The following article was written by King Rama IV of the Kingdom of
Thailand in 1855 in response to the British Governor to
Hongkong. And another related article from the Nation
Newspaper on 13 December 1999.
The Kingdom and People of Siam with a Narrative of the History to thatCountry in 1855
B.E.2400 Volume 1, page 62 - 69
I requested the King to favour me with an account of his own dynasty, andreceived the following reply:-
His Excellency Sir John Bowring, Knighted Doctor of Laws, the Governorof Hong Kong, &c. &c. &c. &c.
RESPECTED Sir,- In regard to the particular narrative or ancient true occurrence of the present royal dynasty reigning upon Siam, I beg to say what I knew from statement of our parents and ancestors, and other tolerable and corresponding families whom I have been present of inconsiderable space of time when they have been living or alive.
The first family of our paternal ancestors, it is said, have been inhabitants of the city of Hanswatty (proper Sanskrit name), the capital of Pegu, written by Bishop Pallegoix in corrupted sound or pronouncing of Sanskrit name Hongsawadi, upon the time of reign the King of that city Pegu named Jumna ti cho by Peguen name, and Dusadi sawijay by Sanskrit name (marked in book of the Bishop Pallegoix with figure 1). This family became officers of state; employed as part of military service of that King who has conquered Ayudia on about Christian era 1552, have placed the Siamese King of Northern Siam, who has been allied to him, upon the throne of whole Siam, at Ayudia, in name of Phra Maha Dharmmarajatdhiraj (marked 2 in the book in which the corrupted name printed); and the King marked 1 has taken the son of the Siamese King promised to be dependant of the Pegu on that time, the royal son accompanied the King, marked 1, named Phra Naresr (printed in book Phra Narit, and marked 3), who has been or was at Pegu during the living time or reign of the conqueror, in demise of whom he observed the governments of Pegu, being in great distress in complex opinion to establish the successor of the expired King for about half a month, has conciliated many families of the inhabitants of that city in his power, and took them with him, flied from thence, returned to his native land, Siam, and proclaimed independence to the Pegu again, the aforesaid family or party of military officers of state then have allied with King Phra Naresr, marked 3; on his returning to Siam has accompanied him, and took their residence at Ayudia, which was bestowed them by thatKing.
A large Buddhas image was constructed at a place of worship near oftheir residence, remained until the present day with some ancientinscription.
After the time of the King Phra Naresr, marked 3, the particular narrative statement of this family is now disappeared to us until the time of reign of Phra Narayu, printed in book Phra Narai, marked 4, reigned at Ayudia and Lawoh about the Christian year 1656 to 1682. On the reign of this king, two brothers, extraordinary persons, have been descendants of the said family; became most pleased to the king, who has appointed the older brother in place or office of the lord of the foreign affair, in name or title of Chau Phra Phra Khlang, who has been at presence of the receipt of the French embassy visited Siam upon that time, and the younger brother of his Excellency Phya Phra Klang, named Mr. Pal, was appointed head of Siamese embassy to France, of return of friendship with the French Government, and met with the being wrecked lost of the ship at Cape of Good Hope, where he with his suit remained during considerable while, and afterward became to France, met with favorable treatment of the French Government upon that time, and returned to Siam, when his older brother was died. The King Phra Narayu has appointed him (Mr. Pal) the head of embassy in the office of his elder brother, the lord of foreign affair, Chau Phya Phra Khlang : from this person extraordinary our ancestors were said to be descendants ; but their office and affairs in royal service were not continued in generations during a few reign of their Majesties Siamese King, who succeeded his Majesty the King Phra Narayu, until the time of his Majesty Bhumindr Rajatdhiraj, marked 5, reigned upon Siam since the Christian year 1706 to 1732, in which the first person being father of the first king, and grandfather of the royal father of the present king (myself), and late king (my late brother) of Siam, was an extraordinary son of a family descended from aforesaid lords of foreign affairs, who removed their situation at Ayudia for happiness of lives, and situated their place at Sakutrang, a port in small river, being branch of great river, at the connected realms of Northern and Southern Siam, at about latitude N. 13 15 30 more little, and long. 99 90 E. : the said extraordinary person was born there, and became man of skill and knowledge and ability of royal service, came from Saketrang to Ayudia, where he was introduced to the royal service, and became married with a beautiful daughter of a Chinese richest family at Chinese compound or situation within wall of city and in south-eastern corner of Ayudia, and became pleased by the kings marked 5 and 6, and appointed in office of the preparer of royal letters and communication for northern direction (i. e. for all states or regions of both dependencies, and independency to Siam at northern direction), and the protector of the great royal seal for that purpose being ; his title was His Excellency Phra Acksom Sundom Smiantra. He has five children ; his first wife, who afterward was died, and has, secondly, married with the younger sister of his late wife, with whom hehas a single daughter.
