Monday, February 8, 2010

Myanmar: Rakhine people or Arakanese(若开族)

The Rakhine , is a nationality of Myanmar, and form the majority along the coastal region of present day Rakhine State or Arakan State. They possibly constitute 4% or more of Myanmar's population but no accurate census figures exist. Rakhine people also live in the southeastern parts of Bangladesh, especially in Chittagong Division. A group of Arakanese descendants, living in the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh, since the 16th century AD are known as Marma people. These Arakanese descendants have been living in that area since the Arakanese kingdom's control of Chittagong region. Arakanese descendants also spreaded as far north as Tripura state in India during the ascent of Arakanese kingdom when Tripura was ruled by the Arakanese kings in the same century. In India, these Arakanese people are called as Mog while the Arakanese and Marma (an ethinc Arakanese descendants) from Bangladesh are generally known in Bengali as Magh people.

The Rakhine people of Myanmar are also known as Arakanese to the British, Yakine to the Burmese, and Mohg (which means Pirate) to Muslims living along the Rakhine border of Bangladesh. Rakhine are of mongoloid decent whose ancestors may have migrated from the direction of Nepal. They are an ancient people who have mixed with other ethnicities but still retain a distinctive national identity through their language and culture. Rakhine is the primary language. Theravada Buddhism is the main religion. There exists a large amount of evidence that Rakhine was more religiously diverse in the past as well as more connected to the outside world.

Rakhine or Rakhine was originated from Pali word Rakhapura meaning the land of the people of Rakshasa (Rakshasa > Rakha > Rakhine) who were titled this name in honour of preservation on their national heritage (a myo) and ethics or morality (sila). The word Rakhine means, "one who keeps his own race.

若开族群(Rakhine),主要分布在若开邦(Rakhine State),分7个民族,包括若开族(Rakhine),加门族(Kamein),丹奈族(Daingnet),马亚马基族(Maramagyi),缪族(Mro),代族(Thet) ,卡梅族(Kwe Myi)。


Arakan, “in fact, a continuation of the Chittagong plain,”[2] was neither purely a Burmese (Myanmar) nor an Indian territory till the 18th century AD the land that has been called Arakan by the foreigners is known to its own people Rakhaing-pray and call themselves Rakhaing-tha. The word rakkha means guardian, pray means land and tha meaning son. Hence, Rakhaing-pray and Rakhaing-tha means ‘land of the guardian’ and ‘son of the guardian’. The Bengali on the other hand refer them as Magh, the word adopted in the 17th century, to mean it with degrading appellation. Neither the Arakanese nor any other Mongoloid brethren ever speak or write of themselves as “Magh” as it has been alien to them. The European travelers and chroniclers refer them as ‘Recon, Rakan, Arracan, Aracao, Orrakan, Arrakan, Arakan’. In colloquial Chittagong dialect, the country is called ‘Rohang and Roshang’. All these various forms are closely related to the original one ‘Rakhaing’ (or Rakhine)

Arakan is comprised of the four provinces of Dhanyawady (Mrauk-U), Maegawady (Man Aung), Dwarawady (Sandway), Rammawady (Rann Bray) and 12 Bengal cities including Chittagong (now in Bangladesh). Decca (present capital of Republic of Bangladesh, Dhaka) area as far a field as Mushidabad (near present day Calcutta) was most of the time under Arakanese rule. Arakan''s second largest port city, Chittagong was invaded and occupied by the Moghul in 1666 AD and subsequently Arakanese territory of 12 Bengal cities were lost to the Maghul.


The Rakhine are predominantly Theravada Buddhists and are one of the four main Buddhist ethnic groups of Myanmar (the others being the Bamar, Shan and Mon). They claim to be one of the first groups to become followers of the Buddha in Southeast Asia. The Rakhine culture is similar to the dominant Burmese culture but with more Indian influence, likely due to its geographical isolation from the Burmese mainland divided by the Rakhine Roma and closer proximity to South Asia. Traces of Indian influence remain in many aspects of Rakhine culture, including its literature, music, and cuisine.


Structurally very similar to Burmese, with profound pronunciation and vocabulary differences. Rakhine shares the same alphabet with Burmese, however using this alphabet to communicate specifically in Rakhine is very very uncommon. Effectively, this causes Rakhine people to speak in their mother tongue, while they read and write in the language of the Burmese, their oppressors. There is within Rakhine quite a large disparity in regard to language. Due most likely to geography and governing forces, pockets of language exist where the pronunciation and vocabulary within Rakhine differs from itself almost as much as Rakhine differs from Burmese. Modern Arakanese script, aside from few vocabulary differences, is essentially the same as standard Burmese script. The Rakhine speak Arakanese language which is an archaic form of Burmese. Still generally mutually intelligible with standard Burmese.


The Arakanese history records the early Arakanese to migrate in Arakan and settled down in their true land since time immemorial. The independent and sovereign Buddhist Kingdom of Arakan had been splendidly flourishing from 3325 B.C. till the Burman invaders occupied it in 1784.

The history of Arakan can be divided in to four major period throughout its thousand-years-long history. They are:

(i) Dhannyawaddy Period

* The 1st Dhannyawaddy Period (King Marayu, BC. 3325 – BC. 1483)
* The 2nd Dhannyawaddy Period (King Kanrazagree, BC. 1483 – BC. 580)
* The 3rd Dhannyawaddy Period (King Chandra Surya, BC. 580 - AD. 326)

(ii) Vesali Period (King Dvan Chandra, AD. 327 – AD. 1018)

(iii) Laemro Period (King Nga Tone Munn, AD. 1018 – AD.1406)

(iv) Mrauk-U Period (King Munn Saw Mwan, AD.1430 – 1784)

Dhannyawaddy Era - the first independent Arakan Kingdom

The 1st Dhannyawaddy Period (BC. 3325 – BC. 1483)King Marayu

According to the legend, Dhanyawadi (the first independent Arakan kingdom) was established in 3325 B.C by King Maryu (the Arakanese legendary hero-ancestor). It is said that King Rarayu had married the daughter of the chief of Mro tribe and had founded Dhanyawadi after defeating the bilus (demon-like creatures) who arrived earlier in the area.

According to the chronicles, the first independent Rakhine (Arakanese) kingdom was established in 3325 BC by King Marayu. The name of the kingdom “Dhanyawadi” means the land "blessed with abundant grain". Buddhism was introduced into Rakhine during the lifetime of Buddha himself. According to Rakhine Chronicles, Buddha in his lifetime visited the city of Dhanyawadi (Grain Blessed) in 554 BC The Rakhine king Sandar Surya (Sun Moon) requested Buddha to leave the image of Himself. After casting the Great Image Mahamuni, (Great Sage) Buddha breathed upon it which resembled the exact likeness of the Blessed One.

