The Kingdom of Arakan was once a powerful maritime empire which spreaded from Dhaka, Bangladesh to the southeastern coast of Myanmar. The city of Mrauk U was a cosmopolitan city of merchants from Portugal, Middle East, India, Southeast Asia and China. Its wealthy kings, who engaged Afghan mercenaries and Japanese samurais as palace guards, built magnificent temples and pagodas.
Arakan was destroyed by invading Burmese forces in 1784 and its sacred Mahamuni Buddha statue was taken to the Burmese capital, Mandalay where it stay put today. The city of Mrauk U fell into oblivion. The repeated Burmese raids into Arakan and the resulting refugee exodus to British Bengal was a major cause of the First Anglo-Burmese War of 1824-6.