking the cities of Manas (also known then as Suilai) on July 17 (the Manchu fort there fell on September 16) and Wusu (Qur Qarausu) on September 29.

 

On October 3, 1864, the Manchu fortress of Urumqi also fell to the joint forces of Urumqi and Kuchean rebels. In a pattern that was to repeat in other Chinese forts throughout the region, the Manchu commander, Pingžui, preferred to explode his gunpowder, killing himself and his family, rather than surrender.

 

The Dungan soldiers in Yarkand in Kashgaria learned of the Manchu authorities plan to disarm or kill them, and rose in the wee hours of July 26, 1864. Their first attack on the Manchu fort (which was outside of the walled Muslim city) failed, but it still cost 2,000 Qing soldiers and their families their lives. In the morning, the Dungan soldiers entered the Muslim city, where some 7,000 Chinese were massacred. The Dungans being numerically few compared to the local Turkic Muslims, they picked a somewhat neutral party – one Ghulam Husayn, a religious man from a Kabul noble family – as the puppet padishah.

 

By the early fall of 1864, the Dungans of the Ili Basin in the “Northern Circuit” rose too, encouraged by the success of Urumqi rebels at Wusu and Manas, and worried by the prospects of preemptive repressions by the local Manchu authorities. The Ili General (the Ili Jiangjun, 伊犁将军) Cangcing, hated by the local population as a corrupt oppressor, was sacked by the Qing government after his troops had been defeated by the rebels at Wusu, and Mingsioi was appointed to replace them. His attempts to negotiate with the Dungans were in vain though; on November 10, 1864, the Dungans rose both in Ningyuan (the “Taranchi Kuldja”), the commercial center of the region, and Huiyuan (the “Manchu Kuldja”), the military and administrative center of the region. Kulja’s Taranchis (Turkic-speaking farmers who were to form later part of the Uyghur people) joined in the rebellion. When the local Muslim Kazakhs and Kyrgyz felt that the rebels are gained the upper hand, they joined it as well; on the other hand, the Buddhist Kalmyks and Xibe mostly stayed loyal to the Qing government.

 

Ningyuan fell to the Dungan and Uighur rebels at once, but the strong government force at Huiyuan made the insurgents retreat after 12 days of heavy fighting in the streets of the city. The local Hans, seeing the Manchus winning, joined forces with them. However, the Qing forces’ counter-offensive failed. The imperial troops lost their artillery and the “Ili General” Mingsioi barely escaped capture. With the fall of Wusu and Aksu, the Qing garrison, entrenched in the Huiyuan fortress, was completely cut off from the rest of empire-controlled territory; Mingxu had to send his communications to Beijing via Russia.

 

While the Qing forces in Huiyuan successfully repelled the next attack of the rebels (12 December 1864), the rebellion kept spreading through the northern part of the province (Dzungaria), where the Kazakhs were glad to take revenge on the Kalmyks that used to rule the area in the past.

 

 

“Ruins of the Theater in Chuguchak”, painting by Vereshchagin (1869-70)For the Chinese New Year of 1865, the Hui leaders of Tacheng (Chuguchak) invited the local Qing authorities and Kalmyk nobles to assemble in the Hui mosque, in order to swear a mutual oath of peace. But once the Manchus and Kalmyks were in the mosque, the Huis seized the city armory, and started killing the Manchus. After two days of fighting, the Muslims were in control of the town, while the Manchus were besieged in the fortress. However, with the Kalmyk help, the Manchus were able to retake the Tacheng area by the fall of 1865. This time, it was the Huis turn to be locked up in the mosque. The fighting resulted in the utter destruction of Tacheng and the surviving residents fleeing the town.

 

Both the Qing government in Beijing and the beleaguered Kulja officials asked the Russian for assistance against the rebellion (via Russian envoy in Beijing, G.A. Vlangali, and via the Russian commander in Semirechye, General Gerasim Kolapakovsky (Колпаковский) respectively). The Russians, however, were diplomatically non-committal: on the one hand, as Vlangali wrote to Saint Petersburg, a “complete refusal” would be bad for Russia’s relations with Beijing; on the other hand, as Russian generals in Central Asia felt, seriously helping China against Xinjiang’s Muslims would do nothing to improve Russia’s problems with its own new Muslim subjects – and in case the rebellion were to succeed and form a permanent Hui stete, having been on the Qing’s side would do nothing good for Russia’s relations with that new neighbor. The decision was thus made in Saint Petersburg in 1865 to avoid offering any serious help to the Qing, beyond agreeing to train Chinese soldiers in Siberia – should they send any – and to sell some grain to the defenders of Kuldja on credit. The main priority of Russian government was in guarding its border with China and preventing any possibility of the spread of the rebellion into Russia’s own domain.

 

Considering that offense is the best defense, Kolpakovsky suggested to his superiors in February 1865 that Russia should go beyond defending its border and move in force into Xinjiang’s border area, seizing Chuguchak, Kuldja and Kashgar areas and colonizing the area with Russian settlers – all to better protect the Romanovs’ empire’s other domains. The time was not ripe for such an adventure, however: as Foreign Minister Gorchakov noted, such a breach of neutrality would be not a good thing if China does recover its rebel provinces, after all.

 

Meanwhile the Qing forces in the Ili Valley did not fare well. In April 1865, the Huining (惠宁) fortress (today’s Bayandai (巴彦岱), located between Yining and Huiyuan), fell to the rebels after three months’ siege. Its 8,000 Manchu, Xibe, and Solon defenders were massacred, and two survivors, their ears and noses cut off, sent to Huiyuan – Qing’s last stronghold in the Valley – to tell the Governor General about the fate of Huining.

 

Most of the Huiyuan (Manchu Kulja) fell to the rebels on January 8, 1866. Most of the residents and garrison perished; some 700 rebels died as well. Mingsioi, still holding out in the Huiyuan fortress with the remainder of his troops, but having run out of food, sent a delegation to the rebels, bearing a gift of 40 sycees of silver[4] and four boxes of green tea, and offering to surrender, provided the rebels guarantee their lives and allow them to keep their allegiance to the Qing government. Twelve Manchu officials with their families left the citadell along with the delegation. The Huis and Uyghurs received the delegation and allowed the refugees from Huiyuan to settle in Yining (“the Old Kuldja”). However, the rebels would not accept Mingsioi’s condition, and required instead that he surrender immediately and recognize the authority of the rebels. As Mingsioi rejected the rebels’ proposal, the rebels proceeded to storm the citadel at once. On March 3, the rebels having broken into the citadel, Mingsioi assembled his family and staff in his mansion, and blew it up, dying under its ruins. This was the end, for the time being, of the Qing rule in the Ili Valley.

