The Fall of Nokor Thom
The Fall of Nokor Thom
Project: The Fall of Nokor Thom
Author: Lem Chuck Moth
Started date: June/01/2003
Last updated: May/31/2015
All right reserved.
Since this paper is still drafted, the readers would be advised to ignore any context errors. The content is not final and subjected to be reviewed.
By the time that Suryavarman II completed the construction of Angkor Wat, another worldly event shook the Western World by surprise. Genghis Khan (1162-1227) rebuilt the Mongolian Empire into a fast growing power in Central Asia. Mainly by military conquest, he and his successors extended the Mongolian Empire all the way from the eastern tip of Europe to the end of eastern Asia. His exploit was violent, unparalleled in the history of human kind that makes us wondering what caused him to commit that kind of madness. Still there are admirers who saw the exploit as of a great achievement that no other men could accomplish. To them, only the will of God could propel a successful venture of such proportion. As much as they wanted others to believe the same, Genghis Khan himself was well disposed to lay his victory on God's will. To his victims and other observers, it was at the contrary an act of evil. It is said that his grandson Kublai Khan (1260-1294) had organized debates between representatives of diverse religious groups of which he had favored Buddhism ever since. He must to learn from Buddhist faith that his grand father's aggression was rather the effect of his lust for personal greed and power, under the irrational pretension that God was on his side. That would not stop Kublai from continuing on his grand father's ambition. Driven by strong personal needs, Kublai invaded many countries in search of wealth and glory that could never satisfy his fast growing Empire. Starting from the conquest of Yunnan to the control over China, it was clear that Kublai' s exploit was not restricted to only the Chinese continent. As his eyes have already set on the wealth of the southern countries for a long while, Kublai moved on to target Angkor and its allies. Even though encountered with many setbacks and obstacles, his drive reached its destination. At the end, Angkor succumbed under his spell.
The Attack of Gog and Magog
With the lack of documentation, scholars had no ideas how Angkor had suffered the Mongolian incursion or had not even think that there was an attack at all. Neither the Khmer nor the Mongolian sources left many clues about the clash between the two superpowers. It is expected of the Mongols to have bad record keeping, but for the Angkorian court, the lack of inscriptions must to be due to serious constraints created by the Mongolian incursion. Unlike previous reigns where big construction's projects had been started, evidences show that major development at the site of Angkor virtually stopped since the reign of Indravarman III. The depiction on the wall of Angkor Thom is so far the only reference to the conflict between the two courts. Indication from other evidences however point out that Angkor was not spared and had fell hard under the Mongolian relentless attacks. First the lack of Angkorian embassies in the court of China indicates the disruption of relationship between the two countries. Other evidences are from the records of eye-witnessed accounts of two travelers from the Mongol ' s court during and after the attack. The first account was from the Italian traveler Marco Polo whose adventure into China landed him in the court of the Great Khan and served, as the latter' s advisor. In his records, Marco Polo provided detail information on how the Mongol Empire was formed from the ancient legacy of Gog and Magog and the quest to control the world. His records also hint about the latter' s campaign against Yunnan in 1272 that resulted in the fall of Burma and the subsequent drive to control of the south China Sea that, as it implies, would force the Angkorian court into its submission. The next account was from Chou Ta-kuan who was sent to visit Angkor along with the Mongolian envoy. His records in particular, made during the reign of King Srindravarman, provided vivid picture of the fallen Khmer Empire during his visit. The detail of the incursion however is provided by the Yunnan chronicle that was compiled not long after the events had taken place (NCHAO: Notice of the translator).
THE DRIVE TOWARD ANGKOR
Compiled during the Ming Dynasty, the Yunnan Chronicle started the history of Nan-Chao since its formation by Mong Si nou-lo during the Tang and ended the account after the fall of the Yuan Dynasty. It gave the overall historical view of Yunnan during the specified period, but left out important detail that could shed more light to the historical events during each stage of the history. During the Mongols occupation, no detail information was given to the attacks of Kublai Khan on its southern neighboring countries. The detail attack on Angkor, in particular, was never mentioned. Nevertheless, the chronicle left important information about the Khan' s grand scale preparation to subdue Angkor.
The Reign of Indravarman III (?-1243)
Among the sons of Jayavarman VII, Indravaraman III was likely the son of the queen Rajendradevi who left many inscriptions commemorating her husband' s good deed during the high of the Khmer empire. Before his ascension to the Angkorian throne, inscriptions had mentioned that he was a governor of Lavo and the temple of Banteay Chmar was likely still being constructed under his initiative. By then he must to hear about the Mongols uprising and had prepared to face it. The first task was to secure his northern frontier with the new emerged Dai-Viet court. According to the Chinese and Vietnamese sources, the last campaigns against Dai-Viet were conducted in 1216 and 1218. In coalition with Champa, the campaign was conducted during the early years of his reign. The Khmer armies descended on Ghe-an, coming through Champa along with a contingent of Cham troops. It is important to note that after the 32 years war, Champa was back under Angkor's control (Nokor Thom: The Expansion: Champapura and the War of 32 years). The campaign was nonetheless unsuccessful. After severe casualties, the Angkorian Empire withdrew its troops from the eastern coast and as result left Champapura to the mercy of Dai-Viet. Shortly after, the Angkorian king delegated the throne of Vijaya to Angsaraja who became king under the name of Paramamesvaravarman II. Facing with hostilities from the northeast, evidence show that Indravaraman III concentrated his effort at the west and Pagan became his military headquarters. In the Chu-fan-chih, published in 1225, a new list of Angkor 's dependencies compiled by Chao ju-kua included:
Teng-liu-mei, Po-ssu-lan, Lo-hu, San-lo, Chen-li-fu, Pu-kan, Wali, Sipeng, Tu-huai-sun.
Comparing with the old list of Angkor's dependency, we could see that Indravarman III gained Sipeng, but lost Ma-lo-wen, Lu Yang and Tun-li-fu. The lost territories included two northern localities in close vicinity to Yunnan. In his surveillance trip, Marco Polo recorded more provinces in northern Siam including Cangigu, Amu and Tholoman that fell to the Great Khan (MARCO: Chapter 56, 57,58). Since we had identified Cangigu as Muang Yang, the other two localities must to be two other Shan provinces at approximation of Muang Yang (Sri Vijaya: The reorganization of the Siam country: The dependency of Rajapati). Tholoman in particular could be Marco Polo' s reference to Solomon, a western reference to Salayman that was, in turn, equivalent to the Angkorian title of Suryavarman. The city of Tholoman was in high certainty referencing to Tcho-li where members of the Cholan King resided. The finding agrees with the historical fact that the Great Khan had recently succeeded to take control of Yunnan and made his way toward Angkor. Back to the list of Chu-fan-chih, we could see that among the rest of the dependencies, Pagan (Pu-kan) and the Shan country (San-lo) were still under the Angkorian control. It could be checked out that the dependency lasted at least during his last campaign against Dai-Viet when Khmer inscriptions witness the joint coalition force of the two countries with Angkor. The ordeal was clearly not over. After increasing Mongolian pressure, evidences also suggest that Indravarman III had to set free the control of Northern Siam to the new emerged Ruang dynasty (Sokhodaya: The Legend of Prah Ruang: Indraditya and the Ruang Family's Name). An inscription of Angkor gives the date of his death at 1243. During the funeral, the Brahman Hrishikesa from Pagan went to give his prayer and started his next carrear at Angkor. Under the reign of Jayavarman VIII, he was annointed as the governor of Rajapati where originated the Three Shan Brothers who played crucial role in the development of the Shan country during the Mongol's incursion that started ten years later, after Kublai Khan completed his conquest of Yunnan in 1253 (Notes: The Myth about the Three Shan Brothers).
