Ayutthaya, thonburi, and rattanakosin

Thai History:
Map of Thailand
Ayutthaya Kingdom(1350-1767)
 Had been the capital of Thailand for 417
years with 33 kings of 5 dynasties (Uthong, Suphanburi, Sukhothai, PrasartThong, Ban Phlu-Luang) ruling the
successive kingdom.
 Founded by King U-Thong (Ramathibodi
I) in A.D.1350. It was unclear where King UThong came from. Some said he was a
Chinese Prince but others belief he was
Geographical Advantage
 The city is surrounded with 3 major rivers,
the Lopburi on the north, the Pasak on the
east and the Chao Phya on the south and
the west. Thus Ayutthaya is very
accessible, easy to connect with other
areas and to trade with other Asian and
European countries.
 In warfare, the rivers also functioned as
defending wall to protect the capital.
Ayutthaya Map
by Johannes Vingboons, 1665
Political Administration
 Ayutthaya was ruled by the king as absolute
monarchy system.
 Feudalism played important role through the
whole period of the kingdom.
 The king, with the most powerful in hand,
empowered his relatives and high ranked
aristocrats to look after the provincial towns
far off the city such as Sukhothai, Angkor,
Phitsanulok, Nakorn Si Thammarat.
Feudalism (sakdina)
 King and monarch (chao)
 Noble (khunnang)
 Commoners (phrai)
 Slave (dasa/dasi)
Religion: Brahamanism
 Brahmanism played significant role in
royal rituals and practices i.e.
Ploughing ceremony in May
 It came from Brahmins from India and
royal rituals from Khmers.
 Brahmanism believes in “Deva Raja”
or divine king. King is a reincarnation
of God Vishnu or Narayan (Narai).
God Vishnu & Garuda(sacred bird)
Garuda: Symbol of Thai Govt.
 Buddhism believes in individual’s
karma/deed rather than class or origin of
 It created “Dhamma Raja” or virtuous king,
came from Buddhist monks.
 Ordination has been functioned not only
for spiritual practice, but also as a melting
pot for people from all classes.
 Sometimes it was a shelter for royal family
who wanted to avoid political conflict or
escape from threat i.e. King Mongkut.
King Buddha, Wat Na Phra Mane
Deva Raja VS Dhamma Raja
 The integration of these concepts
enabled people in Ayutthaya believed
that king can be anyone who’s qualified.
The origin of birth doesn’t matter as
much as individual competence.
 Therefore, there are many fights for the
throne during Ayutthaya period from 5
dynasties resulting 33 kings within 417
Atharva Veda(IV): Magic Power
 Both white and black magic was
popular during Ayutthaya period in
forms of ritual, yantra, tattoo, etc.
 Buddhism merged this belief by
saying people who possessed these
sacred objects should be virtuous and
observe five precepts i.e. no killing, no
stealing, etc.
Chanting for Longevity
Sacred Yantra
Protective Tattoo: Running Tiger
 Has been popular among
commoners until present. You
may see Thais worship local
spirits, big tree, certain kinds of
being i.e. mystical serpent (Naga),
or unusual trees/animals.
Worshipping the Local Spirit
Mystical Serpent
Unusual root of a Raintree
 Ayutthaya was an international port
attracting traders from the Far East:
Malay/Indonesia, India, China, Persia, etc.
 Ayutthaya’s major commodities were “forest
produce”: woods, benzoin, gumlac, deerhide,
elephant teeth, rhinoceros horn including
rice, dried fish and minerals(esp.tin).
 Had a steady and profitable trade with Ming
and Manchu China during 14-1800s.
 There were many wars between
Ayutthaya and neighboring kingdoms
i.e. Cambodia, Lanna (Chiang Mai),
Pattani, and most importanly, Burma
 Ayutthaya and Hongsawadi had taken
turns to overcome the other several
times. Whenever Burma was in an
expansionist phase, Ayutthaya suffered,
and vice versa.
