HSIPAW (Thibaw) (Shan State)

TITLE: Saopha
Revenue: xx  Accession: 1962
AREA: 11,717 km2 Dynasty: xx
Religion: Buddhism (Theravada)

Present HEAD OF HOUSE: Saopha SAO OO KYA, 106th and present Sawbwa of Hsipaw since 1959
also known as Prince Donald, married Sao Sarm Hpong (Princess Fern), daughter of the last prince of Monywa
Predecessors and Short History: Founded in 58BC. Hsipaw (classical name: Dutawadi) became a vassal state of Burma in the 2nd half of the 16th century. Largest of the 34 Shan states which were recognized by the British protectorate of Burma within the 1922 Federated Shan States and later constituted an autonomous region within the Union of Burma, it ranks second in the order of precedence, at the time of the British annexation of the Shan States. Hsipaw State, consisted of four sub-states which were amalgamated under one ruler only after British annexation. The main state of Hsipaw occupies about half this total area. To west of it the sub-state of Monglong (Burmese Mainglone) and Hsum Hsai (Burmese Thonze) are situated north and south respectively, while southeast of it lies the sub-state of Mong Tung (Burmese Maingtone). Each of these sub-states is ruled by a Myosa, and after amalgamation, the Myosaship of one or other served as training post for the heir or nephews of the Hsipaw chief. These four states are known in the chronicles as On Baung Hsipaw, from the older capital of On Baung, situated not far north of Hsipaw. The autonomy was suppressed by the dictatorship of General Ne Win in 1962. Rulers were...
  1. Saopha SAO HSWE HKING, 88th Sawbwa of Hsipaw 1636/1655

  2. Saopha SAO SAM HPA, 89th Sawbwa of Hsipaw 1655/1675

  3. Saopha HSO WAI HPA, 90th Sawbwa of Hsipaw 1675/1702

  4. Saopha SAO OKKA WARA, 91st Sawbwa of Hsipaw 1702/1714

  5. Saopha SAO OKKA SEYA, 92nd Sawbwa of Hsipaw 1714/1718

  6. Saopha SAO SAM MYO, 93rd Sawbwa of Hsipaw 1718/1722

  7. Saopha HKUN NENG, 94th Sawbwa of Hsipaw 1722/1752

  8. Saopha SAO SAWRA TAWTA, 95th Sawbwa of Hsipaw 1752/1767

  9. Saopha SAO MYAT HSAN TE, 96th Sawbwa of Hsipaw 1767/1788, married and had issue.
    • Nang Thiri Aung Hsung, married 1767, HM King Bodawpaya, King of Burma, born 1745, died 1819.

  10. Saopha SAO HSWE KYA, 97th Sawbwa of Hsipaw 1788/1809

  11. Saopha SAO HKUN HKWI, 98th Sawbwa of Hsipaw 1809/1843

  12. Saopha SAO HKUN PAW, 99th Sawbwa of Hsipaw 1843/1853, married and had issue.
    • Nang (name unknown) [HM Queen Long Shay of Burma], married HM King Mindon, King of Burma, born 1814, died 1878.

  13. Saopha SAO KYA HTUN, 100th Sawbwa of Hsipaw 1853/1858, married and had issue. He died 1866. 
    • Saopha Sao Kya Hkeng then Saopha Sao Hkun Hsaing (qqv)

  14. Saopha HKUN MYAT THADE, 101st Sawbwa of Hsipaw 1858/1866

  15. Saopha SAO KYA HKENG, 102nd Sawbwa of Hsipaw 1866/1882, he was deposed in 1882, for murdering two of his attendants and was sentenced to be executed, but this was commuted to hard labour; he was released, went into exile, returned in 1886 and took a new name, Sao Hkun Saing (see below), and welcomed the British; he later travelled to London and underwent a successful operation to fix his poor eyesight, then he was presented to Queen Victoria, received the C.I.E. and returned to Burma modernise his state.