 

 

Yaqub Beg in Kashgaria

 

Yakub Beg’s “Andijani” taifurchi (gunners)As reported by Muslim sources, the Qing authorities in Kashgar did not just intend to eliminate local Dungans, but in fact managed to carry out such a preemptive massacre in the summer of 1864. Perhaps this weakening of the local Dungan contingent resulted in the rebellion been initially not as successful in this area as in the rest of the province. Although the Dungan rebels were able to seize Yangihissar, neither they not the Kyrgyz of Siddiq Beg could break into either into the Manchu forts outside of Yangihissar and Kashgar, nor into the walled Muslim city of Kashgar itself, held by Qutluq Beg, a local Muslim appointee of the Qing.

 

Unable to take conrol of the region on the own, the Dungan and Kyrgyz turn for help to Kokand’s ruler Alim Quli. The help arrived in the early 1865, in the form both spiritual and material. The spiritual part consisted of Buzurg Khoja (also known as Buzurg Khan), member of the influential Afaqis family of khojas, whose religious authority could be expected to raise the rebellious spirit of the populace. He was a fine heir of the long family tradition of starting mischief in Kashgaria, being a son of Jahangir Khoja and brother of Wali Khan Khoja. The material part – as well as the expected conduit of Kokandian influence in Kashgaria – consisted of Yaqub Beg, a young but already well known Kokandian military commander, with an entourage of a few dozen Kokandian soldiers, who became known in Kashgaria as Andijanis.

 

Although Siddiq Beg’s Kyrgyz had already taken the Muslim town of Kashgar by the time Buzurg Khoja and Yaqub Beg arrived, he had to allow the popular khoja to settle in the former governor’s residence (the urda). Siddiq’s attempts to assert his dominance were crushed by Yaqub Beg’s and Buzurg’s forces. The Kyrgyz then had to accept Yaqub’s authority.

 

With his small, but comparatively well disciplined and trained army, made of the local Dungans and Kashgarian Turkic people (Uighurs, in modern terms), their Kyrgyz allies, Yaqub’s own Kokandians, as well as some 200 soldiers sent by the ruler of Badakhshan, Yaqub Beg was able not only to take the Manchu fortress and the Chinese town of Kashgar during 1865 (the Manchu commander in Kashgar, as usual, blowing himself up), but to defeat much larger force sent by the Rashidin of Kucha, who was trying to dominate the Tarim Basin region himself.

 

While Yaqub Beg was asserting his authority over Kashgaria, the situation back home in Kokand changed radically. In May 1865, Alim Quli lost his life while defending Tashkent against the Russians; many of his soldiers (primarily, of Kyrgyz and Kipchak background) deemed it advisable to flee for comparative safety of Kashgaria. They appeared at the borders of Yaqub Beg’s domain in early September 1865.

Aftermath

 

Atrocities

The number of deaths in the war is estimated at several million,[5] making it one of the bloodiest wars in China and the world.

 

 

The flight of the Dungans to Russian Empire

The failure of the uprising led to some immigration of Hui people into the Imperial Russia. According to Rimsky-Korsakoff (1992), three separate groups of the Hui people fled to Russian Empire across the Tian Shan Mountains during the exceptionally severe winter of 1877/78:

 

The first group, of some 1000 people, originally from Turfan in Xinjiang, led by Ma Daren (马大人), also known as Ma Da-lao-ye (马大老爷), reached Osh in southern Kyrgyzstan.

The second group, of 1130 people, originally from Didaozhou (狄道州) in Gansu, led by ahong A Yelaoren (阿爷老人), were settled in the spring of 1878 in the village of Yardyk some 15 km from Karakol in Eastern Kyrgyzstan. They numbered 1130 on arrival.

The third group, originally from Shaanxi, led by Bai Yanhu (白彦虎; also spelt Bo Yanhu; 1829(?)-1882), one of the leaders of the rebellion, were settled in the village of Karakunuz (now Masanchi), is modern Zhambyl Province of Kazakhstan. Masanchi is located on the northern (Kazakh) side of the Chu River, 8 km north from the city Tokmak in north-western Kyrgyzstan. This group numbered 3314 on arrival.

Another wave of immigration followed in the early 1880s. In accordance with the terms of the Treaty of Saint Petersburg signed in February 1881, which required the withdrawal of the Russian troops from the Upper Ili Basin (the Kulja area), the Hui and Taranchi (Uighur) people of the region were allowed to opt for moving to the Russian side of the border. Most choose that option; according to the Russian statistics, 4,682 Hui moved to Russian Empire under the treaty. They migrated in many small groups between 1881-83, settling in the village of Sokuluk some 30 km west of Bishkek, as well as in a number of points between the Chinese border and Sokuluk, in south-eastern Kazakhstan and northern Kyrgyzstan.

 

The descendants of these rebels and refugees still live in Kyrgyzstan and neighboring parts of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. They still call themselves the Hui people (Huizu), but to the outsiders they are known as Dungan, which means Eastern Gansu in Chinese.

 

 

 

The war in Xinjiang, and the Russian involvement

 

V.A. Moiseev, “Muslim Rebellion in Xinjiang and Russia’s policy (1864-1871)”, in “Россия и Китай в Центральной Азии (вторая половина XIX в. – 1917 гг.)” (Russia and China in Central Asia (second half of the 19 c. thru 1917). Barnaul, Azbuka Publishers, 2003. ISBN 5-93957-025-9(Russian)

“Imperial Rivals: China, Russia, and Their Disputed Frontier”, by Sarah C. M. Paine (1996) ISBN 1563247232

The Dungan emigration

 

Svetlana Rimsky-Korsakoff Dyer. Karakunuz: An Early Settlement of the Chinese Muslims in Russia, with an English translation of V. Tsibuzgin and A.Shmakov’s work. “Asian Folklore Studies”, Vol. 51 (1992), pp. 243-279.

The “Shaanxi Village” in Kazakhstan (Chinabroadcast.cn)

 

Panthay Rebellion

 

 

The Panthay Rebellion (known in Chinese as the Du Wenxiu Qiyi 杜文秀起义, 1856 – 1873) was a separatist movement of the Hui people and Chinese Muslims, against the imperial Qing Dynasty in southwestern Yunnan Province, China, as part of a wave of Hui-led multi-ethnic unrest.