Ancient Dhanyawadi, lies west of the mountain ridge between the Kaladan and Le-mro rivers. Its city walls were made of brick, and form an irregular circle with a perimeter of about 9.6 km, enclosing an area of about 4.42 square km. Beyond the walls, the remains of a wide moat, now silted over and covered by paddy fields, are still visible in places. The remains of brick fortifications can be seen along the hilly ridge which provided protection from the west. Within the city, a similar wall and moat enclose the palace site, which has an area of 0.26 square km, and another wall surrounds the palace itself. From aerial photographs we can discern Dhanyawad I's irrigation channels and storage tanks, centered at the palace site.

The 2nd Dhannyawaddy Period (King Kanrazagree), BC. 1483 – BC. 580)
The 3rd Dhannyawaddy Period (King Chandra Surya), BC. 580 - AD. 326)

Vesali Period (King Dvan Chandra, AD. 327 – AD. 1018?)

Vesali Kyauk Hlayga (AD 327-794)King Dvan Chandra
Sambawak(AD 794-818)Prince Nga Tong Mong (Saw Shwe Lu)

Laemro Period (King Nga Tone Munn, AD. 1018? – AD.1406)

Laungkyet dynasty

* Hlanmaphyu........................................1237-1243
* Razathugyi.......................................1243-1246
* Saulu............................................1246-1251
* Uzanagyi.......................................1251-1260
* Saumwungyi.......................................1260-1268
* Nankyagyi.........................................1268-1272
* Minbhilu.........................................1272-1276
* Sithabin........................................1276-1279
* Min Di...........................................1279-1385 (sic!)
* Uzanange......................................1385-1387
* Thiwarit..........................................1387-1390
* Thinse...........................................1390-1394
* Razathu..........................................1394-1395
* Sithabin........................................1395-1397
* Myinsaingkyi..........................................1397
* Razathu (restored)...............................1397-1401
* Thinggathu........................................1401-1403
* Minsawmon.........................................1404-1406


* Ava and Pegu.....................................1406-1430

This period was the highest civilization in the Bay and highly prosperous with busy international trade with the West. Pyinsa, Purain, Taung Ngu and Narinsara, Laungkrat cities flourished. Gold and silver coinage was used in trade relation in Rakhine in this period.

Mrauk-U Period (King Munn Saw Mwan, AD.1430 – 1784)- the last kingdom

Mrauk-U, the last kingdom of independent Arakan founded by King Mong Saw Mon in 1430, has become the principle seat of Buddhism, has reaching at zenith of the golden age. At its zenith, Mrauk U controlled half of Bangladesh, including Dhaka and Chittagong, modern day Rakhine State and the western part of Lower Burma. During that period, its kings minted coins inscribed in Arakanese (similar to the Burmese language), Kufic and Bengali. As they prospered, they built many pagodas and temples, many of which remain today. The most notable are the Shite-thaung Temple (Temple of 80,000 Images or Temple of Victory), Htukkanthein Temple (Htukkan Ordination Hall), the Koe-thaung Temple (Temple of 90,000 Images) and the Five Mahn pagodas.

Mrauk-U was divided into three periods:

The earliest period (1430-1530),
The middle period (1531-1638), and
The last period (1638-1784)

(i)First Golden Mrauk-U - The earliest period (1430-1530)King Mun Saw Mwan

Mung Saw Mwan alias Narameikhla
Mung Saw Mwan alias Narameikhla, King of Arakan when expelled by the Burmans from his Kingdom, Laungrat, found shelter in the court of Gaur for 22 years and was reinstalled on his throne in 1430 AD. He thereupon built himself a new capital named Mrauk-U in 1433 AD, which for the next four centuries known as Mrauk-U dynasty, the last in the series of dynastic rule. His successor Mung Khari alias Ali Khan (1434-1459 AD), established peace with the eastern neighbour, the Burmese king, repossessed Penwa (Ramu, in Cox’s Bazar district). Like his predecessor he and his successors continued to use Persian (Mohammedan) titles, no long as a sign of vassaldom but as a token of their sovereignty over Chittagong. Benefiting from trade with Bengal and Malacca, Arakan became so prosperous and powerful that, his successor Ba Saw Pru alias Kalim Shah (1459-1482 AD) occupied Chittagong in 1459 AD

Mung Khari alias Ali Khan (1434-1459 AD)
Ba Saw Pru alias Kalim Shah (1459-1482 AD)
Dawlya... (1482-1492)
occupied Chittagong in 1459 AD

his important port remained under Arakanese control with irregular incursion from Tripura and Sultan of Bengal. However, from about 1580 AD till its subjugation by Shaista Khan, in 1666 AD for nearly a century, Chittagong almost uninterruptedly was under Arakanese rule, which is undoubtedly an important period marked by momentous events. During this period, a company of eight sovereigns successively ruled Arakan along with southeast Bengal (comprising the present districts of Chittagong, Cox’s Bazar, Bandarban, Rangamati, Khagrachari, Feni and Noakhali) with full despotic power.

In Arakan antiquities at the Mrauk-U seems to give rational evidence as to where Buddhism was settled down. The golden days of Mrauk U city, those of 16th and 17th centuries, were contemporary to the days of Tudor kings, the Moghuls, the Ayuthiya kings and Ava (Inwa), Taungoo and Hanthawaddy kings of Myanmar. Mrauk U was cosmopolitan city, fortified by a 30-kilometer long fortification and an intricate net of moats and canals. At the centre of the city was the Royal Place, looming high over the surrounding area like an Asian Acropolis. Waterways formed by canals and creeks earned the fame of distinct resemblance to Venice. Mrauk U offers some of the richest archaeological sites in South-East Asia. These include stone inscriptions, Buddha images, the Buddha's foot-prints and the great pagoda itself which, stripped its later-constructed top, would be of the same design as the Gupta style of ancient India. In the city of golden Mrauk-U there are scattering innumerable temples and pagodas which preserved as places, there by exerting a great influence on spiritual life of the people.

Arakanese chronicle records that more than six million shrines and pagodas flourished in Mrauk-U. In fact, they formed the pride of golden Mrauk-U. Mrauk U is properly known as the "Land of Pagodas" and Europeans remarked Mrauk U as "The Golden City".

Kings of Danya-wati gradually drew other power centers in the Rahkaing littoral (including Mekha-wati, Dwara-wati, and Chittagong) into its political orbit. Vital to this political centralization were the collateral processes of increasing maritime trade, demographic growth spurred by resettled war captives, the suppression of rival lowland tribes, supplies of firearms, and the development of a multi-directional system of religious patronage.

By the end of the 16th century, Mrauk-U rulers, as both Buddhist kings and Islamic sultans, controlled the entire Rahkaing littoral as one kingdom and had begun their expansion into neighboring regions as distant as Dacca in Bengal and Pegu in Burma(Michael W. Charney,1998).

