Thonburi Kingdom

The Thonburi Kingdom (Thai: ธนบุรี) was a major Siamese kingdom which existed in Southeast Asia from 1767 to 1782, centered around the city of Thonburi, in Siam or present-day Thailand. The kingdom was founded by Taksin the Great, who reunited Siam following the collapse of the Ayutthaya Kingdom, which saw the country separate into five warring regional states. The Thonburi Kingdom oversaw the rapid reunification and reestablishment of Siam as a preeminient military power within mainland Southeast Asia, overseeing the country's expansion to its greatest territorial extent up to that point in its history, incorporating Lan Na, the Laotian kingdoms (Luang Prabang, Vientiane, Champasak), the northern Malay states, and Cambodia under the Siamese sphere of influence.[2]

Thonburi Kingdom
อาณาจักรธนบุรี
Anachak Thonburi
1767–1782
Flag of Thonburi Kingdom
The sphere of influence of the Thonburi Kingdom following the vassalization of the Lao kingdoms in 1778. Early modern Southeast Asia political borders subject to speculation.
The sphere of influence of the Thonburi Kingdom following the vassalization of the Lao kingdoms in 1778. Early modern Southeast Asia political borders subject to speculation.
CapitalThonburi
Common languagesThai (official)
Northern Thai
Southern Thai
Lao
Khmer
Shan
Malay
Various Chinese languages[1]
Religion
Theravada Buddhism
GovernmentFeudal monarchy
King 
• 1767–1782
Taksin the Great
Historical eraEarly modern period
• Established
28 December 1767
1767–1770/71
• Vassalizaton of Lan Na
1774
1775–1776
• Vassalization of Lao kingdoms
1778
• Chao Phrayas Chakri and Bunma's expedition into Cambodia
1781
• Dissolution
6 April 1782
CurrencyPod Duang
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Ayutthaya Kingdom
Principality of Phimai
Principality of Phitsanulok
Principality of Sawangburi
Principality of Nakhon Si Thammarat
Rattanakosin Kingdom
Kingdom of Chiang Mai
Nakhon Si Thammarat Kingdom

The Thonburi Kingdom saw the consolidation and continued growth of Chinese trade from Qing China, a continuation from the late Ayutthaya period (1688-1767), and the increased influence of the Chinese community in Siam, with Taksin and later monarchs sharing close connections and close family ties with the Sino-Siamese community.

The Thonburi Kingdom lasted for only 14 years, ending in 1782 when Taksin was deposed by a major Thonburi military commander, Chao Phraya Chakri, who subsequently founded the Rattanakosin Kingdom, the fourth and present ruling kingdom of Thailand.

HistoryEdit

Reestablishment of Siamese authorityEdit

 
Taksin's coronation at Thonburi (Bangkok), 28 Dec 1767

In 1767, after dominating Southeast Asia for 400 years, the Ayutthaya Kingdom was destroyed. The royal palace and the city were burnt to the ground. The territory was nominally occupied by the Burmese army, while local leaders declared themselves as independent overlords, including the lords of Sakwangburi, Phimai, Chanthaburi, and Nakhon Si Thammarat. Chao Tak, a nobleman of Chinese descent and a capable military leader, proceeded to make himself a lord by right of conquest, beginning with the legendary sack of Chanthaburi. Based at Chanthaburi, Chao Tak raised troops and resources, and sent a fleet up the Chao Phraya to take the fort of Thonburi. In the same year, Chao Tak was able to retake Ayutthaya from the Burmese only seven months after the fall of the city, on 6 November 1767, the symbolic date of liberation against Burmese occupation, still celebrated in Thailand in present-day.[3]

Upon Siamese independence, Hsinbyushin of Burma ordered the ruler of Tavoy to invade Siam. The Burmese armies arrived through Sai Yok and laid siege on the Bang Kung camp – the camp for Taksin's Chinese troops – in modern Samut Songkhram Province. Taksin hurriedly sent one of his generals Boonma to command the fleet to Bang Kung to relieve the siege. Siamese armies encircled the Burmese siege and defeated them.

