Thailand / History





1350-1359 - King Rama Tibodi I introduces coded laws.

1352 - Ayutthaya engages Cambodia in war. Cambodia is seized and its ruler, King Pasat, becomes the vassal of Siam. Even though its the Khmers (or Cambodians) who are defeated in this war, it's rather Khmer culture that penetrates Thai society in the following decades and centuries than Thai culture penetrating Khmer society. One example is that Siam adopts the Khmer system of slavery as well as the concept of absolute monarchy.

1357 - Cholera spreads in the kingdom of Siam and claims, among thousands of others, the lives of two of its princes, Chaokeo and Chaotai.

1361 - King Rama Tibodi I becomes a Buddhist priest.

1369 - King Rama Tibodi I dies aged 57, and his son, Prince Ramesuan, succeeds on the throne. Incompetence displayed during the Cambodian war makes him unpopular among his people.

1370 - Upon public clamor and advice of his ministers, Prince Ramesuan abdicates his throne in favor of his uncle, Prince Boromaraja (the brother-in-law of King Rama Tibodi).

1371 - King Boromaraja begins invading Sukhothai, capturing several towns.

1375 - Phitsanulok, the substitute capital of Sukhothai, is taken by Boromaraja's forces and prisoners are turned into slaves.

1378 - King Tammaraja II of Sukhothai is forced to become a vassal of the King of Ayutthaya. This marks the end of the independent Thai Kingdom of Sukhothai after 140 years of existence.

1388 - King Boromaraja dies and his son Tonglan, 15 years old, succeeds the throne. 7 days thereafter, the former King of Ayutthaya, Ramesuan, seizes the young king, most probably has him killed and assumes the throne.

1390 - Senmuangma, the young king of Chiang Mai (Lannatai Kingdom), attempts to overthrow the Ayutthaya Kingdom and to regain Sukhothai for its King Tammaraja II but the Chiang Mai army is defeated by the Ayutthaya forces. King Ramesuan succeeds in invading Chiang Mai and resettles parts of the city's population to other areas held by Siam (Ayutthaya), some as far south as the Malayan Peninsula. Though the people of Chiang Mai are ethnically Thais, they have at that time a dialect quite different from the one spoken in Siam, having migrated from what is now Yunnan in southern China several centuries later than the Thais settling further south.

1393 - War breaks out again with Cambodia provoked by the Cambodian King Kodombong who captures Chonburi and Chantaburi taking much of the population of the two towns back to Cambodia. King Ramesuan, upon learning of the event, sends his troops to Cambodia, invades Angkor and takes almost 90,000 Cambodians as prisoners to Siam, leaving the Khmer kingdom again as vassal of Siam. The year 1393 thereby established a pattern that will be much adhered to in southeast Asia for centuries to come. Victorious kings and generals are not content with ransacking the towns of defeated neighbors and imposing tributes. As the constant wars between Thais, Burmese and Khmers take heavy tolls on the populations of the kingdoms, gaining new subjects to replace those killed in battle becomes an objective of war. To judge such a population policy it has to be noted that the wars between the three nations have often been total wars. Occasionally, most of the men of a kingdom were conscripted, from ages today considered as childhood. Furthermore, women have also regularly fought in battles. The population policy of capturing subjects has also contributed to the ethnic mix found now in southeast Asia. Racial descent is an insufficient criterion to differentiate Thais, Mons, Khmers, Shans etc. Rather, it's language and regional culture that make the difference.

1395 - Ramesuan dies at 62 and is succeeded by his son Ramraja for 14 fairly peaceful but also uneventful years.

1409 - King Ramraja is deposed from his throne by Prince Nakonin, governor of Sysan and the son of a younger brother of King Boromaraja I. Nakonin later proclaims himself King with the title Intharaja.

1424 - King Intharaja dies and his three sons fight over the throne; two of them die. The youngest of the three brothers is the survivor and is proclaimed King of Ayutthaya with the title Boromaraja II.

1431 - After Cambodia has again gained kind of independence, a new war between Ayutthaya and Cambodia breaks out. It lasts for seven months during which Thai forces again invade Angkor. King Tammasok of Cambodia dies during the war and the King of Siam sets up his son, the Prince Intaburi as King of Cambodia. Intaburi dies after just a few months in office. Thereafter, Cambodia regains again its independence.

1432 - The Khmers vacate Angkor, considering it too close to the border with Siam and relocate their capital in Basan on the eastern side of the Mekong River.

1434 - The Khmers move their capital again, this time to Phnom Penh. In the course of history they will switch several times between the sites of Phnom Penh and Lawak near Phnom Penh.

1438 - Sukhothai is fully incorporated into the Siamese Kingdom of Ayutthaya. Prince Ramesuan is appointed governor of Phitsanulok.

1442 - Ayutthaya is at war with Chiang Mai. Chiang Mai suffers defeat but not to the extent that the Lannatai Kingdom of Chiang Mai is integrated into Siam or becomes a real vassal. However, the Ayutthaya forces again capture part of the Lannatai population and resettle the people in their own realm.