By the 16th century, the Mughal Empire controlled Bengal, and Dhaka became an important provincial centre of Mughal administration.

(ii)The middle period (1531-1638) - Second Golden Mrauk-U - Solidified by King Mun Bun (Mun Ba Gri)

# Minbin..........................................1531-1553
# Dikha...........................................1553-1555
# Sawhla..........................................1555-1564
# Minsekkya........................................1564-1571
# Minphalaung......................................1571-1593
# Minrazagyi......................................1593-1612
# Minkhamaung......................................1612-1622
# Thiri Thudhamma....................................1622-1638
# Minsani..............................................1638

In the mid 16th century the European ships made their appearance, as raiders, and the Portuguese freebooters (feringhe) began to settle at Chittagong. Unlike the other races of Burma (Myanmar), the Arakanese maintained sea-going craft and Chittagong bred a race of competent seamen. The union with the Portuguese marked the high watermark in Arakanese history. The thriving port of Chittagong was always held either by a second son or a brother or a faithful clansman of the king, with an Arakanese garrison. Every year the king sent a hundred boats full of troop, powder and ball, and then the garrison and boat sent in the previous years returned home to (Mrauk-U capital of) Arakan(Ven. U Bodhinyana,2001)

During the Arakanese rule Chittagong was divided into three divisions Diang, Chakrashala and Penwa. Diang was the commercial centre with port and a strong naval base. The fort, according to Talish’s narration8, connected all the hills, high or low encircling the Laldighi tank. The residence of the Arakanese viceroy of Chittagong was situated within the fort. The principal Buddhist temple was situated on the Rangmahal hill from where a large image of Lord Buddha has recently been dug out(Ven. U Bodhinyana,2001)

The ability of the Arakanese kings to forge alliances with Portuguese chatins living in the Bay of Bengal was crucial to the success of the Arakanese kingdom. The reversal of Arakanese policy towards the Portuguese community in Arakan and Bengal from 1638 conversely was partly responsible for the decline of the Mrauk U kingdom

Arakanese rice exports were of crucial importance for the survival of Batavia as the
main Dutch entrepôt in Asia between 1627 and 1657.

The strong bonds between Arakan and Bengal. A century after the foundation of the Mrauk U dynasty it is king Man Pa who is successful in his wars against Chittagong. Man Pa in 1534 defeated a Portuguese attempt to take Mrauk U and in 1542 there is definitive proof of an Arakanese conquest of Chittagong. In 1546 when the Burmese king Tabin-shwei-hti invaded Arakan Man Pa was also able to resist the Burmese force. After the 1550s it seems Arakan again briefly lost control over the area. The conquests of Man Phalaung at the end of the sixteenth century secured Arakan’s hold over Chittagong. Man Phalaung, nicknamed the ‘Portuguese king’, successfully built on the efforts made by Man Pa to forge an alliance with Portuguese renegades operating in the Bay of Bengal. In these same years Mughal forces approached Bengal from the West. As both parties drove their armies towards the economic centre of Bengal a Ninety Years’ War over Bengal unfolded. The sixteenth century saw the continued rise to power in south-eastern Bengal of the Arakanese kingdom.

The start of Arakanese rule in Chittagong around 1590 was as we saw closely connected with the development of an Arakanese-Portuguese partnership. The involvement of Portuguese mercenaries in the Arakanese littoral has proved to be instrumental in establishing Arakanese control over south-eastern Bengal. From the late sixteenth century Man Raja-kri would continue the expansion of Arakanese rule along the shores of the Bay of Bengal. In 1598 the Arakanese played an important role in the siege of Pegu that would lead to the end of the first Toungoo dynasty in Burma.

The early years of the seventeenth century also witnessed the first confrontations between the Arakanese and the Mughals in south-eastern Bengal. In the early seventeenth century the campaigns of Islam Khan brought the Mughals to Dhaka. The conquest of Dhaka provided them with a base from where they could control the economic centre of Bengal. The reign of the Arakanese king Man Khamaung at the same time saw several significant victories for the Arakanese in south-eastern Bengal. In the ten years ofhis reign Man Khamaung campaigned in Bengal practically every year. He extended Arakanese control towards Jessore and Hijli and stopped the Mughal advance at Bhalua. At the same time Man Khamaung’s reign saw two Mughal attempts to invade Chittagong. Both attacks failed. The Arakanese now enjoyed considerable influence in and around Jessore and Hijli on the western side of the Brahmaputra, although it is difficult to assess the direct impactof this influence on local rulers. In the following years Sirisudhammaraja would also prove tobe a serious opponent for any Mughal governor in Bengal. During his reign Arakanese fleets commanded the deltas of the Ganges and Irrawaddy. The king would actively engage in diplomacy, sending missions to all major powers in the Bay of Bengal, and fitting out his own trading mission at the same time. The mysterious death of the king would however herald the end of the expansion of Arakanese influence in Bengal. At the death of Sirisudhammaraja in the year 1000 of the Arakanese era, Arakanese power in the Bay of Bengal was at is highest point. The reigns following would see the gradual decline of Arakanese control over southeastern Bengal and the collapse of the kingdom.The reign of Narapati-kri was characterized by several rebellions. His initial victories over his enemies in Arakan and over the Mughals in Bengal were followed by internal struggles that tore the kingdom apart. A major result of these uprisings was the loss of control over the strategically important island Sandwip. The resistance to his rule from members of the old royal family in the Chittagong area and the threat that Chittagong posed as an independent centre of power in the Arakanese kingdom moved Narapati-kri to move against Chittagong. The resettlement of large groups from the Chittagong area to the Arakanese littoral had however not the desired effect. On the contrary Arakan’s ability to control southeastern Bengal was seriously handicapped when as a result of the resettlement several important groups deserted the Arakanese king and moved to areas outside royal control. The next king Satuidhammaraja would be able to restore royal authority to some extent, but Arakan was soon about to lose its grip on south-eastern Bengal. The reign of the next king Candasudhammaraja was long and during his reign the gradual loss of control over Chittagong would lead to the conquest of the city by the Mughals. The loss of Chittagong would eventually even result in the collapse of the Mrauk U state as a whole. In 1656 and 1657 the Mughal prince Shah Shuja moved against south-eastern Bengal and re-established Mughal control over Dhaka. The flight of Shah Shuja to Arakan following the war of succession in the Mughal empire eventually led to the Mughal invasion of Chittagong in 1666. The substantial revenues from south-eastern Bengal and Chittagong now ceased to flow into Arakanese coffers. In the period that followed the Arakanese kingdom derived its income mainly from the rice trade. The departure of the VOC meant that the king again lost a large part of his income and redistributive powers, as with the VOC also other large merchants left, and the connection with Coromandel was also largely severed. From the reign of Ugga Balla the kingdom descended into anarchy from which it was only to recover briefly in the mid eighteenth century. At the end of the eighteenth century the country would lose its independence and be incorporated in the Burmese empire.

