Many Portuguese mercenaries served under Arakanese kings since 16th Century A.D4. Later, theDutch mercenaries did the same job. So, there is no doubt that there must have been someChristians in Arakan, but almost all of them were foreigners with very few Arakanese who convertedinto Christianity through marriage.According to Maurice Collis and U San Shwe Bu5, in 1610 Arakanese King Razagri had appointedhis younger son, Min Mangri, Viceroy of Chittagong. This prince was not in good terms with his elderbrother and the crown prince then Min Khamaung, the Viceroy of Thandwe. Min Khamaung was arebellious Prince towards his father, hence the king wanted to replace the position of the crownprince from his elder son to the younger son. However, Min Mangri made friendship with thePortuguese pirate-king Gonsalves Tibau of Sandwip Island. The marriage of Min Mangri's daughterwith Tibau's son was agreed and she had to convert into Catholicism. Min Mangri had three children,two daughters and a son. In the year 1610 his son was four years old.When King Razagri heard of this marriage and realized that this younger son was now allied withthe ruffian who had treacherously seized his fleet, in 1612 Razagri sent an army under the CrownPrince Min Khamaung. Min Khamaung took this duty willingly, because his own right to become thefuture king was threatened. In the battle Min Mangri was shot dead and finally Gonsalves Tibausurrendered. The King of Arakan, decided to pardon Gonsalves Tibau and invited him to contrivesome way of saving the young prince and his sister, who were his own grand children.Meanwhile Min Khamaung had entered Chittagong without opposition and after attending hisbrother's funeral immediately called for his nephew and niece. When they were not forthcoming, hesuspected Tibau, but it was not until afterwards that he learnt they had escaped to the MoghulEmpire. Foiled in this, he finished his business and returned to Mrauk-U, where later in the year hesucceeded his father when his father died. Later these two children of Min Mangri were baptized bythe Catholic priests. This son of Min Mangri afterwards became known as Dom Martin, a Catholicand the first Arakanese who went to Europe.
2.3.1 The term ‘Phalaung’:
Phalaung is the Arakanese term for the Portuguese. It is a corrupted word from Persian Farangi orFiringi, i.e. a Frank, meaning European. This term for European is very old in Asia. Till now, inThailand all Whites are called "Phalang". The Burmese used to call Portuguese as Ba-yin-gi(Barangi), a corruption of Farangi. However, a modern Burmese meaning of Ba-yin-gi is for RomanCatholic Christians.This Arakanese king, Min Phalaung's real name was Chit Hnaung (Shite Hnaung) meaning thelatest beloved (son). He was the youngest son of Min Bargyi (Man Bargri) and was born on that daywhen Arakanese armed forces destroyed the Portuguese fleet and conquered the Portuguese Fortof Dianga. That's why his father named him Min Phalaung (Man Phalaung) which can be roughlytranslated as "King or Ruler of the Portuguese". Here, I would like to cite Maurice Collis, “Theappeal of the Portuguese”: "We (the Portuguese) have come to assure His Majesty that thePortuguese of Dianga are His Majesty
s devoted humble servants, as they have ever been in thepast, having served him and his father and grandfather of the glorious memory, not only by harryingthe Mogul in Bengal, but fighting his enemy, the king of Pegu. If God grants me the fortune of beingadmitted to the royal presence, my endeavour will be to convince His Majesty of my nation
scontinued desire to serve him". 6The first chapel, however, was built only after 1630 A.D., because the Catholic Missionary ofAugustinian Order, Father Sebastien Manrique arrived Arakan from Goa in 1630 and askedpermission to build a chapel from the Arakanese king. King Thri Thudhamma was so kind by notonly allowing the Portuguese priest to build a chapel near the royal palace, but also he lent himmoney. In the opening ceremony of the church the Arakanese king lent him golden flower vasesdecorated with various jewels. Father Manrique recorded this in his memoirs by praising King ThriThudhamma that the Buddhist king was so generous and helped him what even monarchs of otherChristian sects would not have done although they share the same god and follow the principles ofJesus Christ.7