Bago was formerly known as Pegu. It is a city and the capital of Bago Region in Myanmar. It is located 80 km (about 50 miles) from Yangon. It has a population of 220,000. According to legend, two Mon princess from Thaton founded Bago in 573 AD. They saw a female Hinthar (a kind of a bird like a goose) standing on the back of a male Hinthar on an island in a huge lake. Thinking that this was an auspicious omen, they built a city called Hanthawady (Pali Hamsavati) on the edge of the lake. The earliest mention of this city in history is by the Arab geographer Ibn Khudadhbin around 850 AD. At the time, the Mon capital had shifted to Thaton. The area came under rule of the Bamar from Bagan in 1056. After the collapse of Bagan to the Mongols in 1287, the Mon regained their independence. From 1369-1539, Hantharwaddy was the capital of the Mon Kingdom of Ramanadesa, which covered all of what is now lower Myanmar. The area came under Bamar control again in 1539, when it was annexed by King Tabinshwethi to his Kingdom of Taungoo. The kings of Taungoo made Bago their royal capital from 1539-1599 and again in 1613-1634, and used it as a base for repeated invasions of Siam. As a major seaport, the city was frequently visited by Europeans, who commented on its magnificence. The Burmese capital relocated to Inwa in 1634. In 1740, the Mon revolted and briefly regained their independence, but Burmese King Alaungpaya sacked and completely destroyed the city (along with Mon independence) in 1757. Bago was rebuilt by King Bodawpaya (1782-1819), but by then the river had shifted course, cutting the city off from the sea.

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