  16. REGENCY or VACANT 1882/1886

  17. Saopha SAO HKUN HSAING C.I.E., Sawbwa of Hsipaw 1886/1902 (second time), originally named Sao Kya Hkeng (till 1886), educated at the Royal Palace of Mandalay; he recognized the supremacy of the British in 1887, married (amongst others), 1890, one of the former wives of Thibaw, King of Burma, and had issue. He died 8th May 1902.

  18. ADMINISTRATOR [8.5.1902] - [1906]

  19. Saopha Sir SAO HKE K.C.I.E., 103rd Sawbwa of Hsipaw 1902/1928, born 1872, C.I.E. [cr.1923], K.C.I.E. [cr. 2.1.1928], educated at the Royal Palace of Mandalay, he built the Sakandar summer palace; married 40 wives, amongst whom, Gyipaya, and had issue, 4 children and 12 adopted children. He died in May 1928. 
    • Saopha Sao Ohn Kya (qv)
    • Sao Siri Mala fl.1915

  20. Saopha SAO OHN KYA, 104th Sawbwa of Hsipaw 1928/1938, born 1893, educated in agriculture at Wye in Kent, England, Rugby School and MA Brasenose College in Oxford, married 9th November 1922, Sao Thu Nanda (a first cousin). He died in July 1938.

  21. British Government Administration 1938/1947

  22. Saopha Sao Kya Seng of
                      HsipawSaopha SAO KYA SENG, 105th Sawbwa of Hsipaw 1947/1959 (abdicated), born July 1924 or 30th October 1925, M.P. (House of Nationalities of Burma), member of the Shan State Council, Secretary of the Association of Shan Princes, educated at schools at Darjeeling, Taungyyi and Mandalay, mining engineer at Colorado School of Mines, Denver, Colorado, USA 1950's, married Denver, Colorado, USA, 7th March 1953, Inge Eberhard, named Sao Nang Thusandi, Mahadevi of Hsipaw, created 2nd November 1957 at Hsipaw Palace, born 23rd February 1932, educated at the University of Denver, Colorado, USA, left Burma in May 1964, settled in the USA 1966, and had issue. He died (probably executed under General Ne Win's instructions at Ba Htoo Myo camp north of Taunggyi) in March 1962.
    • Sao Mayari, born East Haw Palace, left Burma in May 1964, settled in the USA 1966, educated at the English Methodist School at Rangoon and the Foundation School at East Haw Palace.
    • Sao Kennari, born East Haw Palace, left Burma in May 1964, settled in the USA 1966, educated at the English Methodist School at Rangoon and the Foundation School at East Haw Palace.


  • Unknown, married and had issue.
    • Sao Ohn Nyunt, sister of the Mahadevi and cousin to Sao On Kya, married 1934, Sao Khun Mong, elder son of the Saopha of Kengtung. 
  • Daw Saw Mya Aye Kyi
  • Sao Oh, possibly a sibling of Saopha Sir Sao Hke (qv), married Sao Zinglwa, and had issue.
    • Saopha Sao Kya Seng, Sawbwa of Hsipaw (qv)
    • Sao Khun Long, married Nang Lao
    • Sao Kya Zong [Sao Kya Zone / Sar Kyar Zon], imprisoned by General Ne Win's dictatorship, married Si Swe Joun, and had issue.
      • Khun Htun Oo, born 11th September 1943 in Hsipaw, worked for the Overseas Courier Service (OCS). 
    • Sao Wunna Nyan, married Dr. Ba Nyan MBBS, FRCS, FRCP, (Edinburgh) DTM&H (Dublin) who was the Principal of Health of Shan States; and had issue, two children.
      • Khun Thaw Da (Pichai Khunseng)
      • Dr. Nora Nang Mo Herng
    • generation
      • Saopha Sao Oo Kya (qv)

Titles: Saopha (Sawbwa = Burmese); In Shan language, Saopha (=King), Mahadeva (=Queen), Saophalong (= Prince)