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Possible Origins of the King of Arakan's Cannon
Syriam - From Wanderings in Burma c. 1894
About the 17th century the King of Arakan, took advanage of the quarrels between the Kings of Tungoo, Ava and Pegu and took possession of the latter Kingdom. In his service was one Philip De Brito, a Portuguese adventurer.
After the capture of Syriam De Brito was appointed the King's agent and the collection of revenue and custom duties was entrusted to him. For this purpose he built a brick custom house and after a time, a fort, ostensibly to protect the custom house. In connivance with another Portuguese named Salvado Ribeyro, the Arakanese garrison was expelled from the town and De Brito proclaimed himself the Governor. The Arakanese twice attempted to retake the fort but on both occasions were unsuccessful.
De Brito, during the first attempt of the Arakanese, was away at Goa, to secure the assistance of the Portuguese Viceroy. In this he was successful and he returned to Syriam with six ships. He was then recognised as King of Pegu and at once set to work to strengthen his capital, repairing the fortifications, he also built a church and laid out the city.
The King of Arakan again sought to recover possession in 1604 but on this occasion was forced to retire after his son had been taken prsoner. He was subsequently released on payment to De Brito of a ransom of 50,000 crowns. De Brito now reigned supreme for a time, but in consequence of his interference with the Kingdom of Toungu, which was tributary to the KIngdom of Ava, Maha-Dhama Raja, King of Ava, determined to punish De Brito for this insult.
In 1612 he therefore left his capital and proceded to invade Syriam both by land and water. After a lengthened siege, the King of Ava, having no artillery to strengthen his attack, the gates of the city were opened through the treachery of those within and De Brito was taken prisoner. He was impaled in front of his own house and lingered for three days in the most dreadful agony.
Those of the Portuguese whose lives were spared were deported with their families to distant parts of Upper Burma where their descendants are still to be found.