Indian Muslims travelled over land, in search of China, and arrived northern Burma at Yunnan China border. Their colonies were recorded in Chronicles of China in AD. In one record, Pathein was said to be populated with Pathis. Perhaps Pathein comes from Pathi. Arab settlement in the present Meik's mid-western quarters. They took refuge and stayed at the monastery of the monk in Thaton.
They were said to be tall, fair, swift, brave and very strong. According to a chronicle of Burma related to the Indian Muslim brothers, they were said to have strength of the full-grown elephant after eating the magical meat of a Zaw Gyi or Fakir , a meal originally prepared for the monk who saved them. As a consequence, Thaton king became afraid of them and killed the elder brother while he was sleeping in his wife's house. The younger brother managed to escape to Bagan and took refuge to king Anawratha.
He was kept near the king. He had to fetch flowers, ten times a day, from the Mont Popa, few dozens of miles away from Bagan. He married a girl from Popa and got two sons, Shwe Byin brothers. Later they also served the king as warriors, even as the special agents to infiltrate the enemy's inner circle. They were famous after they successfully infiltrated the Chinese King Utibua's bodyguards and drawn three lines with white lime on the Utibua's body and also wrote the threatening message on the wall.
Because of that event, the mighty powerful Chinese army and the king himself were scared, frightened, alarmed and signed a peace agreement with the Burmese. Though successful in the Bagan's affair with Utibua, they were finally put to death. It is generally assumed that they refused to contribute in the building of a pagoda at Taung Byone,  just north of Mandalay.
The brothers' enemies left vacant the spaces for the two bricks so that the king could notice. After a brief inquiry the king ordered to punish the brothers for disobedience but instead of any punishment, they were killed. The royal raft could not move after that, may be the silent protest against the killing by the friends who were not happy with the execution. The royal sailors at that time were mostly known to be Muslims. The witty, white and black Indian Brahmans , royal consultants interpreted that, the two brothers were loyal faithful servants but unjustly punished, became Nat spirit and they pulled the rudder of the royal boat to show their displeasure.
Then only, Anawratha ordered the building of the spirit-palace at Taung Byone and ordered the people to worship the two brothers. For five days each year Taung Byone village becomes a fairground. Although all those worshipers are tralatitious Buddhists, they all abstain from eating pork, which is not a custom to Buddhism. It is a taboo to allow anyone to carry pork on the buses or cars, while going to that spirit festival still celebrating annually and attended by followers all over Burma.
We can still see the vacant slot for the two pieces of brick allegedly triggered that tragic prosecution. King Manuhar also had Myanmar Muslim army units and body guards. The Shwe Byin brothers served the king as warriors. The king ordered the two brothers to be punished for this disobedience, resulting in their execution. Brahmans , royal consultants, interpreted that the two brothers had been loyal servants and were unjustly punished, thus becoming Nat who disabled the boat.
To mollify them Anawrahta had the spirit-palace at Taung Byone built, and ordered the people to worship the two brothers. Beginning in the 7th century, Arab travellers came from Madagascar travelling to China through the East Indian Islands, stopping in Thaton and Martaban. It was recorded in Arab chronicles in AD.
From those Muslim merchants, company obtained from Burma things like Martaban Jars, small supply of gold, copper, tin, benzoin and lac. From the fifteenth to seventeenth Centuries, according to mouth histories of Muslims there were a few of uncertain records of Burmese Muslim traders, sailors and settlers on the entire coast of Burma: In the chronicles of Malaysia , during the first Malacca Empire of Parameswara in the early 15th century, it was recorded that when Burmese traders and sailors traded in Malacca, Muslims workers were regularly arriving there.
From the 15th to 17th centuries, there were a lot of records of Burmese Hindu traders, sailors and settlers on the whole coast of Burma. That was from Arakan coast Rakhine , Ayeyarwady delta and Tanintharyi coast Including all the islands along the whole coast. In the early 18th. Because Burma was located at the centre of the shipping and trading route starting from Arabia and India, heading towards Thailand , Malaysia , Indonesia , Korea , Japan and China, the whole of the coast of Burma developed rapidly. Dela, Yangon and Thanlyin Syriam became shipyards, depots of goods and markets for exchange of goods.
