Thai and Myanmar correlation in 16th century can be seen here in Pegu. Pegu is about 1.5 hours drive from Yangon. The capital of King Bayintnaung in 16th Century was now small town along the way from Yangon to Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda (Golden Rock). The Shwemawdaw Pagoda is the landmark of this region and can be seen from far away.
According to legend, two Mon princesses from Thaton founded Bago in 573 AD. It was written in the chronicles that eight years after enlightenment, Lord Buddha along with his disciples flew around the Southeast Asian countries. On his return journey while crossing the Gulf of Martaban, which happened to be at low tide, he saw two golden sheldrakes sitting, female on top of male, on a peak of land protruding out of the sea just enough for a bird’s perch. Viewing this strange phenomenon, he predicted to his disciples that one day a country where his doctrine would thrive would come into existence in this vast sea area. That part of the sea, when it was silted up and ready for habitation approximately 1500 years after the prediction, was colonized by Mons from the Thaton Kingdom. Thus, the Mons became the first rulers of this country known in history as Hongsawatoi ; from Pali Hamsavati. Other spelling variations on the name include Hanthawaddy, Hanthawady, Hanthawadi and Handawaddy. In Thai, it is called Hongsawadi.
Bago was rebuilt by King Bodawpaya , but by then the river had shifted course, cutting the city off from the sea. It never regained its previous importance. After the Second Anglo-Burmese War, the British annexed Bago in 1852. In 1862, the province of British Burma was formed, and the capital moved to Yangon. The name Bago is spelt peh kou literally. The substantial differences between the colloquial and literary pronunciations, as with Burmese words, was a reason of the British corruption “Pegu”.
In 1911, Hanthawaddy was described as a district in the Bago (or Pegu) division of Lower Burma. It lay in the home district of Yangon, from which the town was detached to make a separate district in 1880. It had an area of 3,023 square miles (7,830 km2), with a population of 48,411 in 1901, showing an increase of 22% in the past decade. Hanthawaddy and Henzada were the two most densely populated districts in the province.
Hanthawaddy, as it was constituted in 1911, consisted of a vast plain stretching up from the sea between the to (or China Bakir) mouth of the Ayeyarwaddy River and the Pegu Yomas. Except the tract of land lying between the Pegu Yomas on the east and the Hlaing river, the country was intersected by numerous tidal creeks; many of which were navigable by large boats and some by steamers. The headquarters of the district was in Rangoon, which was also the sub-divisional headquarters. The second sub-division had its headquarters at Insein, where there were large railway works. Cultivation was almost wholly confined to rice, but there were many vegetable and fruit gardens.
Today, Hanthawaddy may be considered a district of the city of Bago.