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The kingdom of Ayutthaya was from the 14-18 century. It is located in north of Bangkok. It is also known as Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya. The city was founded in 1350 by king U Thong, who went there to escape a cholera outbreak in Suphan Buri and proclaimed it the capital of his kingdom, often referred to as the Ayutthaya kingdom or Siam. Prince U Thong decided to name it Ayutthaya after the holy Indian city Ayodhya which means ‘undefeatable’.http://www.lonelyplanet.com/maps/asia/thailand/map_of_thailand.jpg
How long did prince U Thong rule for?
King Ramathibodi was both a warrior and a diplomat and throughout
his 19 year reign he expanded Ayutthaya’s power over nearby territories. He also established first Thai law system (Dharmashastra) which was used in Thai government until the late 19th century.
The Rise of Ayutthaya
The history of Ayutthaya is often bloody with murder plots and family intrigue but Ayutthaya didn’t stop and continued to grow and prosper until it became one of the most successful trading centres in South East Asia. The kingdom of Ayutthaya traded with countries from all over the world and their kings gave land outside the city to foreign merchants and their families so that they could observe their own religious and cultural practices. Once Ayutthaya had over one million residents, 1700 Temples and OVER 30,000 MONKS! The kings of Ayutthaya grew very rich since they taxed all good entering all leaving the kingdom.
The Kingdom of Ayutthaya was much larger and far more populous than that of Sukhothai so it was impossible for Ayutthayan Kings to rule in the in the same benevolent way. The King of Sukhothai called themselves ‘dhammaraja’ which means ‘king by law’ the Ayutthayan kings called themselves ‘devaraja’ which means ‘God-Kings’. The phrase “God-King” meant that the kings were regarded as gods by their people and had absolute sacred authority.
The Sacking of Ayutthaya
“Prince Ekkathat or Kromma Khun Anurak Montri was a son of Borommakot. His elder brother, Prince Thammathibet, was made the front palace in 1732. Thammathibet was thus beaten to death in 1746. Ekkathat, who was then next in the succession line, were expected to be the Front Palace. However, Borommakot halted the appointment because of Ekkathat’s incompetence.” [i] King Ekathat (1758-1767) was the last king of Ayutthaya. King Ekkathat’s name came from his face since he lost one of his eyes so Ekkathat means one eye. In 1767 the Burmese conquered the city of Ayutthaya and won. King Taksin was one of King Ekkathat’s subordinates. He tried helping King Ekkathat but he failed to protect Ayutthaya form the Burmese and they took him as a prisoner. After they took away Ayutthaya and King Taksin King Ekkathat didn’t eat food and drink water for 10 days and he died because of starvation. After he died the Burmese all of the city of the Ayutthayan’s and destroyed Ayutthaya.
Heroes of Ayutthaya
The black prince
King Naresuan 1590-1605
Naresuan was born in Phitsanulok City on 25 April 1555 and was the son of a future King of Ayutthaya, King Sanpet 1 . He was taken hostage by the Burmese when he was just 9 years old. A few years after his return to Thailand, Naresuan heard of a murder plot against him by jealous members of the Burmese royal family. He therefore declared independence from Burma, which had control of Ayutthaya at that time, and became King of an independent Ayutthaya in 1590. He led the soldiers into battles to defend the country against Burmese invasions many times. King Naresuan extended Ayutthaya territory to include Lanna, Lanchang, Cambodia and some parts of Burma. He enforced strict discipline on his soldiers and the people. During his reign, Ayutthaya was a very secure and powerful state. He not only restored the national independence but also made Siam such a powerful country that no enemy threatened the walls of Ayutthaya again for a period of one hundred seventy three years.
Suriyothai – 16th Century Heroine
“Queen Suriyothai was the wife of King Chakraphat the 16th King of Ayutthaya between 1548 to 1568. She is famous for being a heroine who died in battle against the Burmese whilst mounted on her elephant back in a fight with Prince Prome of Burma to protect her husband whose elephant had collapsed from wounds. Queen Suriyothai was killed by a scythe at the hand of Prince Prome. There is a stupa in Ayutthaya containing her ashes, which is called Si Suriyothai Chedi.” [ii]
King Narai (1656-1688)
King Narai was the most internationally-minded ruler of Ayutthaya. During his reign the kingdom was described as the most powerful and magnificent in Asia. “His reign was the most prosperous during the Ayutthaya period and saw the great commercial and diplomatic activities with foreign nations including the Persians and the West.” [iii] There was thriving trade with Portugal, Spain, Holland, Japan, India, Arabia, China, England and France. Diplomatic offices were opened in Ayutthaya and hundreds of Europeans lived and worked in the city. King Narai welcomed these foreigners as they brought with them knowledge of military affairs, medicine, astronomy and architecture. “The dominance of French officials led to frictions between them and the native mandarins and led to the turbulent revolution of 1688 towards the end of his reign. Narai’s reign was also known for a small war with England in 1687 and the invasion of Burmese Lanna in 1662.” [iv]
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