Singu Min

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Singu Min
King of Burma
Prince of Singu
Reign10 June 1776 – 5 February 1782 (deposed) [1]
Coronation 23 December 1776
Predecessor Hsinbyushin
Successor Phaungka
BornMin Ye Hla
(1756-05-10)10 May 1756
Ava (Inwa)
Died14 February 1782(1782-02-14) (aged 25)
Consort Shin Min
13 queens in total
Issue6 sons, 6 daughters
Regnal name
House Konbaung
Father Hsinbyushin
Mother Me Hla
Religion Theravada Buddhism

Singu Min (Burmese : စဉ့်ကူးမင်း, pronounced  [sɪ̰ɴɡú mɪ́ɴ] ; 10 May 1756 – 14 February 1782) was the fourth king of the Konbaung dynasty of Myanmar. [1] The king, who came to power amid controversy, largely put an end to his father Hsinbyushin's policy of territorial expansion, which had severely depleted the kingdom's manpower and resources. He stopped his father's latest war against Siam at his accession, effectively ceding Lan Na to the Siamese. Likewise, he took no action when the Laotian states stopped paying tribute in 1778. The only campaigns were in Manipur, where the Burmese army was forced to put down four rebellions throughout his reign.

Burmese language language spoken in Myanmar

The Burmese language is the Sino-Tibetan language spoken in Myanmar where it is an official language and the language of the Bamar people, the country's principal ethnic group. Although the Constitution of Myanmar officially recognizes the English name of the language as the Myanmar language, most English speakers continue to refer to the language as Burmese, after Burma, the older name for Myanmar. In 2007, it was spoken as a first language by 33 million, primarily the Bamar (Burman) people and related ethnic groups, and as a second language by 10 million, particularly ethnic minorities in Myanmar and neighboring countries.

Konbaung dynasty last dynasty that ruled Burma/Myanmar from 1752 to 1885

The Konbaung dynasty, formerly known as the Alompra dynasty, or Alaungpaya dynasty, was the last dynasty that ruled Burma/Myanmar from 1752 to 1885. It created the second-largest empire in Burmese history and continued the administrative reforms begun by the Toungoo dynasty, laying the foundations of the modern state of Burma. The reforms, however, proved insufficient to stem the advance of the British, who defeated the Burmese in all three Anglo-Burmese wars over a six-decade span (1824–1885) and ended the millennium-old Burmese monarchy in 1885.

Myanmar Republic in Southeast Asia

Myanmar, officially the Republic of the Union of Myanmar and also known as Burma, is a country in Southeast Asia. Myanmar is bordered by India and Bangladesh to its west, Thailand and Laos to its east and China to its north and northeast. To its south, about one third of Myanmar's total perimeter of 5,876 km (3,651 mi) forms an uninterrupted coastline of 1,930 km (1,200 mi) along the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea. The country's 2014 census counted the population to be 51 million people. As of 2017, the population is about 54 million. Myanmar is 676,578 square kilometres in size. Its capital city is Naypyidaw, and its largest city and former capital is Yangon (Rangoon). Myanmar has been a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) since 1997.


The king is best remembered for the 22,952-kilogram (50,600 lb) Maha Ganda Bell which he donated in 1779. Singu was overthrown on 6 February 1782 by his cousin Phaungka, and was executed by his uncle Bodawpaya eight days later.

Singu Min Bell large bell located at the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, Burma (Myanmar)

The Singu Min Bell, also known as the Maha Gandha Bell, is a large bell located at the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, Myanmar (Burma). It was donated in 1779 by King Singu, the fourth king of Konbaung Dynasty. The official Pali name of the bell is Maha Gandha, which means "Great Sound".

Bodawpaya 1745-1819, sixth king of the Konbaung Dynasty of Burma.

Bodawpaya was the sixth king of the Konbaung Dynasty of Burma. Born Maung Shwe Waing and later Badon Min, he was the fourth son of Alaungpaya, founder of the dynasty and the Third Burmese Empire. He was proclaimed king after deposing his nephew Phaungkaza Maung Maung, son of his oldest brother Naungdawgyi, at Ava. Bodawpaya moved the royal capital back to Amarapura in 1782. He was titled Hsinbyumyashin, although he became known to posterity as Bodawpaya in relation to his successor, his grandson Bagyidaw, who in turn was given this name in relation to his nephew Mindon Min. He fathered 62 sons and 58 daughters by about 200 consorts.

Early life

Singu was born Min Ye Hla (မင်းရဲလှ), the eldest son to Prince of Myedu (later King Hsinbyushin) and his first wife at the Royal Palace in Ava on 10 May 1756. When his father became king, Min Ye Hla was granted the town of Singu in fief. He became known as Singusa or Lord of Singu by which he would be known. He was later installed as Heir Apparent, against the wish of the founder of the dynasty, Alaungpaya. [1] [2]

Inwa Place in Mandalay Region, Burma

Inwa or Ava, located in Mandalay Region, Burma (Myanmar), is an ancient imperial capital of successive Burmese kingdoms from the 14th to 19th centuries. Throughout history, it was sacked and rebuilt numerous times. The capital city was finally abandoned after it was completely destroyed by a series of major earthquakes in March 1839. Though only a few traces of its former grandeur remain today, the former capital is a popular day-trip tourist destination from Mandalay.

Fief System of economic governance during the Middle Ages in Europe.

A fief was the central element of feudalism and consisted of heritable property or rights granted by an overlord to a vassal who held it in fealty in return for a form of feudal allegiance and service, usually given by the personal ceremonies of homage and fealty. The fees were often lands or revenue-producing real property held in feudal land tenure: these are typically known as fiefs or fiefdoms. However, not only land but anything of value could be held in fee, including governmental office, rights of exploitation such as hunting or fishing, monopolies in trade, and tax farms.