The Tai Pact*
Kublai' s choice of Yunnan to become the Mongolian next command post was not by coincidence. Among all his conquests, Yunnan presented not much resistance to his advance. This was mainly because Yunnan had always been in close connection with the Tai-Yuan country. Evidences show taht Tartarization brought by members of local authority had been taking hold of Yunnan long before the Mongolian invasion. Often confused with the Tai Invasion and to the less extend Tai migration, the Tartaric Infiltration was actually gradual since at least the early formation of Kambujean Empire in Central Asia. The presence of the western Kambujan leadership in Southeast Asia, moreover, could be checked out in Chinese source during the early formation of Funan. We had identified that King Hun Tien himself was in fact a key figure of the Western Kambujan Clan named Aswataman who was a son of Drona, the famous military guru in the epic battle of Mahabhurata (Kamboja Desa: The Kamboj Legacy: The Varman Legacy). Evidences also show that many other key figures of Koshan background were in fact of Tartaric origin. They came along with the Meru court to settle at Gangetic India during the exit of the Meru Culture from Middle East. Continuing the venture of king Hun-Tien, Scholars postulated that some of them moved into Southeast Asia to carve their own dominion on the ground of local tribesmen. We had argued that their settlement was part of the first Indianization that changed Southeast Asia into becoming Greater India. In the process, they were themselve assimilated into the local leadership of the Param Kambojan royal houses. On theirs own endeavor, the Tai rulers of Yunnan (including of Dai-Viet) still retained theirs original background and was subjected more or less to Chinese court' s control. Until the Mongol 's incursion, many of them were more likely reporting to the Song Dynasty and were Buddhist. Nevertheless, the fall of the northern Song court brought a new generation of Yunnan's rulers from the Tai-Yuan country. They came as free agent to expoit while retaining their Tartaric background. Among them, the Kaeo Vamsa who latest development allowed them to take control of both the Tai states of Yunnan and Dai-Viet was particularly aggressive and warlike. Of Mongoloid background, their audacity brought Dai-Viet into becoming a nation that soon played important role in the next history of Angkor. Their strong connection with the Tai-Yuan world allowed them to stay quasi independent from both the Khmer Empire and Southern China. Under the spell of Tartarization, Dai-Viet and other Yueh leadership constituted next the antagonist force of the Meru Culture. The situation changed itself from bad to worst when Zenghis Khan rose up to become a new Tartaric leader of the steppe. Subduing all opposition, he ruled Yunnan by Barbaric Law and started invading other part of the world. His work was carried on by his grandson Kublai to the east and to the last extend against Angkor (Notes: Marco' s incomplete Record). Their conquest against many of its important cardinal states including Muang Yang, Burma and Champapura were described in great detail in the records of Marco Polo. This extensive campaign against the South led us to believe that Angkor was next in the list. We shall argue that the formation of the Tai pact on the northern neighboring states of Angkor was what essentially becoming the support base for the Mongolian successful Southern drive that caused the fall of both the Song Dynasty and the Angkorian Empire. Being of Buddhist background, both courts were no match to the aggressively of the mighty Mongolian Empire. After subduing the Southern Song, the Great Khan continued to work on strengthening the Tai pact against Angkor. He used his southern allies to break through the natural barrier against his last standing southern target. Already bothered by Dai-Viet' s interference in Champapura, Angkor was to face another ally of the Great Khan formed as part of the Tai Pact, the Siam countries. During the next exploit of the Great Khan, the Angkorian Empire fell into obscurity. Even though there are evidence that constructions were still under way, major projects such as the construction of Angkor Thom had been put on hold. With no achievement to glorify, fewer inscriptions were erected. During the next reigns, only few inscriptions were erected to give us flurry information about the fate of the Angkorian court. As expected, they reveal no glory of the Angkorian monarchs to come. To this sudden stop of progression, scholars had postulated many theories on their own to explain scientifically the next downfall of Angkor, among them was the exhaustion theory (Notes: The Exhaustion Theory). Our evidences point instead to a new wave of Tartarization that brought down both the Song Dynasty and the Angkorian court to fall. Despite that the invasion was deliberately left out from Marco' s account as well as in any other accounts, evidences show that Angkor was actually in the full scope of the Great Khan' s conquest.
The Relationship with Dai-viet *
In his drive toward Angkor, Kublai had to exercise his new political skill to break down Angkor' s alliance. He started by campaigning hard to build up his own support system from Angkor's neighboring states. After stabilizing his relationship with Sokhodaya and Xiang-mai, the next critical task for the Great Khan was to work with Dai-viet. To understand the Mongolian complex relationship with the Yueh State, we need to trace back the beginning of their relationship that started since 1257. Unlike Sokhodaya and Xiang-mai, Dai-Viet was not inclined to swear allegiance to the Great Khan any time soon. Acting like free agent, Dai-Viet set itself to benefit from any offers, without having to lock itself up under the control of the Great Khan. Even though at odd with Angkor, Dai-viet was smart enough not to yield to the Mongol's interest without an offer for a prospective reward. Fully aware of the Mongolian military's strengths and weaknesses, Dai-viet was well prepared to take advantage of the situation.
Already in 1257 Uriyangadai (son of the famous Subotai who had led his army as far as Russia in 1222) had invaded northern Vietnam from the Red River Valley and sent ambassadors to Tran Thai-tong, who took them prisoner. The Mongols had then descended towards the south as far as the capital, Dai-la, which they attacked in December, thus taking their revenge for the affront given to their envoys.
(MSEA: The Crisis of the Thirteenth Century and the Decline of Indian Cultural Influence, P. 126)
Dai-viet managed to drive the Mongols out and the credit went to Tran Thai-tong 's heir apparent Tran Thanh-tong. After the victory, he was awarded the throne from his father who had abdicated for him. Undeniably, Tran Thanh-tong had proved himself that he was capable, not only on military campaign but also on political arena as well. When the conflict with Champapura started, Tran Thanh-tong went to the Mongols and requested help. It was the last campaign conducted during the reign of Jayavarman VIII by both Khmer and Champa troops that already ended in defeat. When Dai-viet complained about the attacks by the coalition force of both Cambodia and Champa, the Great Khan immediately gave Dai-Viet his authorization to defend itself. The Great Khan furthermore allowed Dai-Viet to use Burmese troops to retaliate against both Cambodia and Champapura. By then, the Great Khan had already full control of Nan-tchao as well as Sokhodaya and other new founded states of northern Siam (Sokhodaya: The Mongolian affairs: The pact between the Mongols and Sokhodaya). It is important to note that after the 32 years wars, Champapura was back under Angkorian's control (Nokor Thom: The secession of Champapura and the 32 years war: The war of 32 years). The victory that resulted in weakening of the Khmer coalition and the take-over of Champapura, a decade later by the Mongols, did not however benefit Dai-viet. According to the Yunnan chronicle, Kublai gave orders to his own people to subdue both Champapura and Cambodia.
