King of Toungoo
Reign 16 October 1510 – 26 October 1530 (&1000000000000002000000020 years, &1000000000000001000000010 days)
Predecessor Min Sithu
Successor Tabinshwehti
Consort Min Hla Htut[1]
Khin Nwe of Mobye
Atula Thiri
Full name
Maung Nyo
House Toungoo
Father Maha Thinkhaya[2]
Mother Min Hla Nyet[2]
Born c. July 1459 (821 ME)
Died 26 October 1530(1530-10-26) (aged 71)
5th waxing of Natdaw 892 ME[3]
Toungoo (Taungoo)
Burial Toungoo
Religion Theravada Buddhism

Mingyinyo (Burmese: မင်းကြီးညို; also Minkyinyo; pronounced [mɪ́ɴdʑíɲò]; 1459–1530) was the founder of Toungoo dynasty of Burma (Myanmar). Under his 44-year leadership (1486–1530), Toungoo (Taungoo), grew from a remote backwater vassal state of Ava Kingdom to a small but stable independent kingdom. In 1510, he declared Toungoo's independence from its nominal overlord Ava. He skillfully kept his small kingdom out of the chaotic warfare plaguing Upper Burma. Toungoo's stability continued to attract refugees from Ava fleeing the repeated raids of Ava by the Confederation of Shan States (1490s–1527). Mingyinyo left a stable, confident kingdom that enabled his successor Tabinshwehti to contemplate taking on larger kingdoms on his way to founding the First Toungoo Empire.


Early history

Mingyinyo was born Maung Nyo to Maha Thinkhaya, descendant of Kyawswa I of Pinya, who himself was a descendant of kings Narathihapate of Pagan and Thihathu of Pinya, and Min Hla Nyet, daughter of Sithu Kyawhtin, governor of Toungoo (1470–1481).[2] He was most likely born in Ava (Inwa) as his maternal grandfather Sithu Kyawhtin did not become governor of Toungoo until 1470, and prior to 1470 served at King Thihathura I's court at Ava.

Maung Nyo was likely about eleven or twelve years old when his entire family moved to Toungoo with Sithu Kyawhtin's appointment as governor. After Sithu Kyawhtin's death in 1481, his eldest son Min Sithu inherited governorship. (The governorships in that era were hereditary, and were a primary cause of endemic rebellions that plagued Ava. The Restored Toungoo kings (1599–1752) would later eliminate the hereditary rights of local governors.) Maung Nyo wanted to marry his first cousin, Soe Min. But his uncle Min Sithu repeatedly rejected Nyo's numerous requests. In January 1486, he murdered his uncle, took his cousin as wife.[4]


After assassinating his uncle and seizing the governorship, Mingyinyo sent a present of two young elephants to King Minkhaung II of Ava. In normal times, killing a governor was a serious crime. But Minkhaung II was facing a serious rebellion nearer to Ava (by his brother Minyekyawswa of Yamethin)–Prome farther south had already revolted in 1482–did not want another rebellion. He gave Mingyinyo recognition as governor of Toungoo, and solicited Toungoo's help in the rebellions. Mingyinyo also received recognition from Hanthawaddy and Lan Na, and received propitiatory tribute from the Karenni.[5]

Loyal vassal of Ava (1486–1502)

Mingyinyo, now styled as Thiri Zeya Thura, eagerly assisted Ava in its fight against Yamethin. (His grandfather Sithu Kyawhtin died in 1481 fighting against the Yamethin rebels.) Even with Toungoo's help, the Yamethin rebellion was intractable and remained a stalemate. (It would remain so until Minyekyawswa's death in August 1501). With Ava chiefly preoccupied by Yamethin, Mingyinyo grew more confident and in 1491 built a new fortified city called Dwayawaddy (still near Toungoo), at the estuary of the rivers Kabaung and Paunglaung.

Mingyinyo soon tested his power by meddling into the ascension affairs of Hanthawaddy Kingdom, the much larger kingdom to the south. In 1492, Hanthawaddy's new king Binnya Ran II came to power by killing off all the royal offspring. Taking advantage of the chaos in the southern kingdom, Mingyinyo sent a probing raid into the territory of Hanthawaddy without Minkhaung II's permission. At Kaungbya, he killed its Shan governor in single combat by jumping on to his elephant and cutting him down.[5] Hanthawaddy's response was swift. Binnya Ran II sent in a retalitory force to lay siege of the new built Dwayawaddy itself.[6] Toungoo barely survived the siege but Mingyinyo would not make war against the larger neighbor for the remainder of his life.

