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Ayutthaya Kingdom อาณาจักรอยุธยา 1351 – 1767
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Map of the City of Ayutthaya Flag
Theravada Buddhist
- 1351-1369
Ramathibodi I
- 1758-1767
Boromaracha V
Historical era
Middle Ages
- Established
- Disestablished
The kingdom of Ayutthaya (Thai: อาณาจักรอยุธยา, RTGS: Anachak Ayutthaya) was a Siamese kingdom that existed from 1351 to 1767
until it was invaded by the Burmese. Ayutthaya was friendly towards foreign traders, including the Chinese, Vietnamese (Annam),
Indians, Japanese and Persians, and later the Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch and French, permitting them to set up villages outside the
city walls. In the sixteenth century, it was described by foreign traders as one of the biggest and wealthiest cities in the East. The
court of King Narai (1656-1688) had strong links with that of King Louis XIV of France, whose ambassadors compared the city in
size and wealth to Paris. Before Ayutthaya fell to the Burmese invasion in 1767, its vassals included the Northern Shan states of
present- day Myanmar, Lanna (Chiang Mai, Yunnan & Shan Sri (China), Lan Xang (Laos), Campa Kingdom, and some city- states
in the Malay Peninsula.[citation needed]
Historical overview
Origins The Siamese state based at Ayutthaya in the valley of the Chao Phraya River grew from the earlier kingdom of Lavo, which
it absorbed, and its rise continued the steady shift southwards of the centre of gravity of the Siam-speaking peoples as other
kingdoms in this surrounding area such as the kingdom of Supannaphum (Dvaravati) or, the kingdom of Sukhothai situated Northern
of Ayutthaya. In 1351, to escape the threat of an epidemic, King U Thong moved his court south into the rich floodplain of the Chao
Phraya. On an island in the river which is the seaport city of Ayothaya was settled before, and he founded a new capital, which he
called Ayutthaya, meaning the CIty of Kings.
Conquests By the end of the fourteenth century, Ayutthaya was regarded as the strongest power in Indochina, but it lacked the
manpower to dominate the region. In the last year of his reign, Ramathibodi had seized Angkor during what was to be the first of
many successful Thai assaults on the Khmer capital. The policy was aimed at securing Ayutthaya's eastern frontier by preempting
Vietnamese designs on Khmer territory. The weakened Khmer periodically submitted to Ayutthaya's suzerainty, but efforts to
maintain control over Angkor were repeatedly frustrated. However Angkor eventually fell. Thai troops were frequently diverted to
suppress rebellions in Sukhothai or to campaign against Chiang Mai, where Ayutthaya's expansion was tenaciously resisted.
Eventually Ayutthaya subdued the territory that had belonged to Sukhothai, and the year after Ramathibodi died, his kingdom was
recognized by the emperor of China's newly established Ming Dynasty as Sukhothai's rightful successor. The Siam kingdom was not
a single, unified state but rather a patchwork of self-governing principalities and tributary provinces owing allegiance to the king of
Ayutthaya under the mandala system. These countries were ruled by members of the royal family of Ayutthaya who had their own
armies and warred among themselves, as well as self governing but subservient Malay states in the south. The king had to be vigilant
to prevent royal princes from combining against him or allying with Ayutthaya's enemies. Due to the lack of succession law and
strong concept of merit, whenever the succession was in dispute, princely governors or powerful dignitaries gathered their forces and
moved on the capital to press their claims. During much of the fifteenth century Ayutthaya's energies were directed toward the Malay
Peninsula, where the great trading port of Malacca contested its claims to sovereignty. Ayutthaya's conquests were unsuccessful,
however, due to the military support of Ming China, who backed the Sultanate diplomatically and economically. The Ming Admiral
Zheng He had established one of his bases of operation in the port city, so the Chinese could not afford to lose such a strategic
position to the Siamese. Under this umbrella of protection, Malacca flourished into one of Ayutthaya's great fiend, until its conquest
in 1511 by the Portuguese. Ayutthaya, Malacca and other Malay states south of Tambralinga had become Muslim early in the
century, and thereafter Islam served as a symbol of Malay solidarity against the Thais. As it failed to make a vassal state of Malacca,
Ayutthayan control of the strait was gradually displaced by Malay and Chinese. However in the mid sixteenth century, Burmese
Kingdom of Tounggoo became stronger, it then began the 'imperial expansion'. Its kings Tabinshwehti and Bayinnaung attacked
Ayutthaya. In 1569 Ayutthaya eventually fell and became Toungoo's vassal. The royal princes and high officials were taken back to
Tounggoo. One of those princes was Prince Naret or widely known later as King Naresuan. Ayutthaya became great power again
after Prince Naret or Naresuan returned to Ayutthaya. He started gathering troops to resist the Burmese . King Naresuan finally
defeated Burmese force in famous elephant battle with Toungoo's heir apparent, who was killed in the battle. Since then Ayutthaya
became one of the most powerful kingdom in the region. It began expand towards the northern region, Sukhothai and Lanna area, the
maritime, southern peninsula and Cambodia due to interest in foreign contact. Foreign trade brought her not only luxury items but
also new arms and weapons. In the mid- seventeenth century, in the King Narai's reign, Ayutthaya became very prosperous.
Siam kingship Siam rulers were absolute monarchs whose office was partly religious in nature. They derived their authority from the
ideal qualities they were believed to possess. The king was the moral model, who personified the virtue of his people, and his country
lived at peace and prospered because of his meritorious actions. In Sukhothai kingdom, according to the Inscription No-1 found in
Sukhothai, Ramkhamhaeng was said to hear the petition of any subject who rang the bell at the palace gate to summon him, the king
was revered as a father by his people. But the paternal aspects of kingship disappeared at Ayutthaya. The king was considered
chakkraphat, the Sanskrit-Pali term for the chakravartin who through his adherence to the law made all the world revolve around him.
As the Hindu god Shiva was "lord of the universe". However, according the codes, the kling had ultimate duty as the protector of the
people and the annihilator of evil guys, as the duties of the Gods Shiva and VishnulAOtian peasants were not very good peasants
whose farms were not religious in urban The Siam king also became by analogy "lord of the land," (Pra Chao Phaendin)
distinguished in his appearance and bearing from his subjects. According to the elaborate court etiquette, even a special language,
Rachasap(Sanskrit: rājāśabda), was used to communicate with or about royalty. In Ayutthaya, the King was said to grant land to his
subjects, from nobles to commoners, even monks and beggars, according to the rule of Sakna or Sakdina. The French Abbe de
Choisy, who came to Ayutthaya in 1685, wrote that, "the king has absolute power. He is truly the god of the Siamese: no-one dares to
utter his name." Another 17th century writer, the Dutchman Van Vliet, remarked that the King of Siam was "honoured and
worshipped by his subjects second to god." Law and orders were issued by the King. For sometimes the King himself was also the
highest judge who judged and punished important criminals such as ones who were traitors or rebels. One of the numerous
institutional innovations of King Trailokanat (1448-88) was to adopt the position of uparaja, translated as "viceroy" or "underking",
usually held by the king's senior son or full brother, in an attempt to regularize the succession to the throne -- a particularly difficult
feat for a polygamous dynasty. In practice, there was inherent conflict between king and uparaja and frequent disputed successions.
Social and political development The king stood at the apex of a highly stratified social and political hierarchy that extended
throughout the society. In Ayutthayan society the basic unit of social organization was the village community composed of extended
family households. Generally the elected headmen provided leadership for communal projects. Title to land resided with the
headman, who held it in the name of the community, although peasant proprietors enjoyed the use of land as long as they cultivated
it. With ample reserves of land available for cultivation, the viability of the state depended on the acquisition and control of adequate
manpower for farm labor and defense. The dramatic rise of Ayutthaya had entailed constant warfare and, as none of the parties in the
region possessed a technological advantage, the outcome of battles was usually determined by the size of the armies. After each
victorious campaign, Ayutthaya carried away a number of conquered people to its own territory, where they were assimilated and
added to the labor force. Every freeman had to be registered as a servant, or phrai, with the local lord, or [[As devaraja (Sanskrit for
"divine king"), the king ultimately came to be recognized as the earthly incarnation of Shiva and,or Vishnu, and became the sacred
object of a politico-religious cult officiated over by a corps of royal Brahmans who were part of the Buddhist court retinue. In the
Buddhist context, the devaraja was a bodhisattva (an enlightened being who, out of compassion, foregoes nirvana in order to aid
others). The belief in divine kingship prevailed into the eighteenth century, although by that time its religious implications had
limited impact. Nai, for military service and corvee labor on public works and on the land of the official to whom he was assigned.
The phrai could also meet his labor obligation by paying a tax. If he found the forced labor under his nai repugnant, he could sell
himself into slavery to a more attractive nai, who then paid a fee to the government in compensation for the loss of corvee labor. As
much as one-third of the manpower supply into the nineteenth century was composed of phrai. Wealth, status, and political influence
were interrelated. The king allotted rice fields to governors, military commanders, and court officials in payment for their services to
the crown, according to the 'sakdi na' system. The size of each official's allotment was determined by the number of persons he could
command to work it. The amount of manpower a particular nai could command determined his status relative to others in the
hierarchy and his wealth. At the apex of the hierarchy, the king, who was symbolically the realm's largest landholder, also
commanded the services of the largest number of phrai, called phrai luang (royal servants), who paid taxes, served in the royal army,
and worked on the crown lands. King Trailok established definite allotments of land and phrai for the royal officials at each rung in
the hierarchy, thus determining the country's social structure until the introduction of salaries for government officials in the
nineteenth century. Outside this system to some extent were the Buddhist monkhood, or sangha, which all classes of Siamese men
could join, and the Chinese. Buddhist monasteries (wats) became the centres of Siamese education and culture, while during this
period the Chinese first began to settle in Siam, and soon began to establish control over the country's economic life: another longstanding social problem. The Chinese were not obliged to register for corvee duty, so they were free to move about the kingdom at
will and engage in commerce. By the sixteenth century, the Chinese controlled Ayutthaya's internal trade and had found important
places in the civil and military service. Most of these men took Thai wives because few women left China to accompany the men.