In particular of the aforesaid five children, the first was a son becameman in service of the second King upon the time of the King of Siam marked 6, and leaving a sole daughter only was died before Ayudia was conquered by Burman Army ; the second and third were the daughters their descendants, many remained until the present day (the royal mother of the present Major and second Kings of Siam (myself and my younger brother) was a daughter, being third child of the later). The fourth was an extraordinary son, became the first King of Siam in the present dynasty marked in the book 8, who was born in March 1736, of Christian era, and of whom the present and late Kings of Siam (myself and my late brother) are grandchildren,, and the fifth was the person who was born in September 1743 of the Christian era, and who became finally the second King upon the reign of his elder brother here, and died before his brothers death 6 years. The firstly said ancestor His Excellency Phra Acksom Sundom Smiantra, has also another illegitimate son, being youngest born from a maid-servant whom he (H. E. our ancestor) has take with him, went to Northern Siam upon the time of the Ayudia being sieged by Burman army, on the Christian years 1765 and 1766, to obtain new situation or station for refuge, leaving here all above said legitimate sons and daughters who were married and live with their own families, for the consequences of difficulty in going with large party in veryhurricane and hindering manner of journey.
He, on his arrival at Phitsanulok, the great city at Northern Siam, became regent or superintendent of supreme governor of that city, who proclaimed King of Siam after burning of Ayudia was in hand of Burman army, and who died by structing or fever after a few months of the royal proclamation. In this destress H. E., our ancestor, took refuge at a town out of that city, where he was died of fiver, and burn by his maid-servant, wife, and the son born of her. His relics were brought here by them, and were delivered to his legitimate children here, and remained in our royal house of worship or royal ancestors until thepresent day.
And his two extraordinary son, on losing of Ayudia, took refuge at various places, and afterward became combined with the King Phya Tarksing, first of Bangkok kings, marked 7 in book: finally, the elder was appointed the supreme general Chau Phya Chukkry, the lord regent of country, and afterward styled in name or title and dignity of Maha Krasutesuk, id est, the King of war, who has resisted Burman armies came to take station of Siam every year upon that time.
The younger was appointed the King of Northern Siam, governing at Phisnuloke, where his father has been and died; he bore the name of Chau Phya Surasint. So, upon that time, there were three kings presented in Siam, viz., Supreme King Phya Tark, King of war, our grandfather, and the latter said King of Northern Siam.
On the year of Christian era 1781, when two brother kings were sent totranquil Cambodia, which was in distress or disturbance of rebellion, the King Phya Tarksing, marked 7, remained here. He came mad or furious, saying he is Buddha, &c., and put many persons of innocents to death, more than 10,000 men, and compelled the people to pay various amounts of money to royal treasure, with any lawful taxes and reasonable causes; so here great insurgents took place, who apprehended the mad king and put to death, and sent their mission to Cambodia, and invited two Kings of war and of Northern Siam to return here for the crown and throne of whole Siam and its dependency.