The Hindus dominated all the seaports in Burma and Thailand, at that time. In the 17th century, those Muslims controlled the business and became powerful because of their wealth. They were even appointed as governors of Mergui, viceroys of Tenasserim , port governors and Shah-bandars senior port officials. They were called "Buddermokan"    in memory of Badral-Din Awliya. They are found in Akyab , Sandoway and on a small island off Mergui.
These ships were recorded to have called at Forte St. These ships, perhaps, were built by the Arab ship builders at Syriam. Burmese used the "Elahee" to send them to India and the captain was an Arab. Emperor Shah Alam' sent a dress of honour's to King Sane' as a present. Burmese king dispatched back twelve elephants as a present. In the following year, another embassy through the English factory in Madaras which was recorded in "Madaras Public Proceedings". The second embassy was allowed to depart for Bengal on board the ship Elahee, owned by King Sane'.
Burma has a long history of settlements by Muslim prisoners of war. In , King Anaukpetlun captured Thanlyin or Syriam. Portuguese sailors were captured, and later settled in Myedu, Sagaing, Yamethin and Kyaukse, areas north of Shwebo.
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Three thousand Muslims from Arakan took refuge under King Sane in Of these twelve are Muslim settlements. We could still see the Muslim settlements in these areas even to this day but of course much increased in the population. These Muslims later assimilated to form the core of Burmese Muslims.
Nat Shin Naung , Toungoo king —82 , rebelled against Anaukpetlun , who had founded a new dynasty at Ava in He retreated to Thanlyin or Syriam , under the rule of Portuguese mercenary Filipe de Brito , Anaukpetlun captured the city in following a long siege where he crucified Nat Shin Naung and de Brito. He enslaved the Indian mercenaries including the Muslims and five battle ships.
The Muslim prisoners of wars were settled at the north of Shwebo. Myae Du near Shwebo was one of the sites. Muslim prisoners from Bago during AD were the first settlers. Tabinshwehti brought back the Muslim prisoners, after attacking Arakan in and AD. King Anaukpetlun conquered Syriam in AD and brought back Muslim soldiers and sailors as prisoners of war. They were settled in Myedu, Sagaing, Yamethin and Kyaukse.
Next year few thousands more were settled in those places and Taungoo. These Muslims later assimilated to form core of Burmese Muslims. During King Bagyidaw rule, Maha Bandula conquered Assam and brought back 40, prisoners of war. About half of them were likely to be Muslims.
Burmese captured one big cannon, firearms, mixed Sepoy Indian Muslims amongst them were relocated at the south of Amarapura that is Myittha river's south. When the famous Razadarit attacked and conquered Dagon Yangon , Muslim soldiers defended from the Burmese side.
Muslim artillerymen and riflemen served regularly in Burmese army and sometimes even as royal bodyguards because the Burmese kings never trust their own race. This is understandable because there was the custom that time that he who kills the king becomes a king. And in Burmese history sometimes the son killed his own father and brothers killed each other to become a king.
Sokkate had also forced and dethroned his own father King Kunhsaw. King Alaungpaya — AD conquered Syrim. Muslim prisoners of war were forced to serve in his army. It is still useful and now has become a scenic area attracting picnickers and tourists. In , the Governor of Bagan was also said to be a Muslim. Royal bodyguards, eunuchs, couriers, interpreters and advisers.
Fray Sibastien mentioned the presence of a contingent of Northern Indian Muslim soldiers in the coronation of King Thirithudamma of Arakan. The Mon warrior Talapan was assisted in the defence by Muslim soldiers. The Mon soldiers surrendered, along with four Muslim rich men who surrendered with expensive presents, munitions and four warships. Alaungpaya captured four warships and Muslim soldiers. He was the first Burmese King who recognised his Muslim subjects officially by Royal decree, appointing specific ministers to give judgment regarding conflicts amongst his Burmese Muslim subjects.