Ramathibodi I was responsible for the compilation of the Dharmashastra, a legal code based on Hindu sources and traditional Thai
custom. The Dharmashastra remained a tool of Thai law until late in the 19th century. A bureaucracy based on a hierarchy of ranked
and titled officials was introduced, and society was organised in a manner reminiscent of, though not as strict as, the Indian caste
system. The sixteenth century witnessed the rise of Burma, which, under an aggressive dynasty, had overrun Chiang Mai and Laos
and made war on the Thai. In 1569 Burmese forces, joined by Thai rebels mostly royal family members of Siam, captured the city of
Ayutthaya and carried off the whole royal family to Burma. Dhammaraja (1569-90), a Thai governor who had aided the Burmese,
was installed as vassal king at Ayutthaya. Thai independence was restored by his son, King Naresuan (1590- 1605), who turned on
the Burmese and by 1600 had driven them from the country. Determined to prevent another treason like his father's, Naresuan set
about unifying the country's administration directly under the royal court at Ayutthaya. He ended the practice of nominating royal
princes to govern Ayutthaya's provinces, assigning instead court officials who were expected to execute policies handed down by the
king. Thereafter royal princes were confined to the capital. Their power struggles continued, but at court under the king's watchful
eye. In order to ensure his control over the new class of governors, Naresuan decreed that all freemen subject to phrai service had
become phrai luang, bound directly to the king, who distributed the use of their services to his officials. This measure gave the king a
theoretical monopoly on all manpower, and the idea developed that since the king owned the services of all the people, he also
possessed all the land. Ministerial offices and governorships--and the sakdina that went with them--were usually inherited positions
dominated by a few families often connected to the king by marriage. Indeed, marriage was frequently used by Thai kings to cement
alliances between themselves and powerful families, a custom prevailing through the nineteenth century. As a result of this policy,
the king's wives usually numbered in the dozens. Even with Naresuan's reforms, the effectiveness of the royal government over the
next 150 years should not be overestimated. Royal power outside the crown lands--although in theory absolute- -was in practice
limited by the looseness of the civil administration. The influence of central government ministers was not extensive beyond the
capital until the late nineteenth century.
Economic development The Thais never lacked a rich food supply. Peasants planted rice for their own consumption and to pay
taxes. Whatever remained was used to support religious institutions. From the thirteenth to the fifteenth century, however, a
remarkable transformation took place in Thai rice cultivation. In the highlands, where rainfall had to be supplemented by a system of
irrigation that controlled the water level in flooded paddies, the Thais sowed the glutinous rice that is still the staple in the
geographical regions of the North and Northeast. But in the floodplain of the Chao Phraya, farmers turned to a different variety of
rice--the so-called floating rice, a slender, nonglutinous grain introduced from Bengal--that would grow fast enough to keep pace
with the rise of the water level in the lowland fields. The new strain grew easily and abundantly, producing a surplus that could be
sold cheaply abroad. Ayutthaya, situated at the southern extremity of the floodplain, thus became the hub of economic activity.
Under royal patronage, corvee labor dug canals on which rice was brought from the fields to the king's ships for export to China. In
the process, the Chao Phraya Delta--mud flats between the sea and firm land hitherto considered unsuitable for habitation--was
reclaimed and placed under cultivation.
Contacts with the West In 1511 Ayutthaya received a diplomatic mission from the Portuguese, who earlier that year had conquered
Malacca. These were probably the first Europeans to visit the country. Five years after that initial contact, Ayutthaya and Portugal
concluded a treaty granting the Portuguese permission to trade in the kingdom. A similar treaty in 1592 gave the Dutch a privileged
position in the rice trade. Foreigners were cordially welcomed at the court of Narai (1657–1688), a ruler with a cosmopolitan outlook
who was nonetheless wary of outside influence. Important commercial ties were forged with Japan. Dutch and English trading
companies were allowed to establish factories, and Thai diplomatic missions were sent to Paris and The Hague. By maintaining all
these ties, the Thai court skillfully played off the Dutch against the English and the French, avoiding the excessive influence of a
single power. In 1664, however, the Dutch used force to exact a treaty granting them extraterritorial rights as well as freer access to
trade. At the urging of his foreign minister, the Greek adventurer Constantine Phaulkon, Narai turned to France for assistance. French
engineers constructed fortifications for the Thai and built a new palace at Lopburi for Narai. In addition, French missionaries
engaged in education and medicine and brought the first printing press into the country. Louis XIV's personal interest was aroused by
reports from missionaries suggesting that Narai might be converted to Christianity. The French presence encouraged by Phaulkon,
however, stirred the resentment and suspicions of the Thai nobles and Buddhist clergy. When word spread that Narai was dying, a
general, Phetracha, killed the designated heir, a Christian, and had Phaulkon put to death along with a number of missionaries. The
arrival of English warships provoked a massacre of more Europeans. Phetracha (reigned 1688-93) seized the throne, expelled the
remaining foreigners. Some studies said Ayutthaya began the period of alienation from the western traders, while welcoming more
Chinese merchants. But some recent studies argue that, due to wars and conflicts in Europe in the mid- eighteenth century, European
merchants reduced their activities in the East. However it was apparent that the Dutch East Indies Company or VOC was still running
business in Ayutthaya despite political difficulty. During the early 20th Century, Thailand, after learning lessons from Burma–a
militarily stronger neighbour that failed to protect itself from western powerhouse Britain in 1885–mostly used flexible and
significantly compromising approach towards its counterparts including numerous western nations and Japan.
The final phase After a bloody period of dynastic struggle, Ayutthaya entered into what has been called its golden age, a relatively
peaceful episode in the second quarter of the eighteenth century when art, literature, and learning flourished. There were foreign
wars. The Ayutthaya fought with Nguyen Lords (Vietnamese rulers of South Vietnam) for control of Cambodia starting around 1715.
But a greater threat came from Burma, where the new Alaungpaya dynasty had subdued the Shan states.In 1765 Thai territory was
invaded by two Burmese armies that converged on Ayutthaya. The only notable example of successful resistance to these forces was
found at the village of Bang Rajan. After a lengthy siege, the city capitulated and was burned in 1767. Ayutthaya's art treasures, the
libraries containing its literature, and the archives housing its historic records were almost totally destroyed, and Burmese brought the
Ayutthaya Kingdom to ruin. The country was reduced to chaos. Provinces were proclaimed independent states under military leaders,
rogue monks, and cadet members of the royal family. The Thais were saved from Burmese subjugation, however, by an opportune
Chinese invasion of Burma and by the leadership of a Thai military commander, Phraya Taksin. All that remains of the old city are
some impressive ruins of the royal palace. King Taksin established a capital at Thonburi, across the Chao Phraya from the present
capital, Bangkok. The ruins of the historic city of Ayutthaya and "associated historic towns" in the Ayutthaya historical park have
been listed by the UNESCO as World Heritage Sites. The city of Ayutthaya was refounded near the old city, and is now capital of the
Ayutthaya province.
List of rulers of Ayutthaya
Uthong Dynasty ราชวงศ์ อู่ทอง(first reign, 1350-1370)
Ramathibodi I (formerly Prince U Thong) สมเด็จพระรามาธิบดีที่ 1 (1350 - 1369)
Pha Ngua (Borommaracha Thirat I) สมเด็จพระบรมราชาธิราชที่ 1 (ขุนหลวงพะงัว่ ) (1370 - 1388)
Ramesuan สมเด็จพระราเมศวร (1388 - 1395) (second rule)
Intha Racha(Nakharinthara Thirat) สมเด็จพระอินทราชา (นคริ นทราธิราช) (1409 - 1424)
Maha Thammaracha Thirat (Sanphet I) สมเด็จพระมหาธรรมราชาธิราช (สมเด็จพระเจ้าสรรเพชญ์ที่ 1) (1569 - 1590)
Prasat Thong (Sanphet V) สมเด็จพระเจ้าปราสาททอง (สมเด็จพระเจ้าสรรเพชญ์ที่ 5) (1630 - 1655)
Phet Racha สมเด็จพระเพทราชา (1688 - 1703)
Ramesuan สมเด็จพระราเมศวร (1369 - 1370) (first rule, abdicated)
Suphannaphum Dynasty ราชวงศ์ สุพรรณภูมิ (first reign, 1370-1388)
Thong Lan พระเจ้าทองลัน (1388)
Uthong Dynasty ราชวงศ์ อู่ทอง(second reign, 1388-1409)
Ramracha Thirat สมเด็จพระรามราชาธิราช (1395 - 1409)
Suphannaphum Dynasty ราชวงศ์ สุพรรณภูมิ (second reign, 1409-1569)
Borommaracha Thirat II (Sam Phraya) สมเด็จพระบรมราชาธิราชที่ 2 (เจ้าสามพระยา) (1424 - 1448)
Boromma Trailokanat สมเด็จพระบรมไตรโลกนาถ (1448 - 1488)
Borommaracha Thirat III สมเด็จพระบรมราชาธิราชที่ 3 (1488 - 1491)
Ramathibodi II (Chettha Thirat) สมเด็จพระรามาธิบดีที่ 2 (พระเชษฐาธิราช) (1491 - 1529)
Borommaracha Thirat IV (Nor Phutthangkun) สมเด็จพระบรมราชาธิราชที่ 4 (หน่อพุทธางกูร) (1529 - 1533)
Ratsadathiratcha Kuman พระรัษฎาธิราชกุมาร (1533); child king
Chaiya Racha Thirat สมเด็จพระไชยราชาธิราช (1534 - 1546)
Kaeo Fa (Yot Fa) พระแก้วฟ้า (พระยอดฟ้า) (joint regent 1546-1548); child king & Queen Si Sudachan
Vạravoṇśādhirāj ขุนวรวงศาธิราช (1548)
Phra Maha Chakkraphat สมเด็จพระมหาจักรพรรดิ (ruled 1548-1568) & Queen Suriyothai สมเด็จพระศรี สุริโยทัย (d.1548)
Mahinthara Thirat สมเด็จพระมหิ นทราธิราช (1568 - 1569)
Sukhothai Dynasty ราชวงศ์ สุโขทัย(1569-1629)
Naresuan, the Great (Sanphet II) สมเด็จพระนเรศวรมหาราช (สมเด็จพระเจ้าสรรเพชญ์ที่ 2) (1590 - 1605)
Eka Thotsarot (Sanphet III) สมเด็จพระเอกาทศรถ (สมเด็จพระเจ้าสรรเพชญ์ที่ 3) (1605 - 1610)
Si Saowaphak (Sanphet IV) พระศรี เสาวภาคย์ (สมเด็จพระเจ้าสรรเพชญ์ที่ 4) (1610 - 1611)
Drongdharm (Intha Racha) สมเด็จพระเจ้าทรงธรรม (พระอินทราชา) (1611 - 1628)
Chejthathraj สมเด็จพระเชษฐาธิราช (1628 - 1629)
Artitthayawongs สมเด็จพระอาทิตยวงศ์ (1629)
Prasat Thong Dynasty ราชวงศ์ ปราสาททอง(1630-1688)
Chao Fa Chai (Sanphet VI) สมเด็จเจ้าฟ้าไชย (สมเด็จพระเจ้าสรรเพชญ์ที่ 6) (1655)
Si Suthammaracha (Sanphet VII) สมเด็จพระศรี สุธรรมราชา (สมเด็จพระเจ้าสรรเพชญ์ที่ 7) (1655)
Narai, the Great สมเด็จพระนารายณ์มหาราช (1656 - 1688)
Ban Phlu Luang Dynasty ราชวงศ์ บ้านพลูหลวง(1688-1767)
Luang Sorasak or Phrachao Sua ('The Tiger King') (Sanphet VIII) สมเด็จพระเจ้าสรรเพชญ์ที่ 8 (หลวงสรศักดิ์ - พระเจ้าเสื อ) (1703 - 1709)
Tai Sa (Sanphet IX) สมเด็จพระเจ้าสรรเพชญ์ที่ 9 (พระเจ้าท้ายสระ) (1709 - 1733)
Borommakot (Borommaracha Thirat III) สมเด็จพระเจ้าอยูห่ วั บรมโกศ (สมเด็จพระบรมราชาธิราชที่ 3) (1733 - 1758)
Uthumphon (Borommaracha Thirat IV) สมเด็จพระเจ้าอุทุมพร (1758)
Suriyamarin or Ekkathat (Borommaracha Thirat V) สมเด็จพระเจ้าอยูห่ วั พระที่นงั่ สุริยามริ นทร์ (พระเจ้าเอกทัศ) (1758 - 1767)
See also
History of Thailand
 Bang Rajan
List of notable foreigners in seventeenth century Ayutthaya
 Constantine Phaulkon, Greek Adventurer and First Councillor of King Narai
 François-Timoléon de Choisy
 Father Guy Tachard, French Jesuit Writer and Siamese Ambassador to France (1688)
 Monsignor Laneau, Apostolic Vicar of Siam
 Yamada Nagamasa, Japanese adventurer who became the ruler of the Nakhon Si Thammarat province
 Original text adapted from the LOC Country Study of Thailand
 From Isfahan to Ayutthaya: Contacts between Iran and Siam in the 17th Century, M. Ismail Marcinkowski, Singapore:
Pustaka Nasional, 2005 (ISBN 9971-77-491-7).