Ayutthaya, the center of Siamese authority for hundreds of years, was so devastated that it could not be used as a government center. Tak founded the new city of Thonburi Sri Mahasamut on the west bank of Chao Phraya River. The construction took place for about a year while Tak crowned himself King of Siam on 28 December 1767, at Thonburi Palace, as King Sanphet but he was known to people as King Taksin – a combination of his title and personal name.[citation needed] Taksin crowned himself as a King of Ayutthaya to signify the continuation to ancient glories.[4]

Reunification and expansionEdit

Five StatesEdit

After the sacking of Ayutthaya the country had fallen apart, due to the disappearance of central authority. 5 major rival states had occupied the vacuum.

PhimaiEdit

Prince Thepphiphit (เทพพิพิธ) [th], Borommakot's son, who had been unsuccessful in a diversionary action against the Burmese in 1766, had set himself up as the ruler of Phimai holding sway over land in the Isan region, governing from the city of Phimai, which spanned a huge chunk of the Isan region.

PhitsanulokEdit

The Governor of Phitsanulok, whose first name was Rueang (เรือง) [th], had proclaimed himself independent, with the territory under his control extending from Tak to Nakhon Sawan.

SawangburiEdit

Chao Phra Fang (เจ้าพระฝาง) [th], an influential monk, established his own state with the capital set in the town of Sawangburi, 10 km east of Uttaradit city. His territory extended from Uttaradit to Nan.

Nakhon Si ThammaratEdit

The governor of Nakhon Si Thammarat (เจ้าพระยานครศรีธรรมราช) [th], declared his independence and raised himself to princely rank.[5] His territory covered most of what is now southern Thailand.

ThonburiEdit

Having firmly established his power at Thonburi, Taksin set out reunify the old kingdom by crushing his regional rivals. After being repulsed by the Governor of Phitsanulok,[6] he concentrated on the defeat of the weakest one first. Teppipit was quelled and executed in 1768.[7] Chao Narasuriyawongse, one of Taksin's nephews, replaced him as governor. Taksin led an expedition against him and took Phimai. The prince disappeared and could not be found again.[8]

Unification of the Five StatesEdit

 
The five states that emerged following the dissolution of the Ayutthaya Kingdom in 1767

In 1768, Taksin attacked Phitsanulok. Taksin was injured during the campaign and had to retreat. Phitsanulok was weakened by the invasion and was in turn subjugated by Sawangburi. In the same year, Taksin sent two brothers, Thong Duang and Bunma, members of a powerful Mon noble family, to attack Phimai. Thepphiphit fled to Vientiane but was captured and then executed.

In 1769, Phraya Chakri (later Rama I), Taksin's servant, attacked Nakhon Si Thammarat, but got bogged down at Chaiya. Taksin sent his army to help capturing Nakhon Si Thammarat and finally won. In dealing with the Prince of Nakhon Si Thammarat, who was taken prisoner by the loyal governor of Pattani,[9] the ping not only pardoned him but also favoured him with a residence at Thonburi.

In 1770, Chao Phra Fang invaded Thonburi and reached Chai Nat. Taksin saw the invasion as a threat to his rule, this he decided to invade Sawangburi. Taksin was accompanied by Phraya Pichai, who led the west army and Bunma who led the east army. The Thonburi forces easily took Phitsanulok and captured Sawangburi in the next 3 days. Thonburi had finally reunified Siam as one kingdom.[10]

Taksin stayed at Phitsanulok to oversee the census and levy of northern population. He appointed Boonma to Chao Phraya Surasi as the governor of Phitsanulok and all northern cities and Phraya Abhay Ronnarit to Chao Phraya Chakri the chancellor.

Campaigns in CambodiaEdit

Prince Ang Non the Uparaja of Cambodia fled to Thonburi in 1769 after his conflicts with King Narairaja [id] for Siamese supports. Taksin then took this opportunity to request tributary from Cambodia, which Narairaja refused. Taksin sent Phraya Abhay Ronnarit and Phraya Anuchit Racha to subjugate Cambodia, taking Siem Reap and Battambang. But Taksin's absence from the capital (in wars with Nakhon Si Thammarat) shook the political stability and the two generals decided to retreat to Thonburi.