in 1268, Hou-ko-tche received the order (from the Khan) to subdue Tchan-tcheng and the Tchen-la, in concert with the king of Annam. (NCHAO: 1,- Gouverneurs Generaux de la famille Touan: Toun Che: P. 114)
Tchan-tcheng of the passage was obviously referring to Champapura and Tchen-la that was referring to the Khmer Empire appeared to stand still after the Mongolian attack. Tran Thanh-tong who hoped for a big piece of the pie but left with empty hand, was unhappy with the Khan and broke his cooperation. His next successor, Tran Nhan-tong carried on a hostile policy toward the Mongols and successfully repelled all their retaliation. With Dai-viet' s disobedience, the Great Khan would face serious setbacks and need to adjust his strategy in carrying his next campaign. After a few failed attempts, the Mongols knew that Dai-viet' opposition was not to be taken lightly. Seeing Dai-viet as a serious obstacle, he postponed his southern conquest and shifted his focus on China (Notes: The Mongolian Conquest' s Strategy). After successfully subduing the southern Song Dynasty in 1279, the Great Khan then came back to work on Champapura. He did it by bypassing altogether its former rebellious ally, Dai-viet. He did not allow Dai-viet to take over Champapura apparently because he had already his mind set on using it for the next stage of his conquests. Instead he took this strategic location under his direct control to prepare for the final takeover of Cambodia as well as for his next maritime venture.
THE LAST OF THE ANGKORIAN COURT
From the land attack against Burma, the sea attack against Japan, Kublai Khan came to realize that his armies, composed mostly of the new conquered Chinese soldiers, were no more invincible. With this realization, he became wiser and to the misfortune of his victims, his next exploits were carried on with tact. To make-up with the downgrading of his military strength, the Great Khan gained the most blessed of the Chinese political skills. The divide and conquer strategy that had been long used by the Chinese court in regard to controlling the barbaric states of the south, might have been suggested by his Chinese advisors. Evidences show that the grand Khan, by now was sitting on the Chinese throne, used the tactful line for his own benefit.
The Attack on Pagan *
The Great Khan must to know from his Chinese advisers where the military strength of the Angkorian Empire actually stood. It was Pagan that the Great Khan had to subdue first before he launched his final conquest on Angkor. In 1271, a ruler of Yunnan sent a mission to Burma demanding Pagan, in the name of the Great Khan, to send tribute as a vassal. This was a political maneuver that proves to be critical in breaking down the Southern Cakravatin Empire. Due to the lack of information, we could not elaborate more on this first encounter but scholars assumed that King Narathipati of Pagan sent back the mission with a message of friendship for the Great Khan. According to the Glass palace chronicle, what happened then was at the contrary a clash of power between the two courts (GPC: The Tarop ambassadors). In 1273, an embassy from Kublai left Peking with a demand for the court of Pagan to dispatch family members and ministers to the Chinese court. The Mongol's envoi was composed of ten ministers and was accompanied by a thousand horsemen. To King Narathipati, it was clearly an intentional show-off of the Mongol's mighty power. In the Burmese court, the Mongols did not show respect and made no reverence to the king's presence. Upset of being looked down upon, King Narathipati gave immediately order to exterminate the Mongols.
Slay these ten (Mongolian) ministers and theirs thousand horsemen. Let no one escape.
Despite the the objection of his court, Narathipati insisted on carrying his command. His reaction did obviously put the Burmese court at odd against the Great Khan. Conforming to the overall Mongolian strategy, the Khan's primary goal was more likely intended to break Pagan's tie with Angkor. He would more readily spare Pagan if king Narathipati would submit to him and by doing so, the Pagan king could count on the support of the Mongols. He might as well receive generous rewards as the Sokhodaya rulers did during the time of Prah Ruang (Sokhodaya: The legend of Prah Ruang: The rise of Indraditya). Evidence later shows that his son Kyozwa II, by abandoning his father' s stand, was awarded by the Khan to rule Muang Yang as part of the Mongolian controlled territory of Cheng-mien (The Lanna State: The Mongolian connection: Pa-pai-si-fu and King Kiozwa II). It could also be that Narathipati' s reaction was not of his own and was acting according to the Angkorian demand in regard to resisting the Mongol incursion. A dramatic attack is narrated in the record of Marco Paulo between Pagan and a zion of the Mongols army at Vochang (Yunnan) that was already been submitted to the Great Khan in 1277 (Notes: The Kingdom of Vochang). It was probable that Angkor and its allies at the time decided to face off the Mongols during their early occupation of Yunnan, in the hope to stop their southern drive toward Angkor altogether. The expedition was sent to intercept a Mongolian army from Ta-li in theirs way south that was conducted in 1272 undoubtedly as a retaliation against Burma. According to the record, the Pagan army did not fight alone but in a joint coalition force with Bengal. It is suggesting that Bengal at the time was part of the Shan State of Vanga and was under the control of Rajapati (Notes: Vanga vs Bengal). The coalition force appeared to underestimate the Mongol's army and the attack was designed to show-off the coalition's strength in the hope of discouraging the Mongols from venturing further south. The size of the coalition troops was big enough to worry the Mongolian commander but was proved to be ineffective in front of a smaller but more experienced Mangolian army. The records of Marco Polo gave detail description of the encounter that ended in the defeat of the coalition force. With tact, the Mongols troops under the command of Nestardin managed to defeat the coalition force on the banks of the river. To make the matter worst, the loss turned out to be very critical to the defense system of both Pagan and the Angkorian Empire. To capitalize on the victory, the Mongols sent more troops to subdue Ramandesa in four consecutive attacks. In the next campaign, the Mongols army under the command of Hsiang-wu-ta-erh (Sangqudar), after subduing Kaung-sin again on December, kept moving south into the Irrawaddy Valley. King Narathipati evacuated Pagan and left for Prome. King Narathipati was in the verge to gain it back but was poisoned by his own son Thihathu. In 1287, a fourth Chinese expedition under the command of Ye-sin Temor finally reached Pagan. Thihathu (Sihasura) after poisoning his father Narathipate and rid himself of some of his brothers, tried to seize Hamsavati but lost his life during the attempt. After his death, his elder brother Kyozwa II who took care of Pagan during his absent was crowned in 1289. In 1297 he sent his eldest son, Sihapati, to receive the investiture in his place from the Chinese court. The Yuan Emperor gave a silver seal to the reigning king and at the same time gave an honorific tablet to Athinkhaya, the eldest of the three brothers. By doing so, the Chinese court set Pagan to be a vassal of China while trying to appease the three brothers in accepting Chinese control over Pagan.