Our grandfather was enthroned and crowned in May, 1782, in name of Phra Budhyot fa chulatoke, marked in book 8; his reign continued 27 years; his demise took place on the year 1809, in which our father had succeeded him. His coronation took place on August, 1809; his reign continued happily 15 years; his expiration took place in the year 1824, in month of July. His royal name, Phra Budh Lord Luh nabhaluy, marked 9 (names of these two kings were printed in book, by Bishop Pallegoix, Pheen din ton and Pheen din Klang). These names, improper as they were very popular and vulgar, are Pheen din ton, i. e. , former or first reign; Pheen din Klang, ,middle or next reign only, not royal title.
Our elder brother, the late king, succeeded our royal father; hiscoronation took place on August, 1824, His name was Param Dharwik rajahdhiraj (proper Sanskrit), and in Siamese name Phra Nangklau chau yuhua. His reign continued 26 years; his demise took place on2nd April 1851 ; then mysuccession of him concluded, and I was crowned on May15th of thatyear. My name in Siam is Phra Chomklau chau yu hua, and I bear the Sanskrit name as ever signed in my several letters-
S. P. P. M. MONFKUT.
in contract that are
SOMDETCH PHRA PARAMENDR MAHA MONGKUT,
NATION: WARS BETWEEN SIAM AND BURMA
December 13, 1999
Burma, or rather several kingdoms which once occupied that territory, hasplayed the role of belligerent throughout much of Thailand's early history. The most serious defeats were inflicted in 1569, when Burmese armies captured Ayutthaya and occupied the kingdom for 15 years, and in 1767 when two armies from Ava pillaged the city, reduced it to smoking rubble and enslaved tens of thousands of its citizens. Ayutthaya was at war with Burmese kingdoms on and off from 1438 during the reign of King Boromrachathirat II (aka Samphraya). In 1569 King Bayinnaung of Hongsawaddy (aka Hantawaddi) captured the city, put his ally Maha Thammaracha on the throne and made the kingdom into a vassal state.
For much of Ayutthaya's early history, members of two differentdynasties, Suphan Buri and Sukhothai, had fought for control of the kingdom. By enthroning Maha Thammaracha, a member of the Sukhothai dynasty, and eliminating members of the rival Suphan Buri dynasty, the Burmese succeeded in ushering in a long period of political stability. However their arrival also brought to an end the period ofprosperity and
cultural renaissance initiated by King Trailok in the mid-15th century. One of King Maha Thamaracha's first tasks was to rebuild the damaged capital. During the Hongsawaddy suzerainty, Ayutthaya's fortunes were at their lowest ebb and, according to historian Srisakara Vallibhotama, the Khmer kingdom of Angkor (which was then in decline) tried to take advantage of Ayutthaya's weakness by re-occupying territory it hadearlier lost.
In 1590, Hongsawaddy went to war with Ava, a neighboring kingdom in Burma, and Prince (later King) Naresuan took advantage of the situation to declare Ayutthaya independent. Naresuan reigned until 1605 engaging the forces of Hongsawaddy and Ava in battle several times. Although he never managed to defeat either kingdom, Burmese armies were not to pose a serious threat to Ayutthaya again until the mid-18th century. In the intervening period there was even a short-lived attempt to improvediplomatic relations.
According to historian Sunet Chutintranon, King Mahadammayaza Dipati of Ava sent a mission to King Boromkot of Ayutthaya in 1744 who reciprocated in kind the following year. War broke out with Ava again in 1759. In 1767, Eakathat, last king of Ayutthaya, was defeated by two armies from Ava. Realizing the very real threat posed by Burma, Siamese rulers during the subsequent Thon Buri and Rattanakosin periods made military allianceswith Lanna, Champasak,Vientiane and Luang Prabang.
Siam was invaded several times in the late 18th century by forces from Burma, the most significant wars being in 1775, 1776 and 1797. All attacks were successfully repulsed. And, according to Sunet Chutintranon, King Bagyidaw of Ava was planning another invasion of Siam as late as 1819. This was forestalled when his kingdom was invaded, two years later,by the British.