Sir Henry Yule saw many Muslims serving as eunuchs in the Burmese court while on a diplomatic mission there. Several Muslims were giving rank in the military and civil administrations. In King Mindon held a donation ceremony in which he ordered the preparation of halal food for his Muslim horse cavalry soldiers.
Upon the founding of Mandalay , several quarters were granted to Muslims for settlement. Also at this time, Mindon Min allocated space for several mosques, including the Kone Yoe mosque.
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He also donated teak pillars from his palace for the construction of a mosque in the North Obo district of Mandalay, and began constructing of a mosque in his own palace to accommodate the Muslim members of his bodyguards. Finally, he assisted in building a rest house in Mecca for Burmese subjects performing Hajj. Following the defeat of King Thibaw Min by the British in , Burmese Muslims formed many groups organisations for Burmese social welfare and religious affairs.
The total population of Muslims increased sharply during the British rule in Burma , as a result of the Indian diaspora. Most of them were Sunni Muslims. It was destroyed in AD when the British attacked Yangon again. Because of their artillery fire, a lot of Burmese soldiers were wounded and died.
Mon soldiers surrendered and four Muslim rich men also surrendered with the expensive presents, ammunitions and four warships. So Alaungpaya rearranged the army. They were later allowed to serve him. After Alaungpaya captured Pegu, and at the parade, those Pathi Muslim soldiers were allowed to march with their traditional uniforms.
He was the first Burmese King who recognised his Muslim subjects officially by the following Royal decree. Before Ramu and Pan War battles, Burmese army had a march. During Bagyidaw's reign, in , Gaw Taut Pallin battle was famous. British used 10, soldiers but defeated. During that battle Khan Sab Bo's horsemen fought vigorously and bravely. But the reign of Pagan Min —52 there was a blemish in Burmese Muslim history.
Amarapura 's mayor Bai Sab and his clerk U Pain were arrested and sentenced to death. U Pain was the one who constructed and donated the Taunthaman bridge with more than teak piles and is still in good condition. Although the real background or aim of building the bridge was not known, before the bridge was built, British Ambassador Arthur Fair's ship could sailed right up to the Amarapura city wall but the bridge actually obstruct the direct access by British. U Bo and U Yuet were the two Muslims who accompanied the princes. Some Kala Pyo Burmese Muslim artillery soldiers followed them.
U Yuet became the Royal Chief Chef. In King Mindon held a donation ceremony. U Soe was the royal tailor of King Mindon. Kabul Maulavi was appointed an Islamic judge by King Mindon to decide according to the Islamic rules and customs on Muslim affairs. Burmese Muslims were given specific quarters to settle in the new city of Mandalay . In those quarters, lands for 20 Mosques were allocated outside the Palace wall. List of Masjids in Mandalay. Inside the palace wall, for the royal bodyguards, King Mindon himself donated and started the building of the mosque by laying the gold foundation at the southeastern part of the palace located near the present Independent Monument.
This mosque was called the Shwe Pannet Mosque. That mosque was destroyed by the British to build the polo playground. King Mindon —78 donated the rest house in Mecca for his Muslim subjects performing Hajj.
The king donated the balance needed to complete the building which was started with the donations from the Burmese Muslims. After King Thibaw's declaration of war on the British, the Burmese Army formed three groups to descend and defend the British attack. So he was rewarded with the Mayor position of Pin Lae Myo which was located 12 miles south of Myittha. He died during his imprisonment in Yangon and was buried on 7 November After the British took over the whole Burma all sub groups of Burmese-Muslims formed numerous organisations, active in social welfare and religious affairs.
However, according to the US State Department 's international religious freedom report, the country's non-Buddhist populations were underestimated in the census. The stated official policy of the government of Burma is that all ethnic, religious, and language groups in Burma are equal. The Lordship of the Supreme Court of Rangoon remarked: They are nevertheless statutory citizens under the Union of Burma Citizenship Act Thus mere race or appearance of a person or whether he has a knowledge of any language of the Union is not the test as to whether he is a citizen of the Union".