The Fall of Rajapati *
Muang Yang (Rajapati) along with the Khorat Plateau (Nokor Rajasima) had been a strategic location for the Khmer Empire since its formation. During the Angkorian era, Rajapati was a part of the northern Shan country and was a dependency of the Angkorian Empire. Both Nan and Vieng-chan were reestablished under the delegation of the Angkorian court of King Suryavarman II (The Construction of Angkor Wat: The Dependency of Rajapati: The Reestablishment of Muang Nan). We had seen later that a prince named Vidyanandana from the Nan country had proved himself capable in the eyes of Jayavarman VII and acquired a brilliant career in the Angkorian court. As a customary of vassal states to send theirs princes to live in the Middle Kingdom, Vidyanandana was raised and trained at Angkor during his youth. He was entrusted to lead Angkorian troops to win over the city of Malayang and again in 1208, he conducted troupes to rage battle against Dai-viet for the king of Kambuja. Evidences show that the same policy had been applied during the next reigns, especially during the reign of Jayavarman VIII. We had suggested that the Three Shan Brothers were originated from the house of Crijayamangalarthadeva from Rajapati and were delegated by Angkor to take control of Pagan. As members of the local Rajapati 's courts who traced their ancestry from either Suryavarman I of Suryavarman II and later of Jayavarman VII, they inherited the title from the Angkorian court. It explain why they had arrogated themselves with the royal titles when they worked in the court of Pagan as delegate from the Angkorian court. At the beginning of the Mongol incursion, Pagan was repeatedly attacked by the Mongolian army leaving Muang Phukha (Rajapati) at the mwerci of the Tai pact. After extending Sokhodaya ' s territory over Lavo and Lampang, Ramakamheang declared suzerainty over ethnic groups scattered across Rajapati deep into Yunnan (Sokhodaya: The Tai State: Nokor Sajam as the Progenator of Sokhodaya). At the same time, Mangrai also started his own aggression on Rajapati' s territory. After forming Xiang-rai in 1262, he made his conquest over Xiang-con and Muang Saen repectively in 1269 and 1274 (The Lanna State: The Angkorian Connection: The Reign of King Mangrai). He later delegated Muang Nan that was an important city of Rajapati to his long lost relative KaeoVamsa to rule after the latter was evicted from Yunnan by the Mongols. It indicates that Rajapati was then fell prey to the aggression of the Tai pact and was divided among Mangrai and Ramakamheang for the taking. By the time that the Mongols made the final move to subdue Pagan in 1283, evidences show that the Tai pact already finished off Rajapati. The two friends would soon found out that the Khan was not that generous without a hidden agenda. By introducing a third member into the Tai pact, the next move was done at the expense of the two previous members of the pact (The Lanna State: The last Legacy of Angkor: Pa-pai-si-fu and King Kiozwa II). After the fall of Pagan in 1287, Pugarama fell into anarchy. Under different leadership, Pugam was seen politically divided into thwo parts. At the south, Makhato also known as Chao Fa Rua (Wareru) established himself in Martaban since 1281 and through the court of Sokhodaya drove the last of Kyangzetha' s lineage out from Tathon. Out of reach of the Mongols, he transformed the southern part of Burma into the Mon Country as known until modern days. The western side that included the Shan countries was under the control of the Three Shan Brothers still. After developing three provinces of Myinsaing, Makkaya, and Pinle since 1294, they arrogated themselves as their rulers with royal titles. At the far reach of the Mongols, they were able to maintain their suzerainty over this western part of Burma apparently without having to deal with the Great Khan. In the north, the descendants of the last king of Pagan seek protection from the Great Khan and received from the latter investiture to reign both Pagan and Rajapati. Under the Khan's tutelage, We shall see that Quiozwa II or his direct descendant would join the Tai-Pact in a coalition against the recovery of the Angkorian Empire (The Lanna State: The last Legacy of Angkor: Pa-pai-si-fu and King Kiozwa II). By settling king Ngam Muang at Phyao, the Khan restricted both Ramakamheang and Mangrai from claiming more on Rajapati' s territory. As we shall se, the maneuver would create fracture among members of the pact, but at the time being the strengthening of the Tai pact allowed the Khan to carry the next stage of his project.
The Fall of Champapura *
Facing the Mongolian invasion, the last Champa King Indravarman V welcomed the support from Dai-viet to avoid catastrophic encounter with Kublai Khan. He sent four embassies to the Viet court from 1266 to 1270. In 1278, then again in 1280 he resent the embassies to Tonkin, when he was pressured to present himself at the Mongolian court at Peking, At the same time, he avoided his personal meeting with Kublai and sent embassies with presents to the Yuan court instead. In 1281, Sogatu and Liu Shen were ordered to establish Mongol protectorate at Champa. It is important to note that about the same time, the Mongols already launched many campaign to succumb Pagan. Evidences show that if there were no interference from the Three Shan Brothers, Angkor was going to be next to fall under the Great Khan. As the Burmese court already sworn allegiance to the Mongols, the brothers had recoursed to a drastic measure to stop the next deal. As we shall see, the eldest of the three brothers, Athinkhaya, later killed the Pagan King Kyozwa II because the latter had cooperated with the Mongol. Facing with a serious setback, the invasion of Champapura was the only option left for Kublai to carry on his ambitious project. Dispatched by General Sogatu, the Mongolian Army invaded the north and center of Champa in 1283. The Cham prince Harajit who was then heir of the Champa throne, rose up to fight the Mongolian invasion. To subdue Champa, Kublai Khan organized an expedition that lasted more than two years from 1283 to 1285. Using the wild mountain as refuge, the Chams could resist at best the Mongolian invasion. The refusal of Dai-viet against the Mongol troops to pass through its territory created further obstacles for the latter. Nevertheless, it did not stop the Great Khan from continuing his campaign against the Cham court. Having subduing the southern Song court, the Khan was able to build up his fleets for the maritime campaign in a short time. In support to the Tai pact, the Great Khan was now able to launch attacks on Champapura by both land and sea channels. On his trip in the second half of the Thirteenth Century across the South China Sea, Marco Polo confirmed in his record the fall of Champapura under the mighty attacks of the Mongolian army (MARCO: Chapter 5: Of the country of Ziampa, of the King of that country and of his becoming tributary to the Great Khan).
About the year 1278, Kublai (Khan), having received accounts of the great wealth of this (Champa) kingdom, resolved upon the measure of sending a large force, both infantry and cavalry, to effect the conquest of it. The country was accordingly invaded by the powerful army and placed under the command of one of his generals, named Sogatu.
According to the next account, the Cham King had retreated into a remote area that allowed him to withstand the Mongol's attack. He survived the attack, but Champapura was on the other hand completely destroyed.
The king, whose name was Accambale, and who far advanced in years, feeling himself incapable of making resistance in the field to the force of the great Khan, retired to his strongholds, which afforded him security, and he there defended himself valiantly. The open towns, however, and habitations on the plain, were in the meantime overrun and laid waste, and the king perceiving that his whole territory would be ruined by the enemy, send ambassadors to the great Khan.
The Cham king, Harideva or Indravarman V then decided to surrender. With the pledge of the Champa king, the great Khan stopped the attack and proceeded to the next step of his plan.
Upon receiving this proposal the great Khan, from motives of compassion, immediately sent orders to Sogatu for his retreat from thence with the force under his command, and directed him to proceed to the conquest of other countries.