1448 - King Boromaraja II dies and the Prince of Phitsanulok, Ramesuan, becomes king of Ayutthaya. He assumes the title King Trailok. During his extraordinarily long rule of 40 years, King Trailok reforms the administrative system of Siam, giving it a stricter hierarchical structure. The system of nobility in Siam, too, is founded by King Trailok who creates seven grades of nobles. The grades of nobility from the highest to the lowest are: 1. Phaya, 2. Phra, 3. Luang, 4. Khun, 5. Muen, 6 Pun, 7. Tanai. An additional grade, topping the one of Phaya, is created later, the rank of Chao Phaya. In all of the history of Siam, the above ranks of nobility are not hereditary. The only hereditary rank is the one of prince or princess for the offspring of kings and princes. Ranks of nobility are given by the ruling king who also can take them back. Also non-hereditary are land possessions; while there are certain rules, established by King Trailok, concerning the granting of land to nobles according to their rank, land allocations are in principle at the discretion of the king.

1456 - Conflict with the Lannatai Kingdom of Chiang Mai is smouldering.

1462 - Sukhothai, temporarily occupied by forces of Chiang Mai, is regained by Ayutthaya.

1463 - As the only external conflict of his reign is with the Lannatai Kingdom, King Trailok of Ayutthaya transfers his capital to Phitsanulok in the north of his realm, leaving his son, Prince Boromaraja, in charge of Ayutthaya.

1465 - King Trailok enters a Buddhist seminary as a monk.

1471 - The first white elephant is captured in Siam. By future definition, white elephants in the realm are all owned by the king.

1474 - Open war between Chiang Mai and Ayutthaya breaks out once again. The ruler of Chiang Mai, Maharaja Tilok, has his army massacre all the members of the Siamese embassy. As the war again doesn't produce a clear victor, Trailok of Ayutthaya and Tilok of Chiang Mai both agree to a peace settlement. In spite of the fact that the threat from the north is no longer eminent, King Trailok does not move his capital back to Ayutthaya and remains in Phitsanulok, leaving Ayutthaya under the control of his son, Prince Boromaraja.

1487 - Maharaja Tilok dies.

1488 - King Trailok dies in Phitsanulok and is succeeded by his son, Boromaraja III, who had been his deputy in Ayutthaya for 25 years. As Boromaraja III has his personal base in Ayutthaya, the city's traditional function as capital is restored. Boromaraja's younger brother, Prince Jutta, becomes governor of Phitsanulok.

1491 - Boromaraja III dies and is succeeded by Prince Jutta who takes the title Rama Tibodi II.

1507 - A civil war breaks out in Chiang Mai and the local ruler, Maharaja Yai, is deposed and succeeded by his son Maharaja Ratna. The following years, until 1515, there are a number of clashes between Siam (Ayutthaya) and Lannatai (Chiang Mai) armies which however don't change the power balance between the two kingdoms.

1511 - Duarte Fernandez, a Portuguese, lands in Siam and negotiates a treaty with King Rama Tibodi II to permit Portuguese to reside and carry on trade in Ayutthaya.

1515 - Sukhothai is invaded by the ruler of Laos, then a principality covering roughly the area of present-day Laos.

1529 - King Rama Tibodi II dies after a reign of 38 years. His son, Prince Atityawong, succeeds the throne as King Boromaraja IV.

1533 - King Boromaraja IV dies early of smallpox, leaving as successor to the throne his 4 year old son, Prince Ratsadatiratkumar. After a reign of just five months in which his ministers rule in his behalf, Prince Prajai (a half-brother of the former King Boromaraja IV, sizes the throne in 1534 after having the child king murdered. After the 15 year old King Tonglan in 1388, Prince Ratsadatiratkumar is the second child king to ascend to the throne, and like the former he is disposed and killed by an older relative. In the next decades and the next centuries, a similar fate will befall practically all underage ascendents to the throne. Furthermore, palace revolts and usurpations of the throne become a fairly normal feature for the remaining centuries of the Ayutthaya period in Thai history. While the Ratsadatiratkumar/Prajai case doesn't interrupt the initial dynasty of Ayutthaya (Prajai like Ratsadatiratkumar being a close relative of the former king) palace revolts of the following centuries do interrupt dynastic lines and none of the subsequent three dynasties makes it to 80 years in power.

1545 - King Prajai intervenes in the affairs of Chiang Mai leading to a short war between Burma and Ayutthaya. The Siamese ultimately retreat after destroying Lamphun, then in Burmese territory. The Lannatai Kingdom of Chiang Mai elects to ally itself with Burma and will be on the side of the Burmese more often than the side of Siam for most of the time in the next decades and centuries.

1546 - King Prajai returns to Ayutthaya and dies there. The King is said to have been poisoned by his wife, Tao Sri Sudachan. King Prajai is first succeeded by his 11-year old son Kaeofa. While Prince Tienraja acts as the Regent in behalf of King Kaeofa, the dowager queen Tao Sri Sudachan wields considerable influence and is able to widen her power base. After she succeeds in pushing Prince Tienraja to become a monk, she rules pretty unchallenged. In her private life she chooses a minor palace official as her lover.

1548 - The 13-year old King Kaeofa, who is actually pretty powerless, plots to do away with the lover of his mother. However, his mother's lover discovers the plot and does away with the young king. In consequence, King Kaeofa's younger brother, the 7-year old Prince Srisin ascends the throne. The lover of his mother who meanwhile was elevated to the minor noble rank of Khun, becomes Regent in behalf of the young child king - in spite of the fact that he murdered the preceding king. It takes just a few weeks, and the dowager queen Tao Sri Sudachan and her lover, Khun Waraniongsu, dispose Tao Sri Sudachan's son from the throne.

