Part 5.                                                

Siamese - Burmese war 1607-18.

Burma fell into disunity and in 1599 Nanda Bayin’s brothers the governors of Ava, Prome, and Toungoo, joined in revolt against the central government at Pegu. Toungoo’s governor paid for Arakan’s help and the Arakan king sent troops and a fleet that captured the port of Syriam.

Nanda Bayin was captured when Pegu fell, taken in chains to Toungoo, where he was killed. Pegu was burned to the ground, its riches taken and its people dispersed. Arakan awarded control of Syriam to Felipe de Brito y Nicote, a leading Portuguese mercenary.

After the destruction of Pegu during the 1599 civil war, until Anaukpetulun, ruler of Ava in Upper Burma, sought to reunite his country by capturing the towns of Prome (Prye) in 1607 and Toungoo in 1610 and Syriam in 1613. Felipe de Brito y Nicote, began to transform the Portuguese fort at Syriam in Lower Burma for a Portuguese colony, but his forced conversions to Christianity and looting of temples antagonized the Burmese under Anaukpetulun.

In 1610, de Brito seized and imprisoned Anaukpetulun’s vassal Natshinnauang, ruler of Toungoo, to punish him for his duplicitous alliances with both de Brito and Anaukpetulun . In retaliation, Anaukpetulun’s forces invaded Syriam, tunneled into the fort, and captured it, along with de Brito and Natshinnauang, both whom were executed the following year (de Brito was impaled).

Anaukpetulun forces invaded Siamese held areas of Tavoy and Tenasserim in southeastern lower Burma (1613-14); Tavoy was seized and held for a period; Siamese and Portuguese mercenaries forces checked the invaders in Tenasserim; and Siam’s western borders were restored In 1614, the same time Burmese invaded the Thai kingdom of Chiengmai, seeking to replace Siamese suzerainty there with Burmese, and successfully besieged the city of Lambang. Skirmishing continued until 1618, when Burma and Siam signed a treaty that granted the former control of Chiengmai and the latter Tavoy.

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Siamese Civil War of 1610 - 1612

(Yamada’s Guard Revolt)

In the early 1600 century Japanese fleeing from the repressive Tokugawa Shogunate of Japan were welcome in Ayutthaya where they established themselves under their compatriot Yamada Nagamasa as the privileged palace guard at the capital city Ayutthaya.

When King Songtham the Just (Intharaja II) became King in 1619, the Japanese revolted in support of another aspirant to the throne. Simultaneously a Laotian army invaded from the north, ostensibly to back the guards, and moved into Lop Buri north of the guards, and moved into Lop Buri north of the Ayutthayan capital. Songtham evicted the Laotians and after quelling the guards revolt, allowed the Japanese to maintain their military position in return for ceding their citadel at Phetchabun.

Siamese -Cambodian war of 1622

After the death of Cambodia’s vassal King Srey Sauropor formerly known as Prince Srisuphanma, his son and successor Chettha II proclaimed Cambodia independent from Siamese domination.King Songtham the Just (Intharaja II) of Siam (Ayutthaya) dispatched expeditions by land and by sea to restore Siamese control. The fleet saw no action and soon sailed back to Siam. After deceitful guides led the Siamese army astray and off the good roadways, Cambodian forces dared to attack; the Siamese sustained severe losses in men, horses and war elephants and retreated. After this defeat, Songtham tried in vain to obtain English and Dutch help for another invasion.

Siamese Civil War of 1630 - 1636 (Phra Chao Prasatthong)

In 1630, the throne of Ayutthaya was usurped by Phra Chao Prasatthong, a high born nobleman and official, after he poisoned King Songtham and ousted his two sons. A bloody conflict ensued, with numerous factions opposing Prasatthong, who also poisoned rival Yamada Nagamasa, leader of the palace guards. Upon refusal of Japan’s Tokugawa Shogun to acknowledge his rule, Prasatthong attempted to slaughter the guards, most of whom managed to flee successfully by sea.

In 1634, some 3,000 persons, including members of the legitimate royal family were seized and put to death, all in order to ensure Prasatthongs rule. Prasatthong sent troops to crush a rebellion against him in the province of Pattani, on the Malay peninsula from 1634 to 1636. They failed completely, and Pattani became virtually autonomous.

In 1637, After Laos secured its independence from Burmese rule, it soon lapsed into an anarchic state, Laotian King Soulina-Vongsa , restored order, and made treaties with neighboring Siam and Vietnam establishing borders.

Siamese - Burmese War of 1660-1662 

  (King Narai)1660-1662  (King Narai)

A Chinese Manchu (Ch’ing) army had attacked the Burmese capital of Ava in 1659 in pursuit of a Ming pretender to China’s peacock throne, Yung Li (died in 1662), and fearful Ava’s fall Burma’s King took refuge in Chiengmai which was under Burmese control, requested the help of King Narai of Ayutthaya (Siam).

Meanwhile the Mons who were in revolt in lower Burma also sought King Narai’s help.  In 1660, when the Chinese stopped their attack on Ava and withdrew from Burmese soil Chiengmai’s officials tried to cancel the request for aid from King Narai, but his forces were already on the march. Seeing an opportunity to regain control of the Burmese dominated region of Chiengmai, King Narai marched his troops into the area, captured several towns, but was repulsed in 1660 and forced to withdraw his troops in 1661. In 1662, during Burmese dynastic unrest Narai was lured to try again. After reshuffling his military command, he sent a 100’000 army to conquer the area, particularly Lambamng, Lamphun and the city of Chiengmai, where his troops seized and pillaged the city and routed a Burmese relief force.

Narai stationed a strong force along the Burmese border, which brought on a Burmese attack that was repulsed; Narai marched into Burma, seized the cities of Martaban and Rangoon. When his supplies ran low he was compelled to return back to Chiengmai, giving up the territory he had gained. In 1664, Chiengmai rebelled, and evicted Naria’s troops and restored Burmese rule; the region remained under Burmese control until 1727.


Copyright 1998 USMTA Inc.   All rights reserved. Revised: October 16, 2004.