Royalty: Kings & Queens,  Prince's & Princess's    page 4

 

THE AYUTTHAYA PERIOD CONTINUED...

King Narai

1663-1688

King Narai dethroned his villainous uncle, to free Siam from his evil rule. The new King Narai was aged twenty five at the time. He had not been on the throne long when his two younger brothers plotted against him. Narai had them both executed. he could not trust anybody, so employed Japanese Samurai as body-guards and one thousand Portuguese soldiers. With the Japanese, Portuguese and Siamese soldiers he massed a considerable army. Siam under King Narai was too strong and powerful for any country to attack. The King had new forts constructed at Bangkok and moved his residence to Lopburi, thinking that Ayuddhaya was too easily accessible from the sea.

He signed treaties with the Dutch, French, British and Portuguese. He cultivated friendships with Alexander VII, Louis XIV of France, Charles II of England and the Pope of Rome. Siam was now at peace. The King promoted foreign trade. he appointed Greek-born Phaulkon (Falcon) as superintendent of foreign trade. By his sagacity, wisdom and diligence in management, Phaulkon soon rose to the highest post of honor in the state, being made premier of Siam.

King Narai, with consummate acumen, more European than Asiatic in his ideas was careful to keep his people employed and applied himself with vigor to improving the agriculture of his country. He promoted security and happiness in the Kingdom of Siam. The laws he framed were so sound and stable and at the same time so wisely conformable to both King and his subjects alike that to this day they constitute the fundamental law of the land.

At the age of fifty-two King Narai fell seriously ill at the palace in Lopburi. He was betrayed by his own son and two princes of the Macassar, they forced their way into the palace to slay the king but the brave old and very sick man divined their purpose at a glance. he leapt out from his bed and seizing his sword (daab), threw himself upon it, dying as the assassins entered. Shortly after Phaulkon, the king’s closest ally, was arrested and charged with treason by jealous noblemen and later executed. He died bravely saying "I die for the glory of god, the service of the King and the interests of the state". So died a great man and warrior, servant to king Naria. In this picturesque drama of Siamese history, no figure appears so truly noble and brilliant as this King.


King Phetracha   (Phra Phetratcha)

1688 - 1703


King Samphet    Sua (Suriyentharathibodi)

( Pra Chao Suua  - The Tiger King)

1702-1709

Pra Chao Suua was born in 1662 and began his reign in 1702 at the age of forty. His reign was very short lasting only seven years. The King had a passion for all sports - hunting shooting, fishing, but most especially Muay Thai (Thai Boxing. he was found of going out in disguise attending village Muay Thai matches, where he could display his skill and ability as a boxer.

On one such occasion, he attended a village Muay Thai match and successively challenged two champion boxers. He defeated them both, one after the other and was paid two Ticals by the ringmaster. e left the village still undetected. As King he erected many temples and repaired the older ones, notably the temple of P’rabat. He improved the canal known as Klong Mahajai between Bangkok and Tachin, so that the canal could be used for trade ships traveling from the coast to Bangkok.

During an inspection trip of the river (Klong) surveying his work, the steersman of the royal barge, carelessly ran aground. According to the law of his time, this offense was punishable by death. The King, being in a gracious mood, caused a mud image of the steersman to be made and decapitated this instead. This did not satisfy the steersman, who pleaded piteously for his own death, lest the law of the land be brought into contempt. The King had no option than to carry out the steersman’s wish and beheaded him. The King had a shrine erected on the bank of the canal in memory of the steersman.

The King was also known for his fits of fury. Once when hunting elephants he sent his sons ahead to build a causeway across a marsh. When the King and his retinue crossed the causeway, the king’s elephant sank into the mud. he flew into one of his fits of rage accusing , the two Princes of plotting against him and would have had them flogged had not the chief queen interceded on their behalf.

During his reign Siam was affected by the most fearful famine and drought. The rice was exhausted and the river was covered in an evil-smelling green slime. Most of the fish died and the few that lived were poisonous to eat. Sickness and disease broke out throughout Siam. The King fearing a rebellion announced that the god, Indra had come to him at the City gates and told him that the green scum on the river was a panacea for all the diseases in Siam. The people rushed to the river to anoint themselves with the slime, after fifteen days, heavy rains fell causing the waters to overflow. The disease and famine soon came to an end. Shortly after this the king took to drinking. Worn out by heavy drinking, his short reign came to an end, he died in 1709 aged forty seven. he is best remembered by Thailand’s Nak Muay (Thai Boxers) for his skill and bravery in the ring.


King Phumintharacha (Thai Sa)

1709 -1733


King Borommakot    (Borommathammikarat)

1733-1758


King Uthumphon

1758


King Ekkathat     Suriyainarin (Borommaratcha V)

1758-1767


THE THONBURI PERIOD

 

King Tak Sin (Taksin the Great)

1758 - 1782

Phraya Tak Sin  (Taksin), Born in Uttarradit, known as the City of "widows and virgins" because it served as a battle front and a buffer against invading armies from Myanmar, served as a general in the Ayutthayian army of King Ekkathat . In 1767 when Ayuddhaya was invaded and sacked by Myanmar troops who raped and pillaged throughout the City, they took many hostages back to Myanmar. 

Many escaped and fled to Thonburi where General Taksin and other defenders of the city who had survived the onslaught had retreated and was gathering a small Army.  King Hsinbyushins forces pushed on towards Thonburi forcing General Taksin to retreat to Rayong, where he continued to regroup his small army of 500 troops to form a counter attack. Meanwhile King Hsinbyushin, after forcing Taksin and the survivors out, moved his new capital into Thon Buri and then later to Bangkok.

General Taksin however, began to organize successful guerrilla campaigns against the Myanmar invaders.   Retaking town after town, Taksin and his small Army grew as it fought its way back towards the city of Krung Thep Maha Nakhon (Bangkok), Thonburi and Ayutthaya inflicting heavy losses on King Hsinbyushins forces. While recruiting troops Taksin began to instruct his men in the use of double handed sword fighting , which provided the soldiers with the means to fight two opponents at the same reducing the odds in his favor. Taksin together with his troops fought for four days in the final battle using this method and forced King Hsinbyushin and his forces to retreat.

Taksin, having assumed the Siamese throne in 1767, confronted and defeated two rivals for the crown in 1769, subsequently unifying the country, he continued to push Myanmar forces out of Siamese territory and made an unsuccessful attempt to liberate the city of Chieng mai from Hsinbyushin troops. In 1775 his troops were successful and after liberating Chieng mai he returned to Thonburi making this his new his capital, before moving once more to the port of  Bangkok.

    

Copyright 1998 USMTA Inc. All rights reserved. Revised: April 13, 2005.