 

 

Causes

Between 1648 and 1878, more than twelve million Hui and Uyghur Muslims were killed in ten unsuccessful uprisings against the Qing Dynasty.[1] The unfavorable discrimination with which the Hui were treated by the Han and by the imperial administration was at the root of their rebellions. The Panthay Rebellion began out of a conflict between Han and Muslim tin miners in 1853, which degenerated into rebellion. In the following year, a massacre of Muslims was organized by the Qing officials responsible for suppressing the revolt. One of the leaders of the insurrection was Ma Dexin. Anxious to increase his own influence, Ma Dexin finally agreed to submit to the Qing in 1861.[2] He was succeeded by a man called Du Wenxiu (杜文秀; pinyin: Dù Wénxiù) (1823 – 1872), an ethnic Hui born in Yongcheng.

 

 

Course of the war

The rebellion successfully captured the city of Dali, which became the base for the rebels’ operations, and declared themselves a separate political entity from China. The rebels identified their nation as Pingnan Guo (平南国 The Pacified Southern Nation); their leader Sulayman ibn `Abd ar-Rahman, known as Du Wenxiu [originally Yang Xiu]) (d. 1873) was styled Qa´id Jami al-Muslimin (‘Leader of the Community of Muslims’), but is usually referred to in foreign sources as Sultan) and ruled 1856 – 26 December 1872.

 

The rebellion sieged the city of Kunming multiple times (in 1857, 1861, 1863 and 1868). Ma Rulong, a Hui rebel leader from southern Yunnan, sieged the city in 1862 but through the offers of a military post joined forces with the imperial officials. His decision was not fully accepted by his followers who took the opportunity of his absence to kill the Governor-General (Pan Duo), wrest control of the city from the Qing in 1863, and intended to hand the city over to Du Wenxiu, but before Du’s forces could arrive, Ma Rulong with the assistance of a rising Qing military officier, Cen Yuying, raced back to Kunming and regained control of the provincial capital.

 

Later, as imperial troops began to gain the upperhand versus the rebellion, the rebels sent a letter to Queen Victoria, asking the British Empire for formal recognition and for military assistance; the fledgling state was turned down by the British. The rebellion was eventually suppressed when Qing troops killed and decapitated the ‘sultan’. His body is entombed in Xiadui.

 

 

Aftermath

 

Atrocities

Though largely forgotten, the bloody rebellion caused the death of up to a million people in Yunnan.[3] Many surviving Hui refugees escaped over the border to neighboring countries, Burma, Thailand and Laos, forming the basis of a minority Chinese Hui population in those nations.

 

 

Impact on Burma

The rebellion had a significant negative impact on the Burmese Konbaung Dynasty. After losing lower Burma to the British, Burma lost access to vast tracts of rice-growing land. Not wishing to upset China, the Burmese kingdom agreed to refuse trade with the Panthay rebels in accordance with China’s demands. Without the ability to import rice from China, Burma was forced to import rice from the British. In addition, the Burmese economy had relied heavily on cotton exports to China, and suddenly lost access to the vast Chinese market.

 

 

Yusuf Ma Dexin, a prominent Muslim scholar in Yunnan at the time of the rebellions

List of wars and disasters by death toll

 

 

History of Islam in China

History

Tang Dynasty

Song Dynasty

Yuan Dynasty

Ming Dynasty

Qing Dynasty

Islam in China (1911-present)

 

 

Architecture

Chinese mosques

Niujie Mosque

 

Major figures

Yusuf Ma Dexin • Zheng He • Liu Zhi

Haji Noor

 

People Groups

Hui • Salar • Uygur

Kazakhs • Kyrgyz • Tatars • Bonan

Uzbeks • Tibetans • Dongxiang

Tajiks • Utsul

 

 

Islamic Cities/Regions

Linxia • Xinjiang

Ningxia • Kashgar

 

Culture

Islamic Association of China

Cuisine • Calligraphy • Martial arts

 

China have some of the oldest Muslim history, dating back to as early as 650, when the uncle of the Prophet Muhammad, Sa`ad ibn Abi Waqqas, was sent as an official envoy to Emperor Gaozong. Throughout the history of Islam in China, Chinese Muslims have influenced the course of Chinese history.

 

History

Main article: History of Islam in China

 

The Great Mosque of Xi’an, one of China’s oldest mosquesIslam was first brought to China by an envoy sent by Uthman, the third Caliph, in 651, less than twenty years after the death of the Prophet Muhammad. The envoy was led by Sa`d ibn Abī Waqqās, the maternal uncle of the Prophet himself. Yung Wei, the Tang emperor who received the envoy then ordered the construction of the Memorial mosque in Canton, the first mosque in the country. It was during the Tang Dynasty that China had its golden day of cosmopolitan culture which helped the introduction of Islam. The first major Muslim settlements in China consisted of Arab and Persian merchants.[1] In the region, the Hui Chi tribe accepted Islam, and the name was the beginnings of the reference to the huihui or the Hui as they are know today.

 

By the time of the Song Dynasty, Muslims had come to dominate the import/export industry.[2] The office of Director General of Shipping was consistently held by a Muslim during this period.[3]In 1070, the Song emperor Shenzong invited 5,300 Muslim men from Bukhara, to settle in China in order to create a buffer zone between the Chinese and the Liao empire in the northeast. Later on these men were settled between the Sung capital of Kaifeng and Yenching (modern day Beijing).[4] They were led by Prince Amir Sayyid “So-fei-er” (his Chinese name) who was reputed of being called the “father” of the Muslim community in China. Prior to him Islam was named by the Tang and Song Chinese as Ta-shi fa (“law of Islam”). He renamed it to Hui Hui Jiao (“the Religion of Double return”).[5] It was during the Mongol Yuan Dynasty, (1274 – 1368), that large numbers of Muslims settled in China. The Mongols, a minority in China, gave Muslim immigrants an elevated status over the native Han Chinese as part of their governing strategy, thus giving Muslims a heavy influence. Hundreds of thousands of Muslims immigrants were recruited and forcibly relocated from Western and Central Asia by the Mongols to help them administer their rapidly expanding empire.[6] The Mongols used Persian, Arab and Uyghur administrators to act as officers of taxation and finance. Muslims headed most corporations in China in the early Yuan period.[7] Muslim scholars were brought to work on calendar making and astronomy.

