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Mong Mao, Möngmao (Chinese: 勐卯) or Mao kingdom (Mong is the etymological equivalent of Thai Mueang, meaning nation) was an ethnically Dai state that controlled several smaller Tai states or chieftainships along the frontier of what is now Myanmar and China in the Dehong region of Yunnan with a capital near the modern-day border town of Ruili. The name of the main river in this region is the Nam Mao, also known as the Shweli River.

Mong Mao
State of the ancient Shan States
560[citation needed]–1604
Location of Möngmao state founded
Territory of Mong Mao in the heyday of Si Kefa period, include the state which tributed to Mong Mao
 •  Möngmao state founded 560[citation needed]
 •  State extinguished 1604
Ben Cahoon (2000). "World Shan and Karenni States of Burma". Retrieved 7 July 2014.



The chronicle of this region, titled the Mong Mao Chronicle, was written much later.[1] Some scholars identify Mong Mao with the Kingdom of Pong, as well as with the kingdom of Luh Shwan mentioned in Chinese chronicles. Like most of Tai Yai history, the history of the Kingdom of Pong is largely legendary and existing chronicles and traditions include conflicting names and dates which have led to different interpretations.[2]

Mong Mao arose in the power vacuum left after the Kingdom of Dali in Yunnan fell to the Mongol Yuan Dynasty around 1254. The Yuan ruled the region indirectly in what was known as the Native Chieftain System. This kingdom had asserted some unity over the diversity of ethnic groups residing along the southwest frontier of Yunnan.[3] In 1448, a combination of Ming, Xishuangbanna, and other allied forces subjugated Mong Mao.

"Mong Mao" is sometimes used by authors to refer to the entire group of Tai states along the Chinese-Myanmar frontier including Luchuan-Pingmian (麓川平緬), Mong Yang/Mong Yawng?? (Chinese: 孟養; pinyin: Mèngyǎng), and Hsenwi (Chinese: 木邦; pinyin: Mùbāng), even though specific place names are almost always used in Ming and Burmese sources.[4]

The center of power shifted frequently between these smaller states or chieftainships. Sometimes they were unified under one strong leader, sometimes they were not. As the Shan scholar Sai Kam Mong observes: "Sometimes one of these [smaller states] strove to be the leading kingdom and sometimes all of them were unified into one single kingdom ... The capital of the kingdom shifted from place to place, but most of them were located near the Nam Mao river (the "Shweli" on most maps today)" [5]

The various versions of the Mong Mao Chronicle provide the lineage of Mong Mao rulers. The Shan chronicle tradition, recorded very early by Elias (1876), provides a long list with the first ruler of Mong Mao dating from 568 A.D. The dates in Elias for later rulers of Mong Mao do not match very well the dates in Ming dynasty sources such as Ming Shilu (Wade, 2005) and Baiyi Zhuan (Wade, 1996) which are considered more reliable from the time of the ruler Si Kefa. Kazhangjia (1990), translated into Thai by Witthayasakphan and Zhao Hongyun (2001), also provides a fairly detailed local chronicle of Mong Mao.

List of MonarchsEdit

Chinese name Years Length Succession Death Tai Name Other names
Si Kefa 1340–1371 31 years natural Hso Kip Hpa Sa Khaan Pha
Zhao Bingfa 1371–1378 8 years son natural
Tai Bian 1378/79 1 year son murdered
Zhao Xiaofa 1379/80 1 year brother of Zhao Bingfa murdered
Si Wafa ? ? brother murdered Hso Wak Hpa
Si Lunfa 1382–1399 17 years grandson of Si Kefa Hso Long Hpa
Si Xingfa 1404–1413 9 years son abdicated
Si Renfa 1413–1445/6 29 years brother executed Hso Wen Hpa Sa Ngam Pha
Si Jifa 1445/6-1449 son executed Sa Ki Pha, Chau Si Pha
Si Bufa 1449-?
Si Lunfa ?-1532 murdered Sawlon

Descendants-Tai AhomEdit

Chaolung Sukaphaa was the first Ahom king in medieval Assam, was the founder of the Mong Dun Sun Kham. A Tai prince originally from Mong Mao, the kingdom he established in 1228 existed for nearly six hundred years and in the process unified the various indigenous ethnic groups of the region that left a deep impact on the region. In reverence to his position in Assam's history the honorific Chaolung is generally associated with his name (Chao: lord; Lung: great).

Since 1996 December 2 has been celebrated in Assam as the Sukaphaa Divawkh, or Axom Divawkh (Assam Day), to commemorate the advent of the first king of the Ahom kingdom in Assam after his journey over the Patkai Hills.


  • Daniels, Christian (2006) "Historical memories of a Chinese adventurer in a Tay chronicle; Usurpation of the throne of a Tay polity in Yunnan, 1573–1584," International Journal of Asian Studies, 3, 1 (2006), pp. 21–48.
  • Elias, N. (1876) Introductory Sketch of the History of the Shans in Upper Burma and Western Yunnan. Calcutta: Foreign Department Press. (Recent facsimile Reprint by Thai government in Chiang Mai University library).
  • Jiang Yingliang (1983) Daizu Shi [History of the Dai ethnicity], Chengdu: Sichuan Renmin Chubanshe.
  • Kazhangjia, Z. (1990). "Hemeng gumeng: Meng Mao gudai zhuwang shi [A History of the Kings of Meng Mao]." In Meng Guozhanbi ji Meng Mao gudai zhuwang shi [History of Kosampi and the kings of Meng Mao]. Gong Xiao Zheng. (tr.) Kunming, Yunnan, Yunnan Minzu Chubanshe.
  • Liew, Foon Ming. (1996) "The Luchuan-Pingmian Campaigns (1436–1449): In the Light of Official Chinese Historiography". Oriens Extremus 39/2, pp. 162–203.
  • Sai Kam Mong (2004) The History and Development of the Shan Scripts, Chiang Mai; Silkworm Books.
  • Wade, Geoff (1996) "The Bai Yi Zhuan: A Chinese Account of Tai Society in the 14th Century," 14th Conference of the International Association of Historians of Asia (IAHA), Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand [Includes a complete translation and introduction to the Ming travelogue "Bai-yi Zhuan", a copy can be found at the Thailand Information Center at Chulalongkorn Central Library
  • Wade, Geoff. tr. (2005) Southeast Asia in the Ming Shi-lu: an open access resource, Singapore: Asia Research Institute and the Singapore E-Press, National University of Singapore,
  • Witthayasakphan, Sompong and Zhao Hongyun (translators and editors) (2001) Phongsawadan Muang Tai (Khreua Muang ku muang), Chiang Mai: Silkworm. (Translation of Mong Mao chronicle into the Thai language)


  1. ^ Elias, 1876; Daniels, 2006; Kazhangjia, 1990; Witthayasakphan and Zhao Hongyun, 2001
  2. ^ Yos Santasombat, Lak Chang: A Reconstruction of Tai Identity in Daikong, p. 3-4
  3. ^ Daniels, 2006, p. 28
  4. ^ Wade, 2005
  5. ^ Sai Kam Mong, 2004, p. 10, citing Jiang Yingliang, 1983

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