1548, Nov 11 - Khun Waraniongsu proclaims himself King of Ayutthaya.

1548 Dec - Khun Waraniongsu, his wife Tao Sri Sudachan and their newly born daughter are killed in a palace revolt led by a certain Khun Pirentoratep. The palace conflicts of that time find their continuation even in modern Thai politics, marred by probably more coup d'etats than the modern history of any other country. Khun Pirentoratep could be seen as the first of a line of exceptionally skillful coup plotters of which Thailand will have a considerable number as late as the second half of the 20th century.

1549, Jan 19 - Khun Pirentoratep and his followers install the former regent in behalf of the underage King Kaeofa, Prince Tienraja, the brother of King Prajai, to the throne of Ayutthaya. Tienraja takes under the royal name Chakrapat. For himself, Khun Pirentoratep gets the position of Governor of Phitsanulok, traditionally the second most powerful position in Siam as the Governor of Phitsanulok basically controls the northern part of the realm. Not enough with this, Prince Tienraja bestows on Khun Pirentoratep (who made him King Chakrapat) the old and prestigious title Prince Maha Tammaraja and gives him his daughter, Princess Wisutkasatri as wife. Beyond any doubt, king maker Khun Pirentoratep (Prince Maha Tammaraja) is the second most powerful man in the realm.

1549, Aug - A 4-month war breaks out with the Burmese, who invade the territory of Siam and besiege Ayutthaya. It is the first of several Burmese invasions and Thai-Burmese wars, stretching over about 50 years. It is believed that the first Burmese invasion was triggered by the palace conflicts in Ayutthaya as the Burmese might have thought that Siam, weakened by dynastic conflicts, would be easy prey. Unfortunately for Siam, the period of dynastic conflicts in Ayutthaya coincides with a period in which the neighboring Burma is ruled by a sequence of very able warrior kings. First it is the Burmese King Tabengshweti who rules from 1531 to 1550 and achieves the unification of a territory that roughly resembles present-day Burma by subduing a number of Burmese, Mon (in the south) and Shan principalities (in the north). After King Tabengshweti is poisoned in 1550, he is succeeded by his general and brother-in-law who becomes King Bhueng Noreng (also recorded under the name King Hanthawadi) and is no less warrior than Tabengshweti.

1550 - Because of the previous Burmese invasion, King Chakrapat orders the fortification of Ayutthaya by constructing high walls enclosing the capital.

1561 - Rebellion in Siam is induced by Prince Srisin, the youngest son of King Prajai who had been deposed by his mother Tao Sri Sudachan and passed over when Prince Tienraja was made King Chakrapat by Khun Pirentoratep (Prince Maha Tammaraja) and his cohorts. After the palace revolt of 1548 brought about by his natural mother, Prince Srisin was adopted by King Chakrapat. Having been accused of plotting against the King's life already three years earlier (1558) at age 16, he was kept under strict surveillance. At the age of 19, when about to be ordained as a Buddhist monk (1561), he makes his escape, groups his followers and attacks the palace. He is killed in the same incident by the men of Prince Mahin, the natural son of King Chakrapat.

1563 - In the second Burmese invasion, the King of Burma, Bhueng Noreng, with an army supported by the forces of several vassal states reaching as far east as the principality of Laos marches into Siamese territory. Historical sources put the strength of the Burmese army at up to 200,000 soldiers. At first, the towns of Sawankalok and Pijai are seized and many hostages are taken.

1564, Feb - As the Thais miscalculate the Burmese strategy, the Burmese army makes a surprise attack on Ayutthaya. For lack of preparation on the part of the Siamese, King Chakrapat is pressed to agree to onerous peace terms dictated by Bhueng Noreng.

1564, Dec - The Burmese occupy Chiang Mai.

1565 - In an effort to strengthen Siam, King Chakrapat intends to marry his younger daughter, Princess Tepkasatri, to King Jaijetta of Laos. King maker Khun Pirentoratep (Prince Maha Tammaraja) and his wife Princess Wisutkasatri who is the elder sister of Princess Tepkasatri disapprove of the impending marriage and kidnap Princess Tepkasatri with Burmese help when she is about to be delivered to King Jaijetta of Laos. King Chakrapat thereupon loses the pleasure in being king and appoints his son, Prince Mahin, as the Regent of Ayutthaya in preparation to retire to private life. However, this is oil on the fire smouldering on the side of Khun Pirentoratep (Prince Maha Tammaraja) who not only is angry over not being consulted in family affairs but also feels he has been passed over in the succession to the throne. The result is that a split occurs in Siam in which each side is willing to bring in outside forces to subdue the other; King Chakrapat and his son Prince Mahin entertain a close relationship with the King of Laos while Khun Pirentoratep (Prince Maha Tammaraja) has a friendly relationship with the Burmese King Bhueng Noreng.

1568 - Due to the obvious unpreparedness of Prince Mahin to perform the kingly functions, King Chakrapat returns to his throne.

1568, Dec - Burmese King Bhueng Noreng invades Siam with an army which is recorded to have been even bigger than the previous one of up to 200,000 troops. Bhueng Noreng this time doesn't choose classical Burmese entry point to Siam, the Three Pagodas Pass, but moves in from the north. The Siamese Governor of Phitsanulok, Khun Pirentoratep (Prince Maha Tammaraja), joins his army with the Burmese force, thereby putting Thai soldiers against Thai soldiers. The combined army marches towards Ayutthaya.