 

During the following Ming Dynasty, Muslims continued to be influential around government circles. Six of Ming Dynasty founder Zhu Yuanzhang’s most trusted generals were Muslim, including Lan Yu who, in 1388, led a strong imperial Ming army out of the Great Wall and won a decisive victory over the Mongols in Mongolia, effectively ending the Mongol dream to re-conquer China. Additionally, the Yongle Emperor hired Zheng He, perhaps the most famous Chinese Muslim and China’s foremost explorer, to lead seven expeditions to the Indian Ocean, from 1405 and 1433. However, during the Ming Dynasty, new immigration to China from Muslim countries was restricted in an increasingly isolationist nation. The Muslims in China who were descended from earlier immigration began to assimilate by speaking Chinese dialects and by adopting Chinese names and culture. Mosque architecture began to follow traditional Chinese architecture.

 

The rise of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) made relations between the Muslims and Chinese more difficult. The dynasty prohibited ritual slaughtering of animals, followed by forbidding the construction of new mosques and the pilgrimage to Mecca.[8] The Qing rulers belonged to the Manchu, a minority in China, and employed the tactics of divide and conquer to keep the Muslims, Hans, Tibetans and Mongolians in conflict with each other. These repressive policies resulted in five bloody Hui rebellions, most notably the Panthay Rebellion, which occurred in Yunnan province from 1855 to 1873, and the Dungan revolt, which occurred mostly in Xinjiang, Shensi and Gansu, from 1862 to 1877.

 

After the fall of the Qing Dynasty, Sun Yat Sen, who established the Republic of China immediately proclaimed that the country belonged equally to the Han, Hui (Muslim), Meng (Mongol), and the Tsang (Tibetan) peoples. Conditions for the Muslims worsened during the Cultural Revolution. The government began to relax its policies towards Muslims in 1978. Today, Islam is experiencing a modest revival and there are now many mosques in China. There has been an upsurge in Islamic expression and many nation-wide Islamic associations have been organized to co-ordinate inter-ethnic activities among Muslims.[9]

 

 

People

See also: Hui people, Uyghur people, Kazak, Dongxiang, Kyrgyz, Salar, Tajik, Uzbek, Bonan, Tatar, and Tibetan Muslims

 

Ethnic Groups

Muslims live in every region of China. The highest concentrations are found in the northwest provinces of Xinjiang, Gansu, and Ningxia, with significant populations also found throughout Yunnan province in southwest China and Henan Province in central China. Of China’s 55 officially recognized minority peoples, ten groups are predominately Muslim. The largest groups in descending order are Hui (9.8 million in year 2000 census, or 48% of the officially tabulated number of Muslims), Uyghur (8.4 million, 41%), Kazak (1.25 million , 6.1%), Dongxiang (514,000, 2.5%), Kyrgyz (161,000), Salar (105,000), Tajik (41,000), Uzbek , Bonan (17,000), and Tatar (5,000).[10] However, individual members of traditionally Muslim ethnic groups may profess other religions or none at all, while sizable Muslim communities exist among ethnicities whose members typically belong to other religions, as in the case of the Tibetan Muslims. Muslims live predominantly in the areas that border Central Asia, Tibet and Mongolia, i.e Xinjiang, Ningxia, Gansu and Qinghai, which is know as the “Quran Belt”. [11]

 

 

Number of Muslims in China

 The neutrality of this section is disputed.

Please see the discussion on the talk page.

This section has been tagged since December 2007.

 

China is home to a large population of adherents of Islam. According to the CIA World Factbook, about 1%-2% of the total population in China are Muslims,[12] while the offical figures show that Muslims constitute about 1.5% of the Chinese population.[13] The various censuses asserted that there may be up to 20 million Muslims in China.[14]

 

The BBC gives a range of 20 million to 100 million (7.5% of the total) Muslims in China.[15] The figure of 100 million is based on a 1938 statistical yearbook placing the number of Muslims at 50 million, as well as census data from the 1940s, which showed roughly 48 million Muslims.[16] Demographers at the University of Michigan contend in contrast that the only way the Muslim population of China could be substantially higher than the officially counted 20.3 million in the 2000 census is if there were a very large hidden or uncounted number of Muslims in China; but a large undercount of Muslims has not been documented and remains speculative.[17] However, the accuracy of the religious data in the census is questioned. While official data estimated 100 million religious believers in China, a survey taken by Shanghai University declared a dramatically different 300 million believers, three times the government’s estimate. The survey also found that Buddhism, Taoism, Islam and Christianity are the country’s five major religions. The number of followers of Buddhism, Taoism and Christianity in the survey had radically higher numbers than in the census.[18]

 

 

Religious Practice

The vast majority of China’s Muslims are Sunni Muslims. A notable feature of the some Muslim communities in China is the presence of female imams.[19]

 

 

Chinese Muslims and the Hajj

Some Chinese Muslims may have made the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca on the Arabian peninsula between the fifteenth and eighteenth centuries, yet there is no written record of this prior to 1861.

 

Briefly during the Cultural Revolution, Chinese Muslims were not allowed to attend the Hajj,and only did so through Pakistan, but this policy was reversed in 1979. Chinese Muslims now attend the Hajj in large numbers, typically in organized groups.

 

A record 9,600 Chinese Muslim pilgrims from all over the country attended the Hajj in Mecca, Saudi Arabia in 2006[20]

 

 

Representative bodies

 

Islamic Association of China

Main article: Islamic Association of China

The Islamic Association of China claims to represent Chinese Muslims nationwide. At its inaugural meeting on May 11, 1953 in Beijing, representatives from 10 nationalities of the People’s Republic of China were in attendance.

 

 

China Islamic Association

Main article: China Islamic Association

In April 2001, the government set up the China Islamic Association, which was described as aiming to “help the spread of the Qur’an in China and oppose religious extremism”. The association is to be run by 16 Islamic religious leaders who are charged with making “a correct and authoritative interpretation” of Islamic creed and canon.

 

It will compile and spread inspirational speeches and help imams improve themselves, and vet sermons made by clerics around the country. This latter function is probably the key job as far as the central government is concerned. It is worried that some clerics are using their sermons to spread sedition.