The generally accepted view that Mughal rule in Bengal was established around 1612 is as we saw an oversimplification of the realities on the ground. In fact from the early seventeenth century it was the Arakanese who were able to expand their influence right across south-eastern Bengal. The Arakanese exercised a fluctuating degree of control over much larger areas of Bengal than was hitherto assumed. The reasons why the Arakanese and the Mughals fought such a bitter and prolonged campaign over south-eastern Bengal have been explained from an economic point of view. South-eastern Bengal was the economic heart of the province and yielded considerable revenues, attracting the attention of both states. Throughout the Ninety Years’ War it remained a contested region.

Chittagong was at least from the fifteenth century the main port to Bengal, so much so that on early maps its was often identified as ‘Bengal’. The changes in the delta had earlier indeed resulted in large deposits of silt in south-eastern Bengal enabling an impressive economic development that made the region the granary and centre of cloth industry already in the sixteenth century. Instead of a breakthrough to the east it is more realistic to speak of a move of the economic centre of Bengal to the west. Southeastern Bengal had indeed been the economic centre of Bengal during the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, but the incessant warfare between the Arakanese and the Mughals for control over this prosperous area eventually caused trade and industry to move to the West.

The paper tries to sketch out a brief account of Arakan focusing on its rule on southeast Bengal from 1580 to 1666 AD.

Mung Phaloung or Sikander Shah (r.1571-1593 AD)

Mung Phaloung or Sikander Shah (r.1571-1593 AD) was the 17th king of the Mrauk U dynasty and youngest son of King Mung Ba Gree or Zabuk Shah (r.1531-1553 AD) the 13th king of the line. Ralph Fitch, the British traveler who was at Chittagong in 1585 mentions Chittagong along with Ramu as subject of Arakan. The significant event during Mung Phaloung’s reign is that in 1586 Arakanese army attacked Udoypur, capital of Tripura, from which they could never regain power to challenge the supremacy over Chittagong. The king of Arakan himself led an army to Dhaka and stationed two battalions at Jugdia and Alamdia. During the initial years of his occupation of Chittagong, Mung Phaloung appointed two Uzirs–one Jalal Khan in the northern Chittagong and the other Adam Shah in the south. In Arakanese, the Chittagong governor is called Saitagong-za and Saitagong-mung.

Ashun Sandamala Lankara confirms appointment of Chittagong Uzir to one Jalil in Arakanese era (AE) 936 (i.e.1574 AD) but did not mention about the governor. The reverend author further reveals that as the western territory expanded the king created some new posts as Anouk-barang, Murshidabad governor and Dhaka governor where he appointed Thadoe Mung Saw Hla - king’s second son, Uttama Kyaw Khoung and Koung Nyet Thu respectively[13]. Some historians mentioned Anouk-barang as Anaporan or Anik Farank while referring to the Chittagong Governor. Anouk means west, barang means king so Anouk-barang means ‘western king’ or ‘king of the western theatre’. Ashun Sandamala Lankara clearly says that this post was created to enforce administration of tasay-hna-banga (twelve Bengals) including Chittagong. Later, on the other hand, he used it as a title saying Anouk-barang Thadoe Mung Saw Hla was made Saitagong-mro-za means Chittagong Town Governor.

Mung Phaloung after taking full control of Chittagong minted two ‘Chittagong type’ silver trade coins with both sides in Arabic language with his Arabic regnal name “Sikandar Shah” with Hijri date (AH) 983 (i.e.1574 AD) and 992 AH (i.e.1583 AD). These coins appear to have been struck exclusively for trade in Chittagong as he had his ‘Arakanese type’ trilingual coin, Arabic and Bengali on the obverse while Arakanese on the reverse side with Arabic name “Sikandar Shah” having Arakanese date 933 (i.e. 1571 AD)[15]. A silver coin has been surfaced with the title Anouk-barang of 953 AE (i.e. 1591 AD) the date taken as the first single Arakanese administrator of Bengal with the appointment of Thadoe Mung Saw Hla as Anouk-barang. This trilingual coin is with Kalima on the top and Sri Sri Ana/kaphara in Bengali on the obverse and Mung-tara-gree-thadoe Anouk-barang with 953 AE on the reverse.

Mung Raza Gree or Salim Shah (r.1593-1612 AD)

Mung Raza Gree or Salim Shah (r.1593-1612 AD) succeeded his father’s throne in 1593 AD. In the early years of his reign, the governorship of Chittagong was vested on Maha Pinya Kyaw a great scholar with a religious tune of mind[17]. It is said that Maha Pinya Kyaw is not a real name but a title meaning ‘great scholar’. No coin of his is known so far. In 1599 AD the Arakanese king joined the prince and viceroy of Toungoo in the latter’s attack against his first cousin Nandabayin, king of Pegu. In this expedition the king of Arakan employed a flotilla from Chittagong and Ganges delta. The Arakanese deported 3000 households – Burmans, Talaing and Siamese of the wretched Pegu flok and returned with a white elephant and a daughter of the fallen king. The event has been written by Michael W. Charney in his ‘The 1598-99 Siege and the Expansion of Arakanese Imperial Power into Lower Burma’[18]. The king of Arakan married the princess while the prisoners brought from the expedition were settled at Urai-toung, Thandway and along the river of Ngasaraing-choung.

On the return voyage the wise governor of Chittagong died and was buried, after cremation, near the Hmawdun pagoda at Negrais. Minister Pinyawantha son of the deceased was soon appointed the governor of Chittagong. Mung Raza Gree after his return from Pegu had issued a trilingual (Arakanese, Arabic and Devanagari) coin with dotted border and dated 963 AE (i.e.1601 AD). Before this he had issued a coin in 955 AE and in 959 AE, 960 AE and 973 AE his successive governors had issued coins[19].
For a short duration the reign of Mung Raza Gree extended from Dacca (Dhaka) and the Sundarbans to Moulmein, a coast strip of a thousand miles in length and varying 150 to 20 miles in depth[20].

Fr.Fernandes in his letter written from Dianga on 22nd December 1599 calls Dianga a town (ville) in the Port of Chittagong. It was at about this time that it began to acquire some importance. Besides Dianga could not be a City of Bengala as it really formed a part of the Kingdom of Arakan. As the Portuguese who had establishes themselves in Chittagong extended their activities to Dianga towards the end of the sixteenth century. The King of Arakan owed these ports at this time and in the letters-patent granted to the Portuguese Fathers he styled himself “the highest and the most powerful King of Arakan, of Tippera, of Chacomas and of Bengala; Lord of the Kingdoms of Pegu etc.” Father Du Jarric without referring any name mentioned that the Governor of Chittagong was uncle of the King of Arakan[21].