Further reading
Smithies, Michael. A Siamese Embassy Lost in Africa 1686: The Odyssey of Ok-Khun Chamman. Chiang Mai: Silkworm Books,
Dissertations Retrieved from ProQuest-Dissertations and Theses on Aug.16,2006
Subject: Art History
Listopad, John A. "The art and architecture of the reign of Somdet Phra Narai." Diss. U of Michigan, 1995.
Subject: Buddhist literature
Chrystall, Beatrice. "Connections without limit: The refiguring of the Buddha in the Jinamahanidana." Diss. Harvard U, 2004.
Subject: History
Smith, George V. "The Dutch East India Company in the Kingdom of Ayutthaya, 1604-1694." Diss. Northern Illinois U, 1974.
Subject: Buddhist literature
Chrystall, Beatrice. "Connections without limit: The refiguring of the Buddha in the Jinamahanidana." Diss. Harvard U, 2004.
Subject:Urban planning
Peerapun, Wannasilpa. "The economic impact of historic sites on the economy of Ayutthaya, Thailand." Diss. U of Akron, 1991.
Other historical sources
Phongsawadan Krung Si Ayutthaya There are 18 versions of Royal Chronicles of Ayutthaya (Phongsawadan Krung Si Ayutthaya)
known to scholars[1].
 Fifteenth-Century Fragment - covering roughly AD 1438-44
 Van Vliet Chronicle (1640) - Translated and compiled by the Dutch merchant. The original Thai manuscripts disappeared.
 The Luang Prasoet Version (1680) - [1]
 CS 1136 Version (1774)
 The Nok Kaeo Version (1782)
 CS 1145 Version (1783)
 Sanggitiyavamsa - Pali chronicle compiled by Phra Phonnarat, generally discussing Buddhism History of Thailand. [2]
 CS 1157 Version of Phan Chanthanumat (1795)
 Thonburi Chronicle (1795)
 Somdet Phra Phonnarat Version (1795) - Thought to be indentical to Bradley Version below.
 Culayuddhakaravamsa Vol.2 - Pali chronicle.
 Phra Chakraphatdiphong (Chat) Version (1808)
 Brith Museum Version (1807)
 Wat Ban Thalu Version (1812)
 Culayuddhakaravamsa Sermon (1820) - Pali chronicle.
 Bradley or Two-Volume Version (1864) - Formerly called Krom Phra Paramanuchit Chinorot Version. Vol.1 Vol.2 Vol.3
or Vol.1 Vol.2
 Pramanuchit's Abridged Version (1850)
 Royal Autograph Version (1855)
Some of these are available in Cushman, Richard D. (2000). The Royal Chronicles of Ayutthaya: A Synoptic Translation, edited by
David K. Wyatt. Bangkok: The Siam Society.
Burmese Account These below are Burmese historical account of Ayutthaya.
 Kham Hai Kan Chao Krung Kao (Lit. Testimony of inhabitants of Old Capital (i.e. Ayutthaya))
 Kham Hai Kan Khun Luang Ha Wat (Lit. Testimony of the "King who Seeks a Temple" (nickname of King Uthumphon))
 Palm Leaf Manuscripts No.11997 of the Universities Central Library Collection or Yodaya Yazawin - Available in English
in Tun Aung Chain tr. (2005) Chronicle of Ayutthaya, Yangon: Myanmar Historical Comission
Western Account
 Second Voyage du Pere Tachard et des Jesuites envoyes par le Roi au Royaume de Siam. Paris: Horthemels, 1689.
Online Collection Southeast Asia Visions Collection by Cornell University Library [3]
1. ^ Wyatt, David K. "Introduction", Chronicle of the Kingdom of Ayutthaya, Tokyo: The center for East Asian Cultural
Studies for UNESCO, The Toyo Bunko, 1999, p.14 ISBN 9784896566130
Siamese embassy to Louis XIV in 1686, by Nicolas Larmessin. Three pagodas of Wat Phra Si Sanphet which house the remains of
King Borommatrailokanat, King Borommarachathirat III and King Ramathibodi II
Memorial plate in Lopburi showing king Narai with French ambassadors Ruins of the old city, Ayutthaya, after the Burmese
Buddha head overgrown by fig tree in Wat Mahatat, Ayutthaya historical park
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
August 26, 1656 – July 11, 1688
July 11, 1688 (aged c.58- 59)
Suthammaracha (Sanpet IV)
Royal House
Prasat Thong Dynasty, Kingdom of Ayutthaya
Narai (Son of Prasat Thong) (Thai: สมเด็จพระนารายณ์มหาราช; 1629 - July 11, 1688) became king of the Ayutthaya kingdom or Siam,
today's Thailand, in 1656. His reign saw a major expansion of diplomatic missions to and from Western powers, most notably
France, England, and the Vatican. Missions were also sent and received from Persia, India, China, as well as other neighbouring
states. Another notable feature of Narai's reign was the unprecedented influence of foreigners at the Siamese court, embodied in the
meteoric rise of Constantine Phaulkon, a Greek adventurer who would eventually hold the modern equivalent of the post of Prime
Minister. At the same time, the influence of foreigners, particularly the French, became a major source of grievance within the
Siamese court, and upon King Narai's death, diplomatic activities and foreign influences were dramatically curtailed and did not
recover their former levels until the mid-nineteenth century. Nevertheless, the presence of numerous foreigners from the French
Jesuits to the Persian delegates has left historians with rich sources of material on the city of Ayutthaya and its courtly life in the
seventeenth century that otherwise would not have survived the complete destruction of the capital in 1767.
Succession With no formal succession process, the death of a monarch of Ayutthaya usually gave rise to violent succession disputes
and Narai was no exception. On the death of King Prasat Thong in August 1656, his eldest son, Prince Chai seized the throne. King
Chai was soon deposed by his younger brother, Prince Narai, who placed his uncle, Suthammaracha, on the throne. However, by 26
October 1656, Prince Narai had deposed his uncle, and with the apparent help of foreigners he seized the throne. [1]
Domestic Policy Domestic policies in King Narai's reign were greatly affected by the interference of foreign powers most notably
the Chinese to the north, the Dutch to the South, and the English who were making their first forays into India to the west. Policies
revolved around either directly countering the influence, or creating a delicate balance of power between the different parties. Fearing
a possible weakening of influence in the northern vassal states following the successful Chinese invasion of Ava in 1660, King Narai
mounted an expedition to bring Chiang Mai under the direct control of Ayutthya. Although the expedition was successful in taking
control of Lampang and other smaller cities, a second expedition had to be conducted to bring Chiang Mai under control. There was
also trouble on the Tenasserim coast at the port of Mergui. In July 1687, an incident that came to be known as the Mergui massacre
occurred that resulted in the massacre of some sixty Englishmen. The incident had origins in a deterioration of the relationship
between Siam and the East India Company. Phaulkon had appointed two English acquaintances of his as governors of Mergui, and
they used the port as a base for privateering expeditions against the Kingdom of Golconda, which had friendly relations with the East
India Company. In April 1687 the East India Company demanded £65,000 compensation from Narai and blockaded Mergui. Fearing
a trial on the charge of piracy, the two English governors of Mergui lavishly entertained the captains of the ship. However, the
entertainment aroused the suspicion of the Siamese authorities, who took matters into their own hands and opened fire on the English
ships and massacred all the Englishmen they could lay their hands on. Narai then declared war on the East India Company, and
handed control of Mergui over to a French governor and a small French garrison.[2] At the same time, he also granted a concession of
the strategic port of Bangkok to France with the view of countering Dutch influence. [3]
King Narai also constructed a new palace at present-day Lopburi ("Louvo" in the French accounts) utilising the expertise of Jesuit
architects and engineers. European influences are clearly evident in the architectural style, especially the use of wide windows. The
move to Lopburi was arguably prompted by the Dutch naval blockade of Ayutthaya in 1664 to enforce a fur monopoly.