1569, Jan - At the most untimely moment, just when the combined armies of Bhueng Noreng and Khun Pirentoratep (Prince Maha Tammaraja) march towards Ayutthaya, King Chakrapat dies and Prince Mahin succeeds on the Siamese Throne. There are no historic indications that King Chakrapat was murdered, even though an according assassination would have fit very well into the strategy of the Burmese King Bhueng Noreng and more so of Khun Pirentoratep (Prince Maha Tammaraja).

1569, Aug 30 - After a siege of 7 months, Ayutthaya falls for the first time. But the victory of Bhueng Noreng and Khun Pirentoratep (Prince Maha Tammaraja) is not credited to brute force but treason, to a trap, probably devised by Prince Maha Tammaraja. Bhueng Noreng and Prince Maha Tammaraja achieved to smuggle into the besieged city the traitor Pijai Chakri. Pijai Chakri had been taken hostage by the Burmese in 1563 and since been completely brainwashed. He made his entry to Ayutthaya by appearing before the city's gate, dressed up as prisoner and claiming to have escaped from the Burmese in order to help defend Ayutthaya. He succeeds in winning King Mahin's trust and is put in charge of vital defence installations. But instead of doing his best to help in the defence of Ayutthaya, he gives out information to the Burmese and deliberately weakens Ayutthaya's defence at points through which the forces of Bhueng Noreng and Prince Maha Tammaraja finally gain access.

1569, Dec - 21 years after having led a palace revolt, after having installed one king and having disposed of two, Prince Maha Tammaraja himself ascends the throne of Ayutthaya and assumes the title Phra Srisanpet. Bhueng Noreng who feels that his mission is accomplished returns to Burma, taking with him King Mahin and a substantial part of the population of Ayutthaya as well as a big booty but refrains from finishing off the Kingdom of Siam as he probably feels quite secure having installed his ally Prince Maha Tammaraja (now Phra Srisanpet) on the Siamese throne. However, Bhueng Noreng obviously underestimated Maha Tammaraja who immediately starts to rebuild the kingdom - with the obvious aim to make it an independent power again. He appoints his son Prince Naresuan who had grown up in Burmese custody after the second Burmese invasion of 1563 and as Prince and Governor of Phitsanulok, the position occupied by Maha Tammaraja himself for more than 20 years. Both, king and prince, immediately begin re-arming Siam as well as building new fortifications for Ayutthaya and towns in the north.

1770 - The former Siamese ruler, King Mahin, dies as prisoner on the way to Burma.

1575-1578 - Cambodia makes a series of attacks on Ayutthaya, but none succeeds because of the strength of the newly organized forces of the Siamese.

1581 - King Bhueng Noreng of Burma is peacefully succeeded by his son Nanda Bhueng who isn't a military genius like his father.

1584, May 3 - 15 years after the fall of Ayutthaya, Prince Naresuan openly denounces, with the consent of his father King Maha Tammaraja, Siam's allegiance to Burma.

1584, Dec - A Burmese army composed of about 300,000 men attacks Siam but fails. In his defence of Siamese territory, Prince Naresuan applies a strategy of scorched earth, retreating but leaving Siamese towns and outposts burned down to avoid that the Burmese can use them.

1586 - Prince Naresuan attacks Chiang Mai, then under Burmese rule, and regains the kingdom as vassal of Siam.

1586, Nov - Nanda Bhueng forms an army of 250,000 men, preparing a new attack on Ayutthaya.

1587, Jan - The Burmese army attacks Siam but the resistance from the latter is so strong that heavy losses inflicted on the Burmese ultimately force them to retreat.

1587 - Cambodia invades Siamese territory, again trying to take advantage of a Burmese-Siamese war. Due to lack of supplies on the side of the Siamese, conquest could have been possible for the Cambodians but the strategies of Prince Naresuan save Ayutthaya.

1590, Jul - King Maha Tammaraja dies and Prince Naresuan is crowned King of Ayutthaya.

1590, Nov - A Burmese army of about 200,000 men attacks Ayutthaya but is repelled.

1592, Dec - With the attack of a 250,000 men army, Burma makes its final effort to re-conquer Ayutthaya. During a skirmish, Burmese Crown Prince Min Chit Sra is killed. Thereafter, Burmese forces retreat. Thai troops refrain from chasing the Burmese as another Burmese army in the north of the kingdom is at the point of attacking Chiang Mai. However, the attack on Chiang Mai is recalled when the Burmese King is informed of the death of his son.

1593 - The turn has come for the Siamese to try their luck in foreign conquest. At first, two Siamese armies attack southern Burmese territories. The two armies are under the leadership of Generals Chao Phaya Chakri and Phaya Praklong. The former invades and occupies Tenasserim after 15 days while the latter conquers Tavoy after 20 days (both now southern Burmese cities). Because of their achievements, the danger for Ayutthaya of being conquered by Burma becomes nil.

1593, May - King Naresuan sends a 100,000-men expedition to Cambodia. Knowing the strength of the invaders, many Cambodian provinces surrender without resistance. The King of Cambodia and his two sons flee. Cambodia is placed under a Siamese military governor.

1594 - Because of King Nanda Bhueng's mental instability, Burma's peace and order condition worsens. Many Burmese seek refuge in Ayutthaya.

1596, Dec - Ayutthaya invades Burma again. with the intention of reducing her to a state of irrelevance. The invasion is no particular success as some of Siam's allies fail to deliver promised support.

