The Bayingyis of Myanmar
One of the smallest but perhaps most interesting Christian communities in Myanmar are the bayingyi of the Mu valley (near Shwebo). Bayingyi is a derivation of the Arabic word Feringi or frank, meaning, roughly, a western European. It is the same as the Thai word farang or the Khmer barang. The first bayingyis 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 later 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 became the chief of King Hsinbyushin's bodyguard and Captain of the Royal Artillery, and became known as Thiri Razathu Kyawthin, myoza of Tabe. He assisted in the conquest of Ayuthaya and is buried at Ngayabya in the Mu valley where his tombstone records his exploits in both Latin and Burmese.