Period Years Ruler Notes
Dhanyawady - BC 3325 - AD 326
The First Dhanyawady BC 3325-1483 King Marayu
The Second Dhanyawady BC 1483-580 King Kanrazagree
The Third Dhanyawady BC 580-AD 326 King Chandra Suriya Gautama Buddha, Himself, visited Dhanyawady and the Great Image of Mahamuni was cast, and Buddhism began professing in Rakhine. Currency system by coinage is said to have been introduced in Rakhine economy.
Vesali – Lemro - AD 327–1430
Vesali Kyauk Hlayga AD 327-794 King Dvan Chandra
Sambawak AD 794-818 Prince Nga Tong Mong (Saw Shwe Lu)
Lemro AD 818-1430 King Nga Tone Mun This period was the highest civilization in the Bay and highly prosperous with busy international trade with the West. Pyinsa, Purain, Taung Ngu and Narinsara, Laungkrat cities flourished. Gold and silver coinage was used in trade relation in Rakhine in this period.
Golden Mrauk-U - AD 1430-1784
First Golden Mrauk-U AD 1430-1530 King Mun Saw Mwan
Second Golden Mrauk-U AD 1530-1638 Solidified by King Mun Bun (Mun Ba Gri) Rakhine reached at the zenith of the national unity and of the time of most powerful in the Bay in this period.
Third Golden Mrauk-U Period AD 1638-1784 King Mahathamada Raza
The oldest artefact, stone image of Fat Monk inscribed "Saccakaparibajaka Jina" in Brahmi inscription comes to the date of first century AD.
An ancient stone inscription in Nagari character was discovered by renowned Archaeologist Dr. Forchhammer. Known as Salagiri, this hill was where the great teacher came to Rakhine some two thousand five hundred years ago. Somewhere from eastern part of this hill, a stone image in Dhamma-cakra-mudra now kept in Mrauk-U museum, was found earlier in 1923. This relief sculpture found on the Salagiri Hill represents Buddha preaching King Canda Suriya belongs to 4th century AD; five more red sandstone slabs with the carving were found close by the south of this Salagiri Hill in 1986. They are the same type as the single slab found earlier in 1923. These carving slabs of Bhumispara-mudra, Kararuna-mudra, Dhammacakra-mudara, and Mmahaparinibbana-mudra represent the life of Buddha.
These sculptures provide earliest evident about the advent of Buddhism into Rakhine; during the life time of the Buddha and these discoveries were therefore assumed as the figures of King Canda Suriya of Dyanawady, who dedicated the Great Maha Muni Image. These archaeological findings have been studied by eminent scholars and conclusion is that the Maha Muni was made during the king Sanda Suriya era.
The founder of Vesali city, King Dvan Chandra carved Vesali Paragri Buddha-image in 327 A.D and set a dedicatory inscription in Pali verse
" ye dhamma hetuppabuava / Tathagato aha / tesan ca yo niyodho / evamvadi Mahasamano. "
That Buddha-image is carved out by a single block and the earliest image of Vesali.
The meaning of Ye Dhamma verse is as follow.
" Of these dhammas which arise from causes / The Tathagata has declared causes / Lord Buddha preached about the causes / And the effects gained by the causes / And that which is the ceasing of them, Nirawda Thitesa / This the great ascetic declares. "
The verse, which is considered as the essence of Theravada spirit, bears testimony to the fact that Buddhism flourished to an utmost degree in Vesali. The relationship of Vesali with foreign countries especially Ceylon would be established for Buddhism.
The stone inscriptions are of Sanskrit, Pali, Rakhine, Pru and Arabic languages. Anandacandra Inscriptions date back to 729 AD originally from Vesali now preserved at Shitethaung indicates adequate evidence for the earliest foundation of Buddhism. Dr. E. H. Johnston's analysis reveals a list of kings which he considered reliable beginning from Candra dynasty. The western face inscription has 72 lines of text recorded in 51 verses describing the Anandacandra's ancestral rulers. Each face recorded the name and ruling period of each king who were believed to have ruled over the land before Anandacandra. Archaeology has shown that the establishment of so many stone pagodas and inscriptions which have been totally neglected for centuries in different part of Rakhine speak of popular favored by Buddhism.
The cubic stone inscriptions record the peace making between the governor of Thandaway Mong Khari (1433-1459) and Razadhiraj the Mon Emperor in Rakhine inscription. This was found from a garrison hill at the oldest site of Parein. A stone slab with the alleged figure of the Buddha preaching, King Canda Suriya bore testimony to the Salagiri tradition, depicting of the advent of the Teacher to Dyanyawaddy.
The crowing event in the history of Rakhine was the Convention of the Buddhist Council at the top of golden hill of Vesali under the royal patronage of King Dhammawizaya in 638 AD through joint effort of two countries, Rakhine and Ceylon. This momentous triumph of the great council was participated by one thousand monks from Ceylon and one thousand monks from Rakhine kingdom. As a fitting celebration of the occasion, the lavish construction of pagodas, statues and monasteries were undertaken for the purpose of inscribing the Tripitaka. After Vesali, Pyinsa was found by Lemro dynasty in 818 AD; the great king of dynasty (AD 818-1430) was King Mim-Yin-Phru, who turned his attention towards the development of Buddhism, and in 847 AD he convened the second Buddhist council in Rakhine attended by 800 Arahants. Rakhine chronicles report that therein the Tripitaka and Atthakatha were inscribed on the golden plate and enshrined. Never has there been impediment in the practice of Theravada Buddhist faith since it has introduced in Rakhine. The copious findings of inscription Ye Dhamma verse were practical evidence that Theravada was dominant faith if epigraphic and archaeological sources were to be believed. The Royal patronage has always been significant factor contribution to stability and progress of the religion in Rakhine.
The country had been invaded several times, by the Mongols, Mon, Bamar and Portuguese and finally the Bamar in 1784 when the armies led by the Crown Prince, son of King Bodawpaya, of the Konbaung dynasty of Burma marched across the western Yoma and annexed Rakhine. The religious relics of the kingdom were stolen from Rakhine, most notably the Mahamuni Buddha image, and taken into central Burma where they remain today. The people of Rakhine resisted the conquest of the kingdom for decades after. Fighting with the Rakhine resistance, initially led by Nga Than Dè and finally by Chin Byan in border areas, created problems between British India and Burma. The year 1826 saw the defeat of the Bamar in the First Anglo-Burmese War and Rakhine was ceded to Britain under the Treaty of Yandabo. Sittwe (Akyab) was then designated the new capital of Rakhine. In 1852, Rakhine was merged into Lower Burma as a territorial division.
Rakhine was the center of multiple insurgencies which fought against British rule, notably led by the monks U Ottama and U Seinda.
During the Second World War, Rakhine was given autonomy under the Japanese occupation and was even granted its own army known as the Arakan Defence Force. The Arakan Defence Force went over to the allies and turned against the Japanese in early 1945.
In 1948, Rakhine became independent as a division within the Union of Burma. Shortly after, violence broke out along religious lines between Buddhists and Muslims. Later there were calls for secession by the Rakhine, but such attempts were subdued. In 1974, the Ne Win government's new constitution granted Rakhine Division "state" status but the gesture was largely seen as meaningless since the military junta held all power in the country and in Rakhine. In 1989, the name of Arakan State was changed to "Rakhine" by the military junta.