PEGU, n.p. The name which we give to the Kingdom which formerly existed in the Delta of the Irawadi, to the city which was its capital, and to the British province which occupies its place. The Burmese name is Bagó. This name belongs to the Talaing language, and is popularly alleged to mean ‘conquered by stratagem,’ to explain which a legend is given; but no doubt this is mere fancy. The form Pegu, as in many other cases of our geographical nomenclature, appears to come through the Malays, who call it Paigu. The first European mention that we know of is in Conti’s narrative (c. 1440) where Poggio has Latinized it as Pauco-nia; but Fra Mauro, who probably derived this name, with much other new knowledge, from Conti, has in his great map (c. 1459) the exact Malay form Paigu. Nikitin (c. 1475) has, if we may depend on his translator into English, Pegu, as has Hieronimo di S. Stefano (1499). The Roteiro of Vasco da Gama (1498) has Pegúo, and describes the land as Christian, a mistake arising no doubt from the use of the ambiguous term Kafir by his Mahommedan informants (see under CAFFER). Varthema (1510) has Pego, and Giov. da Empoli (1514) Pecù; Barbosa (1516) again Paýgu; but Pegu is the usual Portuguese form, as in Barros, and so passed to us.

1498.—“Pegúo is a land of Christians, and the King is a Christian; and they are all white like us. This King can assemble 20,000 fighting men, i.e. 10,000 horsemen, as many footmen, and 400 war elephants; here is all the musk in the world… and on the main land he has many rubies and much gold, so that for 10 cruzados you can buy as much gold as will fetch 25 in Calecut, and there is much lac (lacra) and benzoin.…”—Roteiro, 112.

1505.—“Two merchants of Cochin took on them to save two of the ships; one from Pegú with a rich cargo of lac (lacre), benzoin, and musk, and another with a cargo of drugs from Banda, nutmeg, mace, clove, and sandalwood; and they embarked on the ships with their people, leaving to chance their own vessels, which had cargoes of rice, for the value of which the owners of the ships bound themselves.”—Correa, i. 611.

1514.—“Then there is Pecù, which is a populous and noble city, abounding in men and in horses, where are the true mines of linoni (? ‘di linoni e perfetti rubini,’ perhaps should be ‘di buoni e perfetti’) and perfect rubies, and these in great plenty; and they are fine men, tall and well limbed and stout; as of a race of giants.…”—Empoli, 80.

[1516.—“Peigu.” (See under BURMA).]

1541.—“Bagou.” (See under PEKING.)

1542.—“…and for all the goods which came from any other ports and places, viz. from Peguu to the said Port of Malaqua, from the Island of Camatra and from within the Straits.…”—Titolo of the Fortress and City of Malagua, in Tombo, p. 105 in Subsidios.

1568.—“Concludo che non è in terra Re di possãza maggiore del Re di Pegù, per ciòche ha sotto di se venti Re di corona.”—Ces. Federici, in Ramusio, iii. 394.


“Olha o reino Arracão, olha o assento
De Pegù, que já monstros povoaram,
Monstros filhos do feo ajuntamento
D'huma mulher e hum cão, que sos se acharam.”

Camões, x. 122.

By Burton:

“Arracan-realm behold, behold the seat
of Pegu peopled by a monster-brood;
monsters that gendered meeting most unmeet
of whelp and woman in the lonely wood.…”

1597.—“…I recommend you to be very watchful not to allow the Turks to export any timber from the Kingdom of Pegú nor yet from that of Achin (do Dachem); and with this view you should give orders that this be the subject of treatment with the King of Dachem since he shows so great a desire for our friendship, and is treating in that sense.”—Despatch from the King to Goa, 5th Feb. In Archiv. Port. Orient.Fasc. iii.

PEGU PONIES. These are in Madras sometimes termed elliptically Pegus, as Arab horses are universally termed Arabs. The ponies were much valued, and before the annexation of Pegu commonly imported into India; less commonly since, for the local demand absorbs them. 1880.—“For sale…also Bubble and Squeak, bay Pegues.”—Madras Mail, Feb. 19.

[1890.—“Ponies, sometimes very good ones, were reared in a few districts in Upper Burma, but, even in Burmese times, the supply was from the Shan States. The so-called Pegu Pony, of which a good deal is heard, is, in fact, not a Pegu pony at all, for the justly celebrated animals called by that name were imported from the Shan States.”—Report of Capt. Evans, in Times, Oct. 17.]

  By PanEris using Melati.

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