Early activities are detailed in a
narrative by Mendez Pinto, a trader who
arrived at the Martaban River during a
expedition led by Branginoco. The King of Pegu /
Bago was on war with the Kingdom of Martaban.
The King was
assisted by four ships commanded
by John Cayero. Pinto's ship dropped anchor in
the river on the night of March 27th, 1547,
intending to proceed to Martaban in the morning.
The visitors were disturbed by the sound of
heavy gunfire from the direction of Martaban.
Despite unease at not being able to identify the
source of the firing, the galleon continued its
voyage in the morning.
As the vessel came in
sight of the massive walls and numerous towers
of the city, the signs of tremendous conflict
were revealed. Pinto soon contacted his
countrymen who were serving in the Pegu camp.
found them a nondescript crew, but ''all rich
and in good condition.' He was pressed to join
them, but preferred the freedom and lack of
responsibility of a spectator.
What he saw did
not stimulate his national pride. The King of Martaban, after holding out gallantly against
tremendous odds, was at length betrayed into a
surrender by some Portuguese captains. He threw
himself on the neck of his elephant and said:
'Let me not see those ungrateful and wicked men!
Kill me or remove them or I will not go
Upon this the Myanmar guard reviled the
Portuguese and bade them all retire and shave
their heads. 'Not to tell a lie,' observed
Pinto, 'I was never more hurt in my life than by
this public insult offered to the honor of my
It is easy to believe the veracious chronicler,
for the deed of betrayal was vile. Branginoco
promised to spare the life of the King and of
his women and children.
However, no sooner
did he get the unfortunate King into his power
than he proceeded to wreak vengeance upon his
captive in truly oriental fashion.
The Queen, her children and
ladies-in-waiting, numbering one-hundred and
forty in all, were suspended by their feet
from gibbets until death put an end to their
suffering. The King and forty of his nobles were
cast into the sea with stones tied to their
So revolting was the whole business that Branginoco's own men rose in protest but the
tyrant, having accomplished his end, withdrew to
Pegu and so escaped the threat.
Branginoco followed his conquest of Martaban
with an attack on Prome. After a siege of five
months it was captured, burned and its
inhabitants put to the sword. The atrocities
which stained his victory at Martaban were