After the death of Indravarman V, his son prince Harijit succeeded him under the crown name of Jaya Simhavarman III. From its military base at Champapura, the Mongols next campaign over the South China Sea was done with the support the new Champa' s King. With the Mongols at his support, In the name of the Great Khan, Harijit extended his personal influence over the neighboring rulers who saw the need to bow to him. After marrying a Javanese princess Tapasi, he requested to marry the sister of Dai-viet Emperor Tran Anh-tong, the princess Huyen Tran. The hand of the Viet princess cost him dearly as he needed to offer two Champa provinces in the north of the Col des Nuages to Dai-viet in return. He died in the following year after erecting the temple of Po Klaung Garai at Phan Rang and the temple of Yang Prong at Darlac.
THE MONGOLIAN ATTACK
Under increasing attacks of the Mongols and Sokhodaya, Angkor was already bleeding. Evidences show that Indravarman III and the next Angkorian monarchs shifted their strategic military and political center to the west. During the reign of Jayavarman VIII, the Mongols along with Sokhodaya already stripped Angkor of its northern strategic locations. The fall of Rajapati and the Khorat Plateau to the Mongols obviously allowed the Great Khan to carry his campaign down to Angkor itself. Indication however shows that the last assault, conducted from Champapura during the reign of Jayavarm VIII, was met with strong resistance and that the Mongols appeared to suffer serious casualty.
The Reign of Jayavarman VIII (1243-1295) *
At the Angkorian court, Jayavarman VIII succeeded Indravarman III, perhaps not immediately. During his reign, the Mongols had made their move toward Angkor, although in a rather benign fashion. We had argued that Kublai Khan had been looking for opportunity to attack Angkor since their early settlement at Yunnan. According to the Yunnan chronicle, Kublai ordered the attacks on both Champapura and Angkor in 1268. Nevertheless, we had seen that the alliance with Dai-Viet yielded no advantage to the Khan and the formation of the Tai Pact failed to provide a safe passage for the Mongols army to attack Angkor. Facing with setback, Kublai decided to subdue the Southern Song Dynasty. In less than four years, the Yuan took control of China in 1279. Perhaps with more funding from the Chinese treasurer, Kublai was poised to renew the attack on Angkor. The campaign in 1283 that resulted in bringing the Cham court under the Khan's control allowed the Khan to build Champapura as the Mongol's commanding post to launch the next attack against Angkor. As we had seen, Marco Polo recorded in detail the successful conqest but never mentioned the attack on Angkor. From the Chinese source, we knew that both Angkor and of Champa sent tribute to the Great Khan in 1285 but the Chinese record did not indicate that Angkor pledged the allegiance to the Great Khan while we knew that Champapura was already a vassal of the Khan after the attack of 1283. A depiction on the wall of Angkor Thom had been presented by scholars as a scene of Cham invasion against Angkor, but a closer look would led us to a different conclusion. The depiction clearly shows that the attack (attacks?) was conducted by both land and water and that Angkor received the victory over the Cham armies. We shall argue that it was instead about the battle between the Angkorian troops and the Cham armies conducted by the Mongols during the late reign of Jayavarman VIII. It was carved after the Mongolian campaign on Angkor before the Angkorian court fell under the anarchy induced by the usurpation of Jayavarman VIII' son-in-law. Contrary to common belief that the building of Angkor Thom was done all at once during the reign Jayavarman VII, evidences show that constructions were still carried on during the next reigns but stopped during the high of the Mongolian incursion. Chou Ta-Kuan mentioned in his record that Angkor Thom was still in fine shape during the reign of king Srindravarman, a century later after it was built. We came to the conclusion that the depiction was done during the reign of Jayavarman VIII and it was about the Mongol' s attack on Angkor through Champapura. One might notice Mongoloid faces among the commanders of the Cham armies fighting the Angkorian troops. We shall argued that it was the last Mongolian campaign on Angkor, conducted after the fall of Champa to take advantage of the Cham troops to launch a campaign by both land and sea channels. Kublai Khan apparently sent many of his officers to lead Cham contingents toward Angkor by land and by boat. As depicted, it was defeated and, as mentioned in Chou Ta Kuan's records the Mongols left some of their officers behind. Among the Mongol chiefs who were not accounted for after the attack, were a chief of a hundred and a chief of a thousand. Jayavarman VIII who won the battle obviously took the opportunity to depict it on the wall of his palace. The Angkorian court would soon find out that it was too soon to celebrate the victory as the lost battle would not deter the Khan from his long time planned campaign and his war was far to be over. As we had seen, the attack on Pagan yielded far better result for the Mongolian army. By the time, evidences show that both Nokor Rajasima (Kin-the) and Rajapati (Pa-pai-si-fu) was already under the control of the Yuan court. Through the cooperation of the Tai-pact, the Mongols might renew the attact on Angkor in any time to come. The join embassy to the Yuan court with the Cham king in 1285 signaled a deterioration of his court facing with repetitive attacks from the Tai pact on Rajapati and the increasing internal intrigues that would plagued his court in a short time to come. At the end of Jayavarman VIII' s reign, the Angkorian glory time was clearly over. According to Chou Ta-Kuan's record, Angkor soon fell into internal crises and construction must to suffer the consequence. The unfinished parts of Angkor Thom that were left undone might have been caused by the outcome of internal unrest carried on from the last of his reign to the next reign of king Srintravarman. Even though maintenance works were still continued on, major projects were soon stopped.
The Kingdom of Lochac *
In accord with the Mongolian occupation of Yunnan and later of Rajapati, it is obvious that Angkor was more and more vulnerable to the Mongolian attack. The Angkorian court must to feel less secured of its position at Angkor and saw the need to move into more secluded location. At the late stage of the Mongolian campaign, evidences show that the Angkorian court had made its preparation to exit the Angkorian site to a location that was out of reach by the Mongolian army.
At its southern tip, Sri Dharmaraja offered itself as the Angkorian court's safe refuge and their last open door to the sea trade. The chronicle of Sri Dharmaraja recounted the reestablishment of Nokor Sri Dharmaraja by a ruler from Indrapath (Angkor), apparently with a faction from the Angkorian court to escape the Mongol's attack (Sri Dharmaraja: The Reestablishment of Sri Dharmaraja: The Reestablishment of the Sri Vijaya). The escape proves however to be just a short relief. Shortly after the conquest of Champapura, the Mongols already built up their powerful fleets and were ready to set sail to the South China Sea. From the southern provinces of China and Champapura, evidences show that the Great Khan already planned his next maritime campaign. On his surveillance trip, Marco Polo recorded religious believe and custom of each country of the South, but most importantly, its political standing in regard to the control of the Great Khan. Although there were setbacks due to accessibility, he already concluded that the presence of the Great Khan was already felt among the majority of them. Among the listed countries that were still evading the Khan' s control, he did not mention about Angkor but roughly about Lavo.
Upon leaving Champa, and steering a seven hundred miles, you fall in with two islands, the larger of which is named Sondur, and the other Kondur. Both being uninhabited, it is unnecessary to say more respecting them. Having run the distance of hive hundred miles from these islands, in the southwesterly direction, you reach an extensive and rich province that forms a part of the main land, and is named Lochac. Its inhabitants are idolaters. They have a language peculiar to themselves, and are governed by their own king, who pays no tribute to any other, the situation of the country being such as to protect it from any hostile attack. Were it assailable, the great Khan would not have delayed to bring it under his dominion.
