On This Day
1555 – The Ava Kingdom falls to the Taungoo Dynasty in what is now Myanmar.
The Ava Kingdom (Burmese: အင်းဝခေတ်, pronounced [ʔɪ́ɴwa̰ kʰɪʔ]) was the dominant kingdom that ruled upper Burma (Myanmar) from 1364 to 1555. Founded in 1364, the kingdom was the successor state to the petty kingdoms of Myinsaing, Pinya and Sagaing that had ruled central Burma since the collapse of the Pagan Kingdom in the late 13th century.
Like the small kingdoms that preceded it, Ava was led by Bamarised Shan kings who claimed descent from the kings of Pagan.
The kingdom was founded by Thado Minbya in 1364:227 following the collapse of the Sagaing and Pinya Kingdoms due to raids by the Shan States to the north. In its first years of existence, Ava, which viewed itself as the rightful successor to the Pagan Kingdom, tried to reassemble the former empire by waging constant wars against the Mon Hanthawaddy Kingdom in the south, the Shan States in the north and east, and Rakhine State in the west.
While it was able to hold Taungoo and some peripheral Shan States (Kalaymyo, Mohnyin, Mogaung and Hsipaw) within its fold at the peak of its power, Ava failed to reconquer the rest. The Forty Years’ War (1385–1424) with Hanthawaddy left Ava exhausted. From the 1420s to early 1480s, Ava regularly faced rebellions in its vassal regions whenever a new king came to power. In the 1480s and 1490s, the Prome Kingdom in the south and the Shan states under Ava sway in the north broke away, and Taungoo became as powerful as its nominal overlord Ava. In 1510, Taungoo also broke away.
Ava was under intensified Shan raids for the first quarter of the 16th century. In 1527, the Confederation of Shan States, led by the state of Mohnyin in alliance with Prome, sacked Ava. The Confederation placed nominal kings on the Ava throne and ruled much of Upper Burma. As Prome was in alliance with the Confederation, only the tiny Taungoo in the southeastern corner, east of the Bago Yoma mountain range remained as the last holdout of independent Bamar people.
The Confederation’s failure to snuff out Taungoo proved costly. Surrounded by hostile kingdoms, Taungoo took the initiative to consolidate its position, and defeated a much stronger Hanthawaddy in 1534–1541. When Taungoo turned against Prome, the Shans belatedly sent in their armies. Taungoo took Prome in 1542 and Bagan, just below Ava, in 1544. In January 1555, King Bayinnaung of Taungoo conquered Ava, ending the city’s role as the capital of Upper Burma for nearly two centuries.
Born On This Day
1858 – Beatrice Webb, English sociologist and economist (d. 1943)
Martha Beatrice Webb, Baroness Passfield, FBA (née Potter; 22 January 1858 – 30 April 1943), was an English sociologist, economist, socialist, labour historian and social reformer. It was Webb who coined the term “collective bargaining”. She was among the founders of the London School of Economics and played a crucial role in forming the Fabian Society.
Beatrice Potter was born in Standish House in the village of Standish, Gloucestershire, the last but one of the nine daughters of businessman Richard Potter and Laurencina Heyworth, a Liverpool merchant’s daughter. Her paternal grandfather was Liberal Party MP Richard Potter, co-founder of the Little Circle which was key in creating the Reform Act 1832.
From an early age Beatrice was self-taught and cited as important influences the cooperative movement and the philosopher Herbert Spencer. After her mother’s death in 1882 she acted as a hostess and companion for her father. In 1882, she began a relationship with twice-widowed Radical politician Joseph Chamberlain, by then a Cabinet minister in Gladstone’s second government. He would not accept her need for independence as a woman and after four years of “storm and stress” their relationship failed. Marriage in 1892 to Sidney Webb established a lifelong “partnership” of shared causes. At the beginning of 1901 Beatrice wrote that she and Sidney were “still on our honeymoon and every year makes our relationship more tender and complete”.
She and her husband were friends with the philosopher Bertrand Russell.
“My Creed and My Craft”
Beatrice Webb left unfinished a planned autobiography, under the general title My Creed and My Craft. At her death, aged 85, the only autobiographical work she had published was My Apprenticeship (1926). The posthumously issued Our Partnership (1948) covered the first two decades of her marriage to Sidney Webb between 1892 and 1911 and their collaboration on a variety of public issues.
In the preface to the second work, its editors refer to Webb’s
desire to describe truthfully her lifelong pursuit of a living philosophy, her changes of outlook and ideas, her growing distrust of benevolent philanthropy as a means of redeeming ‘poor suffering humanity’ and her leaving of the field of abstract economic theory for the then practically unexplored paths of scientific social research.
In 1926 when Webb had begun to prepare the second volume, Our Partnership, only to be repeatedly distracted by other more pressing commitments, the book’s editors report her finding it difficult to express “her philosophy of life, her belief in the scientific method, but its purpose guided always by religious emotion.” 
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