Although Catholic missions had been present in Ayutthaya as early as 1567 under Portuguese Dominicans, King Narai's reign saw
the first concerted attempt to convert the monarch to Catholicism under the auspices of French Jesuits who were given permission to
settle in Ayutthaya in 1662. The conversion attempt ultimately failed and arguably backfired but Catholics were to remain in Siam up
to the present day. Most controversially, King Narai allowed the rise of Constantine Phaulkon, a Greek adventurer who arrived in
Ayutthaya in 1675. Within a few years, Phaulkon had managed to ingratiate himself with the king and became Narai's closest
councillor. Under Phaulkon's guidance, King Narai balanced the influence of the Dutch by favouring the French. Phaulkon also
encouraged French interest by initially leading them to believe that the king was about to convert to Catholicism. Although King
Narai did display a degree of interest in Catholicism, he also displayed an equal interest in Islam and there is no concrete evidence
that he wished to convert to either.[4] However, both Catholic and Islamic missions were to come to the conclusion that Phaulkon was
responsible for their failures.[5][6] Siamese courtiers also resented Phaulkon's influence and he quickly became the focus of
xenophobic sentiments at court, with the future King Petracha at their head.
Foreign Missions See also: France-Thailand relations The most remarkable aspect of King Narai's reign were the diplomatic
missions that he sent and received during his reign. Missions were sent as far afield as France, England, and the Vatican, although at
least two missions were lost at sea. Ties with states closer to Ayutthaya were not neglected as missions were also sent to Persia,
Golconda (India), China, as well as other neighbouring states. Undoubtedly, the most celebrated of these missions were those to
Europe, in particular France. In 1673, a French ecclesiastical mission arrived at the Siamese court with letters from Pope Clement IX
and King Louis XIV of France. King Narai reciprocated by sending a mission to France in 1680 led by Phya Pipatkosa.[7] Although
the mission was lost at sea near Madagascar,[8] the French responded positively by sending a commercial mission to Ayutthaya
headed by Monsignor Pallu in 1682.In 1684, another mission was sent to France. However, they made little impact as according to
their missionary interpreter, Benigne Vachet, they were ill-informed and uncouth. The same year also saw the wreck of another
Siamese embassy to Portugal near the Cape of Good Hope, under Ok-khun Chamnan who survived. After a series of adventures,
Chamnan made his way to the Dutch outpost on the Cape and managed to return via a roundabout route to Siam in 1687, in the
process acquiring the Portuguese language, then the lingua franca of Southeast Asia. Despite the disappointment of the 1684 mission,
the French court sent another mission under the Chevalier de Chaumont to Ayutthaya ostensibly to convert King Narai to
Catholicism. However at the same time the Persian shah, Suleiman I, had also despatched a mission of his own with the intention of
converting Narai to Islam. Ultimately, the result of the de Chaumont mission was some commercial concessions that were equal to
those that had been given to the Dutch. A further mission headed by Kosa Pan, a foster brother of King Narai, was sent to France in
1686. However, unlike the first embassy, the second was met with a rapturous reception and caused a sensation in the courts and
society of Europe. The mission landed at the French port of Brest before continuing its journey to Versailles, constantly surrounded
by crowds of curious onlookers. The "exotic" clothes as well as manners of the envoys (including their kowtowing to Louis XIV),
together with a special "machine" that was used to carry King Narai's missive to the French monarch caused much comment in
French high society. A fragmentary Siamese account of the mission compiled by Kosa Pan was re-discovered in Paris in the 1980s.[9]
In September 1687, another French mission arrived under Claude Cébéret du Boullay, director of the French East India Company.
However, apart from the reaffirmation of the 1685 commercial treaty, the mission achieved little else. A final mission under Fr. Guy
Tachard and Ok-khun Chamnan was dispatched to France and the Vatican in January 1688. However, by the time it returned to
Thailand, King Narai was already dead and a new king was on the throne.
The "Revolution" of 1688 Main article: Siamese revolution (1688)By 1688 anti-foreign sentiments mainly directed at the French
and Phaulkon were reaching their zenith. The Siamese courtiers resented the dominance of the Greek Phaulkon in state affairs, along
with his Japanese wife and European lifestyle whilst the Buddhist clergy were uneasy with the increasing prominence of the French
Jesuits. The courtiers eventually formed themselves into an Antiforeign faction. It is also notable, however, that other foreigners who
had established themselves in Ayutthaya before the French, in particular the Protestant Dutch, English, and the Persians resented the
growing political and economic influence of the Catholic French. Even other established Catholic factions, such as the Portuguese,
had reason to resent the French presence, a violation of the Treaty of Tordesillas. The increasing French influence not only increased
competition but were also an unwelcome reminder of the declining fortunes of Portugal. Matters were brought to a head when King
Narai fell gravely ill in March 1688. Aware of the coming succession dispute, in May Narai called together his closest councillors:
Phaulkon, Phra Petracha, and Mom Pi and nominated his daughter, Kromluang Yothathep to succeed him. The three councillors were
to act as regents until the princess took on a partner of her choice from one of the two Siamese councillors. [10] Far from calming the
situation, Narai's decision spurred Petracha to act. With Narai essentially incapacitated by his illness, Petracha was given a free hand
to stage a coup d'état with the support of a resentful court as well as the Buddhist clergy. Mom Pi and Phaulkon were executed as
Narai laid furious on his deathbed, unable to do anything to save his favourite. On the death of King Narai, Petraja proclaimed
himself king, expelled the French and virtually severed all ties with the West. After an initial confinement, missionaries were allowed
to continue their work in Ayutthaya, albeit with some restrictions. Contact between Siam and the West remained sporadic, and would
not return to the level seen in the reign of King Narai until the reign of King Mongkut in the mid-nineteenth century.
Legacy Although King Narai's reign witnessed the greatest extent of foreign influence at the Siamese court, his diplomatic
achievements were to be reversed by his successor. It is debatable whether the new introspective attitude of his successors
contributed to the weakening and eventual fall of Ayutthaya. On the other hand, the curtailing of foreign influences in the court may
have prevented the colonisation of Ayutthaya. Nevertheless, his reign's diplomatic achievements contributed to him being
posthumously styled "the Great," one of seven recognised as such in the history of Thailand. At the same time, the records of those
involved in the diplomatic missions, particularly those from the west, have allowed historians to obtain a rare glimpse into the world
of the Ayutthayan court as most original Ayutthaya records were destroyed with the city in 1767. These include the French accounts
of the Chevalier de Chaumont, the Abbe de Choisy, Fr. Tachard, Claude de Forbin, de la Loubere and the Persian account of
Muhammad Rabi' ibn Muhammad Ibrahim. Domestically, the relative stability during his reign also gave rise to the revival of
Siamese literature during his reign.[11] Further afield, one of the main streets of the city of Brest as well as another in Marseilles have
been named "Rue de Siam" to commemorate Narai's missions. In addition, among the gifts that were exchanged between the Siamese
and the French courts, two items from Siam were to have an unexpected impact on French history. The items were a pair of silver
cannons that were eventually stored in the Royal Furniture Repository in Paris since they were classed as gifts rather than weapons.
After failing to find usable weapons at the Arsenal, rioting Parisians broke into the Repository and discovered some 20 cannons.
However, the Siamese cannons were the only ones that still functioned, and so they were hauled to the Bastille. The date was 14 July
See also France-Thailand relations Constantine Phaulkon Claude de Forbin Phetracha François-Timoléon de Choisy
 Cruysse, Dirk van der (2002). Siam and the West. Chiang Mai: Silkworm
 Marcinkowski, M. Ismail (2005). From Isfahan to Ayutthaya: Contacts between Iran and Siam in the 17th Century. With a
foreword by Professor Ehsan Yarshater, Columbia University . Singapore: Pustaka Nasional
 Muhammad Rabi' ibn Muhammad Ibrahim, J. O'Kane (trans.) (1972). The Ship of Sulaiman. London: Routledge
 Smithies, M. (1999). A Siamese Embassy Lost in Africa, 1686. Chiang Mai: Silkworm
 Smithies, M., Bressan, L., (2001). Siam and the Vatican in the Seventeenth Century. Bangkok: River
 Smithies, M., Cruysse, Dirk van der (2002). The Diary of Kosa Pan: Thai Ambassador to France, June-July 1686. Seattle:
University of Washington Press
 Wyatt, DK (1984). Thailand: A Short History. Chiang Mai: Silkworm
1. ^ Wyatt, DK (1984). Thailand: A Short History. Chiang Mai: Silkworm. pp. 107.
2. ^ Wyatt, DK. Thailand: A Short History. pp. 115.
^ Cruysse, Dirk van der (2002). Siam and the West. Chiang Mai: Silkworm. pp. 343.
^ Muhammad Rabi' ibn Muhammad Ibrahim; J. O'Kane (trans.) (1972). The Ship of Sulaiman. London: Routledge. pp. 98–
5. ^ Muhammad Rabi'ibn Muhammad Ibrahim. The Ship of Sulaiman. pp. 59.
6. ^ Cruysse, Dirk van der. Siam and the West. pp. 429.
7. ^ Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs Relations with France
8. ^ Smithies, M (1999). A Siamese Embassy Lost in Africa, 1686. Chiang Mai: Silkworm. pp. 1.
9. ^ Smithies, M.; Cruysse, Dirk van der (2002). The Diary of Kosa Pan: Thai Ambassador to France, June-July 1686.
Seattle: University of Washington Press.
10. ^ Cruysse, Dirk van der. Siam and the West. pp. 444.