 

Some examples of the religious concessions granted to Muslims are:

 

In areas where Muslims are a majority, the breeding of pigs is not allowed, in deference to Muslim sensitivities

Muslim communities are allowed separate cemeteries

Muslim couples may have their marriage consecrated by an Imam

Muslim workers are permitted holidays during major religious festivals

Chinese Muslims are also allowed to make the Hajj to Mecca, and more than 45,000 Muslims have done so in recent years.[21]

 

Islamic education in China

Over the last twenty years a wide range of Islamic educational opportunities have been developed to meet the needs of China’s Muslim population. In addition to mosque schools, government Islamic colleges, and independent Islamic colleges, a growing number of students have gone overseas to continue their studies at international Islamic universities in Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Iran, and Malaysia.[22]

 

 

Culture and heritage

The Mongol conquest of the greater part of Eurasia in the 13th century brought the extensive cultural traditions of China, central Asia and western Asia into a single empire, albeit one of separate khanates, for the first time in history. The intimate interaction that resulted is evident in the legacy of both traditions. In China, Islam influenced technology, sciences, philosophy and the arts. In terms of material culture, one finds decorative motives from central Asian Islamic architecture and calligraphy, the marked halal impact on northern Chinese cuisine and the varied influences of Islamic medical science on Chinese medicine.[citation needed]

 

Taking the Mongol Eurasian empire as a point of departure, the ethnogenesis of the Hui, or Sinophone Muslims, can also be charted through the emergence of distinctly Chinese Muslim traditions in architecture, food, epigraphy and Islamic written culture. This multifaceted cultural heritage continues to the present day.[23]

 

 

Islamic Architecture

Main article: Chinese mosques

 

The Niujie Mosque in BeijingThe first Chinese mosque was established in the 7th century during the Tang Dynasty in Xi’an. The Great Mosque of Xi’an, whose current buildings date from the Ming Dynasty, does not replicate many of the features often associated with traditional mosques. Instead, it follows traditional Chinese architecture. Mosques in western China incorporate more of the elements seen in mosques in other parts of the world. Western Chinese mosques were more likely to incorporate minarets and domes while eastern Chinese mosques were more likely to look like pagodas.[24]

 

An important feature in Chinese architecture is its emphasis on symmetry, which connotes a sense of grandeur; this applies to everything from palaces to mosques. One notable exception is in the design of gardens, which tends to be as asymmetrical as possible. Like Chinese scroll paintings, the principle underlying the garden’s composition is to create enduring flow; to let the patron wander and enjoy the garden without prescription, as in nature herself.

 

Mosques of ChinaChinese buildings may be built with either red or grey bricks, but wooden structures are the most common; these are more capable of withstanding earthquakes, but are vulnerable to fire. The roof of a typical Chinese building is curved; there are strict classifications of gable types, comparable with the classical orders of European columns.

 

 

Id Khar MosqueAs in all regions the Chinese Islamic architecture reflects the local architecture in its style. China is renowned for its beautiful mosques, which resemble temples. However in western China the mosques resemble those of the middle east, with tall, slender minarets, curvy arches and dome shaped roofs. In northwest China where the Chinese Hui have built their mosques, there is a combination of east and west. The mosques have flared Chinese-style roofs set in walled courtyards entered through archways with miniature domes and minarets (see Beytullah Mosque). [25] The first mosque was the Great Mosque of Xian, or the Xian Mosque, which was created in the Tang Dynasty in the 7th century.

 

 

Halal food in China

 

A package of halal-certified frozen food (steamed cabbage buns) from Jiangsu province, ChinaMain article: Chinese Islamic cuisine

Due to the large Muslim population in western China, many Chinese restaurants cater to Muslims or cater to the general public but are run by Muslims. In most major cities in China, there are small Islamic restaurants or food stalls typically run by migrants from Western China (e.g., Uyghurs), which offer inexpensive noodle soup. Lamb and mutton dishes are more commonly available than in other Chinese restaurants, due to the greater prevalence of these meats in the cuisine of western Chinese regions. Commercially prepared food can be certified Halal by approved agencies. [26]

 

 

Calligraphy

Main article: Sini (script)

Sini is a Chinese Islamic calligraphic form for the Arabic script. It can refer to any type of Chinese Islamic calligraphy, but is commonly used to refer to one with thick and tapered effects, much like Chinese calligraphy. It is used extensively in mosques in eastern China, and to a lesser extent in Gansu, Ningxia, and Shaanxi. A famous Sini calligrapher is Hajji Noor Deen Mi Guangjiang.

 

 

Martial arts

Main article: Muslim Chinese martial arts

Muslim development and participation at the highest level of Chinese wushu has a long history. Many of its roots lie in the Qing Dynasty persecution of Muslims. The Hui started and adapted many of the styles of wushu such as bajiquan, piguazhang, and liuhequan. There were specific areas that were known to be centers of Muslim wushu, such as Cang County in Hebei Province. These traditional Hui martial arts were very distinct from the Turkic styles practiced in Xinjiang.[27]

 

 

Chinese terminology for Islamic institutions

Qīngzhēn (清真) is the Chinese term for certain Islamic institutions. Its literal meaning is “pure truth.”

 

In Chinese, halal is called qīngzhēn cài (清真菜) or “pure truth food.” A mosque is called qīngzhēn sì (清真寺) or “pure truth temple.”

 

 

Famous Muslims in China

 

Explorers

Zheng He, mariner and explorer

Fei Xin, Zheng He’s translator

Ma Huan, a companion of Zheng He

 

Military

Founding generals of the Ming dynasty: Chang Yuchun, Hu Dahai,Lan Yu, Mu Ying

The leaders of the Panthay Rebellion: Du Wenxiu, Ma Hualong

The Ma clique of warlords during the Republic of China era: Ma Bufang, Ma Chung-ying, Ma Fuxiang, Ma Hongkui, Ma Hongbin, Ma Lin, Ma Qi, Ma Hun-shan

Bai Chongxi, general in the Republic of China army

 

Scholars and writers

Bai Shouyi, historian

Tohti Tunyaz, historian

Yusuf Ma Dexin, first translator of the Qur’an into Chinese

Muhammad Ma Jian, author of the most popular Chinese translation of the Qur’an

Liu Zhi, Qing Dynasty author

Wang Daiyu, Master Supervisor of the Imperial Observatory during the Ming Dynasty

Zhang Chengzhi, contemporary author

 

In politics

Hui Liangyu, vice premier in charge of agriculture in the People’s Republic of China

Huseyincan Celil, Uyghur imam imprisoned in China

Xabib Yunic, Education Minister of the Second East Turkistan Republic

Muhammad Amin Bughra, Vice-Chief of the Second East Turkistan Republic

 

Other

Noor Deen Mi Guangjiang, calligrapher

Ma Xianda, martial artist

Ma Menta, organiser of Russia’s Wushu Tongbei Federation

 

 

^ Counting up the number of people of traditionally Muslim nationalities who were enumerated in the 1990 census gives a total of 17.6 million, 96% of whom belong to just three nationalities: Hui 8.6 million, Uyghurs 7.2 million, and Kazakhs 1.1 million. Other nationalities that are traditionally Muslim include Kyrghyz, Tajiks, Uzbeks, Tatars, Salar, Bonan, and Dongxiang. See Dru C. Gladney, “Islam in China: Accommodation or Separatism?”, Paper presented at Symposium on Islam in Southeast Asia and China, Hong Kong, 2002. Available at http://www.islamsymposium.cityu.edu.hk. The 2000 census reported a total of 20.3 million members of Muslim nationalities, of which again 96% belonged to just three groups: Hui 9.8 million, Uyghurs 8.4 million, and Kazakhs 1.25 million.