The friendly relation between the Arakanese and the Portuguese later turned to a hostile one and Kedar Rai, ruler of Sripur, was helpful while the king of Bakla assisted Portuguese. In 1607 AD the king offered to let the Dutch trade and build fortifications in return for help driving out the Portuguese. In 1610 AD (Mung) Razagree had appointed his younger son, Mung Man Gree or Min Mangri, as Viceroy of Chittagong. A son or a brother of the Arakanese kings was usually posted to that charge and there was nothing usual in (Mung) Razagree’s choice except that Min Mangri was not on good terms with the heir to the throne Min Khamoung his elder brother[22]. Mung Man Gree was referred by Portuguese source as ‘Alamanja’ or ‘Alemao’.

The governor of Chittagong soon broke out into rebellion against his father and entered into an alliance with Gonsalves Tibau, Portuguese pirate-king of Sandwip, who, thought, would save him from his brother and to put him in his brother’s place. The governor who had a sister was baptised by Father Rafael and led her to Sandwip where amid great rejoicings married to Tibau’s son. Mung Raza Gree got furious and immediately sent an army against his rebellious son under the Crown Prince Mung Khamoung who kept besieged Chittagong for four months. As negotiations failed the Crown Prince made violent assault, the rebels surrendered at the death of their leader. As long as Mung Man Gree was Viceroy, the pirate-king (Gonsalves Tibau) was assured of a dominating position at the head of the Bay. With his death and the appointment of a new Viceroy strictly under the control of the King of Arakan, his (Gonsalves) position was threatened[23].

According to Ashun Sandamala Lankara, soon after his accession, Mung Raza Gree appointed his younger brother Thadoe Mung Saw Hla as the governor of Chittagong in 955 AE (i.e.1593 AD) in addition to the job of Anauk-barang and posted at Chittagong. In 975 AE Thadoe Mung Saw Hla as revolted against his brother, the King marched towards Chittagiong and subdued it. The King then deputed the wise minister Maha Pinya Kyaw to the post of the Lord of Chittagong, Thadaw Mung Digha to the post of Anauk-barang and stationed him at Mauthuza (i.e.Murshidabad) to administer the twelve Bengals. Later Anauk-barang Mung Digha was replaced by Mung Nyo while Kyee Nyo (son of Maha Pinya Kyaw) posted as governor of Rangpru[24]. At the tragic death of Maha Pinya Kyaw the king appointed Mung Man Gree who was later replaced by Chakkawaday as governor of Chittagong.

Mung Khamoung or Hussain Shah (r.1612-1622 AD)
Soon after Mung Khamoung or Hussain Shah (r.1612-1622 AD) ascended his father’s throne he started resolving the Portuguese affairs. Through the help given by the Dutch ships harbour at Mrauk-U the Arakanese king gave a deathly blow to the already declining Portuguese power in this region. After which the Portuguese ceased to be king’s rivals and became his servents[25].

In the western side the Mughals were getting stronger under the rule of Jahangir (r.1605-1627) and thereby claimed the right of rule over Chittagong, which, in fact, was being ruled by the Arakanese[26]. During Islam Khan’s governorship (1608-1612) the capital of Bengal was transferred from Rajmahal to Dhaka. In the beginning of Qasim Khan’s governorship (1613-1617) the Arakanese raid on the Mughal territory was intensified. Qasim’s campaign to take possession of Chittagong ended in a complete failure.

There was another attempt of the Mughals under Ibrahim Khan (1617-1624), brother of Empress Nur Jahan, to conquer Chittagong. But their strategies and low morale compelled them to give up their hope for victory. The Mughuls got an exaggerated idea that Arakanese was an impregnable country, its fleet was invincible, and its forces could not be overwhelmed[27]. Mung Khamoung, emboldened by success, extended his territory in Bengal by occupying a part of what is now the district of Bakergong (present Barisal division), and for a time the city of Dacca (Dkaha)[28]. The king led an army to his vassaldom, Udoypur, the capital of Tippera in 1615 AD and subdued the rebel leader Chakyamuni thereby propitiatory tribute assured[29]. Mung Khamoung proved to be the greatest and most successful king and his name is still remembered with pride and affection by the Arakanese people.

According to Harvey[30], Meng Soe Pyu (1614-1629), would be brother or half-brother of Princess Khin Ma Hnoung of Pegu was made governor of Chittagong. But most of the historians are silent about the governor by this name. Nor one could trace in any of the Arakanese and Burmese chronicles. However the Portuguese source depict different story, with different name, about the so-called brother of the Pegu princes. No coins been surfaced during this period. The controversy thus created needs further in-depth research and studies.

Thiri Thudhamma or Salim Shah (r.1622 – 1638 AD)

Thiri Thudhamma or Salim Shah (r.1622 – 1638 AD) was only twenty years old when he ascended his father’s thorn in 1622. His younger brother holds the governorship of Chittagong and he took strict means in dealing with the Portuguese freebooters[31]. They became so alarmed that they sent Sebastio Manrique, an Augustinian friar of Oporto, to Mraunk-U, capital of Arakan and intercede with the king that ‘the Portuguese are loyal to you’ [32]. During his stay of six months in Arakanese capital, Manrique was shown the belongings received from the Pegu expedition in 1599 and was greatly impressed by the white elephant. Nanda Bayin’s daughter (Khin Ma Hnoung alias Thazoung Me-phara), who had been carried off (from Pegu, capital of Henthawadi) to Mrohaung (Mrauk-U) and married to King Razagri, received him and related the story of her sufferings with deep emotions[33].

Manrique visited Mraunk-U for the second time in 1633. He stayed there for two years and his books[34] tell of further adventures while at the capital of Arakan. He gave a strange account of the king’s coronation in 1635, who deferred twelve years, because of a prophecy that he would die within a year of it. Twelve vassal chiefs were crowned at the same time[35]. Thiri Thudhamma enforced payment of tribute from Dhaka and in the eastern frontier raided Moulmein and Pegu.

Arakan remain on the Dutch programme from 1623 as their ships were going there to buy the Bengali slaves captured by the marauding feringhi (Portuguese), and the surplus rice that the country produced as a result of the abundant slave labour available for cultivating the fields[36]. But in 1631 the Dutch chief factor, reported that trade had been brought to a standstill by a terrible famine and pestilence. The famine lasted till 1634 and during that period Chittagong was also affected.

The 1000 AE (i.e. 1638 AD) is a crucial year in the history of Arakan as also for Chittagong. Three years after king’s coronation the prophecy came true lately. The chief queen, Nat Shun May, had a paramour, Kuthala, lord of Laung-gret who was expert in the deadliest forms of black magic, joined in the murder of the king in 1638. A bilingual coin of Chittagong governor has been surfaced with Hizri date 1038 (i.e. 1629 AD), ‘Sultan Chitagon’ in Arabic on the obverse and ‘Saitagong-mung’ in Arakanese on the reverse. The date coincide with the installation of Mung Re i.e. 1629 AD[37].