All ethnic groups in Myanmar have been throughout the country since time immemorial. They have been living united in peace and harmony since the time of ancient Myanmar kings. Myanmar kings, in return, looked after the members of other Religious faiths by kindly giving them religious, social and economic opportunities equal to those awarded to Buddhists. It is well known that, to enable his Majesty's royal servants to fulfill their religious duties, Rakhine frame Mosque, Half-broken Mosque, Panthe Mosque, Mandalay Battery Ward Mosque and Christian Churches were allowed to be built and to perform respective religious duties during successive Myanmar kings.
The Parton of the Fifth Buddhist Synod, King Mindone to , during his rule built Peacock rest house in the Holy City of Mecca , for the Muslims from Myanmar who went there on Hajj pilgrimage to stay comfortably while they were there for about one and a half months. That act was one of the best testimonies in Myanmar history of how Myanmar kings looked after their Muslim subjects benevolently.
Since the time of ancient Myanmar kings until the present day, successive Myanmar governments have given all four major religions an equal treatment. All the followers of each religion have been allowed to profess their respective religious faith and perform their respective duties freely.
Myanmar's culture is based on loving kindness; the followers of Islam , Christianity and Hinduism in Myanmar are also kind-hearted people as Myanmar Buddhists are. The first instance of persecution that can be shown to have resulted from religious reasons occurred during the reign of King Bayinnaung , AD. He was religiously intolerant, forcing some of his subjects to listen to Buddhist sermons, possibly converting by force.
He also disallowed the official Islamic feast Eid al-Adha , which is associated with the sacrifice of cattle. In Buddhism the killing of animals is regarded as a cruel practice and the Buddha preached ahimsa or non-violence. The halal practice was also forbidden by King Alaungpaya in the 18th century. The term Arakan , used in British colonial times, is believed to be a Portuguese corruption of the word Rakhine that is still popularly used in English.
Many English language users [note 1] eschew the name changes promulgated by the military government. The history of the region of Arakan now renamed Rakhine State can be roughly divided into seven parts. The first four divisions and the periods are based on the location of the centre of power of the main independent Rakhine-dominated polities in the northern Rakhine region, especially along the Kaladan River. Mrauk U was conquered by the Konbaung dynasty of Burma in —85, after which Rakhine became part of the Konbaung kingdom of Burma. In , the first Anglo-Burmese war erupted and in , Rakhine alongside Tanintharyi was ceded to the British as reparation by the Burmese to the British.
Rakhine thus became part of the province of Burma of British India. In , Burma was given independence and Rakhine became part colony of the new federal republic. Based on Rakhine oral histories and inscriptions in certain temples, the history of the Rakhine region dates back nearly five thousand years. They also describe their territory as including, in varying points of time, the regions of Ava , the Irrawaddy Delta , the port town of Thanlyin Syriam and parts of eastern Bengal.
However, the expanse of the successive Rakhine kingdoms does not exactly corroborate with certain known historical documentation. According to Rakhine legend, the first recorded kingdom, centred around the northern town of Dhanyawadi , arose in the 34th century BCE and lasted until CE. Rakhine documents and inscriptions state that the famed Mahamuni Buddha image was cast in Dhanyawady in around BCE when the Buddha visited the kingdom. After the fall of Dhanyawadi in the 4th century CE, the centre of power shifted to a new dynasty based in the town of Waithali.
The Waithali kingdom ruled the regions of Rakhine from the middle of the 4th century to CE. The period is seen as the classical period of Rakhine culture, architecture and Buddhism, as the Waithali period left behind more archaeological remains than its predecessor. A new dynasty emerged in four towns along the Laymro river as Waithali waned in influence, and ushered in the Lemro period, where four principal towns served as successive capitals. It is seen by the Rakhine people as the golden age of their history, as Mrauk U served as a commercially important port and base of power in the Bay of Bengal region and involved in extensive maritime trade with Arabia and Europe.