11. ^ Kings of Thailand, [1]
12. ^ Carlyle, T., The French Revolution, Section V, [2]
Preceded by
Ayutthaya Succeeded by
Memorial plate in Lopburi showing king Narai with French ambassadors. Chevalier de Chaumont presents a letter from Louis XIV to
King Narai Kosa Pan presents King Narai's letter to Louis XIV at Versailles, 1 September 1686
Siamese embassy to Louis XIV in 1686, by Nicolas Larmessin. Pope Innocent XI receives the Siamese envoys, led by Father
Tachard who reads the translation of the message from King Narai, December 1688 King Narai observes a lunar eclipse with French
Jesuits at Lopburi, 1685
Contemporary French depiction of King Narai. King Narai's court was located in Lopburi. King Narai watching an eclipse with
French astronomers and Jesuits, April 1688
Siamese revolution of 1688
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Siamese revolution of 1688 was a major popular upheaval in the Kingdom of Siam (modern Thailand) which led to the
overthrown of the pro-foreign Siamese king Narai by the Mandarin Petracha, and the ousting of French influence and military forces
from Siam. As a consequence, Siam virtually severed all ties with the West, until some level of contacts were renewed in the 19th
century. A contemporary who participated in the events, the French engineer Jean Vollant des Verquains, wrote in 1691 about its
historical significance: "The revolution which occurred in the Kingdom of Siam in the year 1688 is one of the most famous events of
our times, whether it is considered from the point of view of politics or religion." [1]
Foreign policy focus of King Nara King Narai's reign saw a major expansion of diplomatic missions to and from Western powers,
most notably France, England, and the Vatican. Missions were also sent and received from Persia, India and China, as well as other
neighbouring states. Another notable feature of Narai's reign was the unprecedented influence of foreigners at the Siamese court,
embodied in the meteoric rise of Constantine Phaulkon, a Greek adventurer who would eventually hold the modern equivalent of the
post of Prime Minister. King Narai especially sought to expand relations with the French, as a counterweight to Portuguese and
Dutch influence in his kingdom, and at the suggestion of his Greek councillor Phaulkon. Numerous embassies were exchanged in
both directions. A first Siamese ambassador to France was sent in the person of Phya Pipatkosa on board the Soleil d'Orient, but the
ship was wrecked off the coast of Africa after leaving Mauritius, and he disappeared.[2][3] A second embassy was sent to France in
1684 (passing through England), led by Khun Pijaiwanit and Khun Pijitmaitri, requesting the dispatch of a French embassy to
Thailand.[4] They met with Louis XIV in Versailles. In response, Louis XIV sent an embassy led by the Chevalier de Chaumont. A
second Thai embassy to France was led by Kosa Pan in 1686.
French intervention (1687) Main article: France-Thailand relations These first exchanges led to a major involvement by the
French with the dispatch of an embassy in March 1687 [5] organized by Colbert. The embassy consisted of a French expeditionary
force of 1,361 soldiers, missionaries, envoys and crews aboard five warships, and brought the Siamese embassy home. [5] The military
wing was led by General Desfarges, and the diplomatic mission by Simon de la Loubère and Claude Céberet du Boullay, director of
the French East India Company. Desfarges had instructions to negotiate the establishment of troops in Mergui and Bangkok rather
than the southern Songkla, and to take these locations if necessary by force. [5] King Narai agreed to the proposal, and a fortress was
established in each of the two cities, which were commanded by French governors.[6] Desfarges was in command of the fortress of
Bangkok, with 200 French officers and men,[7] as well as a Siamese contingent provided by King Narai, and Du Bruant was in
command of Mergui with 90 French soldiers.[7][8] Another 35 soldiers with 3 or 4 French officers were assigned to ships of the King
of Siam, with a mission to fight piracy.[7] The diplomatic mission, however, achieved little apart from the reaffirmation of the 1685
commercial treaty. The Jesuit Father Tachard had obtained secret instructions from Seignelay, which allowed him to deal directly
with Phaulkon.[9] Hopes for the conversion of King Narai to Catholicism, which had largely motivated the embassy sent by Louis
XIV, did not materialize.[9]
Nationalistic upheaval The disambarkment of French troops in Bangkok and Mergui led to strong nationalist movements in Siam
directed by the Mandarin and Commander of the Elephant Corps, Phra Petratcha. By 1688 anti-foreign sentiments, mainly directed at
the French and Phaulkon, were reaching their zenith. The Siamese courtiers resented the dominance of the Greek Phaulkon in state
affairs, along with his Japanese wife and European lifestyle, whilst the Buddhist clergy were uneasy with the increasing prominence
of the French Jesuits. The courtiers eventually formed themselves into an anti-foreign faction. It is also notable, however, that other
foreigners who had established themselves in Ayutthaya before the French, in particular the Protestant Dutch and English as well as
the Persians, resented the growing political and economic influence of the Catholic French. Even other established Catholic factions,
such as the Portuguese, had reason to resent the French presence, a violation of the Treaty of Tordesillas. The increasing French
influence not only increased competition but was also an unwelcome reminder of the declining fortunes of Portugal. Matters were
brought to a head when King Narai fell gravely ill in March 1688. In April 1688, Phaulkon requested military help from the French
in order to neutralize the plot. Desfarges responded by leading 80 troops and 10 officers out of Bangkok to the Palace in Lopburi,[10]
but he stopped on the way in Ayutthaya and finally abandoned his plan and retreated to Bangkok, fearing that he could be attacked by
Siamese rebels and troubled by false rumors that the king had already died. [11] Desfarges could have eliminated the conspiracy at this
point if he had pursued his mission towards Lopburi, but his judgement failed him, partly influenced by the false rumours spread by
Véret, the Director of the French East India Company in Ayutthaya.[12]
Succession crisis On May 10, the dying King Narai, aware of the coming succession dispute, called together his closest councillors –
Phaulkon, Phra Petracha and Mom Pi – and nominated his daughter, Kromluang Yothathep, to succeed him. The three councillors
were to act as regents until the princess took on a partner of her choice from one of the two Siamese councillors. [13] Far from calming
the situation, Narai's decision spurred Petracha to act. With Narai essentially incapacitated by his illness, Petracha was given a free
hand to stage a coup d'etat with the support of a resentful court as well as the Buddhist clergy. The events spurred Petracha to execute
the long-planned coup immediately, initiating the 1688 Siamese revolution.[14] On May 17-18, 1688, King Narai was arrested, and on
June 5 Phaulkon was executed. Six French officers were captured in Lopburi and mobbed, one of them dying as a result. [15] Many
members of Narai's family were assassinated (the king's brothers, his successors by right, were killed on July 9),[16] and King Narai
himself died in detention on July 10-11. Phra Petratcha was crowned king on August 1.[17] Kosa Pan, the 1686 former ambassador to
France, was one of the strongest supporters of Petratcha, and became his Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade. [18] Princess
Kromluang Yothathep ultimately had to marry Petracha and become his queen.
Ousting of French forces (1688) Large-scale attacks were launched on the two French fortresses in Siam, and on June 24, 1688, the
French under du Bruant and the Chevalier de Beauregard soon had to abandon their garrison at Mergui.[20] Du Bruant managed to
escape under fire and with many casualties by seizing a Siamese warship, the Mergui.[21] He and his troops were stranded on a
deserted island for four months before being captured by a British warship. They ultimately returned to Pondicherry by way of
Madras. In the Siege of Bangkok, Petratcha besieged the French fortress in Bangkok with 40,000 men, [22] and over a hundred
cannon,[23] during a period of four months.[24] The Siamese troops apparently received Dutch support in their fight against the
French.[25] On September 9, the French warship Oriflamme, carrying 200 troops and commanded by de l'Estrilles, arrived at the
mouth of the Chao Phraya River, but was unable to dock at the Bangkok fortress as the entrance to the river was being blocked by the
Siamese.[26] Phaulkon's Catholic Japanese-Portuguese wife, named Maria Guyomar de Pinha,[28] who had been promised protection
by being ennobled a countess of France, took refuge with the French troops in Bangkok, but Desfarges returned her to the Siamese
under pressure from Petracha on October 18.[29] Despite the promises that had been made regarding her safety, she was condemned to
perpetual slavery in the kitchens of Petracha.[30] Desfarges finally negotiated to return with his men to Pondicherry on November 13,
onboard the Oriflamme and two Siamese ships, the Siam and the Louvo, provided by Petracha.[31][32] Some of the French troops
remained in Pondicherry to bolster the French presence there, but most left for France on February 16, 1689 aboard the French Navy
Normande and the French Company Coche, with the engineer Vollant des Verquains and the Jesuit Le Blanc aboard. The two ships
were captured by the Dutch at The Cape, however, because the War of the Augsburg League had started. After a month in the Cape,
the prisoners were sent to Zeeland where they were kept at the prison of Middelburg. They were able to return to France through a
general exchange of prisoners.[33] On April 10, 1689, Desfarges – who had remained in Pondicherry – led an expedition to capture the
island of Phuket in an attempt to restore some sort of French control in Siam. [34][35] The occupation of the island led nowhere, and
Desfarges returned to Pondicherry in January 1690.[36] Recalled to France, he left 108 troops in Pondicherry to bolster defenses, and
left with his remaining troops on the Oriflamme and the Company ships Lonré and Saint-Nicholas on February 21, 1690.[37]
Desfarges died on his way back trying to reach Martinique, and the Oriflamme later sank on February 27, 1691, with most of the
remaining French troops, off the coast of Britanny.[38]
Aftermath Petraja had managed to expel most of the French from Siam. After an initial confinement, missionaries were allowed to
continue their work in Ayutthaya, albeit with some restrictions. The Bishop of Ayutthaya Monseigneur Louis Laneau was only
released from jail in April 1691. A few French employees of the king, such as René Charbonneau, former governor of Phuket, were
also allowed to remain.[39] France was unable to stage a comeback or organize a retaliation due to its involvement in major European
conflicts: the War of the League of Augsburg (1688-1697), and then the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-1713/1714).[40] Not all
contacts with the West were severed however. On November 14, immediately after the French retreat, the 1644 Treaty and Alliance
of Peace between Siam and the Dutch East India Company was renewed, guaranteeing the Dutch the deerskin export monopoly they
had had, and giving them freedom to trade freely in Siamese ports with anyone. They also obtained a renewal of their export
monopoly on Ligor for tin (originally granted by king Narai in 1671).[41] Dutch factors (Opperhoofden) were also stationed at
Ayutthaya, such as Pieter van den Hoorn (from 1688 to 1691), or Thomas van Son (from 1692 to 1697). [42] Contact between Siam
and the West remained sporadic, however, and would not return to the level seen in the reign of King Narai until the reign of King
Mongkut in the mid-19th century.[43] Overall, Siamese foreign trade does not seem to have stagnated, as trade relations with Asian
countries remained buoyant. Siam remained especially involved in the Sino-Siamese-Japanese trade. During the reign of Petracha,
about 50 Chinese junks are recorded to have visited Ayutthaya, and during the same period as many as 30 junks left Ayutthaya for
Nagasaki, Japan.[44] The official resumption of contacts with the West started with the Treaty of Amity and Commerce with the
United Kingdom in 1826, and diplomatic exchanges with the United States started in 1833.[45] France only resumed official contacts
in 1856, when Napoleon III sent an embassy to King Mongkut led by Charles de Montigny in 1856. A Treaty was signed on August
15, 1856 to facilitate trade, guarantee religious freedom, and allow the access of French warships to Bangkok. In June 1861, French
warships brought a Thai embassy to France, led by Phya Sripipat (Pae Bunnag). [46]
^ Jean Vollant des Verquains, History of the revolution in Siam in the year 1688, in Smithies 2002, p. 98
^ Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs [1]
^ Mission Made Impossible: The Second French Embassy to Siam, 1687, by Michael Smithies, Claude Céberet, Guy
Tachard, Simon de La Loubère (2002) Silkworm Books, Thailand ISBN 9747551616 , p. 182
^ Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs [2]
^ a b c Smithies 2002, p.10
^ Smithies 2002, p.99, Note 5.
