King Mindon of Burma
For twenty-five years, King Mindon preserved a peaceful and progressive atmosphere in nineteenth-century Burma.
In the century after the establishment of Burma’s last dynasty, by King Alaungpaya in 1752, the fortunes of the kingdom declined from its peak of imperial might. When it seemed reasonable to expect the total eclipse of Burma at the hands of the victorious British army, a new king came to the throne of Ava in 1853 and with him anew hope for survival.
He was King Mindon, whose reign of twenty-five years was, by comparison, a model of good government. Had he been succeeded by a man of equal vision and virtue, Burma, like her neighbour Siam, might have preserved her independence although stripped of her coastal provinces and access to the sea.