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Pegu (ပဲခူး)

State and Kingdom of the Mon before annexation by Burma. Situated in present-day lower Myanmar, in a region once called Hongsawadih. It later became part of the Pagan Empire when it expanded its power from the North. The state was ruled from Kambawzathardi, i.e. the Golden Palace (fig.), with the Lion Throne Hall (map - fig.) and the Bee Throne Hall (map - fig.) located within its compound. It is nowadays transliterated Bago and besides the old palace, has a number of interesting Buddhist temples and compounds, both ancient and new, such as Kyai Pun Bhura Kyee (map - fig.), Lay Myat Nar Phaya (map - fig.), the reclining Buddha images Shwethalyaung (fig.) built in 994 AD by Mon King Migadeikpa (fig.), and the 82 meters long Mya Tha Lyaung, constructed only in the year 2000 (fig.). According to legend, the Sakyamuni Buddha, soon after his Enlightenment, made a flying trip to Lower Burma, which at that time was still completely covered with water, apart from a mountain, of which the pinnacle emerged from the water. A hintha couple looking for a place to rest landed on this spot, but since it was too small for two birds to perch on it, the male hintha let the female bird sit on its back instead. When the Buddha saw the female hintha sitting on the back of the male bird, perched on the mountain top island, he foretold that the area would one day become the centre of a prosperous kingdom, some 15 centuries onward. When the waters finally receded, two Mon princes in 825 AD founded the town of Hanthawaddy, which derives its name from the two hintha birds, which it took as its symbol and today is found all over Bago (fig.). As the dominant kingdom, Hanthawaddy Pegu ruled Lower Burma from 1287 to 1539 and again briefly from 1550 to 1552. Its fall was caused by the raids and eventual capture of Pegu in 1539 by the Taungoo Empire from Upper Burma led by King Tabinshwehti and his deputy general, who was also his brother-in-law and later successor, that is to say General Bayinnaung (fig.). However, Taungoo King Tabinshwehti was assassinated and the Hanthawaddy Pegu Kingdom was briefly revived in 1550, though it would not extend much outside the city of Bago and in March 1552 the new King Bayinnaung defeated the rebellion and the Taungoo kings would rule all of Lower Burma until when the Mon people of Lower Burma in 1740 rose up against a weakened Taungoo Empire and founded the so-called Restored Hanthawaddy Kingdom. See also Forty Years' War.