^ a b c Desfarges, in Smithies 2002, p.25
^ De la Touche, in Smithies 2002, p.76
^ a b Smithies 2002, p.11
^ Vollant des Verquains, in Smithies 2002, p.110
^ Desfarges, in Smithies 2002, p.18
^ Desfarges, in Smithies 2002, p.18
^ Cruysse, Dirk van der. Siam and the West. pp. p. 444.
^ Smithies 2002, p.184
^ Desfarges, in Smithies 2002, p.39-40
^ Desfarges, in Smithies 2002, p.46
^ Smithies 2002, p.184
^ Desfarges, in Smithies 2002, p.35
^ Smithies 2002, p.80
^ Smithies 2002, p.184
^ De la Touche, in Smithies 2002, p.76
^ De la Touche, in Smithies 2002, p.66
^ Smithies 2002, p.70
^ De la Touche, in Smithies 2002, p.71
^ De la Touche, in Smithies 2002, p.70
^ Desfarges, in Smithies 2002, p.49
^ Vollant des Verquains, in Smithies 2002, p.95-96
^ Vollant des Verquains, in Smithies 2002, p.100
^ Smithies 2002, p.11/p.184
^ Smithies 2002, p.51, note 101
^ De la Touche, in Smithies 2002, p.73
^ Smithies 2002, p.184
^ Smithies 2002, p.19
^ A History of South-east Asia p. 350, by Daniel George Edward Hall (1964) St. Martin's Press
^ Dhivarat na Pombejra in Reid, p.267
^ Smithies 2002, p.185
^ Smithies 2002, p.179
^ Smithies 2002, p.16/p.185
^ Dhiravat na Pombejra, in Reid p.267
^ Dhiravat na Pombejra, in Reid, p.267
^ Dhivarat na Pombejra in Reid, p.265
^ Dhiravat na Pombejra, in Reid p.265-266
^ Background Note: Thailand, US Department of State: Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, March 2008
^ Dhivarat na Pombejra in Reid, p.266
^ US Department of State [3]
^ Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs [4]
Hall, Daniel George Edward (1964) A History of South-east Asia St. Martin's Press
Reid, Anthony (Editor), Southeast Asia in the Early Modern Era, Cornell University Press, 1993, ISBN 0801480930
Smithies, Michael (1999), A Siamese embassy lost in Africa 1686, Silkworm Books, Bangkok, ISBN 9747100959
Smithies, Michael (2002), Three military accounts of the 1688 "Revolution" in Siam, Itineria Asiatica, Orchid Press,
Bangkok, ISBN 9745240052
Kosa Pan, former ambassador to France in 1686, became the new Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade after the revolution, under
the new ruler Petracha. Kromluang Yothathep, daughter and only child of king Narai, was named regent on May 10, 1688
The Siege of Bangkok. The French fortress of Bangkok (A) surrounded by Siamese troops and batteries (C), 1688. The enclosure of
the village of Bangkok represented in the lower left corner (M) is actually today's Thonburi.[27] Ruins of the residence of Constantine
Phaulkon and his wife Maria Guyomar de Pinha in Lopburi, Thailand. Siamese attack on du Bruant in Tavoy, in which the Chevalier
de Beauregard and the Jesuit Pierre d'Espagnac were captured and enslaved.[19]
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
King Phetracha (alternative spellings: Bedraja, P'etraja, Petraja, Petratcha; also called Phra Phetracha; Thai: สมเด็จพระเพทราชา; 1632
- 1703) was the king of the Ayutthaya kingdom in Thailand, as successor of King Narai. He was the founder of Ayutthaya's last
dynasty, the Ban Phlu Luang dynasty.[1]
Background King Phetracha was born in 1632 at Baan Plu Luang, Suphanburi. De la Loubère has recorded that he was a cousin of
King Narai, and that his mother was also King Narai's milkmaid. It was also recorded that his sister was one of King Narai's queens.
He started his civil service career as master of the royal elephants, which was a high military position. Hence, he was sometime
referred to as "the Elephant Prince". It is interesting to note that while Thai historians recorded that Phetracha was not interested in
being King, Jesuit missionaries stated otherwise, that he was an ambitious man. While this matter is ambiguous, it is generally agreed
that he is a very influential figure in that period, harboring respect from many officers. It is also said that he strongly believed in
Buddhism, thus gaining support from many monks, who feared Thailand was being converted to Christianity. Moreover, Phetracha
seemed to gain King Narai's trust as well, as he was one of King Narai's close aides and confidants. When the royal palace at Lopburi
was finished, King Narai would stay there for many months in a year, leaving Phetracha as regent to take care of matters in
Ayutthaya. Phetracha's rivalry with counsellor Constantine Phaulkon is understandable. While Phaulkon's ideology was to open
Thailand to the international community (and benefit from the expansion of foreign trading), Phetracha was a traditionalist who was
allegedly disgusted by international influence in Thailand. King Narai himself favored the opening of his country and created many
diplomatic ties with European countries, notably France.
Crisis in Thailand There was a crisis in Thailand in 1686, when British battleships surrounded the port town of Marid and
demanded 65,000 pounds sterling for 60 British men allegedly slain by Phaulkon's men. King Narai decided to give away Marid to
France. At the same time, however, the French government sent 6 battleships and 500 troops to Ayutthaya. They demanded the port
town of Bangkok, and that King Narai convert to Christianity. Eventually, a treaty was signed on December 11, 1687. The King's
conversion was not acceptable, but Thailand had to give Bangkok over to French rule, and the aforementioned troops were stationed
in Bangkok. The crisis did not bode well with Thai society. Many officers felt that national pride was hurt, that Thailand was on the
verge of becoming France's colony, and many Buddhist monks were afraid that King Narai would eventually become a Christian.
Thus, Phetracha became the center of the nationalist movement and was respected throughout the government. When he heard that
King Narai had become terminally ill, Phetracha killed the rightful heir and beheaded Phaulkon. It was not certain whether he and his
son assassinated King Narai or not (official history states that King Narai died in front of him and his son of natural causes). In order
to legitimate his coup d'état, Phetracha married the sister and the daughter of the late Narai. His dynasty ruled Ayutthaya for 79 years.
With King Phetracha, according to some writers, a representative of the 'nationalist party' came to lead the kingdom. [dubious – discuss] As
his first act of rule, he exiled and banned all French representatives. He also negotiated for France to return Bangkok. Only
missionaries were allowed to stay. During his reign, there were many rebellions, as many provinces and vassal states did not accept
his government. Notably, there were wars with Nakon Sri Thammarat and Nakorn Ratchasrima, which lasted over 2 years.
Traditionally, Thai historians have regarded Phetracha as a traitor who rebelled against his King and have avoided mentioning him.
However, in recent time, his role becomes controversial as he is also regarded by many modern writers as a nationalist who rescued
Thailand from being a French colony. Upon his death in February 1703, Phetracha was succeeded by his eldest son Prince Sorosak,
who took the title of Sanphet VIII.[2]
Preceded by
Kings of Ayutthaya Succeeded by
Sanpet VIII
1. ^ Dhiravat na Prombeja, in Reid, p.252
2. ^ Dhiravat na Prombeja, in Reid, p.260
 Reid, Anthony (Editor), Southeast Asia in the Early Modern Era, Cornell University Press, 1993, ISBN 0801480930
Thonburi Kingdom กรุงธนบุรี1768 – 1782
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Theravada Buddhism
- 1734-1782
Taksin the Great
- Established
- Disestablished
Thon Buri (Thai: ธนบุรี) was the capital of Thailand for a short time during the reign of King Taksin the Great, after the ruin of capital
Ayutthaya by the Burmese. King Rama I removed the capital to Bangkok on the other side of the Chao Phraya River in 1782. Thon
Buri stayed an independent town and province, and was merged into Bangkok in 1972.
Reunification of Thailand In 1767, after dominating southeast Asia for almost 400 years, the Ayutthaya kingdom was destroyed.
The royal palace was burnt and the territory was occupied by the Burmese army. During the occupation by Burma, Thailand began to
recover rapidly. The resistance was led by Taksin, a nobleman of Chinese descent and a capable military leader. Initially based at
Chanthaburi in the south-east, within a year he was able to defeat the Burmese occupation army and reestablish the Thai state with
the capital at Thonburi on the west bank of the Chao Phraya river, 20 km from its estuary at the Mouth of Menam. In 1768 Taksin
assumed the throne of Thonburi and was named King Krung-Thonburi (generally known as King Taksin the Great). He rapidly
reunified the central Thai heartlands, and in 1769 was able to conquer western Cambodia. After that, his army marched south and
reestablished Thai power over the Malay Peninsula including Penang and Terengganu. In order to secure his base in Thailand, Taksin
attacked the Burmese in 1774. Next came the capture of Chiang Mai in 1776, permanently unifying Thonburi and the Lanna
kingdom. In 1778 Thonburi captured Vientiane and reestablished Thai domination over Laos.
Political trouble Despite these successes, by 1779 King Taksin was in trouble. He was recorded in the Rattanahosin's gazettes as a
religious maniac, alienating the powerful Buddhist monkhood by claiming to be a sotapanna or divine figure. He began to lose his
kingship. The servants were divided into 2 groups, one of which still supported him but the other did not. In 1782 Thonburi sent an
army to subjugate Cambodia again, but while they were away a rebellion broke out in the area of the capital. The rebels, who had
wide popular support, offered the throne to King Taksin's commander in chief. He marched back from Cambodia and deposed
Taksin, who was secretly executed shortly after.
