|Last holder||Chao Pha Purandar Singha|
|Status||Not used in Modern days|
|A Tai Nobility Title used by Ahom Kings, Shan Chiefs, Thai Prince / Princess and Khamti Chief.|
Chao-Pha (lit. 'lord of the sky'; Tai Ahom: 𑜋𑜧𑜨 𑜇𑜡, Assamese: স্বৰ্গদেউ, Thai: เจ้าฟ้า, Shan: ၸဝ်ႈၾႃႉ, Burmese: စော်ဘွား) was a royal title used by the hereditary rulers of the Tai peoples of Mong Dun, Mong Shan, Mong Mao, kingdoms of Mueang Thai and Tai-Khamti people. Chao means "Master" or "Lord", and Pha means "Sky" or "Heaven". According to local chronicles, some fiefdoms of Chao-Pha date from as early as the 2nd century BCE; however, the earlier sections of these chronicles are generally agreed to be legendary.
During British colonial rule, there were 14 to 16 Chao-Phas at a time, each ruling a highly autonomous state, until 1922 when the Federated Shan States were formed and the Chao-Phas powers were reduced. However, they nominally kept their positions as well as their courts and still played a role in local administration until they collectively relinquished their titles in favour of the Union of Burma in 1959.Shan is the semi-independent Shan States (Mong, Shan: မိူင်း, pronounced [mə́ŋ]) in what today is Eastern Myanmar (Burma). It may also be used for rulers of similar Tai/Dai states in neighbouring countries, notably including China's Yunnan Province.
- Donald M. Seekins (2006). Historical Dictionary of Burma (Myanmar). Scarecrow Press. entry Sawbwa, p. 391.
- Media related to Saopha at Wikimedia Commons
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