Later in 1771, Taksin decided to finish off the Cambodian campaign by assigning Chao Phraya Chakri command of land forces with Prince Ang Non and Taksin himself went by sea. The Siamese took various Cambodian cities and drove Narairaja out of the throne. Ang Non was installed as Reamraja and Narairaja became the Uparaja with the Cambodian court paying tribute to Thonburi

In 1771, Taksin would eliminate the last threat to his rule over Siam by conquering Hà Tiên (Banteay Mas), whose Cantonese leader was attempting to undermine Taksin during the civil war in order to expand his own domain.[11]

Expedition to ChiangmaiEdit

After the Burmese conquest of Lanna (modern Northern Thailand) in 1763, Lanna including Chiangmai returned to the Burmese rule. Thado Mindin the Burmese governor of Chiangmai oppressed[12][13] the local Lanna nobles. King Taksin marched against the Burmese-held Chiangmai in 1771 but failed to take the city. In Chiangmai, Thado Mindin faced opposition from Phaya Chaban Boonma,[13][14] the native Lanna noble who led the resistance against Burmese domination.

In 1772, King Hsinbyushin of realized that Siam had recovered and arose powerful under Thonburi regime. Hsinbyushin initiated a new campaign against Siam.[15] He ordered troops to be gathered in Burmese Chiangmai and the Mon town of Martaban in order to invade Siam from both the north and the west in two directions: a similar approach to the invasion of 1765-1767.[12] In 1774, Binnya Sein, a nephew of Binnya Dala the last king of Hanthawaddy, led a failed Mon rebellion against Burma, resulting in the mass exodus of thousands of Mon people into Siam. Hsinbyushin appointed Maha Thiha Thura, the renowned general from the Sino-Burmese War, to be the supreme commander of the new campaigns and assigned Nemyo Thihapate to be in charge of Burmese forces in Lanna.[16]

 
Kawila of Lampang, vassal lord of Lan Na[clarification needed] to Taksin and the first two Chakri monarchs, helped to repopulate Lan Na in the late 18th-early 19th centuries[17]

The Burmese forces from Chiangmai attacked the Northern Siamese border towns of Sawankhalok in 1771 and Phichai in 1772-1773.[12] Taksin was then resolved to extinguish Burmese threat from the north once and for all by conducting an expedition to seize the Burmese-held Chiangmai in December 1774. This expedition to the north coincided with the Mon refugee situation. Phaya Chaban of Chiangmai, upon learning of the Siamese invasion, joined with Kawila of Lampang to overthrow the Burmese. Phaya Chaban, under the guise of navigation, ran to submit to Taksin.[18] King Taksin marched to Tak where he received the Mon refugees. Taksin ordered Chaophraya Chakri to lead the vanguard to Lampang, where Kawila had earlier insurrected against the Burmese.[13] Kawila led the way for the Siamese armies to Chiangmai. The brothers Chaophraya Chakri and Surasi combined forces to successfully seize Chiangmai in January 1775.[14] Burmese leaders Thado Mindin and Nemyo Thihapate retreated to Chiangsaen where they reestablished Burmese administrative headquarter. This began the transfer of Lanna from Burmese rule to Siamese domination after 200 years of Lanna being under Burmese suzerainty,[14] even though northern parts of Lanna including Chiangsaen would remain under Burmese rule for another thirty years until 1804.

Phaya Chaban was rewarded with the governorship of Chiangmai whereas Kawila was made the governor of Lampang.[13][14] In 1777, the Burmese from Chiangsaen attacked Chiangmai in their bid to reclaim Lanna. Phaya Chaban decided to evacuate Chiangmai the face of Burmese invasion due to numerical inferiority of his forces.[13] Chiangmai was then abandoned and ceased to exist as a functional city for twenty years until it was restored in 1797. Lampang under Kawila stood as the main frontline citadel against subsequent Burmese incursions.

Burmese InvasionsEdit

 
Depiction of Battle of Bangkaeo from the Thonburi Palace.