Rattanakosin establishment After the execution, the commander in chief assumed the throne of Thonburi kingdom as King
Ramathibodi or Rama I. King Rama I removed his royal seat across the Chao Phraya river to the village of Bang-Koh (meaning
"place of the island") which he had built. The new capital was established in 1782, named Rattanakosin. Then Thonburi diminished
and became a part of the Bangkok metropolitan area.
See also
King Taksin the great
Thonburi province
Thon Buri (district)
History of Thailand (1768–1932)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
From 1768 to 1932 the area of modern Thailand was dominated by Siam, an absolute monarchy with capitals briefly at Thonburi and
later at Rattanakosin, both in modern-day Bangkok. The first half of this period was a time of consolidation of the kingdom's power,
and was punctuated by periodic conflicts with Burma, Vietnam and Laos. The later period was one of engagement with the colonial
powers of Britain and France, in which Siam managed to be the only southeast Asian country not to be colonised by a European
country. Internally the kingdom developed into a centralised nation state with borders defined by its interaction with the Western
powers. Significant economic and social progress was made, with an increase in foreign trade, the abolition of slavery and the
expansion of education to the emerging middle class. However, there was no substantial political reform until the monarchy was
overthrown in a military coup in 1932.
Thonburi period
In 1767, after dominating southeast Asia for almost 400 years, the Ayutthaya kingdom was brought down by invading Burmese
armies, its capital burned, and its territory occupied by the invaders. Despite its complete defeat and occupation by Burma, Siam
made a rapid recovery. The resistance to Burmese rule was led by a noble of Chinese descent, Taksin, a capable military leader.
Initially based at Chanthaburi in the south-east, within a year he had defeated the Burmese occupation army and re-established a
Siamese state with its capital at Thonburi on the west bank of the Chao Phraya, 20 km from the sea. In 1768 he was crowned as King
Taksin (now officially known as Taksin the Great). He rapidly re-united the central Thai heartlands under his rule, and in 1769 he
also occupied western Cambodia. He then marched south and re-established Siamese rule over the Malay Peninsula as far south as
Penang and Terengganu. Having secured his base in Siam, Taksin attacked the Burmese in the north in 1774 and captured Chiang
Mai in 1776, permanently uniting Siam and Lanna. Taksin's leading general in this campaign was Thong Duang, known by the title
Chaophraya Chakri. In 1778 Chakri led a Siamese army which captured Vientiane and re-established Siamese domination over Laos.
Despite these successes, by 1779 Taksin was in political trouble at home. He seems to have developed a religious mania, alienating
the powerful Buddhist monkhood by claiming to be a sotapanna or divine figure. He also attacked the Chinese merchant class, and
foreign observers began to speculate that he would soon be overthrown. In 1782 Taksin sent his armies under Chakri to invade
Cambodia, but while they were away a rebellion broke out in the area around the capital. The rebels, who had wide popular support,
offered the throne to Chakri. Chakri marched back from Cambodia and deposed Taksin, who was secretly executed shortly after.
Chakri ruled under the name Ramathibodi (he was posthumously given the name Phutthayotfa Chulalok), but is now generally
known as King Rama I, first king of the Chakri dynasty. One of his first decisions was to move the capital across the river to the
village of Bang Makok (meaning "place of olive plums"), which soon became the city of Bangkok. The new capital was located on
the island of Rattanakosin, protected from attack by the river to the west and by a series of canals to the north, east and south. Siam
thus acquired both its current dynasty and its current capital.
Bangkok period
Rama I Rama I restored most of the social and political system of the Ayutthaya kingdom, promulgating new law codes, reinstating
court ceremonies and imposing discipline on the Buddhist monkhood. His government was carried out by six great ministries headed
by royal princes. Four of these administered particular territories: the Kalahom the south; the Mahatthai the north and east; the
Phrakhlang the area immediately south of the capital; and the Krommueang the area around Bangkok. The other two were the
ministry of lands (Krom Na) and the ministry of the royal court (Krom Wang). The army was controlled by the King's deputy and
brother, the Uparat. The Burmese, seeing the disorder accompanying the overthrow of Taksin, invaded Siam again in 1785. Rama
allowed them to occupy both the north and the south, but the Uparat led the Siamese army into western Siam and defeated the
Burmese in a battle near Kanchanaburi. This was the last major Burmese invasion of Siam, although as late as 1802 Burmese forces
had to be driven out of Lanna. In 1792 the Siamese occupied Luang Prabang and brought most of Laos under indirect Siamese rule.
Cambodia was also effectively ruled by Siam. By the time of his death in 1809 Rama I had created a Siamese Empire dominating an
area considerably larger than modern Thailand.
Invasion of Vietnam Main article: Tây Sơn-Siam War In 1776 when Tay-Son rebel forces captured Gia Dinh they executed the
entire Nguyen royal family and much of the local population. Nguyen Anh, the only member of the Nguyen family still alive,
managed to escape across the river to Siam. While in exile Nguyen Anh wished to retake Gia Dinh and push the Tay-Son rebels out.
He convinced the neutral King Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke of Siam to provide him with support troops and a small invasion force. In
mid-1784 Nguyen Anh, with 50,000 Siamese troops and 300 ships, moved through Cambodia, then East of Tonle Sap (Toh Lay Sap
in Thai) and penetrated the recently annexed provinces of Annam. 20,000 Siamese troops reached Kien Giang and another 30,000
landed in Chap Lap, as the Siamese advanced towards Can Tho. Later that year the Siamese captured the former Cambodian province
of Gia Dinh where, it was claimed, they committed atrocities against the population of Viet settlers. Nguyễn Huệ anticipating a move
from the Siamese, had secretly positioned his infantry along the Mekong River (Mae Nam Khong), and on some islands in the
middle, facing other troops on the northern banks with naval reinforcements on both sides of the infantry positions. On the morning
of January 19 Nguyen Hue sent a small naval force, under a banner of truce, to lure the Siamese into his trap. After so many
victories, the Siamese army and naval forces were confident of a surrender. So, they went to the parley, unaware of the trap. Nguyen
Hue's troops dashed into the Siamese formation, slaughtered the unarmed emissaries and turned on the unprepared troops. The battle
ended with a near annihilation of the Siamese force. All the ships of the Siamese navy were destroyed and only 1,000 of the original
expedition survived to escape back across the river into Siam.
Rama II The reign of Rama I's son Phuttaloetla Naphalai (now known as King Rama II) was relatively uneventful. The Chakri
family now controlled all branches of Siamese government — since Rama I had 42 children, his brother the Uparat had 43 and Rama
II had 73, there was no shortage of royal princes to staff the bureaucracy, the army, the senior monkhood and the provincial
governments. (Most of these were the children of concubines and thus not eligible to inherit the throne.) There was a confrontation
with Vietnam, now becoming a major power in the region, over control of Cambodia in 1813, ending with the status quo restored.
But during Rama II's reign western influences again began to be felt in Siam. In 1785 the British occupied Penang, and in 1819 they
founded Singapore. Soon the British displaced the Dutch and Portuguese as the main western economic and political influence in
Siam. The British objected to the Siamese economic system, in which trading monopolies were held by royal princes and businesses
were subject to arbitrary taxation. In 1821 the government of British India sent a mission to demand that Siam lift restrictions on free
trade — the first sign of an issue which was to dominate 19th century Siamese politics.
Rama III Rama II died in 1824 and was peacefully succeeded by his son Chetsadabodin, who reigned as King Nangklao, now
known as Rama III. Rama II's younger son, Mongkut, was ordered to become a monk to remove him from politics. In 1825 the
British sent another mission to Bangkok. They had by now annexed southern Burma and were thus Siam's neighbours to the west,
and they were also extending their control over Malaya. The King was reluctant to give in to British demands, but his advisors
warned him that Siam would meet the same fate as Burma unless the British were accommodated. In 1826, therefore, Siam
concluded its first commercial treaty with a western power. Under the treaty, Siam agreed to establish a uniform taxation system, to
reduce taxes on foreign trade and to abolish some of the royal monopolies. As a result, Siam's trade increased rapidly, many more
foreigners settled in Bangkok, and western cultural influences began to spread. The kingdom became wealthier and its army better
armed. A Lao rebellion led by Anouvong was defeated in 1827, following which Siam destroyed Vientiane, carried out massive
forced population transfers from Laos to the more securely held area of Isan, and divided the Lao mueang into smaller units to
prevent another uprising. In 1842–1845 Siam waged a successful war with Vietnam, which tightened Siamese rule over Cambodia.
Rama III's most visible legacy in Bangkok is the Wat Pho temple complex, which he enlarged and endowed with new temples. Rama
III regarded his brother Mongkut as his heir, although as a monk Mongkut could not openly assume this role. He used his long
sojourn as a monk to acquire a western education from French and American missionaries, one of the first Siamese to do so. He
learned English and Latin, and studied science and mathematics. The missionaries no doubt hoped to convert him to Christianity, but
in fact he was a strict Buddhist and a Siamese nationalist. He intended using this western knowledge to strengthen and modernise
Siam when he came to the throne, which he did in 1851. By the 1840s it was obvious that Siamese independence was in danger from
the colonial powers: this was shown dramatically by the British Opium Wars with China in 1839–1842. In 1850 the British and
Americans sent missions to Bangkok demanding the end of all restrictions on trade, the establishment of a western-style government
and immunity for their citizens from Siamese law (extraterritoriality). Rama III's government refused these demands, leaving his
successor with a dangerous situation. Rama III reportedly said on his deathbed: "We will have no more wars with Burma and
Vietnam. We will have them only with the West."[citation needed]
Mongkut Mongkut came to the throne as Rama IV in 1851, determined to save Siam from colonial domination by forcing
modernisation on his reluctant subjects. But although he was in theory an absolute monarch, his power was limited. Having been a
monk for 27 years, he lacked a base among the powerful royal princes, and did not have a modern state apparatus to carry out his
wishes. His first attempts at reform, to establish a modern system of administration and to improve the status of debt-slaves and
women, were frustrated. Rama IV thus came to welcome western pressure on Siam. This came in 1855 in the form of a mission led
by the Governor of Hong Kong, Sir John Bowring, who arrived in Bangkok with demands for immediate changes, backed by the
threat of force. The King readily agreed to his demand for a new treaty, called the Bowring Treaty, which restricted import duties to
3%, abolished royal trade monopolies, and granted extraterritoriality to British subjects. Other western powers soon demanded and
got similar concessions. The king soon came to consider that the real threat to Siam came from the French, not the British. The
British were interested in commercial advantage, the French in building a colonial empire. They occupied Saigon in 1859, and 1867
established a protectorate over southern Vietnam and eastern Cambodia. Rama IV hoped that the British would defend Siam if he
gave them the economic concessions they demanded. In the next reign this would prove to be an illusion, but it is true that the British
saw Siam as a useful buffer state between British Burma and French Indochina.
