Dawei is a city in south-eastern Myanmar and is the capital of the Tanintharyi Region, formerly known as the Tenasserim Division, about 614.3 km (381.7 mi) south of Yangon on the northern bank of the Dawei River. It has a population of approximatelh 150,000. It is a port at the head of the Dawei River estuary, 30 km (18.6 mi). from the Andaman Sea. "Dawei" is also the name of one of Myanmar's 135 ethnic minorities.
The area around the Dawei River estuary has been inhabited for centuries by Dawei, Mon, Kayin, and Thai mariners. From the 11th to 13th centuries, Dawei was part of the Pagan Empire. From 1287 to 1564, Dawei became part of the Sukhothai Kingdom and its successor Ayutthaya Kingdom (Siam). From 1564 to 1594, Dawei was part of the Toungoo Kingdom of Burma. Siam temporarily regained the city between 1594 and 1614. From 1614 to the 1740s, Dawei was the southernmost city under Burmese authority, and was defended by a Burmese garrison. In the late 1740s during the Burmese civil war of 1740–1757, Dawei, along with the northern Tenasserim coast, was taken over by Siam. Burma regained the city in 1760, and extended its control over the entire Tenasserim coast in 1765. The Tenasserim coast was ceded to the British after the First Anglo-Burmese War (1824–1826).
After independence in 1948, the city became part of the Tenasserim Division, which also included today's Mon State. In 1974, Mon State was carved out of Tenasserim and Dawei became the capital of the truncated Division. In 1989, the city's English name was changed from Tavoy to Dawei, and Tenasserim became Tanintharyi.
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