Plan of King Hsinbyushin to invade Siam from two directions was foiled by the Mon Rebelllion and the Siamese capture of Chiangmai.[12] Maha Thiha Thura, who had taken commanding position in Martaban, sent his vanguard force under Satpagyon Bo to invade Western Siam through the Three Pagodas Pass in February 1775. Taksin was unprepared as most of his troops were in the north defending Chiangmai. He recalled the northern Siamese troops down south to defend the west. Satpagyon Bo took Kanchanaburi and continued to Ratchaburi, where he encamped at Bangkaeo[12] (modern Tambon Nangkaeo, Photharam district), hence the name Bangkaeo Campaign. King Taksin sent preliminary forces under his son and his nephew to deal with the Burmese at Ratchaburi. The princes led the Siamese forces to completely encircle Satpagyon Bo at Bangkaeo in order to starve the Burmese into surrender.[12] Northern Siamese troops arrived in the battlefield of Bangkaeo, bringing the total number of Siamese to 20,000 men,[15] greatly outnumbering the Burmese. After 47 days of being encircled, Satpagyon Bo capitulated in March 1775. The Siamese took about 2,000[19] Burmese captives from this battle.

 
Maha Thiha Thura's Invasion of Siam in 1775-1776 was the largest and most intense Burmese-Siamese War in the Thonburi Period,[12] when the Burmese invaded Siam in three directions.

Six months after the Siamese victory at Bangkaeo, in September 1775, the Burmese from Chiangsaen attacked Chiangmai again. The two Chaophrayas Chakri and Surasi led troops north to defend Chiangmai.[12] However, Maha Thiha Thura took this opportunity to personally lead the Burmese armies of 35,000 men through the Mae Lamao Pass to invade Hua Mueang Nuea or Northern Siam[12] in October. Chakri and Surasi had to hurriedly return to defend Phitsanulok. Maha Thiha Thura laid siege on Phitsanulok, the administrative center of Northern Siam. King Taksin led the royal armies from Thonburi to the north and stationed at Pakphing near Phitsanulok in efforts to relieve the siege of the city. Maha Thiha Thura managed to attack the Siamese supply line[12] at Nakhon Sawan and Uthaithani. He also defeated King Taksin in the Battle of Pakphing in March 1776, compelling the Siamese king to retreat south to Phichit.[12] Chaophrayas Chakri and Surasi then decided to abandon and evacuate Phitsanulok. Phitsanulok fell to the Burmese, was completely destroyed and burnt to the grounds.

Maha Thiha Thura was preparing to march onto Thonburi when he learned of the death of the Burmese King Hsinbyushin in 1776.[12] Maha Thiha Thura was recalled,[16] decided to abruptly abandoned the campaign in Siam and quickly return to Burma in order to support his son-in-law Singu Min to the Burmese throne. The remaining Burmese regiments in Siam were thus left disorganized and uncontrolled. Siam nearly succumbed to the Burmese conquest for the second time after the Fall of Ayutthaya in 1767. The untimely demise of Hsinbyushin saved Siam from such fate. King Taksin took this chance to pursue the retreating Burmese.[12] The Burmese had all left Siam by September 1776 and the war came to the end.

Invasion of LaosEdit

In 1765, Lao kingdoms of Luang Phrabang and Vientiane became Burmese vassals. After the Siamese capture of Chiangmai in 1775, the Burmese influence in Laos waned.[20] King Ong Boun of Vientiane had been a Burmese ally, as he instigated the Burmese to invade his rival Luang Phrabang two times in 1765 and 1771.[21] King Taksin had been suspicious about Ong Boun being in cooperation with Burma.[22] In 1777, the governor of Nangrong rebelled against Thonburi with support from Champasak. King Taksin ordered Chaophraya Chakri to lead the Siamese armies to invade and retaliate Champasak. After this expedition, Taksin rewarded Chakri with the rank and title of Somdet Chaophraya Maha Kasatsuk. The rank of Somdet Chaophraya was the highest possible a noble could attain with honors equaling to a prince.[23]

Photograph of the Emerald Buddha without its decoration, taken in 1932
Replica of the Phra Bang Buddha
From 1779 to 1784, the Emerald Buddha was housed in one of the wihans of Wat Arun, Thonburi