Chulalongkorn Rama IV died in 1868, and was succeeded by his 15-year-old son Chulalongkorn, who reigned as Rama V and is
now known as Rama the Great. Rama V was the first Siamese king to have a full western education, having been taught by a British
governess, Anna Leonowens - whose place in Siamese history has been fictionalised as The King and I. At first Rama V's reign was
dominated by the conservative regent, Chaophraya Si Suriyawongse, but when the king came of age in 1873 he soon took control. He
created a Privy Council and a Council of State, a formal court system and budget office. He announced that slavery would be
gradually abolished and debt-bondage restricted.At first the princes and other conservatives successfully resisted the king's reform
agenda, but as the older generation was replaced by younger and western-educated princes, resistance faded. The king could always
argue that the only alternative was foreign rule. He found powerful allies in his brothers Prince Chakkraphat, whom he made finance
minister, Prince Damrong, who organized interior government and education, and his brother-in-law Prince Devrawongse, foreign
minister for 38 years. In 1887 Devrawonge visited Europe to study government systems. On his recommendation the king established
Cabinet government, an audit office and an education department. The semi-autonomous status of Chiang Mai was ended and the
army was reorganised and modernised. In 1893 the French authorities in Indochina used a minor border dispute to provoke a crisis.
French gunboats appeared at Bangkok, and demanded the cession of Lao territories east of the Mekong. The King appealed to the
British, but the British minister told the King to settle on whatever terms he could get, and he had no choice but to comply. Britain's
only gesture was an agreement with France guaranteeing the integrity of the rest of Siam. In exchange, Siam had to give up its claim
to the Tai-speaking Shan region of north-eastern Burma to the British. The French, however, continued to pressure Siam, and in
1906–1907 they manufactured another crisis. This time Siam had to concede French control of territory on the west bank of the
Mekong opposite Luang Prabang and around Champasak in southern Laos, as well as western Cambodia. The British interceded to
prevent more French bullying of Siam, but their price, in 1909 was the acceptance of British sovereignty over of Kedah, Kelantan,
Perlis and Terengganu under Anglo-Siamese Treaty of 1909. All of these "lost territories" were on the fringes of the Siamese sphere
of influence and had never been securely under their control, but being compelled to abandon all claim to them was a substantial
humiliation to both king and country (historian David K. Wyatt describes Chulalongkorn as "broken in spirit and health" following
the 1893 crisis). In the early 20th century these crises were adopted by the increasingly nationalist government as symbols of the
need for the country to assert itself against the West and its neighbours. Meanwhile, reform continued apace transforming an absolute
monarchy based on relationships of power into a modern, centralised nation state. The process was increasingly under the control of
Rama V's sons, who were all educated in Europe. Railways and telegraph lines united the previously remote and semi-autonomous
provinces. The currency was tied to the gold standard and a modern system of taxation replaced the arbitrary exactions and labour
service of the past. The biggest problem was the shortage of trained civil servants, and many foreigners had to be employed until new
schools could be built and Siamese graduates produced. By 1910, when the King died, Siam had become at least a semi-modern
country, and continued to escape colonial rule.
Vajiravudh and the ascent of elite nationalism One of Rama V's reforms was to introduce a western-style law of royal succession,
so in 1910 he was peacefully succeeded by his son Vajiravudh, who reigned as Rama VI. He had been educated at Sandhurst military
academy and at Oxford, and was an anglicised Edwardian gentleman. Indeed one of Siam's problems was the widening gap between
the westernised royal family and upper aristocracy and the rest of the country. It took another 20 years for western education to
extend to the rest of the bureaucracy and the army: a potential source of conflict. There had been some political reform under Rama
V, but the king was still an absolute monarch, who acted as his own prime minister and staffed all the agencies of the state with his
own relatives. Vajiravudh, with his British education, knew that the rest of the nation could not be excluded from government for
ever, but he was no democrat. He applied his observation of the success of the British monarchy, appearing more in public and
instituting more royal ceremonies. But he also carried on his father's modernisation programme. Polygamy was abolished, primary
education made compulsory, and in 1916 higher education came to Siam with the founding of Chulalongkorn University, which in
time became the seedbed of a new Siamese intelligentsia. Another solution he found was to establish the Wild Tiger Corps, a
paramilitary organisation of Siamese citizens of "good character" united to further the nation's cause. The King spent much time on
the development of the movement as he saw it as an opportunity to create a bond between himself and loyal citizens; a volunteer
corps willing to make sacrifices for the king and the nation and as a way to single out and honor his favorites. At first the Wild Tigers
were drawn from the king's personal entourage (it is likely that many joined in order to gain favour with Vajiravudh), but an
enthusiasm among the population arose later. Of the movement, a German observer wrote in September 1911:
This is a troop of volunteers in black uniform, drilled in a more or less military fashion, but without weapons. The British Scouts are
apparently the paradigm for the Tiger Corps. In the whole country, at the most far-away places, units of this corps are being set up.
One would hardly recognise the quiet and phlegmatic Siamese.
Vajiravudh's style of government differed from that of his father. In the beginning of the sixth reign, the king continued to use his
father's team and there was no sudden break in the daily routine of government. Much of the running of daily affairs was therefore in
the hands of experienced and competent men. To them and their staff Siam owed many progressive steps, such as the development of
a national plan for the education of the whole populace, the setting up of clinics where free vaccination was given against smallpox,
and the continuing expansion of railways. However, senior posts were gradually filled with omembers of the King's coterie when a
vacancy occurred through death, retirement, or resignation. By 1915, half the cabinet consisted of new faces. Most notable was Chao
Phraya Yomarat's presence and Prince Damrong's absence. He resigned from his post as Minister of the Interior officially because of
ill health, but in actuality because of friction between himself and the king. In 1917 Siam declared war on Germany, mainly to gain
favour with the British and the French. Siam's token participation in World War I secured it a seat at the Versailles Peace
Conference, and Foreign Minister Devawongse used this opportunity to argue for the repeal of the 19th century treaties and the
restoration of full Siamese sovereignty. The United States obliged in 1920, while France and Britain delayed until 1925. This victory
gained the king some popularity, but it was soon undercut by discontent over other issues, such as his extravagance, which became
more noticeable when a sharp postwar recession hit Siam in 1919. There was also the fact that the king had no son; he obviously
preferred the company of men to women (a matter which of itself did not much concern Siamese opinion, but which did undermine
the stability of the monarchy because of the absence of heirs). Thus when Rama VI died suddenly in 1925, aged only 44, the
monarchy was already in a weakened state. He was succeeded by his younger brother Prajadhipok.
Prajadhipok Unprepared for his new responsibilities, all Prajadhipok had in his favour was a lively intelligence, a certain diplomacy
in his dealings with others, a modesty and industrious willingness to learn, and the somewhat tarnished, but still potent, magic of the
crown. Unlike his predecessor, the king diligently read virtually all state papers that came his way, from ministerial submissions to
petitions by citizens. Within half a year only three of Vajiravhud's twelve ministers stayed on, the rest having been replaced by
members of the royal family. On the one hand, these appointments brought back men of talent and experience, on the other, it
signalled a return to royal oligarchy. The King obviously wanted to demonstrate a clear break with the discredited sixth reign, and the
choice of men to fill the top positions appeared to be guided largely by a wish to restore a Chulalongkorn-type government. The
initial legacy that Prajadhipok received from his elder brother were problems of the sort that had become chronic in the Sixth Reign.
The most urgent of these was the economy: the finances of the state were in chaos, the budget heavily in deficit, and the royal
accounts an accountant's nightmare of debts and questionable transactions. That the rest of the world was in deep economic
depression following World War I did not help the situation either. Virtually the first act of Prajadipok as king entailed an
institutional innovation intended to restore confidence in the monarchy and government, the creation of the Supreme Council of the
State. This privy council was made up of a number of experienced and extremely competent members of the royal family, including
the long time Minister of the Interior (and Chulalongkorn's right hand man) Prince Damrong. Gradually these princes arrogated
increasing power by monopolising all the main ministerial positions. Many of them felt it their duty to make amends for the mistakes
of the previous reign, but it was not generally appreciated. With the help of this council, the king managed to restore stability to the
economy, although at a price of making a significant amount of the civil servants redundant and cutting the salary of those that
remained. This was obviously unpopular among the officials, and was one of the trigger events for the coup of 1932. Prajadhipok
then turned his attention to the question of future politics in Siam. Inspired by the British example, the King wanted to allow the
common people to have a say in the country's affair by the creation of a parliament. A proposed constitution was ordered to be
drafted, but the King's wishes were rejected, perhaps wisely, by his advisers, who felt that the population was not yet ready for
democracy. In 1932, with the country deep in depression, the Supreme Council opted to introduce cuts in official spending, including
the military budget. The King foresaw that these policies might create discontent, especially in the army, and he therefore convened a
special meeting of officials to explain why the cuts were necessary. In his addressed he stated the following:
I myself know nothing at all about finances, and all I can do is listen to the opinions of others and choose the best... If I have made a
mistake, I really deserve to be excused by the people of Siam.
No previous monarch of Siam had ever spoken in such terms. Many interpreted the speech not as Prajadhipok apparently intended,
namely as a frank appeal for understanding and cooperation. They saw it as a sign of his weakness and evidence that a system which
perpetuated the rule of fallible autocrats should be abolished. Serious political disturbances were threatened in the capital, and in
April the king agreed to introduce a constitution under which he would share power with a prime minister. This was not enough for
the radical elements in the army, however. On June 24, 1932, while the king was holidaying at the seaside, the Bangkok garrison
mutinied and seized power, led by a group of 49 officers known as "the Promoters." Thus ended 150 years of Siamese absolute
Greene, Stephen Lyon Wakeman. Absolute Dreams. Thai Government Under Rama VI, 1910-1925. Bangkok: White
Lotus, 1999
Wyatt, David, Thailand: A Short History, Yale University Press, 1984
Territorial claims abandoned by Siam in the late 19th and early 20th centuries The Wat Pho temple complex in Bangkok, legacy of
King Rama III