From the description, Lochac appeared to be at the southwest of Poulo Condo islands and located on the Malay peninsular. As had always been in Chinese texts, Lochac was the Chinese reference to Lavo and Marco Polo must to hear the name from his Chinese crewmen and took Sri Dharmaraja as part of that country. Among its natural resources, Marco Polo indicated that the Sampan or brasil wood was abundant in the region (Notes: The natural Resources of Lahac). Another important mention of the passage is that, mostly due to its isolate location, Lavo still evaded the control of the Khan. Nevertheless, the passage ends with a grim remark about the fate of that country.
Besides these circumstances, there is nothing further that requires mention, unless it be that the country is wild and mountainous, and is little frequented by stranger, whose visits the king discourages, in order that his treasures and other secret matters of his realm may be little known to the rest of the world.
As Lochac (Lavo) was in seclusion, the wild terrain of its surrounding provided a good hideout for the Angkorian court. In order to safeguard further his treasures and other state secrets, Marco knew that the king discouraged any contact with outsiders. What Marco Polo did not mention was that the discretion was particularly enforced against him. As a delegate of the Great Khan himself, his trip was clearly a mission of reconnaissance to provide the Mongolian Emperor an assessment of his authority. Even though more information about Lavo was lacking, Marco Polo was able to fully acquainted other communities of the South China sea. His report undoubtedly pleased the Great Khan for it conveyed that many strategic sites of the southern sea had already pledged allegiance to him. Even though the pledges were mostly cohered and hardly reinforced, they were enough to damage the Angkorian suzerainty uver its ancient allies. Surrounded by the Great Khan's subordinators, it was clear that Angkor was isolated and subsequently was left suffocated for good.
The Kingdom of Singhasri *
The exodus of the Chola Empire from both India and Java to join the Sri Vijaya in the Angkorian Court, left Java to be a breeding ground of local developments. In the mediaeval history of Java, the emergence of new leadership after the reign of Kritajaya in 1222 soon replaced the Cholan legacies of the ancient past. Two chronicles, the Nagarakritagam of Prapancha (1365) and the Paraton (End of 15th century) detail the origin of the next authoritarian figure named Angrok to start a new line of Javanese rulers. According to the chronicles, Angrok was born of peasant parents and after spending most of his youth as a highway robber, he entered the service of Tungul Ametung, a governor of Tumapel. After assassinating Tungul, he then proclaimed himself king under the name Rajasa and took the wife of the slain governor named Dedes to be his own. After a reign of six years, Rajasa was himself assassinated in 1227 by the instigation of Anushapati, son of queen Dedes and the former governor. Anushapati, reigned until 1248, and was in his turn assassinated by Tohjaya, son of Rajasa and a concubine. Tohjaya reigned a few months and died in 1248 in a palace revolt fomented by his two nephews. The two princes reigned together, the first under the name of Vishnuvardhana and the second under the name of Narasimphamurti. The main event of the reign of Vishnuvardhana (1248-68) was the repression of the revolt of a certain Lingapati. By 1254, he turned over the power to his son who reigned under the name of Kritanagara. It was under his reign that the capital Kutaraja changed its name to Sighasari. At his death in 1268, he was deified to be of Siva at Waleri and in the form of Amoghapasa at Jajaghu. According to Kritanagara chronicle, the reign of Kritanagara (1268-1292) was seen with series of expansion. Nevertheless, the chronicle leaves out some important facts about the intervention of the Great Khan, in the formation of the South China Sea vassalage. Looking closely, Kritanagara' s exploit was in tune with the Mongol control of Champapura. A Javanese princess sent to be the consort of the Champapura King might have been from his court. Along with Champapura, Kritanagara took advantage of the Mongolian support to wage his own campaigns. It was perhaps this southern attack, from the Javanese ally of the Great Khan, that drove the refugee court of Angkor out from Sri Dharmaraja to hide themselves deep in the jungle (Sri Dharmaraja: The restablishment of Sri Dharmaraja: The court from Indrapathpuri). According to the Pararaton, the expansion of Kritanagara left his own country unprepared for internal affairs. To make the matter worst, he allowed his pride to take hold of him. The repulsion of Kublai Khan' s control that was crucial in keeping vassal countries in subordination deprived Kritanagara of a strong military support. Jayakatong of Kediri, the former rival country of Singhasari, was the first to revolt against Kritanagara in 1292. When the Great Khan sent a fleet in 1293, to punish Kritanagara of his insubordination, he was already assassinated by Jayakaton. With clever maneuvering, a son-in-law of the slain Kritanagara, Raden Vijaya managed to gain trust from the victor and under certain discretion incorporated himself to serve in the latter' s court. When the Mongolian army arrived, Raden Vijaya managed to instigate the Mongol commander to attack and kill Jayakaton. After it was done, Raden Vijaya then turned himself against ther Mongols. The surprise attack inflicted heavy casualty to the Mongolian army, forcing them to sail back home. The advent of Kritanagara and later of Raden Vijaya on the Mongolian army obviously destroys the Great Khan's attempts to take control of South China Sea down to the drain. The setback of the southern campaign and the old age of Kublai Khan does not spell relief to Angkor. By then, evidence show that Angkor was already fallen, not by the Mongol direct attack but by the aggression of its local allies turned into ennemies. Indications however show that the Great Khan, even losing his battle against Angkor, still had control over his northern allies and used them to break down the spirit of the Angkorian Empire. After the lost of Pagan, Jayavarman VIII continued to resist the Mongolian invasion until his court was brought down by the usurpation of his son-in-law, Srindravarman. By the time, indications show that the Khmer Empire already lost its war against the Great Khan. The Chinese diplomats Chou Ta-kuan had quoted in his records that during previous reign, the country was devastated during the war with Siam. At the end of his time, Ramakamheang went his own way to challenge the Great Khan' s authority in extending his own Empire. Many more indications convey the fate of the broken Angkorian Empire, in its endurance under the vassalage of the Great Khan.
THE FALL OF ANGKOR
During his visit to Angkor in 1296, Chou Ta-kuan compiled elaborate recollections of his trips that became an important source of information about the fall of Angkor. From his records, we could draw a clear picture about the fate of the Angkorian court during the last exploit of the Great Khan. Besides describing Angkor' s cultures and traditions, his records contain important clues to the political situation of the country during his visit. The description clearly conveys that Angkor, seemingly carried on normal life during the day, was already incurring hardship that terrorized the people during the night. It indicated that Angkor was not only attacked but had already fell under the control of the Mongols and was treated as a new vassal state of the Great Khan.
The Visit of Chou Ta-kuan *
As quoted in the beginning of his records, Chou Ta-kuan was part of the delegation sent by the Yuan Dynasty to visit the Angkorian court. One of theirs missions was to inquire about the fate of two Mongol officers. Sent by the general Chun-tov, stationed at Champapura to the Angkorian site, the two Mongol officers Hou-fou pa-hou (Chief of Hundred) and Kiu-pai tsien-hou (Chief of thousands) apparently were part of the Mongolian commanders who led the Cham army against Jayavarman VIII. According to the quote, the two officers had never returned home. The rest of the record provides a comprehensive survey of the Angkorian kingdom after the fall of Angkor. From his observation, we could see that Angkor was clearly in transition from the postwar invasion by the Great Khan to become vassal of the Yuan court. Contrary to previous observations of Marco Polo that Lochac and subsequently the Angkorian Empire was in seclusion, our first notice was that the Angkorian court had open-up its policy to the outside world. It indicates that the war was over and that King Srindravarman had no more reasons to prevent foreign infiltration into the politic of his country. One of the immediate results was the influx of Chinese merchants to look for opportunities in the open market of Angkor.