In 1778, Phra Vo,[21] a Lao secessionist figure, sought protection under Siam against Ong Boun of Vientiane. However, Ong Boun managed to send troops to defeat and kill Phra Vo in the same year. This provoked Taksin who regarded Phra Vo as his subject. The death of Phra Vo at the hands of Vientiane served as the casus belli for Thonburi to initiate the subjugation of Lao kingdoms in 1778. He ordered Chaophraya Chakri to conduct the invasion of Laos. Chaophraya Chakri commanded his brother Chaophraya Surasi to go to Cambodia to raise troops there[24] and invade Laos from another direction. Surasi led his Cambodian army to cross the Liphi waterfall and capture Champasak including the king Sayakumane who was taken to Thonburi. Chakri and Surasi then converged on Vientiane. King Surinyavong of Luang Phrabang, who had long been holding grudges against Ong Boun,[21] joined the Siamese side and contributed forces. King Ong Boun assigned his son Nanthasen to lead the defense of Vientiane. Nanthasen managed to resist the Siamese for four months[20][21] until the situation became critical. Ong Boun secretly escaped Vientiane, leaving his son Nanthasen to surrender and open the city gates[21] to the Siamese in 1779.

Buddha images of Emerald Buddha and Phra Bang, the palladia of the Vientiane kingdom, were taken by the victorious Siamese to Thonburi to be placed at Wat Arun. Lao inhabitants of Vientiane, including members of royalty Nanthasen and the future king Anouvong, were deported to settle in Thonburi and various places in Central Siam.[25] All three Lao kingdoms of Luang Phrabang, Vientiane and Champasak became the tributary kingdoms of Siam on this occasion.[25]

Political and economic troubles, downfall, establishment of RattanakosinEdit

 
Stupa of Wat Intharam, Thonburi, which is said to contain the ashes of King Taksin

Despite Taksin's successes, by 1779, Taksin was showing signs of mental instability. He was recorded in the Rattanahosin's gazettes and missionaries's accounts as becoming maniacal, insulting senior Buddhist monks, proclaiming himself to be a sotapanna or divine figure. Foreign missionaries were also purged from times to times. His officials, mainly ethnic Chinese, were divided into factions, one of which still supported him but the other did not. The economy was also in turmoil, famine ravaged the land, corruption and abuses of office were rampant, the monarch attempted to restore order by harsh punishments leading to the execution of large numbers of officials and merchants, mostly ethnic Chinese which in turn led to growing discontent among officials.[citation needed] Siamese nobles were alienated by Taksin's unorthodox rule, such as the lack of recreating a "proper capital" at Thonburi, his personal style of leadership, as well as by his religious unorthodoxy.[26]

In 1782 Taksin sent a 20,000 man army to Cambodia, led by generals Phraya Chakri and Bunma, to install a pro-Siamese monarch upon the Cambodian throne following the death of the Cambodian monarch. While the army was en route to Cambodia, Taksin was overthrown in a rebellion that successfully seized the Siamese capital, which, depending on the sources, captured Taksin or allowed Taksin to peacefully step down from the throne and become a monk. Phraya Chakri, upon receiving news of the rebellion while on campaign, hurriedly marched his army back to Thonburi. The story behind Phraya Chakri's seizure of the Siamese throne is disputed: according to Wyatt, Phraya Chakri accepted the rebels' offer to give him the throne after Taksin was deposed by the rebels. According to Baker and Phongchaichit, Phraya Chakri, with his strong support from established nobles, staged a bloody coup d'teat upon arriving at the Siamese capital. What is supported by these sources however is that Taksin was executed shortly after Phraya Chakri's seizure of the capital.[27][28][29]

After securing the capital, Phraya Chakri took the throne as King Ramathibodi, posthumously known as Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke, today known as King Rama I, founding the House of Chakri, the present Thai ruling dynasty. After Taksin's death, Rama I moved his capital from Thonburi, across the Chao Phraya River, to the village of Bang-Koh (meaning "place of the island"), where he would construct his new capital. The new capital was established in 1782, called Rattanakosin, today now known as Bangkok.[citation needed]

The city of Thonburi remained an independent town and province until it was merged into Bangkok in 1971.

GovernmentEdit

 
Cartographic map of Southeast Asia in 1780, by Rigobert Bonne and Guillaume Raynal, Siam (green) shown on the peninsula
 
Phra Racha Wang Derm (Thonburi Palace), the former royal palace of Taksin, now used as the Royal Thai Navy's HQ, view from Phra Prang of Wat Arun, Thonburi, Bangkok.