Accession controversy

Singu ascended the throne amid controversy; as his accession ignored the wish of the dynasty founder King Alaungpaya that all his sons become king. Singu's accession was made possible by the support of his father-in-law Gen. Maha Thiha Thura, the commander-in-chief of the Burmese military. (Singu's second queen, Maha Mingala Dewi, was the general's daughter.) [1] At his succession, he assumed the regnal name "Mahadhammayazadiyaza" (မဟာဓမ္မရာဇာဓိရာဇာ; Pali : Mahādhammarājadhirāja). At Hsinbyushin's death, Maha Thiha Thura led Burmese forces were bogged down in their latest campaign in Siam. Concerned about his own rule at home, Singu ordered a complete withdrawal of Burmese forces from Lan Na and Upper Menam valley. The withdrawal's long-term impact was that the Burmese would lose most of the old Lan Na Kingdom, which had been under Burmese suzerainty since 1558. [3]

Alaungpaya King of Burma

Alaungpaya was the founder of the Konbaung Dynasty of Burma (Myanmar). By the time of his death from illness during his campaign in Siam, this former chief of a small village in Upper Burma had unified Burma, subdued Manipur, conquered Lan Na and driven out the French and the British who had given help to the Mon Restored Hanthawaddy Kingdom. He also founded Yangon in 1755.

Maha Thiha Thura was commander-in-chief of the Burmese military from 1768 to 1776. Regarded as a brilliant military strategist, the general is best known in Burmese history for defeating the Chinese invasions of Burma (1765–1769). He rose to be a top commander in the service of King Alaungpaya during the latter's reunification campaigns of Burma (1752–1759), and later commanded Burmese armies in Siam, Lan Na, Luang Prabang (Laos), and Manipur.

Commander-in-chief supreme commanding authority of a military

A commander-in-chief, sometimes also called supreme commander, is the person that exercises supreme command and control over an armed forces or a military branch. As a technical term, it refers to military competencies that reside in a country's executive leadership – a head of state or a head of government.


Singu killed off potential rivals to the throne as soon as he came to power. He had three of his half-brothers executed in 1776,upon his ascension. He next executed his uncle Prince of Amyin, the rightful heir to the throne per Alaungpaya's wish, on 1 October,1777. He exiled other possible claimants—the remaining three uncles, and two cousins. Prince of Badon (later King Bodawpaya) was next in line for the throne—hence Singu's next target—but the astute prince conducted himself so as to be seen as harmless so that he escaped death. Prince of Badon was sent to Sagaing where he was kept under close supervision. [2] [3]

Sagaing City in Sagaing Region, Myanmar

Sagaing is the capital city of Sagaing Region. Located on the Irrawaddy River, 20 km to the south-west of Mandalay on the opposite bank of the river, Sagaing, with numerous Buddhist monasteries is an important religious and monastic centre. The pagodas and monasteries crowd the numerous hills along the ridge running parallel to the river. The central pagoda, Soon U Ponya Shin Pagoda, is connected by a set of covered staircases that run up the 240 m hill.


Unlike his predecessors, who were all military men, Singu was anti-war in sentiment. The country had been fighting constant wars since 1740, and manpower and resources had been severely depleted. Moreover, he did not trust army commanders who were "drunk with victory" and had become warlords in the regions. [3] Singu witnessed how the commanders openly disobeyed his father's orders when the once-fiery king was on his deathbed (1774–1776). Reflecting the people's general wariness for war, Singu largely demobilized the armies. He even had a fallout with Maha Thiha Thura and dismissed the man who made him king. He relieved the old general of all his offices. He divorced Maha Thiha Thura's daughter in May 1777, and had her drowned in 1778. [4]

By demobilizing, he essentially decided to give up Lan Na which had been under Burmese rule since Bayinnaung's time. Similarly, he took no action when the Laotian states of Vientiane and Luang Prabang, which had been Burmese vassals since 1765 stopped paying tribute in 1778. [5] Nonetheless, his demobilization was greatly received by the war-torn country. The people had grown tired of constant conscriptions to fight in "ever-lasting wars" in remote regions they had never heard of. [4]

The only region in which Singu maintained military action was Manipur, where he inherited another war from his father. The former Manipuri king, whom the Burmese last drove out in 1770, made four attempts to oust the Burmese nominee between 1775 and 1782 from his base in Cachar. The Burmese drove him back each time but were unable to capture him. The army gained "barren victories" and lost 20,000 men partly by fever over the years. After Singu's dethronement in 1782, the Burmese withdrew from Manipur "perhaps because the country was now so thoroughly devastated that nothing more could be wrung out of it". [4]


He spent much of his time at the capital and in the palace, surrounding himself with young people, as he was anti-war in temperament. There, he listened to music and poetry and spent his nights in drunken bouts in a hideout across the river. He executed or dismissed those courtiers who criticized his conduct. [3]

Dethronement and death

On 6 February 1782, one of the exiled cousins, Prince of Phaungka, came back to Ava, deposed Singu and claimed himself to be king. Phaungka's reign was short. Their uncle Prince of Badon, organized a coup one week later, killed both Singu and Phaungka and became king—later known as King Bodawpaya. [3]


  1. 1 2 3 4 Buyers, p. 3
  2. 1 2 Nisbet, p. 11
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 Htin Aung, pp. 181–186
  4. 1 2 3 Harvey, pp. 261–263
  5. Tarling, p. 238

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Singu Min
Born: 10 May 1756 Died: 14 February 1782
Regnal titles
Preceded by
King of Burma
10 June 1776 – 5 February 1782
Succeeded by
Royal titles
Preceded by
Heir to the Burmese Throne
as Prince of Singu
Succeeded by
Thado Minsaw