Songtham (Thai: ทรงธรรม, pronounced [sōŋ.tʰām]) or Intharacha III was the King of Ayutthaya from 1610/11 to 1628 of the House of Sukhothai. His reign marked the prosperity of the Ayutthaya kingdom after it regained independence from Toungoo Dynasty, and saw the commencement of trade with foreign nations, especially the Dutch and the Japanese. Songtham filled his guards with foreign mercenaries, most notably the Japanese, Yamada Nagamasa.

Songtham (Intharacha III)
ทรงธรรม
King of Ayutthaya
King Songtham.jpg
Statue of Songtham in the King Songtham Shrine of Wat Phra Phutthabat, Saraburi
King of Siam
Reign1610/11 – 12 December 1628[1]
PredecessorSi Saowaphak
SuccessorChetthathirat II
Born1590
Died12 December 1628[2] (aged 38)
IssueChetthathirat II
Athittayawong
Phra Phanpi Si Sin
Sirithida[3]
Names
Songtham
Intharacha III
HouseSukhothai Dynasty
FatherEkatotsarot

OriginEdit

Inthraracha was the eldest son of Ekathotsarot with his first class concubine. He was in the priesthood for 8 years before government servants asked him to leave and ascend the throne with the title Phrachao Songtham at the age of 29.[4]: 205–206 

RebellionEdit

Ekathotsarot died in 1610/11 and was succeeded by Si Saowaphak. Ruling less than a year, and showing no ability, he was murdered. Before his death, Japanese traders stormed the palace and took the king hostage. He was released only after promising not to harm any of the Japanese.[4]: 203–205 

The Japanese rebels took the Sangharaja as a hostage until they could flee the country.[5]

Prince Chula Chakrabongse states, "the king went insane before he died...His younger son, who had killed the elder brother when their father was alive but helpless, now seized the throne." He became King Songtham, "The Pious" or "The Just", after he repented his act.[6]: 52 

Religious viewpointsEdit

 
Wat Phra Phutthabat, Saraburi Province, constructed by King Songtham

Songtham was said to be very religious - both by the Siamese and van Vliet - as for his religious youth. His name Songtham was a posthumous reverence that means "maintaining the virtues". His reign was the glamorous time for Siamese peasants who were free from wars and suppression. The most prominent achievement in his reign was the discovery of Buddha's Footprint at Saraburi. Songtham ordered the construction of a temple, Wat Phra Phutthabat, over the footprint - the footprint itself can still be seen today.[7] From Songtham onwards, Ayutthayan kings paid annual respect to the Buddha's Footprint in a grand river procession.

Martial affairsEdit

On martial affairs, however, King Songtham was less successful. In 1621 he himself led Siamese armies into Cambodia to bring the kingdom under control but was repelled by King Chey Chettha II of Oudong. Songtham sent his brother Uparaja Si Sin to invade again in 1622 and failed. During this invasion, King Songtham was supported by the Dutch East India Company. Two warships from Batavia were sent by Governor General Jan Pieterszoon Coen to assist the Siamese fleet. In, 1622 King Anaukpetlun of Pegu took Tavoy away from the Siamese.

During his reign, Cambodia and Lanna revolted and became independent once more.[4]: 207–208 

Foreign relationsEdit

The English first arrived aboard the East India Company ship Globe in 1612, delivering a letter from King James I. They were given a place between the Japanese and Dutch in Ayutthaya, and were later joined by the French East India Company. However, the English closed their factory in 1622. Songtham signed a treaty with the Dutch on 12 June 1617. All trading however, was through the King's government. Colonies from China, Malay, Japan, Burma, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam were tolerated.[6]: 53–54, 56 

Songtham sent four embassies (about 20 people each) to the Japanese shōgun in 1621, 1623, 1626, 1629, to Shogun Tokugawa Hidetada and Iemitsu.

Dutch shipEdit

In 1624, captain Fernando de Silva (not to be confused with governor of the Philippines Fernando de Silva) led a Spanish contingent to sack a Dutch ship near the Siamese shoreline. This enraged Songtham who held the Dutch in great preference and ordered the attacks and seizures of all the Spaniards.[8] The Portuguese, however, were treated alike and all the Iberians were technically disgraced from Siam after nearly a hundred years of royal support.

SuccessorEdit

Songtham wanted his son, Chettha, to succeed him, though he was young. He therefore asked Phraya Siworawong, or Prasat Thong, to protect him from danger. After Songtham's death, Siworawong arrested and executed all those who had been opposed to Songtham's wishes.[4]: 211–212 

AncestryEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "History of Ayutthaya - Historical Events - Timeline 1600-1649". www.ayutthaya-history.com.
  2. ^ "History of Ayutthaya - Historical Events - Timeline 1600-1649". www.ayutthaya-history.com.
  3. ^ M.L. Manich Jumsai (เขียน) ธิติมา พิทักษ์ไพรวัน (แปล). สมเด็จพระนารายณ์ และโกษาปาน. กรุงเทพฯ:คุรุสภาลาดพร้าว, 2531, หน้า 17 (in Thai)
  4. ^ a b c d Rajanubhab, D., 2001, Our Wars With the Burmese, Bangkok: White Lotus Co. Ltd., ISBN 9747534584
  5. ^ François-Henri Turpin (1771). Histoire Civile Et Naturelle Du Royaume De Siam Et Des Révolutions Qui Ont Bouleversé Cet Empire Jusqu'en 1770. ISBN 978-1272336462.
  6. ^ a b Chakrabongse, C., 1960, Lords of Life, London: Alvin Redman Limited
  7. ^ "Wat Phra Phutthabat Ratchaworamahawihan". www.tourismthailand.org. Retrieved 5 December 2021.
  8. ^ Tricky Vandenberg. "History of Ayutthaya - Foreign Settlements - Portuguese Settlement". Ayutthaya-history.com. Retrieved 2013-10-20.
Songtham
Born: 1590 Died: 1628
Regnal titles
Preceded by King of Ayutthaya
1611–1628
Succeeded by