Thonburi government organization was centered around a loose-knit organization of city-states, whose provincial lords were appointed through 'personal ties' to the king, similar to Ayutthaya and, later, Rattanakosin administrations.[30][31] With the exception of Bunma (later Chao Phraya Surisai and later Maha Sura Singhanat), a member of the old Ayutthaya artistocracy who had joined Taksin early on in his campaigns of reunification, and later Bunma's brother, Thongduang (later Chao Phraya Chakri and later King Rama I), high political positions and titles within the Thonburi Kingdom were mainly given to Taksin's early followers, instead of the already established Siamese nobility who survived after the fall of Ayutthaya, many of whom having supported Thep Phiphit, the governor of Phitsanulok and an Ayutthaya aristocrat, during the Siamese civil war. In the Northern cities, centered around Sukhothai and Phitsanulok, Taksin installed early supporters of his who had distinguished themselves in battle, many of whom were allowed to establish their own local dynasties afterwards, but elsewhere, several noble families had kept their titles and positions within the new kingdom (Nakhon Si Thammarat, Lan Na), (the ruler of Nakhon Si Thammarat that Taksin defeated during the civil war was reinstated as its ruler) whose personal connections made them a formidable force within the Thonburi court.[32][33]

The Thonburi period saw the return of 'personal kingship', a style of ruling that was used by Naresuan but was abandoned by Naresuan's successors after his death. Taksin, similar to Naresuan, personally led armies into battle and often revealed himself to the common folk by partaking in public activities and traditional festivities, thereby abandoning the shroud of mysticism as adopted by many Ayutthaya monarchs. Also similar to Naresuan, Taksin was known for being a cruel and authoritarian monarch. Taksin reigned rather plainly, doing little to emphasize his new capital as the spiritual successor to Ayutthaya and adopted an existing wat besides his palace, Wat Jaeng (also spelled Wat Chaeng, later Wat Arun), as the principal temple of his kingdom. Taksin largely emphasized the building of moats and defensive walls in Thonburi, all while only building a modest Chinese-style residence and adding a pavilion to house the Emerald Buddha and Phra Bang images at Wat Jaeng, recently taken in 1778 from the Lao states (Vientiane and Luang Prabang, respectively).[34]

PopulationEdit

Much of the western provinces of Siam were depopulated for several decades until the early 19th century due to the near-constant state of fighting with Burma.[35]

LanguageEdit

TerritoryEdit

With the exception of the western Tenasserim Coast, the Thonburi Kingdom reconquered most of the land previously held under the Ayutthaya Kingdom[36] and expanded Siam to its greatest territorial extent up to that point. During the Thonburi period, Siam acquired the traditional lands of Lan Na from the Burmese after 200 years of Burmese vassalage, which remains a part of Thailand today.

The following provinces included: Thonburi, Ayutthaya, Ang Thong, Singburi, Lopburi, Uthai Thani, Nakhon Sawan, Chachoengsao, Prachinburi, Nakhon Nayok, Chonburi, Rayong, Chanthaburi, Trat, Nakhon Chai Si, Nakhon Pathom, Suphanburi, Ratchaburi, Samut Sakhon, Samut Songkhram, Phetchaburi, Kanchanaburi, and Prachuap Khiri Khan.

Vassal (mandala) states of the Thonburi Kingdom at its height in 1782, to varying degrees of autonomy, included the Nakhon Si Thammarat Kingdom, the Northern Thai principalities of Chiang Mai, Lampang, Nan, Lamphun, and Phrae, and the Lao Kingdoms of Champasak, Luang Prabang, and Vientiane.

MilitaryEdit

 
Wichai Prasat Fort, situated in the complex of Wang Derm Palace, now part of the Royal Thai Navy HQ, as it appears today

Much like Naresuan two centuries prior, Taksin often personally led his troops on campaign and into battle. Later on, Taksin would increasingly delegate his chief generals, Chao Phraya Chakri and Chao Phraya Surasi, on leading Thonburi military expeditions, such as the 1781 expedition to Cambodia, immediately prior to Taksin's deposition.[37]

Following the Burmese–Siamese War (1775–1776), the military balance of power within the kingdom shifted as Taksin took away troops from his old followers in the Northern Cities, who had performed disappointingly in the previous war, and concentrated these forces to protect the capital at Thonburi, similar to what Naresuan did, placing more military power within the hands of two powerful brother-generals from the traditional aristocracy, Chao Phraya Chakri and Chao Phraya Surasi.[38]

