King of Burma
Reign 1254–1287
Predecessor Uzana
Successor Kyawswa
Chief Minister Yazathingyan
Consort Shin Saw[1]
Saw Nan
Shin Hpa
Shin Mauk
Shin Shwe
Mi Saw U
House Pagan
Father Uzana
Mother Su Le Htone
Born 1237
599 ME (Sunday born)[2]
Died c. December 1287 (aged 50)
Pyatho 649 ME[2]
Religion Theravada Buddhism

Narathihapate (Burmese: နရသီဟပတေ့, pronounced [nəɹa̰ θìha̰pətḛ]; also Narathihapati; c. 1237–1287) was the last king of Pagan dynasty of Burma (Myanmar) from 1254 to 1287. The king is unkindly remembered for two things: his gluttonous appetite which supposedly required all his dinners to have 300 varieties of dishes; and his panic flight from Mongol invasions. He is forever remembered as Tayokpyay Min, or the King who Ran Away from the Chinese. The king was poisoned soon after in Prome by his second son Thihathu, Governor of Prome. Nearly 250 years of Pagan's rule over the Irrawaddy basin and its periphery came to an end. The country broke apart into multiple kingdoms, an interregnum that would last for another 250 years until the emergence of Toungoo dynasty reunited the country in the mid-16th century.



Narathihapate was a son of King Uzana and Queen Asaw.[3][4] After Uzana's death from a hunting accident in 1254, Narathihapate was placed on the Pagan throne over more experienced elder princes by the chief court minister Yazathingyan who believed could control the young prince. The young king turned out be quick-tempered, arrogant, and ruthless. He quickly sent Yazathingyan into exile. But he soon had to recall Yazathingyan to quell the rebellions in Arakan and in Tenasserim. Yazathingyan put down the rebellions but died in the return journey. With the old minister's death removed the only person that could have controlled the ruthless, inexperienced king.[5]

Narathihapate was incompetent in both domestic and foreign affairs. Like his father and grandfather before him, he too failed to fix the depleted royal treasury, which had been deteriorating for years because the continued growth of tax-free religious landholdings. But unlike his grandfather Kyaswa, who would rather build a small temple than to resort to forced labor, Narathihapate built a lavish temple, the Mingalazedi Pagoda with forced labor. The people, sinking under his rule, whispered: "When the pagoda is finished, the king shall die".[5]

But the real threat to Narathihapate and the Burmese kingdom came from the north. The Mongols had conquered Yunnan in 1253, and in 1271 under instructions from Kublai Khan, the new military governors of Yunnan sent envoys to Pagan demanding tribute.[6] The Burmese king refused. The Mongols again sent another mission in 1273. This time the king ordered the envoys executed. In 1277, the Mongols sent in the first invasion. The Burmese were defeated in the Battle of Ngasaunggyan. Fighting went on and off in the following years, punctuated by attempts at negotiation including a mission in 1284 by the minister Dithapamoukka to the court of Kublai Khan. In 1287, the Mongols, led by a grandson of the emperor, moved in the heartland of the kingdom.[6] The king fled Pagan in panic to Lower Burma. In Prome, his second son Thihathu, governor of Prome, arrested the king and forced the king to take poison. To refuse would have meant death by the sword, and with a prayer on his lips that in all his future existences "may no male-child be ever born to him again", the king swallowed the poison and died.[5]


Narathihapate's death was promptly followed by the breakup of the kingdom. Nearly 250 years of Pagan's rule over the Irrawaddy basin and its periphery was over. In Lower Burma, the Hanthawaddy Kingdom of the Mons emerged. In the west, Arakan was now de jure independent. In the north, the Shans who came down with the Mongols came to dominate Kachin hills and Shan hills, and went on dominate much of western and central mainland Southeast Asia. Central Burma briefly became a Mongol vassal under a puppet king Kyawswa, the youngest son of Narathihapate between 1287 and 1298. The core of the former empire would remain fragmented between petty kingdoms until 1364.


  1. ^ Pe Maung Tin and G.H. Luce. The Glass Palace Chronicle of the Kings of Burma (1960 ed.). Rangoon University Press. pp. 158–179. 
  2. ^ a b "Pagan Dynasty" (in Burmese). Hmannan Yazawin. 1 (2003 ed.). Yangon: Ministry of Information, Myanmar. 1829. p. 358. 
  3. ^ Taw Sein Ko, and Forchhammer, Emanuel (1899) Inscriptions of Pagan, Pinya and Ava Archaeological Survey of India, Superintendent, Government Printing, Rangoon, Burma, page 71, note, OCLC 5131889
  4. ^ Furnivall, J. S. (1911) "Matriarchal Vestiges in Burma" The Journal of the Burma Research Society 1: pp. 15–30, page 21
  5. ^ a b c Maung Htin Aung (1967). A History of Burma. New York and London: Cambridge University Press. pp. 65–71. 
  6. ^ a b Thant Myint-U (2006). The River of Lost Footsteps--Histories of Burma. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. pp. 60–62. ISBN 978-0-374-16342-6, 0-374-16342-1. 

External sources

  1. Pagan Period (Part One)
  2. Pagan Period (Part Two)
Pagan Dynasty
Born: 1237 Died: c. December 1287
Regnal titles
Preceded by
King of Burma
Succeeded by
Mongol vassal

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