Thri Thudhamma’s legitimate heir Mung Sani or Thadoe Mung Hla (1638 AD) ascended his father’s throne at his tender age of eighteen. But on the 20th day of his accession he died. Most historians are of the opinion that the dowager queen, Nat Shun May, mother of Mung Sani desiring to have her paramour, her future king had the magic spell, caused with small-pox, upon the new king ultimately died on the 20th day of his installation[38].

Kuthala was 56 years old when he occupied the throne and took the title of Narapatigree (r.1638 – 1645 AD). He was one of the great grandson of king Thazata, 11th king of Mrauk-U dynasty. He soon enforce massacre of the kinsmen, nobles and artisans to control the affairs unchallenged. He did not take the widow queen to the palace-citadel rather rehabilitated her at a safe distance.

O’ Malley[39] referring to the Arakanese Chronicle, “During the troubled times, the son of Sri Sudhama, Nga Tun Khin, made his escape from the town and lived in the wilderness; and certain members of the royal family and nobles left for Kantha[40], a place in Chittagong and settled down there. Of the 1,00,000 guards who were stationed in Myohaung, 50,000 deserted the king and left the capital, taking with them Nga Lut Roon, who was the priest, and settled down in Kantha under Nga Tun Khin”[41].

The governor of Chittagong during that period was one Mangat Rai or Mung Re, the identity of whom has been in dispute among the scholars, was displeased over the change of his master. Chittagong District Gazetteers[42] says, “Mangat Rai or Mukut Rai .........his father Gaureswa Rai .........the ancestor lived at Tippera district. His family and supporters with 14 elephants and nearly 9000 men (both Arakanese and Talaing) fled to Jahangirnagar. Descendents of Mukut Rai live in village Kadurkhil.” According to Arthur P.Phayre, “Makat Rai is apparently a corruption of Meng Re, signifying – Bold Chief - a title held by the Arakanese governor of Chittagong”[43]. But according to Dr. S.B.Qanungo, “Manek Rai or Mangat Rai, the murdered Raja’s paternal uncle .......... did not recognise the usurper a king and declared independence in his territory, ............. however, defeated (by the king) and was forced to flee to Dhaka”[44].

According to Harvey[45], Mung Re was the son of Meng Soa Pyu, who became governor around 1629 AD, which was during the reign of Thiri Thudhamma. While settling down in Dhaka he as a rebel king of Chittagong issued a trilingual coins on the obverse in Arabic ‘Muzaffar wasf (:) Amir’ and ‘Sri Sri Muz(affar)’ in Bengali and on the reverse ‘Saitagong Mung Re Kyaw Htan’ in Arakanese without any date[46].

The force of the new king, Narapatigree, crushed the uprising of Mung Re in 1638 AD. In the same year, the king appointed new governor of Chittagong who issued a trilingual silver coin. On the obverse it bears the title ‘Firoz Shah’ in Arabic and ‘Sri Chatigram Raj Piroj Shah’ in Bengali and on the reverse it bears the date 1000 AE (i.e.1638 AD) with the title ‘Saitagong Mung Siri Jaya Nawratha’ in Arakanese[47]. The appointment of the governors of Chittagong to which Harvey[48] had hypothesised as being a hereditary in nature, may flatly be refuted by adding the statement of Vasant Chowdhury,“It is stated that Meng Re Prue was succeeded by his son Meng Hari Prue but it is unlikely that Meng Re or Mangat Rai during his flight to the Mughal territory had left his son behind[49]. It is to be regretted that such a historian like Harvey marred the value of his later works by hasty and prejudiced judgement.

At the initial period of Narapatigree’s rule Dutch business got on extremely well. But in 1643 the king’s health broke and he lost control over affairs. Then an incident occurred which caused the Dutch to close the factory once more. A frigate belonging to a Dutch free burgher, bound for Chittagong with a valuable cargo of piece-goods, was decoyed into Mrohaung harbour, its cargo confiscated and its captain and crew imprisoned. For eight years the factory was empty, and the Dutch subjected Arakanese shipping to severe reprisals[50].

Narapatigree’s son, Thadoe Mung Tara (r.1645–1652 AD) who succeeded him tried his best to consolidate the kingdom. He even marched to the twelve Bengal to affirm its sovereignty and territorial integrity[51]. His dependence on the Portuguese for the defense of Chittagong turned the port town virtually to a haunt of the Portuguese freebooters[52]. During the reign of Thadoe Mung Tara, the governor of Chittagong minted silver coins with the Arabic title ‘Nizam Shah’ in Bengali on the obverse and ‘Mung Ray Thiha Thu’ in Arakanese on the reverse[53].

Thadoe Mung Tara succeeded by his son, Sanda Thudhamma Raza (r.1652–1674 AD) and during his reign the governor who was appointed to Chittagong was his cousin who issued coins with Hijri era 1062 (i.e. 1653 AD) with inscription ‘Sultan/Chatagong/Mubaraz Shah’ in Arabic and ‘Mung Ray Than Khaya’ in Arakanese. He is believed to be the last governor of Chittagong under Arakanese rule in Chittagong[54]. The Dutch factory reopened in 1653 carried on successfully until 1665 due to their internal political crisis.
During this period, Chittagong became a place of refuge for two royal exiles. One Govinda Manikya, the Tippera king and the other was Prince Shah Shuja who was defeated in his struggle for the Mughal throne, had to flee in 1660.

Maung San Shwe Bu[55] in his Report of the Honorary Archaeological Officer – for the year ended 31st March 1921, narrated that the Bernier’s approaches nearest the truth citing Bernier’s Travels in the Moghul Empire, “The author was actually present in India at the time at which these stirring events happened. In spite of the peculiar facilities he had of obtaining first-hand information on the subject he tells us that he is not at all sure of his facts since he heard three of four totally different accounts of the fate of the Prince, from those even who were on the spot. However, after carefully sifting all the available information he arrived at the correct conclusion that the Prince, with his family and retainers went to Arakan where they were very handsomely, received by King Sanda Thudhamma-raza. His eldest daughter Chand Bibi, as the Arakanese called her, was given in marriage to the king. There after a time, being involved in an unsuccessful rebellion Shujah fled to the hills. But he was quickly captured and put to death. His two sons were decapitated and the female members of his family were shut in a room and left to die of hunger. Such is substantially Bernier’s account; but at the same time he is cautious enough to add that in respect of certain particulars he had heard a thousand different tales.”

