Lost Footsteps
Lost Footsteps
The Bayingyis of Myanmar
event_note History Timeline

1600s

The Bayingyis of Myanmar

One of the smallest but perhaps most interesting Christian community in Myanmar are the Bayingyi of the Mu valley (near Shwebo). "Bayingyi" is a derivation of the Arabic "Feringi" or "Frank", meaning, roughly, a western European. It's the same as the Thai word "Farang" or the Khmer "Barang". The first Bayingyi of the Mu valley were the hundreds of mainly Portuguese followers of the Syriam warlord Filipe de Brito who were exiled there by King Anaukpetlun in the early 1600s. Their numbers were swelled by hundreds of French (mainly Breton and Norman) sailors who were captured at Rangoon in the 1750s. They were led by the chevalier Pierre de Milard who later because chief of King Hsinbyushin's bodyguard and Captain of the Royal Artillery, and was styled Thiri Razathu Kyawthin, myoza of Tabe. He assisted in the conquest of Ayuthaya and is buried at Ngayabya in the Mu valley and his tombstone records his exploits in both Latin and Burmese.

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