On This Day

The Death of an Exiled Myanmar Prince

By Wei Yan Aung 23 September 2019

YANGON—On this day 98 years ago, Prince Myingun, who killed his uncle, Crown Prince Kanaung, in a failed coup against his father, King Mindon of the Konbaung Dynasty, died at the age of 77 in Saigon, Vietnam.

Prince Myingun is portrayed by local historians in Myanmar as a villain because his assassination of Prince Kanaung, the kingdom’s leading reformist, crippled attempts to modernize Burma’s army and other institutions.

After the failed coup, Prince Myingun fled Mandalay, which was the royal capital at the time, and sought political asylum in Yangon, which was already under British control. However, as the prince’s popularity among local people grew, the British sent him to India temporarily to prevent the possibility of a rebellion.

Myanmar fell under colonial rule in 1886 and the prince left for Saigon, a French colony at the time. From there, he led anti-British movements among Burmese people and feudal lords in Shan. He returned to Myanmar twice in secret to supervise the fight against the British.

His efforts were largely stymied when Britain and France signed an agreement in 1904 that brought the colonial powers closer together, the Entente Cordiale. Prince Myingun continued his fight against the British until his last days in Saigon.

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