 

^ There are in China 48,104,241 Mohammedan followers and 42,371 mosques, largely in Sinkiang, Chinghai, Manchuria, Kansu, Yunnan, Shensi, Hopei, and Honan. “Ferm, Vergilius (ed.). An Encyclopedia of Religion; Westport, CT: Greenwood Press (1976), pg. 145. [1st pub. in 1945 by Philosophical Library. 1976 reprint is unrevised.]

^ Based on a post-enumeration survey and related studies, the 2000 census undercounted China’s population by 1.81%. This would amount to some 23 million persons. It is unlikely that any such undercount would consist primarily of members of Muslim nationalities. Instead, the undercount is most often attributed to the floating population of rural to urban migrants (who are not officially registered) and to rural populations in central China – not to minority populations or areas. For discussion of the undercount, see Barbara A. Anderson, “Undercount in China’s 2000 Census in Comparative Perspective,” PSC Research Report Report No. 04-565 (September 2004), Population Studies Center, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA. Available at: http://www.psc.isr.umich.edu/pubs/abs.html?ID=1872; and Guangyu Zhang, “Very Low Fertility in China in the 1990s: Reality or An Illusion Arising from Birth Underreporting?,” Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Population Association of America, April 2004.

 

Islamic Chinese Art (Dru C. Gladney’s photo album on Flickr.com)

The Tibetan Muslims, also known as the Kachee (Kache), form a small minority in Tibet. Despite being Muslim, they are classified as Tibetans, unlike the Hui Muslims, who are also known as the Kyangsha or Gya Kachee (Chinese Muslims). The Tibetan word Kachee literally means Kashmiri and Kashmir was known as Kachee Yul (Yul = Country).

 

Owing to their small population, the Tibetan Muslims are scattered throughout Tibet, much of whom can be found in Lhasa and Shigatse. If those not living in the Tibet Autonomous Region are not excluded, ethnic groups such as the Balti and Burig, who are also of Tibetan origin and consider themselves to be ethnically Tibetan, are Muslims as well. These groups, however, are predominantly found in the Indian-controlled Ladakh and the Pakistani-controlled Baltistan.

 

Ancestry

Generally speaking, the Tibetan Muslims are unique in the fact that they are largely of Kashmiri and Persian/Arab/Turkic descent through the patrilineal lineage and also often descendants of native Tibetans through the matrilineal lineage, although the reverse is not uncommon. Thus, many of them display a mixture of Aryan and indigenous Tibetan features.

 

Owing to Tibetan influence, they have adopted Tibetan names while retaining Persian or Urdu surnames. However, this is not as common as those among the Burig and Balti. In Baltistan or Baltiyul as the natives call it, youngster Muslims have started naming themselves in local Tibetan language like Ali Tsering, Sengge Thsering, Wangchen, Namgyal, Shesrab, Mutik, Mayoor, Gyalmo, Odzer, Lobsang, Odchen, Rinchen, Anchan, and so forth. Among Khaches, although the majority uses Tibetan for daily communication, Urdu or Arabic are used for religious services.

 

After the Chinese invasion of Tibet, Muslims were granted Indian citizenship by the Indian Government, which considered the Tibetan Muslims Kashmiris, and thus Indian citizens, unlike the other Tibetan refugees, who carry Refugee Satus Certificates.

 

 

History

The appearance of the first Muslims in Tibet has been lost in the mists of time, although variants of the names of Tibet can be found in Arabic history books.

 

During the reign of the Ummayad Caliph Umar bin Abdul Aziz, a delegation from Tibet and China requested him to send Islamic missionaries to their countries, and Salah bin Abdullah Hanafi was sent to Tibet. Between the eighth and ninth centuries, the Abbasid rulers of Baghdad maintained relations with Tibet. However, there was little proselytisation among the missionaries at first, although many of them decided to settle in Tibet and marry Tibetan women. In 710-720,during the reign of Mes-ag-tshoms the Arabs, who now had more of a presence in China, started to appear in Tibet and were allied with them along with the Eastern Turks against the Chinese. During the reign of the Sadnalegs (799-815), under Tride Songtsän (Khri lde srong brtsan – generally known as Sadnalegs) there was a protracted war with Arab powers to the West. It appears that Tibetans captured a number of Arab troops and pressed them into service on the Eastern frontier in 801. Tibetans were active as far West as Samarkand and Kabul. Arab forces began to gain the upper hand, and the Tibetan governor of Kabul submitted to the Arabs and became a Muslim about 812 or 815 [1]

 

The 12th century witnessed a large scale migration of Muslim traders from Kashmir and the Persian Empire to Tibet, most notable was the community that they established in Lhasa. Like their Arab predecessors, these men settled down and married Tibetan women, who followed their husbands’ religion. Proselytisation of Islam first took place in Baltistan and the Suru Valley from the 14th to the 16th centuries, which converted the vast majority of the Tibetan Burig and Balti communities.

 

Especially under the reign of Lozang Gyatso, the Tibetan Muslims led a relatively carefree life, and were given special privileges, in the sense that they were exempted from observing certain Buddhist religious customs. In the 17th century a small community of Muslims flourished in Lhasa working there mainly as butchers.

 

However, with the influx of Kashmiri immigrants to Ladakh and forced conversions of Buddhists to Islam, isolated conflicts between the Buddhists and Muslims were frequent, especially in Leh. There were even cases when members of the Soma Gompa and Jama Masjid came out to fight, thus resulting in tensions between Buddhist and Muslim members of the same family.

 

After the invasion of Tibet in 1959 a group of Tibetan Muslims made a case for Indian nationality based on their historic roots to Kashmir and the Indian government declared all Tibetan Muslims Indian citizens later on that year. [1]

 

 

Culture

As of today, most of the Tibetan Muslims are followers of the Sunni denomination, although the majority of the Balti and Burig are followers of the Shi’a denomination. Despite the factor of their religion, the Tibetan Muslims have comfortably assimilated into the Tibetan community, while following Islamic traditions. On the other hand, the Balti and Burig have partially adopted Iranian customs.