Merchants of ethnic Chinese, when arriving to this country liked it very much. There is no need to use much clothing, the rice is abundant, the house is easily built, commodity is easily acquired and trade is no hassle. That is why many people came from elsewhere to settle in this country.
As Khmer women were mostly engaged in commerce, continues the record, it was a common strategy for Chinese merchants first to find Khmer wives in helping them to open up their business. They must to find out also that Khmer women were also good in socializing and making connection. They were then crucial to have them as companion because they were their only chance to be introduced into the the high societies. Another passage indicates that they were well accepted and were often receiving special treatment from the Angkorian court, a privilege that reflects the subordination of the Khmer court to China. Some local rules were bent in an effort to allow the new comers to fit in, even at the risk of damaging the custom of the high court.
The high official of the court and royal members could wear clothes with clear design. The palace's people only could wear clothes with double designs. For the general people, only women are allowed. A Chinese man who arrived recently, wore material with double design, but he was not arrested since they considered him as not knowing the local law.
As they moved to blend in with the high societies, they received higher regards from the people. Their business practices, consisting mainly of market manipulation, allowed them to dominate and build their enterprises to shunt altogether traditional market places. To their credit, their connection with the West allowed them to adopt quickly western life-style and promoted western commodities into their new society. In the process, they could capitalize on importing luxury goods, very much in demand for the sophistication of the high society. Other evidence that convinced us of the state of vassalage of Angkor through Champapura was the account of the bile collector from the records of Chou Ta-kuan. Known in Khmer tradition as "Pramat Pramang", the advent of the bile collectors still inflicts fear in the memory of Cambodians to last until modern day. Chou ta-Kuan witnessed the measure of collecting human bile during his visit and fully described the process in his record.
Before, at the eighth month, there were measures to catch people for their bile. It was because the king of Champa requested a vase of bile that counted many thousands. At night, the bile collectors patrolled the street. If they met people, they caught them. They used rope to tighten their head and used small knives to cut under their right armpit to extract their bile and filled the vase. When the vase is full, they sent it for tribute to the Champa king.
The vase of bile that was part of the tribute to the Champa King who either turned it to the great Khan or kept for himself, was obviously contributing among many other factors, to the downward spiral of Khmer morale. It reveals the political shift of the Angkorian court toward the Mongols and limited itself to be a vassal of Champapura under the total control of the total control of the Mongols. Chou Ta-kuan and his compatriot Chinese merchants had no reason to fear since they knew that they were not targeted.
They do not take the bile of Chinese people, because one time they took the bile of a Chinese man and mixed with the others, all bile in the vase were spoiled and were rejected.
This scheme of excluding Chinese bile in the collection was obviously set to protect Chinese immigrants as they were encouraged to stay at the country.
The Reign of Srindravarman (1295-1307) *
In the fight against Angkor, Kublai had drew many powerful figures to his dark-side to work as his subordinator. The ambition of Jayavarman VIII' s son-in-law was what the Yuan emperor was looking for all a long. An Inscription of the temple of Banteay Srey (NIC II: Inscription de Banteay Srei K569, Savaros Pou) introduced him as a son-in-law of Jayavarman VIII.
The Highness Sri Srindravarmandeva, lined from the country of Srestavarmanvaya and the country of Srindrapura Krtajnapura, was crowned as Yuvaraja (heir) with the highness Sri Srindrabhupesvarcuda who was the daughter of the king as spouse, under the reign of the Highness Jayavarmandeva Paramesvarapada.
No other inscription provides more information about his rise to power and his ascension to the throne of Angkor. The record of Chou Ta-kuan, on the other hand, provides an elaborate background about his career and his special relationship to the late king.
The new prince is the son-in-law of the former. He was a military general. The father-in-law loved his daughter; the daughter stole the golden sword from him and took it to her husband. But then the son deprived of succession plotted to raise troops. The new prince learned of this, cut off the son's toes, and locked him up in a dungeon.
The account confirms the Khmer legend about an obscure figure named Pogna Ironbat who rose up to become an Angkorian military leader due mostly to his achievement in battle. He owed his military success to his special weapon, a bat made of Iron wood. Becoming the military strong man of the kingdom, he later usurped the Angkorian throne and reigned until another line of kings took him down (The break down of the Cakravatin Empire: The fall of Angkor: The end of King Srindravarman's reign). It was obviously that the legendary Pogna Ironbat was no other than king Srindravarman, the son-in-law of Jayavarman VIII. Conforming to the political unrest, Chou Ta-kuan recorded the hash situation of the country that prevented the previous king to set foot outside of his domain in fear of personal attack. Happening during the Mongolian incursion, the ordeal stopped after Srindravarman usurped the Angkorian throne from the rightful heir of Jayavarman VIII. Apparently the situation had changed, thank to the armored vest he was wearing, Srindravarman was free to go around.
The new king wears armored vest made of Iron. No weapon can piece through it. That was why he was not afraid to go out.
Contrary to the traditional Southeast Asian armies that relied mostly on gut and merit for protection, the Mongol armies wore armor vests in combat that proved to be much more reliable. That could also played a big part in the victory of the smaller Mongolian army facing with a larger Bumrmese-Angkor coalition troops in the fight of Vochang. Obviously, Srindravarman was the first Khmer general to realize that his armored vest worked for him far better than his own merit. Undoubtedly a gift from the great Khan, the armored vest protected him from personal assault and set him free to roam the country. This privilege along with peace 's accord with Siam allowed him to run the country in a rather less turbulent than in the previous reigns. Under the protection of the Mongols, Srindravarman found himself at the high of his personal expectation. Nevertheless, this personal gain was at a high cost. The bile collecting obviously worked through inducing fear and after it came out to the open, no one dared to walk at night. To fill the vase, other drastic arrangements had to be implemented.
Later they assigned special officials to collect the bile from subordinate people. It was carried on at the suburb region of the northern gate.
Evidence show that Cambodia was not alone to endure the hash treatment from the Great Khan as the fears of the bile collectors are also fresh among the indigenous tribes of the Sarawak country in the island of Borneo that was part of Sri Dharmaraja that fell into the control of the Great Khan through the control of Java and Champapura. The measure is more likely to be originated from the Chinese court and was designed to break the spirit of the Khmer people into submission. At the same time it promoted the acceptance of new Chinese migrants as of superior beings. For a period of time, mentioned in another passage, the rural Khmer people treated them as some sort of God or Buddha. All the accommodation was designed undoubtedly to please the Great Khan in return for the much needed protection for his illegal reign. However, the protection failed to keep him in power for long. Shortly after the visit of Chou Ta-kuan and following the decline of the Mongol Empire, inscriptions mentioned that his reign was over. He abdicated in favor of the prince heir (Yuvaraja) and retired (or was forced to retreat) into the forest.