The Dagh-Register of 1661 contains three lengthy letters from Gerrit van Voorburg, the chief Dutch factor at Mrohaung, detailing all the news of Shah Shuja, which he could glean. His story was that Shah Shuja brought from Bengali to Diang, a port on the river opposite to Chittagong on (board) the King of Arakan’s armada (fleet). He arrived there on 3rd June 1660. From thence he arrived to the capital on the 26th August (1660)[56]. D.G.E.Hall summarised the sad event to thus, “on 7 February 1661 Shah Shuja’s residence was attacked and there was another massacre. Shah Shuja was never seen again[57]. Who, according to Gerrit van Voorburg, “intended to escape from the King’s palace and conquer the kingdom of Arakan for himself”[58].

The following description carries a concise and vivid accounts of the war of succession fought among the sons of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan after he fell ill in September 1657. Aurangzeb in his quest for the throne, first defeated the Emperor’s troop in the battle of Dharmat (near Ujjain) on April 15, 1658 and Dara Shukor’s (eldest brother) at Samugarh (near Agra) on May 27, 1658, captured Agra on June 8, 1658 and arrested his father, crushed opposition by Murad (youngest brother) subsequently had him executed, captured Delhi and Crowned himself Emperor on July 21, 1658. Later, on January 5, 1659, he defeated Shuja (second elder brother) at Khajwah (near Allahabad) after which Shuja ran away to Arakan (where he is presumed to be died). Later, Aurangzeb had his eldest brother, and other relatives opposed him, executed and made secure the throne for himself. Shah Jahan died on January 22, 1666 [59].

Aurangzeb himself would have executed Shuja but did not like outsiders doing it, ordered Shaista Khan, viceroy of Bengal, to invade Arakan, who mounted his fleet took Sandwip by November 1665 from Dilawar Khan an eighty-year-old ruler of the island. Dilwar and his son Sharif were wounded and captured where Dilawar breath his last in Jahangirnagar. The captured of the island paved the way for the Mughal invasion of Chittagong-Arakan.

Crossing the Feni river at Jagdia on 14th January 1666 AD, the Mughals entered the Arakanese territory. At the crucial moment the Portuguese stationed of Diang broke off from the Arakanese, and changed sides with the Mughals, which gave the invaders an upper hand to attack fleet at Kathalia channel and Karnafully river. On the 24th January the fort of Chittagong was besieged and capitulated on 26th January 1666 as Arakanese abandoned the city and endeavoured to escape. Munawwar Khan (grandson of Isa Khan) in search of plunder burnt down most of the homes in the town by reckless fire61. About two thousand were made prisoners and sold as slaves[62]. According to Alamgirnamah, “The governor of Chittagong, who was the son of the Arracan king’s uncle, was taken prisoner with one son and some other relatives and nearly 350 men of the tribe”[63]. It as a decisive blow to the prosperity of the Arakanese, and with it their century of greatness came to an end. Since that time the Arakanese have never held any of the country north of Rumu.

Chittagong was renamed Islamabad and Buzurg Ummed Khan was appointed the first Mughal faujdar. They were required to defend the frontier and if possible to extend it southward at the cost of the Arakanese held territory. As the effectively administered Mughal territory extended southward up to modern Satkania U.Z(upa-zila i.e sub-district) so almost all the tarafs are situated within this limit. Tarafs are most numerous in Patiya, Raozan, Rangunia, Hathazari, Satkania, Nizampur, Bhatiyari, Kumira, Kotwali and Phatikchari U.Zs. No tarafs are located in Teknak, Ukhia, Ramu, Moheshkhali, Kutubdia and Chakaria U.Zs as they remained almost wholly beyond the pale of Mughal dominion.

The last period (1638-1784)- Third Golden Mrauk-U Period- King Mahathamada Raza

# Thado.............................................1638-1645
# Narabadigyi.......................................1645-1652
# Sanda Thudhamma...................................1652-1684
# Thiri Thuriya......................................1684-1685
# Wara Dhammaraza..................................1684-1692
# Munithu Dhammaraza...............................1692-1694
# Sanda Thuriya Dhammaraza.........................1694-1696
# Nawrahta Zaw......................................1696
# Mayuppiya.........................................1696-1697
# Kalamandat........................................1697-1698
# Naradhibadi.......................................1698-1700
# Sanda Wimala I....................................1700-1706
# Sanda Thuriya.....................................1706-1710 d. 1734
# Sanda Wizaya.....................................1710-1731
# Sanda Thuriya (restored)..........................1731-1734
# Naradhibadi.......................................1734-1735
# Nara Pawara Raza...................................1735-1737
# Sanda Wizala..........................................1737
# Katya..................................................1737 (3 days)
# Madarit...........................................1737-1742
# Nara-Apaya........................................1742-1761
# Thirithu..........................................1761
# Parama Raza.......................................1761-1764
# Maharaza.........................................1764-1773
# Thumana...........................................1773-1777
# Sanda Wimala II......................................1777 (40 days)
# Thaditha Dhammayit................................1777-1782
# Thamada...........................................1782-1784

Mrauk U’s ability to control large parts of south-eastern Bengal, especially the area around Chittagong. The Mrauk U kings were successful in tapping into south-eastern Bengal’s resources, both human and financial. This was the key to the success of the Arakanese state. The gradual forced withdrawal of royal control over the Chittagong area from the middle of the seventeenth century led to the demise of the Mrauk U state. The Hugli would become the economic centre of Bengal from the middle of the seventeenth century.

Images of Arakan as a pirate’s nest are based on Mughal perceptions of a kingdom that was a thorn in the flesh of the empire. In Mughal eyes imperial expansion was of course legitimate, while Arakanese expansion was characterized as robbery or piracy. This image has been compounded by late eighteenth century British imperial perspectives when the British were also confronted with ‘Arakanese incursions’ into ‘their’ newly acquired territories. It is of course true that by the end of the eighteenth century the character of the Arakanese state had changed considerably.

The country had been invaded several times, by the Mongols, Mon, Bamar and Portuguese and finally the Bamar in 1784 when the armies led by the Crown Prince, son of King Bodawpaya, of the Konbaung dynasty of Burma marched across the western Yoma and annexed Rakhine.

Chittagong and other districts of Bengal were invaded and occupied by the Moghal in 1666 AD.

Rakhine ruled as an independent kingdom, which at it's zenith stretched from Chittagong to Rangoon. After years of decline and internal turmoil, the Burmese king Bodawphaya(Bodawphara) annexed Arakan on 31-12-1784. The nation , identity of Arakan as free nation was lost and terminated immediately.

At that time, many Rakhine fled to the northwest, which is modern day Bangladesh.

The British arrival

1825 - the British arrived and established a foothold in Myanmar by taking over Rakhine state. Then in 1886 the British captured the whole of Myanmar.