1598 - Trade between Spain and Ayutthaya begins when a Spanish envoy comes to Ayutthaya to conclude the Treaty of Amity and Commerce between the two nations.

1600, May - King Naresuan invades the Burmese principality of Taungu. As the invasion is made when the Siamese forces are under unfavorable conditions due to sickness and starvation suffered in lower Burma, Taungu is able to repel the attack.

1605, May 16 - King Naresuan dies at Muang Hang, a Siamese territory, during a military campaign, leaving behind neither wife nor children. His brother Prince Ekatotsarot ascends the throne.

1605 - King Ekatotsarot imposes the first money tax levied in Ayutthaya. For this, he gains the reputation of being a covetous man. Dutch merchants begin visiting Ayutthaya.

1608 - Siam (Ayutthaya) sends ambassadors to the Netherlands to establish friendly relations.

1609 - The first Portuguese Jesuit missionary, Baltazar de Seguerra, arrives in Ayutthaya.

1610 - King Ekatotsarot's reign ends and Prince Intharaja succeeds under the royal title of King Songtam.

1612 - The first English trade factory is established in Ayutthaya. At about the same time, the Dutch establish their first trade outpost in Siam.

1612, Jun 23 - The first English ship, Globe, arrives in Pattani harbor in the extreme south of the Thai territory on the Malayan peninsula, activating trade in Siam.

1618 - War breaks out between the Netherlands and England and hostilities among the citizens of the two countries are carried on even in Siam.

1619, Jul 17 - 800 Dutchmen attack two British ships in Pattani harbor.

1620 - Peace is restored between the Dutch and the English in Ayutthaya.

1628-1630 - Questions on the succession to the Siamese throne are resolved in what one may consider typical Siamese manner. First, King Songtam, when seriously ill and upon feeling that death is approaching at the age of 38, makes preparations to secure that his eldest son, Prince Jetta, will be his successor. Prince Jetta is at that time a boy of just 14. After the death of his father, Prince Jetta is indeed installed as king by a group of high palace officials around a certain Phaya Sriworawong. Immediately thereafter, a large group of other palace officials who were thought to have favored the late king's brother, Prince Srisin, as new king, are summarily beheaded. Again, the one who "made" the new king, Phaya Sriworawong, is promoted, receiving the new title of Chao Phaya Kalahom. As King Jetta is still a boy, actual power rests with king maker Chao Phaya Kalahom. The next step Chao Phaya Kalahom takes in order to clear the way for himself to seize the throne openly, is to set up a trap for Prince Srisin who later could otherwise turn out to be a contender. However, Prince Srisin at that time is a Buddhist monk, and it is customary not to murder monks. Therefore, Chao Phaya Kalahom plots with the commander of the Japanese palace guard (brought in by King Songtam) to lure Prince Srisin into discarding the saffron robe by promising him that he will be installed as the new king. But as soon as Prince Srisin has taken off the robe, information is given to the young King Jetta that his uncle has left the monastery to rebel against him. Prince Srisin is tried and sentenced to death. First being pardoned, then involved in another rebellion, Prince Srisin is executed a few month later in what is described as "royal manner" - tying him in a velvet sack and beating him to death with a sandalwood club. King Jetta, disturbed by the dominance of Chao Phaya Kalahom makes some preparations to get rid of his chief minister but the latter is informed and acts faster than the young king. Chao Phaya Kalahom and his cohorts storm the king's palace and kill the young monarch. Having strong backing at the court, Chao Phaya Kalahom is offered to succeed King Jetta. But as the late king's younger brother, Prince Atityawong, a boy of ten, is still around and could later be regarded as King Jetta's rightful successor, Chao Phaya Kalahom declines. On Chao Phaya Kalahom advice, Atityawong is crowned King of Siam; Chao Phaya Kalahom secures for himself the appointment as regent. Then, while acting as the young king's regent, Chao Phaya Kalahom undertakes to discredit King Atityawong for childish, un-kingly behavior - until the assembly of ministers decides to depose him. (He will be murdered only 7 years later.) Chao Phaya Kalahom believes the time has come for him to ascend the throne himself. He assumes the title King Prasattong and will rule for 25 years, until 1655.

1632, Apr - Chiang Mai, after having declared independence, is again seized by the Burmese.

1631-1632 - Several Dutchvessels arrive in Ayutthaya to help the King in his fight against the Portuguese and Cambodians.

1632 - Ayutthaya forces attack Pattani for its refusal to send tribute. The Siamese army is repelled by Pattani's strong defence.

1634 - Siam again attacks Pattani but fails due to mismanagement.

1636 - Ayutthaya makes extensive preparations to subdue Pattani. The Dutch interfere, advising Pattani to ask for forgiveness from King Prasattong for her rebellious acts. The ruler of Pattani follows the Dutch advice and Siamese authority over Pattani is re-established.

1655-1656 - Again, transition of poweris a bloody affair. King Prasattong dies in 1655 and is first succeeded by his elder son, Prince or King Chao Fa Yai. However, the new king's uncle, Prince Srisutammaraja, and his own brother, Prince Narai, conspire against King Chao Fa Yai, kidnap him and put him to death in the royal manner (see entry on 1628-1630). Prince Srisutammaraja is next to be crowned king, with Prince Narai becoming his deputy. Just a few months later, Prince Narai who has earlier not shown any scruples about participating in the murder of his elder brother, starts a palace revolt that lasts for several days and ends with King Srisutammaraja being done away with in the royal manner. History records the reason for Prince Narai's rebellion were the alleged advances his uncle, the king, made towards Narai's younger sister. Be that as it may, King Narai ascended the throne of Siam and reigned for 32 years, until 1688. During his reign, Siam opens all it's doors to trade with European powers, bringing about a considerable modernization of the country.

