Brito, Felipe de

   During the 16th and early 17th centuries, Portuguese soldiers of fortune played an important role in the turbulent history of the times as mercenaries of Burmese rulers, especially Tabinshwehti and Bayinnaung. De Brito, who served the king of Arakan during his invasion of Lower Burma in 1599, gained control of the port of Syriam (Thanlyin) and attempted to establish his own independent realm. He initially enjoyed friendly relations with the Mons, who offered to recognize him as king, and defeated attacks by the Arakanese war fleet and the Burmans at Toungoo (Taungoo). But his arrogant behavior, which included the plunder of Buddhist pagodas and plans to convert the population to Christianity, made him many enemies. After de Brito captured and pillaged Toungoo, King Anaukpetlun laid siege to Syriam and occupied it in early 1613. De Brito was executed by impalement, most of his officers were also killed, and other Portuguese prisoners were taken to Upper Burma, where they served in the king's army as musketeers, retained their Catholic faith, and formed their own distinct community, known as Bayingyi (feringhi).
   See also Toungoo Dynasty.

Historical Dictionary of Burma (Myanmar). . 2014.

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