Rakhine State

Rakhine State

Rakhine State is a state in Myanmar. Situated on the western coast, it is bordered by Chin State to the north, Magway Region, Bago Region and Ayeyarwady Region to 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 Mountains, rising to 3,063 metres (10,049 ft) at Victoria Peak, separate Rakhine State from central Burma. Off the coast of Rakhine State there are some fairly large islands such as Cheduba and Myingun Island. Rakhine State has an area of 36,762 square kilometres (14,194 sq mi) and its capital is Sittwe.

Etymology

The term Rakhine is believed to have been derived from the Pali word Rakkhapura (Sanskrit Raksapura), meaning "Land of Ogres" (Rakshas), possibly a pejorative referring to the original Negrito[citation needed] inhabitants. In Hindu religious Text, Austric Race (Austroloid-Dravidian Race-Aborigine Of eastern India) was called Rakshas (Orge). In The Pali word "Rakkhapura" ("Rakkhita") means "land of the people of Rakhasa" (also Rakkha, Rakhaing). They were given this name in honour of their preservation of their national heritage and ethics or morality.[citation needed] The word Rakhine means, "one who maintains his own race." In the Rakhine language, the land is called Rakhinepray, the ethnic Rakhine are called Rakhinetha. 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.

History Of Rakhine

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. Thus, the history is divided into the Dhanyawadi, Waithali, Laymro and Mrauk U. Mrauk U was conquered by the Konbaung dynasty of Burma in 1784–85, after which Rakhine became part of the Konbaung kingdom of Burma. In 1824, the first Anglo-Burmese war erupted and in 1826, 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 1948, Burma was given independence and Rakhine became part (colony) of the new federal republic.

Independent kingdom

Based on Rakhine oral histories and inscriptions in certain temples, the history of the Rakhine region dates back nearly five thousand years.[citation needed] The Rakhine people trace their societal history back to as far as 3325 BCE and have given a lineal succession of 227 native monarchs and princes down to the last ruler in 1784. They also describe their territory of 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 arose, centred around the northern town of Dhanyawadi in the 34th century BCE and lasted until 327 CE. Rakhine documents and inscriptions state that the famed Mahamuni Buddha image was cast in Dhanyawady in around 554 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 818 CE. The period is seen as the classical period of Rakhine culture, architecture and Buddhism, as the Waithali period left behind more archaeological remains compared to 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.

The final Kingdom of Mrauk U was founded in 1429 by Min Saw Mon. 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. The country steadily declined from the 17th century onwards after the loss of Chittagong to the Mughal Empire in 1666. 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 Arakan.

Coordinates: 19°30′N94°0′E / 19.500°N 94.000°E
Country Myanmar
Region West coastal
Capital Sittwe
Government
• Chief Minister Nyi Pu (NLD)
• Legislature Rakhine State Hluttaw
Area
• Total 36,778.0 km2 (14,200.1 sq mi)
Area rank 8th
Population (2014 Census)
• Total 3,188,807
• Rank 8th
Demographics
• Ethnicities Rakhine, Kaman, Mro, Khami and others
• Religions Theravada Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism and others
Time zone MST (UTC+06:30)

Rakhine State (Arakan State)

Myanmar location

Flag

Myanmar location

Location of rakhine State in Myanmar

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Rakhine's ancient kingdoms are divided into four separate periods.

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Silver coin of king Nitichandra, Arakan. Brahmi legend "NITI" in front, Shrivatasa symbol on the reverse. 8th century CE.