1663 - King Narai conquers Chiang Mai.

1664 - The Burmese retake Chiang Mai.

1664, Aug 10 - After the Dutch apply some gun boat diplomacy, blockading the mouth of the Chao Phaya River, a treaty between the Dutch and Ayutthaya is signed granting the Dutch the monopoly of trade in hides in Siam.

1664 - Roman Catholic missionaries arrive in Siam. While King Narai is not very interested in their religion, he uses the abilities of a number of French missionaries in European style constructions, especially fortifications. The Siamese king is exceptionally interested in developing relations with other European nations in order to avail of a counter force against the Dutch.

1668 - Islamic missionaries arrive in Siam.

1675 - The Phoenix, the English ship of Captain George White, arrives in Ayutthaya. It brings Constantine Phaulkon as one of its trading staff. Phaulkon actually is Greek and his original name is Gerakis which means Falcon in English. For him, the arrival in Ayutthaya is the start of a remarkable though not very long career. While not possessing any education worth mentioning, he has an exceptional talent for languages and becomes fluent in Thai in a matter of a few years. At the time when he arrives in Siam, he is already knowledgeable and can communicate in English, French, Portuguese and his native Greek.

1679 - Constantine Phaulkon enters the Thai government service as interpreter. In the course of a few years he climbs from one Thai nobility rank to the next, starting as Luang Wijayen and becoming Phra Wijayen, Phaya Wijayen and finally Chao Phaya Wijayen. Enjoying King Narai's trust he is put in charge of the foreign trade of Siam, virtually becoming the kingdom's Foreign Minister.

1680 - Animosity develops between the English East India Company and Phaulkon, mainly because Phaulkon encourages English traders to transact business independently from the English East India Company which would like to establish a monopoly on the English Siam trade. Phaulkon himself conducts trade independently from the company which has substantial backing in the English government. Phaulkon and other private traders are defamed as so-called interlopers. The dispute with the English East India Company prompts Phaulkon to shift the emphasis of the Siamese foreign policy to establishing trade and political relations between with France.

1680, Dec 25 - The first Siamese embassy to Europe leaves Ayutthaya to offer the ceding of Singora (today's city of Songkhla in southern Thailand) to France. But the vessel on which the embassy travels never reaches Europe as it sinks while on the way carrying everything and everybody on board to the bottom of the sea.

1684, Jan - A second Siamese embassy embarks for Europe.

1685, Sep - A French embassy arrives in Ayutthaya. One of its aims is to convert King Narai to Catholicism. The Siamese king declines to become a Christian but is interested in developing trade with France.

1685, Dec 19 - In a convention between the French embassy and King Narai, the French receive religious and commercial concessions. The French East India Company is given complete liberty of commerce, with extra-territorial jurisdiction given over their staff. The French are also granted a monopoly on the tin trade on Phuket. Singora (present-day Songkhla) is ceded to the French with full power to fortify it.

1685, Dec 22 - A third embassy to France leaves Ayutthaya. It carries a request of King Narai for French experts in various fields, including architecture and defence. It is a matter of historical dispute to what extent Siam wanted French soldiers to man some of its garrisons. As King Narai is interested in developing the relations to France in order to have a counter force against the Dutch, an according request would have made sense.

1686 - Armed conflict develops between Siam and the English East India Company. The English East India Company doesn't recognize English traders in Thai service and sailing under the Thai flag as it views according activities only as the utilization of loopholes to get by the trade monopoly of the English East India Company. Feeling that verbal protest alone isn't effective the English East India Company sinks a ship of Captain White who has, on recommendation of Constantine Phaulkon, joined the Thai government service and sails under the Thai flag. The English East India also dispatches two frigates from its possession at the Indian Coromandel Coast to take the port town of Mergui (located on the southern Burmese coast and then a Thai possession) and to put a stop to any trade activities of Englishmen who are not part of the English East India Company. Such free traders are to be captured and court martialed on board of English vessels on sea, the orders say.

1687, Apr 28 - The English East India Company forwards a claim against Siam in the amount of 65,000 ?for damage suffered during the conflict between ships under Thai flag and Golconda, the possessions of the company along the Indian Coromandel Coast. Because of this the King of Ayutthaya orders all Englishmen connected to the company to leave the territory at once.

1687, Jul 4 - Siamese defence troops open fire on the English vessel James, one of the two frigates of the English East India Company trying to capture the port of Mergui and succeed in sinking the ship.

1687, Aug 11 - King Narai, upon advice of Phaulkon, issues a declaration of war against the English East India Company, though not the English government.

1687 - Because of Phaulkon's service and allegiance to France, he is granted by King Louis a patent of nobility. He becomes a Count and a Knight of the order of St. Michael and St. Peter.

1687, Sep 27 - An embassy from France lands in Ayutthaya bringing with it roughly 600 French soldiers and about 300 skilled workers.

1687, Dec 1 - Siam enters into another treaty with France giving more privileges to the French East India Company.