Minkhaung II nonetheless upgraded Mingyinyo's title to Maha Thiri Zeya Thura for surviving the Hanthawaddy attack (although it was Mingyinyo who without his permission provoked the attack). Minkhaung had little choice but to retain Mingyinyo as he was one of the remaining loyal vassals of Ava. In return, Toungoo participated Ava's campaigns against Yamethin and Prome for the remainder of the 1490s.[6]

Nominal vassal of Ava (1502–1510)

By the turn of the 16th century, Mingyinyo's Toungoo was equally powerful as its nominal overlord Ava. Mingyinyo, though still loyal to Minkhaung, nonetheless accepted about a thousand Yamethin rebels, who fled to Toungoo after their leader died in August 1501. When Minkhaung II also died in April 1502, Mingyinyo was ready to assert his independence.[6] He readily gave shelter to those who attempted on the life of the new king Shwenankyawshin.

Despite Mingyinyo's thinly veiled insurrection, the new king wanted to retain Toungoo's loyalty as he faced a new even more pressing problem of Shan raids from the north. In 1503, he bribed Mingyinyo by giving him his daughter for marriage and the Kyaukse granary, the most valuable region in Upper Burma. Mingyinyo accepted the region, and deported much of the population between Kyaukse and Toungoo–Yamethin, Meiktila, etc.–to his capital. But not only did he not provide any help to Ava but he actively joined in the rebellions by the princes of Nyaungyan and Prome. Together with the rebel forces, he raided far north as Sale. In 1509, Taungdwingyi also came under his authority.[5]

Independence from Ava (1510–1530)

In 1510, he founded Ketumati, the present-day Toungoo, complete with fortified walls. On 16 October 1510 (the full moon day of Tazaungmon, 872 ME), Mingyinyo formally announced Toungoo's independence. Ava was in no position to contest the decision, as it had more pressing problems with the Shan raids from the north. At any rate, the announcement was a mere formality. Toungoo had been de facto independent since 1502. After the formal declaration of independence, Mingyinyo largely stayed out of the endemic warfare between Ava and the Confederation of Shan States that consumed much of Upper Burma between 1502 and 1527. Aside from Ava's brief siege of Toungoo in 1525, the kingdom was largely peaceful.

When the Confederation finally defeated Ava in 1527, Mingyinyo deliberately devastated the countryside between Ava and Toungoo, filling the wells and breaking down the channels in the hope of making an impassable belt between Toungoo and the Confederation. The Burmese bureaucracy and population at Ava largely fled to Toungoo.[5]

Mingyinyo died in October 1530, and was succeeded by his son Tabinshweti.


Mingyinyo's 44-year reign was one of the few stable regimes in Upper Burma in the era. Toungoo's remote location (nestled between the Bago Yoma mountain range and the Karen Hill country, and cut off from the main Irrawaddy river valley) proved a vital advantage. It took effort to march to Toungoo. The stability of his kingdom attracted many refugees, and the flow of refugees accelerated after Ava's fall. The increased manpower allowed Tabinshwehti and his deputy Bayinnaung to imagine an offensive war against larger kingdoms. Tabinshwehti's improbable victory over Hanthawaddy had its beginnings in Mingyinyo's long stable rule.


  1. ^ Hmannan, Vol. 2, p. 180
  2. ^ a b c Hmannan, Vol. 2, p. 173
  3. ^ Hmannan, Vol. 2, p. 182
  4. ^ Harvey, pp. 102–103
  5. ^ a b c d Harvey, pp. 124–125
  6. ^ a b c Fernquest


Born: c. July 1459 Died: 26 October 1530
Regnal titles
Preceded by
King of Toungoo
16 October 1510–26 October 1530
Succeeded by
Royal titles
Preceded by
Min Sithu
Viceroy of Toungoo
January 1486–16 October 1510
Succeeded by
Mingyi Swe

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