1st Lost Independence (1569)
 During the reign of King Mahindrathirat,
Ayutthaya was beaten by the Burmese and
it lost its independence for 15 years.
 The kingdom was free again in 1584,
during the reign of King Naresuan the
great when he could drive the Burmese
away from the kingdom.
King Naresuan the Great(1590-1605)
 When he was 9, he had been taken off to
Burma as a hostage to make sure that his
father – King Maha Thammaraja would be
subject to Burma.
 When he was 16, he returned to Ayutthaya
with exchanging his sister Princess
Suphankalaya to go to King Bayinnaung.
 The most renowned victory of him was at
Nong Sarai when he killed Burmese crown
prince in combat on elephant.
Battle on Elephants
King Naresuan declared independence
in 1584
King Narai the Great(1656-1688)
 In the reign of King Na Rai the great,
diplomatic and commercial connection policy
with western countries was started.
 Ayutthaya learnt more about new advanced
technology from western countries such as
architectural design and new technique of
building construction. These can be seen on
ancient ruins found both in Ayutthaya and
King Narai welcomed Westerners
King Narai and Missionary
 In 1680s, splendid embassies were exhange
between King Narai and King Louis XIV. He
also allowed the missionaries to set up in
Ayutthaya, but he made it clear that Siam
was a Buddhist country.
 Due to rulers’ manner and religion, there
were many foreign communities located in
Ayutthaya i.e. Hollanda (Dutch), Japanese,
Portuguese, Chinese.
2nd Lost Independence
 King Suriyat-Amarin or King Eakatat [1488 1767] was inefficient and became the last king
of Ayutthaya enabled the second lost of
Ayutthaya independence in 1767.
 In 1765, Burmese invaded Ayutthaya and
destroyed the whole kingdom: temples,
manuscripts, and religious sculptures. They
also took lots of gold that coated on Buddha
statues back to Burma. Some Thais believe
the gold is at Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon.
Shwedagon Pagoda, Yangon
 Ayutthaya was left until in the
reign of King Rama V, its
deterioration and cultural ruins
was renovated. It was the first
time to realize the important of
cultural ruins in Ayutthaya as
ancient monument of the nation
until today.
Ayutthaya Ruins
World Heritage
 Ayutthaya was placed in the World
Heritage List on December 13, 1991
at Carthage, Tunisia. Besides the
Thai Government had approved the
Master Plan for conservation and
development the historic city in
1993 and the project was started in
Ayutthaya Remains
 VDOs
 Historic City of Ayutthaya
 Hidden Temples of Ayutthaya
Flooding in Ayutthaya 2011
Wat Chai Wattanaram
Thonburi Kingdom (1767-1782)
 Founded by King Taksin the Great who
originally named Sinn, a Chinese-Thai
general. He was a governor of Tak province
when Burmese troop invaded Ayutthaya in
 He set up a strong army by gathering
soldiers and commoners outside
Ayutthaya and went back to expel
Burmese out of the country.
 After King Taksin had taken liberty
back from Burmese, he
established the new capital city of
Thailand in Thonburi, which was
on the west bank of the Chao
Phya River and he asked the
people from Ayutthaya including
from the other places to settle
down in Thonburi.
Location of Thonburi&Bangkok
 King Taksin was also a devout
Buddhist. He purified Buddhism,
restored rituals and practices.
 The chronicle said he practiced
meditation and got insane thus was
 New evidences found that he left the
throne for reasons and went down to
Nakorn Si Thammarat to be ordained
as a monk and died in 1825.
Rattanakosin/Bangkok (since 1782)
 When King Buddha Yod Fa Chulaloke, or King
Rama I succeeded to the throne of Chakri
dynasty, he and his younger brother started
to establish Rattanakosin city or Bangkok in
1692. When the city was nearly completely
found, most people both in Thonburi and
Ayutthaya integrated to settle down in the
new capital city of Thailand while very few
were still there.
9 Kings of Chakri Dynasty
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