1688, Jan - The French soldiers become increasingly unpopular with the Thais due to their display of racist and insolent attitudes. Anti-foreign organizations are born and the religious prejudices of the people are likewise aroused. It should be noted that the term used by Thais until today for western foreigners is farang, an abbreviation of the original farangse - the Thai word for the French (Francais in French). The term farang had a negative connotation until after World War II.

1688, Mar - In Lopburi, King Narai becomes seriously ill; one of his generals, Phra Petraja, becomes the most powerful man in the realm, acting in the following weeks from Lopburi where he virtually keeps the ailing king a prisoner. Clearly following two objectives, to put himself on the throne and to expel the for

eigners, he lures into a trap King Narai's adopted minor son, Phra Piya, and has him killed.

1988, Jun 5- Phaulkon is executed for treason, allegedly having conspired to put Phra Piya on the throne and having aimed at the regency. In the following days, Phra Petraja lures to Lopburi two brothers of King Narai, Prince Chao Fa Apaitot and Prince Chao Fa Noi, having them both killed two days after their arrival. To expel the French, Phra Petraja orders a siege on the French fortification at Bangkok, then only a minor settlement aside from having a French fort. Note: all of this still happens during the lifetime of King Narai.

1688, Jul 11 - King Narai dies, leaving behind no close relatives. Phra Petraja crowns himself King of Ayutthaya.

1688, Sep 30 - All French troops leave Siam after negotiations with the new Siamese king. Phra Petraja takes European missionaries as hostages, pending the safe return of a Siamese embassy still in Europe.

1689, Dec - The Siamese embassy to Europe returns. In response, King Phra Petraja releases all his European hostages and restores religious freedom but implements a policy of eliminating foreign political influence in the kingdom.

1690, Jun - A rebellion breaks out in Nakhon Nayok, a territory of Ayutthaya. The rebellion is headed by Tam Tien, an impostor claiming to be a prince. The rebellion is quelled when Tam Tien is captured and later executed. However, the territory becomes largely unpopulated because the people flee for fear of being implicated and punished.

1691, Dec - Khorat and Nakhon rise in rebellion but are quickly brought back under the central rule of Ayutthaya.

1697 - Siam's sovereignty over Cambodia is acknowledged by Cambodia when its King Sadit sends a white elephant to King Phra Petraja.

1698, Oct - A French envoy is sent to Ayutthaya with the offer of a new treaty, but the offer is declined by King Phra Petraja. France gives up her political interest in Ayutthaya.

1699 - Another rebellion breaks out in Khorat, headed by Bun Kuan, a fanatic that had won the favor of the local governor who provides some 4,000 men to support the rebellion. Khorat surrenders after a short while; a large number of participants in the rebellion are executed.

1699 - King Phra Petraja interferes with the affairs of the united Laotian principality of Luang Prabang and Wieng Chan (present-day Vientiane), dividing the country again into two separate principalities under Siamese overrule.

1703 - King Phra Petraja falls ill and experiences himself the sorrow he caused the sick King Narai. Luang Sorasak, his son from a marriage before he became king, lures into a trap the 14-year old Prince Chao Phra Kwan, one of the later sons of Phra Petraja who had married after his ascend to the throne King Narai's sister as well as King Narai's daughter. Needless to say, that the trap served to kill Prince Chao Phra Kwan. Enraged, Phra Petraja proclaims a distant nephew, Chao Phra Pijaisurindr, as his heir. But upon the king's death, Prince Chao Phra Pijaisurindr hurries to offer the throne to Luang Sorasak. The second youngest son of King Phra Petraja, Prince Tras Noi, escapes certain death by becoming a monk. Luasang Sorasak crowns himself king and assumes the official name Sanpet VIII. However, to the Thai people he becomes Phrachao Sua, meaning King Tiger, because of his wild manners.

1709 - King Phrachao Sua dies and for a change, accession to the throne by his son, King Taisra, is not marred by any killing of rivals.

1714 - Sri Timmaraja succeeds to the Cambodian throne by ousting the ruling King Keong Fa with the help of a Cochin Chinese army (Cochin China is the old designation for an area which is now the southernmost part of Vietnam). When himself dethroned, King Sri Timmaraja flees to Ayutthaya for support. This incident gives rise to an armed conflict between Siam and Cambodia, with Siam re-establishing its sovereignty over Cambodia.

1733, Jan - King Taisra dies and his brother succeeds him on the throne under the title King Boromakot. Hardly surprising, he first had to defeat two of King Taisra's sons who also contended for the throne. This time it happened in a short civil war within the city of Ayutthaya. A third son of King Taisra escapes into the saffron rob.

1733 - Some 300 Chinese settlers attack the palace of Ayutthaya. They are pacified and thereafter executed.

1753 - A Ceylonese embassy is sent to Ayutthaya with the objective to borrow some Siamese Buddhist priests in order to purify and reform Buddhism in Ceylon.

1758, May - Prince Utumpon succeeds King Boromakot on the throne. He is only the second born royal son of Boromakot. However, his older brother, Prince Ekatat, was considered as lacking intelligence by their father and therefore ordered to become a monk. During his first weeks on the throne, King Utumpon has three half-brothers arrested and executed. However, when his elder brother, Prince Ekatat, shows ambitions to become king, he refrains from drastic action and chooses monkshood instead.

1758, Aug - King Utumpon abdicates the throne and retires at Wat Pradu. He is succeeded by Prince Ekatat who assumes the title Boromaraja V.

