Medieval Chola Empire and it's relations with Miyanmar

Thread started by virarajendra on 31st January 2005 09:40 PM

Author - Virarajendra

Medieval Chola Empire and it's relations with Miyanmar (Burma)

(1) Period of Rajaraja Chola - 1 {A.D.985 - 1014}

With the beginning of the tenth century the Cholas with their capital in Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu, emerged as a powerful ruling dynasty after a long spell in partial obscurity in the political scene of South India.

In the year A.D.985 king Rajaraja Chola - 1{A.D.985 - 1014} ascended the throne as the next successor to the Chola kingdom in Tamil Nadu. He gradually conquered the neighbouring and far lying territories within the Indian continent, forming a great Chola empire.

He laid a firm foundation to this empire by the wits of his political ingenuity and well streamlined administrative system backed by a powerful army and naval power which made it to grow steadily into an overseas empire.

During this period in Miyanmar (the former Burma) there existed two main kingdoms, namely the Arimaddanapura kingdom at Arimaddanapura (present Pagan) of the region Marammadesa (the present central Miyanmar), and the Talaing or Mon kingdom at Sudhammavati (the present Thaton) of the region Rammanadesa - also known as "Arumanam" in Tamil (the present southern Miyanmar). The capital city of Arimaddanapura of the medieval period was also known as Pugarama and Pukkan.

While emperor Rajaraja Chola -1 was on the Chola throne, king Kyaungbyu (A.D.984 -1006) was on the throne of Arimaddanapura kingdom of Marammadesa, and was followed by his son king Kyizo (A.D.1006-1012) on throne. But we are not aware of the king who was ruling the Talaing kingdom of Rammanadesa during the period of Rajaraja - 1.

During this period the traders from these two kingdoms traded with Tamil Nadu in their commodities, and the teak wood from Rammanadesa being one of their trading items, was known as "Arumanavan" in the Tamil Nadu.

(2) Period of Rajendra Chola 1 {A.D.1012-1044}

With the succession of emperor Rajendra Chola - 1{A.D.1012-1044} on Chola throne after Rajaraja Chola - 1, king Sokkate (A.D.1012-1037) started rule in the Arimaddanapura kingdom after his elder brother king Kyizo, and in this same period we also note a king named Manuha (A.D.?? 1057) ruling the Talaing kingdom of Rammanadesa.

During this time there had been much sea traffic between these two countries. The traders from Tamil Nadu engaged themselves in trade with the Miyanmar kingdoms of Rammanadesa (also known as Arumanam in Tamil) and the Mirammadesa.

In the meantime the Sri Vijaya kingdom of Sumatra was spreading it's authority over whole of Sumatra and Java - of the present Indonesia and over whole of Malaysia, forming an empire which was at one time a great hinderance to the flourishing trade of the Cholas in South-East Asia. It also seems that there had been similer hinderences to the traders from Tamil Nadu in Rammanadesa in present Miyanmar.

Rajendra Chola 1 sent one of his grandson with great force in A.D.1024 in many ships under a Chola prince who later bore the title as "Kadaremkonda Cholan", which on their way to South-East Asia after capturing the Manakkavaram (Great Nicobar Island), reached the country of Rammanadesa in southern Miyanmar.

They devastated the seaport city of Mapappalam (most possibly the present Dagon or Rangoon), and the interior capital city of Sudammavathi (Thaton) with "protected fortress walls" - of the Talaing (Mon) kingdom of Rammanadesa (Arumanam), and defeated it's ruling king Manuha.

It seems king Manuha submitted to the Rajendra Chola's forces in this war and agreed to pay tributes. At the Arimaddanapur kingdom king Sokkate was followed by his younger brother Anuruddha also known as Anawratha (A.D.1037-1079) on the throne.

(3) Period of Rajadhiraja Chola 1 {A.D.1018-1054}

In the year A.D.1044 Rajendra Chola -1 died and followed by his eldest son emperor Rajadhiraja Chola 1{A.D.1018-1054} on Chola throne. It appears the king Manuha continued to pay tributes to the Cholas and the trade between two countries continued.

(4) Period of Rajendra Chola - 2 {A.D.1051-1063}

Rajadhiraja Chola 1 was followed by his younger brother emperor Rajendra Chola 2 {A.D.1051-1063} on Chola throne. Some years later a Buddhist dignitary named Shin Arahan who came to the Arimaddana kingdom from the Talaing kingdom in south Miyanmar and converted king Anuruddha to Theravada Buddhism. Shin Arahan also informed him that in the capital city Sudammavati of the Talaing kingdom, there were thirty sets of three Buddhist Pitakas and also many sacred relics.

King Anuruddha deeply engrossed in Theravada Buddhism sent his wise minister with much gifts and presents to king Manuha requesting some copies of Pitaka and relics which was refused by him with much ill reply.This ended up with enraged king Anuruddha waging war with king Manuha of the Talaing kingdom in the year A.D.1057, in which king Manuha was defeated and taken captive with his entire family to Arimaddanapura.

From this year onwards the Rammanadesa became part of the Arimaddana empire under the rule of king Anuruddha, and a viceroy was appointed to overlook the affairs of this region. King Anuruddha chose Tharehkiltara (present Prome) in the Pegu region as his new capital of Rammanadesa in place of Thaton, which has now lost it's importance with it's destruction by his forces and with the capture of it's king Manuha.

It appears emperor Anuruddha with the fall of Rammanadesa, and it coming under his empire possibly appointed one of his own viceroy to rule over same, and also refused to pay tributes to the Cholas.There seems to have been no immediate response and retaliation from the Cholas on the fall of Rammanadesa to Anuruddha's forces, and which was now in the hands of the Arimaddanapur empire.

(5) Period of Virarajendra Chola {A.D.1062-1070}

Rajendra Chola 2 was followed by his younger brother emperor Virarajendra Chola {A.D.1062-1070} on Chola throne. It appear during this time the viceroy of Anuruddha interfered with the privilages enjoyed by the Chola traders already trading in Rammanadesa. In this same period the king of Kadarem (present Kedah region of Malaysia) with the re-capture of this kingdom by the ruling king of Sri Vijaya of that period, sought the assistance of Virarajendra Chola in regaining his kingdom.

The emperor Virarajendra Chola sent an expedition in the year A.D.1068 under his nephew (sister's son) Kulothunga to help the king of Kadarem in winning back his kingdom. Kulothunga Chola lead his great forces in person, and reached Rammanadesa on his way to Kadarem and defeated the viceroy of Anuruddha ruling from Tharehkiltara (Prome) and captured the Rammanadesa (Arumanam).

However Kulothunga Chola re-instated the viceroy of Anuruddha at Rammanadesa on king Anuruddha agreeing to pay tributes to Cholas and allowing the Chola traders to trade freely in this region. It appears Kulothunga Chola thereafter stationed a fleet of Chola forces at Thandaung east of Prome to look after the interests of the Chola traders concentrated in this region. As a mark of his victory over Rammanadesa Kulothunga Chola left two stone pillars of victory "jayastamba" at Prome.



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