1945 - During the Second World War, Rakhine was given autonomy under the Japanese occupation and was even granted its own army known as the Arakan Defence Force. The Arakan Defence Force went over to the allies and turned against the Japanese in early 1945.

1948 - the British handed the rule of Myanmar back to the Burmese.

Arakan is situated among India in the North, Burma in the East and People's Republic of Bangladesh in the West. To the south, it extends up to Haigri Islands and is bounded on the southwest by the Bay of Bengal.

The area of Arakan was more than 20,000 sq. ml. till the British period. But, Burmese ruler, without the consent of Arakanese people, split up a north western Arakan Hill Tracts area bordering India and a southern most part of Arakan (from Kyauk Chaung River to Cape Negaris) from the Arakan mainland. Due to these partitions, the present day total area of Arakan was reduced to 18, 500 sq. ml and it comprise less than half of historic Arakan territory.

Modern History

Rakhine was the center of multiple insurgencies which fought against British rule, notably led by the monks U Ottama and U Seinda.

During the Second World War, Rakhine was given autonomy under the Japanese occupation and was even granted its own army known as the Arakan Defence Force. The Arakan Defence Force went over to the allies and turned against the Japanese in early 1945.

In 1948, Rakhine became a division within the Union of Burma. Shortly after, violence broke out along religious lines between Buddhists and Muslims. Later there were calls for secession by the Rakhine, but such attempts were subdued. In 1974, the Ne Win government's new constitution granted Rakhine Division "state" status but the gesture was largely seen as meaningless since the military junta held all power in the country and in Rakhine. In 1989, the name of Arakan State was changed to "Rakhine" by the military junta.


The land that is known as Arakan by the foreigners is called ‘Rakhaing-pray’ by its own peoples, Rakhaing-thars (Arakanese). The word “Arakan” was a derivation of the ancient word “Arakha-de-sha” (the land of Arakan) which is found in line forty of Anandachandra inscriptions of Shitethaung pillar.


Rakhapura is the former name of Rakhaing-pray. Arakanese people today do not use the term 'Rakhapura' to mention their land. But, every Arakanese love the word “Rakhapura” as they assume that it is a unique word for only Arakanese in this universe. It can also be found in both classical and modern Arakanese plays, poetry and songs.

Both Rakhapura and Rakhaing-pay means the land that is owned and inhabited by the Arakanese.


According to the Arakanese chronicles, the word ‘Rakhaing’ was originated from Rakhapura and it means the original inhabitants of Rakhapura .

Arakhadesha > Rakhasa > Rakkha > Rakkhaing > Rakhaing

In Pali the word ‘Rakhaing’is used to honour the people who love their nation, and preserve their national heritage, and their traditional ethics or morality

Rakhine State(若開邦)

Rakhine State (formerly Arakan State) is a state of Burma. Situated on the western coast, it is bordered by Chin State in the north, Magway Division, Bago Division and Ayeyarwady Division in the east, the Bay of Bengal to the west, and the Chittagong Division of Bangladesh to the northwest. It is located approximately between latitudes 17°30' north and 21°30' north and east longitudes 92°10' east and 94°50' east. The Arakan Yoma mountain range, which rises to 3,063 m at Victoria Peak, separates Rakhine State from Burma Proper. Its area is 36,762 km² and its capital is Sittwe.

Rakhine State (Arakan State) consists of four districts: Sittwe, Maungdaw, Kyaukphyu and Thandwe. Combined, these districts have a total of 17 townships and 1,164 village-tracts.

The estimated population in 2000 was 2.7 million of which the ethnic Arakanese or Rakhine make up the slight majority. The Rohingya make up approximately 25% of the state's population (about 723,000 in 2009)but are not counted as citizens by the military government.The Rakhine (Arakanese) live in valleys, Rambye (Ramree) and Manaung (Cheduba) islands. The Chin inhabit the mountain regions of the north. The Mro, Bangali Chakma tribal people(Chakma), Khami, Dainet, and Maramagri live on mountain ranges in the west and north. A 2009 United Nations estimate puts the Rohingya population in Myanmar to be about 723,000, most of which are confined in northern districts of Rakhine.

若開邦 是緬甸的一個邦,位於該國西部。以南北向的若開山脈為主,島嶼較多。面積36,780平方公里,1985年人口2,698,000人。首府實兌。下分5縣。

National United Front of Arakan (NUFA)

The Arakanese people number some four million and live in the western hill country of Myanmar. National United Front of Arakan (NUFA), the principal military organization of the State of Arakan, with more than two hundred regular soldiers, the majority Arakanese with some Chin and Rohingas.

Saw Mra Raza Linn

An ethnic Arakanese human rights activist in Bangladesh has been named the third Yayori Award recipient by Japan-based women’s rights groups. Saw Mra Raza Linn, the chairperson of the Rakhaing (Arakan) Womens Union and a member of the Women’s League of Burma was awarded the prize for her consistent contributions to and energetic support of peace and democracy in Burma, and her efforts to oppose human rights violations and violence towards women and children.

Arakanese in Japan
For the first time an Arakanese woman has become the chairperson of an Arakanese organization, which has both men and women. The Arakanese Social Association (Japan), ASAJ, elected a woman as chairperson of its organization during its annual conference. Ma Khin Thida Aung, a woman social activist, was elected chairperson during the ASAJ annual conference held at the Yokomaha Kenmin Centre in Tokyo, Japan on 7 June 2009. She has to serve as chairperson during the 2009-2010 fiscal year.

Arakanese in Singapore
Arakan Association (Singapore) is a Non Government, Charitable, Social Organisation, formed by the Elite Professionals, Academicians and Workers from various segments of Arakanese Society. It was first established in 2003 as an Arakan Youth Association (Singapore). In 2007 general assembly, the name was changed to Arakan Association (Singapore).

Websites related to Rakhines,
Independent Arakanese News Agency,
Scholars' Column ,,
Arakan Review, Burmese)
Arakan Future, Burmese)

Related articles

1. List of Arakan kings,
2. Arakan,
3. On the Evolution of Rohingya Problems in Rakhine State of Burma,
4. Rise of a Mainland Trading State: Rahkaing Under the Early Mrauk-U Kings, c. 1430-1603(1998), by Michael W. Charney, published by Journal of Burma Studies Vol. 3 (1998)
5. The Development of a Muslim Enclave in Arakan (Rakhine) State of Burma (Myanmar)(2005), by Aye Chan, SOAS Bulletin of Burma Research, Vol. 3, No. 2, Autumn 2005, ISSN 1479-
6. An Outline of the Arakanese Rule in Southeast Bengal During 16th and 17th Century AD(2001), by Ven. U Bodhinyana, published in the "Arakanese Research Journal Vol: 1" in the year 2001,
7. Ancient Arakan(1976), by Professor Pamela Gutman, The Australian National University,

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