1758-1760 - It is Siam's bad luck that while it is ruled by one of its weakest kings, a new powerful dynasty rises in neighboring Burma. After Burma had disintegrated in the preceding decades, a determined former headman of the Burmese village Moksobo (later Shwebo) becomes King Alaungsaya and achieves to reunite the Burmese principalities under his rule after a breathtaking series of battle victories.

1759 - King Alaungsaya invades Siamese territory and regains for Burma the cities of Tavoy, Mergui and Tenesserim (on today's south Burmese territory).

1760, Apr - King Alaungsaya lays siege on Ayutthaya. Siamese King Ekatat who senses that he is not up to the task of leading the defense of the city invites his younger brother, the former King Utumpon to rule temporarily in his behalf. However, it is not Utumpon's leadership but an accident on the side of the Burmese that saves Ayutthaya for the time being. When the Burmese King Alaungsaya is badly wounded after handling himself a cannon in the bombardment of Ayutthaya, the Burmese call off their siege and retreat to Burma. King Alaungsaya dies on the way.

1760, May - Alaungsaya's son Manglok succeeds the throne of Burma.

1762 - With the Burmese danger contained, Utumpon retires again and returns to his monastery, leaving the fate of Siam in the hands of his older brother, King Ekatat.

1763, Nov - The Burmese King Manglok dies and his brother, Mongra, succeeds on the throne.

1763 - The Burmese invade Chiang Mai and the principality of Luang Prabang (now part of Laos) is captured.

1764 - A rebellion against the Burmese breaks out in Chiang Mai but is subdued after a while.

1765, Jun - The Burmese begin a new campaign against Siam, with one army moving south from Chiang Mai and another heading east from Burma. The destination is Ayutthaya.

1765, Oct - The Burmese army occupies much of the southern, western and northern territories of Siam.

1765, Dec - The Burmese army attacks Thonburi (Bangkok). Captain Ponney, an Englishman who supports the Siamese, inflicts heavy losses on the Burmese army. However, because King Ekatat envies Ponney's popularity, the captain is not given much support by the King which leads to the Burmese conquest of many territories south of Ayutthaya.

1766, Feb - The Burmese begin their siege of Ayutthaya. King Ekatat again offers his brother Utumpon to lead the defence of the city but this time Utumpon declines. Several months later, one of Ekatat's leading generals, Chao Phaya Taksin, accompanied by 500 troops, is able to break through the Burmese lines and flees from Ayutthaya. Taksin is the son of a Chinese father and a Siamese mother. His original name is Hai Hong. However, he was given the name Taksin because he had been the governor of the Siamese Tak province for a while.

1767, Apr 7 - After 14 months of siege, Ayutthaya falls and King Ekatat flees. The Burmese know no mercy with the city and its inhabitants. Unlike 198 years before, they are not contented with making Siam a vassal state; much rather it is the Burmese King Mongra's objective to destroy completely the Siamese capital. Ayutthaya is burned to the ground.

1767, May - Believing that he as achieved his aim of annihilating Ayutthaya, King Mongra retreats with his armies to Burma, just leaving a minimal force behind. In the meantime, Chao Phaya Taksin with his 500 Siamese troops remains in eastern Siamese territories which have not been directly influenced by the Burmese conquest and still have a functioning Siamese administration. The governor of Chantaburi, a province along the sea coast close to Cambodia befriends Taksin's small army but upon seeing Taksin as a competitor for power, he plans against Taksin's life. Being informed of this, Taksin attacks and captures the governor. Thus Taksin effectively becomes the ruler over the eastern Siamese provinces.

1767, Oct - Siamese from other parts of the former kingdom join Taksin. In the same month, Taksin attacks the Burmese force at Ayutthaya, killing its general and liberating the former capital from Burmese rule.

1767, Dec - Taksin transfers his capital to Thonburi, where he is crowned as new King of Siam. However, as he does not have a large military force to hold the kingdom together and to enforce central rule, Siam splits into 5 areas which are for a while quite independent from each other. These are: 1) Central Siam under King Taksin (Bangkok, Ratchaburi, Nakhon Pathom, Jaksi, Prachin, Chantaburi and Nakhon Sawan)
2) Peninsular provinces up to Chumphon under Phra Palat
3) Eastern provinces including Khorat under Prince Tep Pipit
4) Phitsanulok and part of Nakhon Sawan under Governor Buang
5) Extreme northern part of Phitsanulok province under King Kuan, the Priest King of Fang

1768, May - King Taksin tries to subdue Phitsanulok but fails. The governor is formally crowned as the King of Phitsanulok. After a week he dies and his son who is supposed to succeed him does not.

1768, Jul - The Priest King of Fang puts Phitsanulok under siege and becomes the ruler of all of northern Siam.

1768 - Because of his failure at Phitsanulok, King Taksin focuses his attention on the Khorat district and invades the area.

1769 - King Rama Tibodi of Cambodia flees to Thonburi to seek refuge after being dethroned by his brother, who thereafter assumes the title King Narai Raja.

1769, Mar - King Taksin returns to Thonburi after a series of successful invasion into the eastern provinces.

1774, Nov - King Taksin moves north.

1775, Jan 16 - King Taksin re-conquers Chiang Mai.

1775, Feb - The Burmese, encouraged by their previous conquest of the kingdom, try to subdue Siam again but fail.