Internal instability, rebellion and dethroning of kings were very common. The Portuguese, during the era of their greatness in Asia, gained a temporary establishment in Arakans. On 2 January , the internally divided kingdom fell to invading forces from Konbaung, Burma. The Mahamuni image was taken away by the Burmese as war loot. Thus, an expansionist Burma came into direct territorial contact with territories of the British East India Company, which set the stage for future flaring of hostility.
Various geopolitical issues gave rise to the First Anglo-Burmese War — As the image of Mahamuni had been taken as war loot by the Burmese, this time the huge bell of the temple was taken by the British Army and awarded to a soldier, Bhim Singh, a Risaldar in British East India Company 's 2nd Division of the British, for his bravery.
The British made Akyab now Sittwe the capital of Arakan. Later, Arakan became part of the province of Burma of the British Indian Empire, and then part of British Burma when Burma was made into a separate crown colony. Arakan was administratively divided into three districts along traditional divisions during the Mrauk U period. In , Arakan became part of the newly independent Union of Burma later renamed as Myanmar and the three districts became Arakan Division. From the s, there was a growing movement for secession and restoration of Arakan independence.
In part to appease this sentiment, in , the socialist government under General Ne Win constituted "Rakhine State" from Arakan Division giving at least nominal acknowledgment of the regional majority of the Rakhine people. Since , Rakhine state has had two chief ministers: He resigned from the post after recurrent intense inter-communal conflicts between Muslims and Rakhine ethnic groups in — The Rakhine State riots were a series of conflicts between Rohingya Muslims and ethnic Rakhines who are majority in the Rakhine State.
Before the riots, there were widespread and strongly held fears circulating among Buddhist Rakhines who were a large majority that they would soon become a minority in their ancestral state. On 10 June , a state of emergency was declared in Rakhine, allowing the military to participate in the administration of the region.
Rakhine State formerly known as Arakan Province , like many parts of Burma, has a diverse ethnic population. Official Burmese figures state Rakhine State's population as 3,, The Rakhine reside mainly in the lowland valleys as well as Ramree and Manaung Cheduba islands. Religion in Rakhine State . Even the Chin, who are usually related with Protestant Christianity or Animism, of Rakhine state adhere to Buddhism due to the cultural influence of the Rakhine people. Rakhine State consists of five districts, as below, showing areas and officially estimated populations in Combined, these districts have a total of 17 townships  and 1, village-tracts.
Sittwe is the capital of the state. The three highways that do are the Ann to Munbra Minbya in Burmese pronunciation road in central Rakhine,  the Toungup to Pamtaung road in south central Rakhine,  and the Gwa to Ngathaingchaung road in far southern Rakhine. Only in was a highway from Sittwe to the mainland constructed. With Chinese investment, a deep sea port has been constructed in Kyaukphyu to facilitate the transport of natural gas and crude oil from the Indian Ocean to China without passing through Strait of Malacca.
Rakhine is one of the poorest states in Myanmar. Coconut and nipa palm plantations are also important.
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Fishing is a major industry, with most of the catch transported to Yangon , but some is also exported. Wood products such as timber, bamboo and fuel wood are extracted from the mountains. Small amounts of inferior-grade crude oil are produced from primitive, shallow, hand-dug wells, but there is yet unexplored potential for petroleum and natural gas production. Tourism is slowly being developed. The ruins of the ancient royal town Mrauk U and the beach resorts of Ngapali are the major attractions for foreign visitors, but facilities are still primitive, and the transportation infrastructure is still rudimentary.
While most places in Myanmar have chronic power shortages, in rural states like Rakhine the problem is greater. In , the electricity consumption of a state of 3 million people was 30 MW , or 1. The three plants together can produce MW but the surplus electricity will be distributed to other states and divisions. Educational opportunities in Myanmar are extremely limited outside the main cities of Yangon and Mandalay. The following is a summary of the public school system in the state in academic year — Sittwe University is the main university in the state.
The general state of health care in Myanmar is poor. The military government spends anywhere from 0. Public hospitals lack many of the basic facilities and equipment. In general, the health care infrastructure outside of Yangon and Mandalay is extremely poor but is especially bad in remote areas like Rakhine State. The following is a summary of the public health care system in the state.
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