 

Especially in music, the Tibetan Muslims have made contributions to Tibetan culture. The Nangma, also known as Naghma in Urdu which means melody, are high-pitched tilting songs that have been popular among all Tibetans. They have also adopted Tibetan customs, especially in the field of marriage, although they have strictly maintained their Islamic customs at the same time.

 

Tibetan Muslims have unique architectural styles, and this is most notable among the Ladakhi. Mosques, for instance, are built in a quaint blend of Persian and Tibetan styles. This is evidenced in its beautifully decorated walls, sloping walls designed to withstand earthquakes, and even Kada scarfs being hanged at the doorway of the mosques. Shia mosques and Imambaras can be seen with prayer flags with black, green and red colors with Quranic verses on them.

 

Another interesting feature of Tibetan Muslim architecture is that their mosques encompass the Imambara, a small artefact surmounted on the domes of metal sheets.

 

 

Special privileges before Chinese rule

The Tibetan Muslims had their own mosques in Lhasa and Shigatse, and plots of land were given to bury their ancestors. They were also exempted from taking vegetarian meals, on Buddha’s birthday, which is mandatory for all followers of Tibetan Buddhism, and this practice upon the followers of Bön was not excluded. A Ponj (from Urdu/Hindi Pancch meaning village committee or Panchayat) was elected to take care of the affairs within the Tibetan Muslim community.

 

In addition, Muslims were even exempted from removing their caps to Lamas during a period in a year, when the Iron pole Lamas held sway over the town. Muslims were also granted the Mina Dronbo, a status that invited all Tibetans, irrespective of religion, to commemorate the assumption of spiritual and temporal authority by Lozang Gyatso, the fifth Dalai Lama. However, these special privellages ended with the beginning of the Chinese occupation of Tibet in 1959. Like the Buddhists, they were forced into exile, and the Chinese government treated them worse than the Buddhists. Food was not allowed to be sold to the Tibetan Muslims, and their leaders were tried by the government. Life was hard for the Tibetan Muslims until the 1980’s.[citation needed]

 

 

Islam during the Qing Dynasty

The rise of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) made relations between the Muslims and Chinese more difficult. The Qing rulers were Manchu, not Han, and were themselves a minority in China. They employed the tactics of divide and conquer to keep the Muslims, Hans, Tibetans and Mongolians in conflict with each other[citation needed]. The dynasty prohibited ritual slaughtering of animals, followed by forbidding the construction of new mosques and the pilgrimage to Mecca.

 

 Muslim Rebellions in China

 

Early revolts in Xinjiang, Shaanxi and Gansu

From 1755-1757, the Qianlong Emperor was at war with the Dzungars of Dzungaria. With the conquest of the Dzungaria, there was attempt to divide the Xinjiang region into four sub-khanates under four chiefs who were subordinate to the emperor. Similarly, the Qing made members of was a member of the Ak Taghliq clan of East Turkestan Khojas, rulers in the western Tarim Basin, south of the Tianshan Mts. In 1758-59, however, rebellions against this arrangement broke out both north and south of the Tian Shan mountains. Then in the oasis of Ush to the south of Lake Balkash in 1765. In Gansu, disagreements between the adherents of Khafiya and Jahriya, two forms of sufism as well as perceived mismanagement, corruption, and anti-Muslim attitudes of the Qing officials resulted in attempted uprisings by Hui and Salar followers of the Jahriya in 1781 and 1783, but they were promptly suppressed. Kashgaria was able to be free of Qing control during an incursion by Jahangir Khoja who had invaded from Kokand, which lasted from 1820 – 1828. The oases of Kashgar and Yarkand were not recaptured until 1828, after a three year campaign. In Kashgaria, this incursion was followed by another incurision in 1829 by Mahommed Ali Khan and Yusuf Khoja, the brother of Jahangir. In 1846, a new Khoja revolt in Kashgar under Kath Tora led to his accession to rulership of Kashgar as an authoritarian ruler. His reign, however, was brief, for at the end of seventy-five days, on the approach of the Chinese, he fled back to Kokand amid the jeers of the inhabitants..[2] The last of the Khoja revolts was in 1857 under Wali-Khan, a self-indulgent debaucherer , and the murderer of the famous German explorer, Adolf Schlagintweit. Wali Khan had invaded Kashgar from his base in Kokand, capturing Kashgar. Aside from his murder of Adolf Schlagintweit, his cruelty found many other reflections in the local legends. It is said that he killed so many innocent Muslims that four or six minarets were built from the skulls of the victims ( kala minara ); or that once, when an artisan made a sabre for him, he tested the weapon by cutting off the artisan’s son head, who came with his father and was standing nearby, after that with words ” it’s a really good sabre ” he presented artisan with a gift. This reign of tyranny did not make Kashgarians miss the Khoja too much when he was defeated by Qing troops after ruling the city for four months and forced to flee back to Kokand.[3]

 

 

Panthay Rebellion

Main article: Panthay Rebellion

The Panthay Rebellion lasted from 1855 to 1873. The war took place mostly in the southwestern province of Yunnan. Disagreements between Muslim and non-Muslim tin miners was the spark that lit the tensions that led to war. The Muslims were led by, for the most part of the war, by Du Wenxiu (1823-1872). The insurgents took the city of Dali and declared the new nation of Pingnan Guo, meaning “the Pacified Southern Nation”. The eventual suppression of the revolt was bloody and half the population of Yunnan is believed to have disappeared.[4]

 

 

Dungan Revolt

Main article: Dungan revolt

The Dungan revolt by the Hui from the provinces of Shaanxi, Gansu, Ningxia and Xinjiang, lasted from 1862 to 1877. The number of lives lost in the suppression of the rebellion is reckoned to be several million.[4] The failure of the revolt led to the flight of many Dungan people into Imperial Russia.

 

 

Culture

However, even in the Qing dynasty, Muslims had many mosques in the large cities, with particularly important ones in Beijing, Xi’an, Hangzhou, Guangzhou, and other places (in addition to those in the western Muslim reigions). The architecture typically employed traditional Chinese styles, with Arabic-language inscriptions being the chief distinguishing feature. Many Muslims held government positions, including positions of importance, particularly in the army.

 

As travel between China and the Middle East became easier, Sufism spread throughout the Northwestern China in the early decades of the Qing Dynasty (mid-17th century through early 18th century).[5] The most important Sufi orders (menhuan) included:

 

The Qadiriyya, which was established in China through Qing Jingyi also known as Hilal al-Din (1656-1719), student of the famous Central Asian Sufi teachers, Khoja Afaq and Kjoja Abd Alla. He was known among the Hui Sufis as Qi Daozu (Grand Master Qi). The shrine complex around “great tomb” (da gongbei) in Linxia remains the center of the Qadiriyya in China.