Economy and societyEdit

 
Historical map of Thonburi on Chao Phraya River
 
Photograph by John Thomson of the Chao Phraya River from Wat Arun, 1865

The years of warfare and the Burmese invasions prevented any peasants to engage in agricultural activities. The Siamese war captives who had been taken to Burma following the fall of Ayutthaya in 1767 and the general lack of manpower were the source of the problems. Taksin had tried his best to encourage people to come out of forest hidings, of whom had fled into the countryside prior to and during the 1765-67 Burmese invasion, and to promote farming. He promulgated the Conscription Tattooing in 1773, which left a permanent mark on commoners' bodies, preventing them from fleeing or moving. The practice continued well into the Rattanakosin period until the abolition of levy during the reign of King Chulalongkorn (Rama V). As Taksin was from a Chinese merchant family, he sold both his royal and familial properties and belongings to subsidize production by giving money off to people. This proved to be a temporary relief for such an economic decline. Nevertheless, the Siamese economy after the wars needed time to rehabilitate. Thonburi began forming its society.

Taksin gathered resources through wars with neighboring kingdoms and deals with Chinese merchants. Major groups of people in Thonburi were local Thais, phrai, or 'commoners', Chinese, Laotians, Khmers, and Mons. Some powerful Chinese merchants trading in the new capital were granted officials titles. After the king and his relatives, officials were powerful. They held numbers of phrai, commoners who were recruited as forces. Officials in Thonburi mainly dealt with military as well as 'business' affairs.

DiplomacyEdit

Taksin himself also commissioned trade missions to neighbouring and foreign countries to bring Siam back to outside world, the Qing dynasty being at the forefront of these missions. He dispatched several tributary missions to the Qing in 1781 to resume diplomatic and commercial relationships between the two countries which had stretched back, beginning in the Sukhothai period and had expanded significantly during the late Ayutthaya period.[39]

In August 1768,[40] Taksin sent a tributary mission to Qing China to require the royal seal, claiming that the throne of Ayutthaya Kingdom had come to an end. However, for a long time, the Qing Court refused to recognize Taksin as a legitimate ruler, citing the presence of then still-powerful claimants to the Siamese throne. Eventually, the Qing Court approved the royal status of Taksin as the new King of Siam. However, the letter of recognition from China only arrived after the death of King Taksin.[41]

In 1776, Francis Light of the Kingdom of Great Britain sent 1,400 flintlocks along with other goods as gifts to Taksin. Later, Thonburi ordered some guns from England. Royal letters were exchanged and in 1777, George Stratton, the Viceroy of Madras, sent a gold scabbard decorated with gems to Taksin.[clarification needed]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Lieberman, Victor (2003). Strange Parallels: Volume 1, Integration on the Mainland: Southeast Asia in Global Context, c.800–1830 (Studies in Comparative World History) (Kindle ed.). ISBN 978-0521800860.
  2. ^ Wyatt, David K. (2003). Thailand : A Short History (2nd ed.). Chiang Mai: Silkworm Books. p. 122. ISBN 974957544X. "Within a decade or so, a new Siam already had succeeded where Naresuan and his Ayutthaya predecessors had failed in creating a new Siamese empire encompassing Lan Na, much of Lan Sang [sic], as well as Cambodia, and large portions of the Malay Peninsula."
  3. ^ จรรยา ประชิตโรมรัน. (2548). สมเด็จพระเจ้าตากสินมหาราช. สำนักพิมพ์แห่งจุฬาลงกรณ์มหาวิทยาลัย. หน้า 55
  4. ^ David K. Wyatt. Thailand: A Short History. Yale University Press
  5. ^ Wood, p. 254
  6. ^ Damrong Rajanubhab, pp. 414–415
  7. ^ Damrong Rajanubhab, pp. 418–419
  8. ^ Damrong Rajanubhab, p. 430
  9. ^ Damrong Rajanubhab, pp. 423–424
  10. ^ Wood, p. 259.
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Royal house
Thonburi Dynasty
Founding year: 1767
Preceded by Ruling Dynasty of the
Kingdom of Thonburi

1767–1782
Succeeded by