The Khufiyya: a Naqshbandi order.

The Jahriyya: another Naqshbandi menhuan, founded by Ma Mingxin.

 

 

 

After the fall of the Qing Dynasty, which was hostile to Muslims, there appeared to be a reason for hope as Sun Yat Sen, who led the new republic, immediately proclaimed that the country belonged equally to the Han, Hui (Muslim), Meng (Mongol), and the Tsang (Tibetan) peoples. When the People’s Republic of China was established in 1949, Muslims were to again suffer repression, especially in the cultural revolution.

 

Republic of China

The end of the Qing dynasty marked an increase in Sino-foreign interaction. This led to increased contact between Muslim minorities in China and the Islamic states of the Middle East. A missionary, Claude Pickens was a well-known Hui who had made the hajj between 1923 and 1934. By 1939, at least 33 Hui Muslims had studied at Cairo’s Al-Azhar university. In 1912, the Chinese Muslim Federation was formed in the capital Nanjing. Similar organization formed in Beijing (1912), Shanghai (19250 and Jinan (1934).[1]

 

Academic activities within the Muslim community also flourished. Before the Sino-Japanese War of 1937, there existed more than a hundred known Muslim periodicals. Thirty journals were published between 1911 and 1937. Although Linxia remained the center for religious activities, many Muslim cultural activities had shifted to Beijing.[2]

 

In the first decade of the 20th century, it has been estimated that there were between 3 million and 50 million Muslims in China proper (that is, China excluding the regions of Mongolia and Xinjiang). [3] Of these, almost half resided in Gansu, over a third in Shaanxi (as defined at that time) and the rest in Yunnan.

 

The Manchu dynasty fell in 1911, and the Republic of China was established by Sun Yat Sen, who immediately proclaimed that the country belonged equally to the Han, Hui (Muslim), Meng (Mongol), and the Tsang (Tibetan) peoples. This led to some improvement in relations between these different peoples.

 

 

People’s Republic of China

The People’s Republic of China was founded in 1949. Through many of the early years there were tremendous upheavals which culminated in the Cultural Revolution.

 

During the Cultural Revolution the Government attempted to dilute the Muslim population of Xinjiang by settling masses of Han Chinese there, and replacing Muslim leaders. The government constantly accused Muslims and other religious groups of holding “superstitious beliefs” and promoting “anti-socialist trends”.[3]

 

Since the advent of Deng Xiaopeng in 1979, the Chinese government liberalised its policies toward Islam and Muslims. New legislation gave all minorities the freedom to use their own spoken and written languages; develop their own culture and education; and practice their religion.[4] More Chinese Muslims than ever before are allowed to go on the Hajj.[5]

 

 

China today

Under China’s current leadership, Islam is undergoing a modest revival and there are now many mosques in China. There has been an upsurge in Islamic expression and many nation-wide Islamic associations have been organised to co-ordinate inter-ethnic activities among Muslims.

 

In most of China, Muslims have considerable religious freedom, however, in areas like Xinjiang, where there has been unrest among Uighur Muslims, activities are restricted.

 

China is fighting an increasingly protracted struggle against members of its Uighur minority, who are a Turkic people with their own language and distinct Islamic culture. Uighar separatists are intent on re-establishing the state of East Turkistan, which existed for a few years in the 1920s.

 

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, China feared potential separatist goals of Muslim majority in Xinjiang. An April, 1996 agreement between Russia, Kazakhstan, Tajikstan and Kyrgyztan, however, assures China of avoiding a military conflict. Other Muslim states have also asserted that they have no intentions of becoming involved in China’s internal affairs.[6]

 

China fears the influence of radical Islamic thinking filtering in from central Asia, and the role of exiles in neighbouring states and in Turkey, with which Xinjiang’s majority Uighur population shares linguistic ties.[7] After, September 11, many “ethnic” Muslims were forcibly evicted from Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.[8]

 

Muslim nations like Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey support Muslims in China. Turhan Tayan, the defense minister of Turkey, recently told China

 

“…many people living [in Xinjiang] are our relatives and that we will always be interested in those people’s welfare. Our government is and will continue to be sensitive over the plight of our Turkic and Muslim brothers throughout the world.”

 

China, however, continues to stress national unity.[9]

 

 

 

Xinjiang Province

 

Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region covers over 1,600,000 square kilometers (617,763 square miles), one-sixth of China’s total territory, making it China’s largest province. Xinjiang borders Tibet, Qinghai, Gansu, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Kirghizstan, Uzbekistan, Tadzhikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. With a population of over 19 million, Xinjiang is home to 47 ethnic groups including the Uygur, the major ethnic group in Xinjiang.

 

Being one of China’s five major pastoral areas, it has advanced livestock breeding. Its main industries cover petroleum, coal, textile, foodstuff and metallurgy. Vast in area, Xinjiang has various types of geographical conditions and multitude of regional and ethnic cultures, as well as abundant historical and cultural resources. Among its scenic spots and historical sites are while popular Ravin of Jianhu in Urumqi, Heavenly Lake of the Tianshan Mountain, Flaming Mountains of Turpan, The Mosque in Kaxi, ancient city ruins of Lanlo etc. Main traditional and famous specialties comprise carpet, leather, fine-cashmere, Hami melon and seedless grapes.

 

Yunnan ProvinceDian is short for Yunnan. It lies in the southwest in China. It is more than 380 thousand square kilometers in area. The population is 37.7 million.

 

Yunnan is located in Yungui Plateau. The hilly land occupied 93 percent of the area. And the basin only occupied 6 percent. The topography her is complicated. Approximately, the northwestern part is higher than the southern part. The rivers are parts of Jinsha River, Nu River, Nan pan River, Yuan River and Yiluowadi River. It is the moist monsoon climate of tropical highland in subtropical zone. The vertical change is very striking. Yun nan abounds in mineral resources. Mainly, there is tin, zinc, titanium, copper, antimony, and phosphorous.

Non-ferrous metals, tobacco and sugar production are in the first places in China. In agriculture, mainly, there is rice, rape and tobacco. Sugar-cane, tobacco, tea and tropical crops are in the important places in our country. The main communication is railway. The highway is important too.

In Yunnan, there is a lot of natural scene. The places of interest here are Dian Spring, Cang Mountain in Dali, Xishuang banna and so on. The traditional specialties are Dali sculpture, Yun tobacco, Yun tea, Yun medicinal herbs and silver ornament.