The Freeing of Rajapati *
After the new usurper king Srindravaraman pledged allegiance to the Great Khan, Kublai had to establish Angkor' s
At the same time that Chou Ta-Kuan visited Angkor, the chronicle connected the next Mongol interference in Burmese affair not to Myinsaing but to Rajapati (Pa-pai-si-fu). In one of the Mongol campaigns to establish the district of Tcho-li in 1296, the Nan-Tchao chronicle mentioned Pa-pai (Pa-pai-si-fu) to be included in the same district.
The 2nd Year Yuan-tchen of Tcheng-tsong, year Ping-chen (1296), the district of Tcho-li was established, to include the Pa-pai and Kiuan-ya.
Tcho-li could be identified as Sip-song-pannas, implicating that Pa-pai must to be Xiang-rung or Muang Yang. To his dismay, the Khan would find that the Three Shan Brothers were sidesteppled and would make any attempts necessary to fight off the Mongolian control over this Angkorian strategic location. According to the Yunnan chronicle, rebellions at Pa-pai started soon after the Mongolian early interference.
In summer, the Pa-pai revolted and order was given to Ye-sien-pou-houa to submit.
The uprising was started by a shadowy figure named A-san-ko-ye whom we shall identify as no other than the eldest of the three Shan brothers. In the next passage, A-san-ko-ye killed the Chief Mien and was chased by a Mongolian army headed by Sie-Chao-wou-eul.
In the 4th year ta-to (1300), a Mien, Seng-ko-louen, created troubles, the chief Mien arrests his brother A-san-ko-ye, but freed him. A-san made himself the head of his partisans and killed the chief, the second son escaped to the court and reported. The emperor sent Sie-Chao-wou-eul at the head of troupes of the province for subduing the rebels.
By cooperating with the Khan, the new king Kyozwa II alienated against the Three Shan Brothers whose mission was to restore back the Angkorian Empire. With the help of the queen, they seized Kyozwa and held him captive in Myinsaing. Athinkaya later decided to execute him along with his eldest son Sihapati while set another son named Zo-nit on the throne of Pagan. Another son of Kyozwa named Kumarakassapa had escaped to China and reported the incident to the Chinese court. While he was staying with the court of China, he was proclaimed king of Pagan in 1300 while the Khan immediately sent troops from Yunnan to fight off the Three Shan Brothers. With Chinese troops, the Mongolian commanders besieged Myinsaing in the winter of 1300-1301 but the three Shan Brothers managed to bribe and persuaded them into withdrawing their troops back to Yunnan. The Mongol commanders would soon find out that they had just committed a big mistake and when they got home, they were summoned and were executed immediately by the Khan after rejecting their explanation of withdrawal as was due to hot weather and malaria. It was a turning point for Rajapati to strengthen their position against the Great Khan who knew by now that his southern campaign would face with many more setbacks. We know now that the Three Brothers were from Pa-pai-si-fu and that theirs identity was Mien. This identification, from the Yunnan chronicle, could however been misinformed. As far as the Yunnan People are concerned, the chronicle mentions that they were mostly Mien and it is possible that the rulers were assumed to be Mien also. Another evidence however identifies them as Khmer of Sivijayan origin (The Kingdom of Burma: The reconstruction: The last Burmese legacies of Burma). Even then, we still refer them as the three Shan brothers because of their connection with Pa-pai-si-fu that is no other than the Shan country of Muang Mao.After the assassination of Kyozwa, the Three Brothers continued on fighting off the Mongolian control over both Rajapati and Pagan. In the fight, they appeared to receive full support from the people and worked effectively to resist the Mongol's occupation. Their resistance soon took a big break when the uprisings at Yunnan provided them with more strengh against the Mongols (NCHAO: Gouverneurs generaux de la famille Toun).
In the 3th year ta-to of Tcheng-tsong, year ki-hai (1299), Song Long-tsi, the indigenous chief of Chouei-si, at Yunnan, revolted; the prefet of Kouei-tcheou, Tchang Houei-to, died in combat; but the governor of Yunnan, Ma Kieou-eul, pursued and killed Sa-yue, one of the rebel chiefs, and decapitated five hundreds.
Apparently, the appointment of Ma Kieou-eul by the Mongols as the new governor of Yunnan was the last attempts to stabilize the region. It signals the end of the Sokhodaya 's subordination to the Mongols and its breaking off from the Tai pact. We had the reason to believe that the leader of the Yunnan' s uprising, Sa-yue, was a member of Sokhodsaya' s court, if not Ramakamheang himself (Notes: The Rebel Chief Sa-yue). His death ended the control of Sokhodaya over Yunnan and marked the decline of the Mongolian interference in Southeast Asia.
ISSA: The Indianized States of Southeast Asia, by G. Coedes
MSEA: The Making of Southeast Asia, by G. Coedes
ESBH: BEFEO 28: The early Syam in Burma's History, by G.H. Luce
GPC: The Glass Palace Chronicle of the Kings of Burma, translated by Pe Mong Tin and G. H. Luce
NCHAO: Histoire particuliere du Nan-Tchao, by Yang Chen, Translated by Camille Sainson
HI: History of Indonesia Early and Medieval, by B. R. Chatterji
SHAN:The Shan State and the British Annexation, by Sao Saimong Mangrai
MARCO:The Advanture of Marco Polo, Edited by Richard J. Walsh
1222: Angrok formed a new line of Javanese kings; 1243-1295: Reign of Jayavarman VIII; 1253: Kublai Khan took control of Yunnan; 1254-1292: Reign of Kritanagara at Sighasari; 1257: Kublai attempted to invade Dai-Viet; 1261-1368: The Yuan Dynasty in control of China; 1268: The last attack on Dai-viet by the coalition force of both Khmer and Champa troops; 1268: Kublai ordered the attack on Champapura and Angkor; 1279: The Mongols subdued the Song Dynasty; 1285: The Mongols took control of Champapura; 1287: Fall of Pagan to the Mongols; 1287: Mangrai, Ngam Muang, and Rama Kamhaeng formed the Tai pact; 1292: Kritanagara was killed; 1295-1307: The reign of Srindravarman; 1296: Chou-Ta-Kuan visited Angkor; 1303: The Mongols pulled out from Rajapati (Pa-pa-sfu and Kin-tche).
- The Myth about the Three Shan Brothers
There are still obscurity about the origin of the three Shan brothers who were establishing the Angkorian control at Pagan and starting up new ventures in the northern Shan countries. The fact that they arrogated themselve of royal status, they could belong to the ruling family of Sri Jayamangalarthadeva, governor of Muang Yang. Their royalty status was legitimate since the family of Sri Jayamangalarthadeva was closely connected to Jayavarman VIII. It is also possible that they were from the royal family of Jayavarman VII himself. We had seen that one of Jayavarman VII' s sons, Tamalida, had settled himself permanently at Pagan for the cultural mission. There are no reasons why Jayavarman VII or his successors did not send other members of his family to take care of other Burmese affairs as well.
- The Exaustion Theory
One among the theories about the fall of Angkor that received the most popular support was that the Cambodians were exausted in building many such big temples of stone. The theory seams plausible, considering that the work was done by hand with no machinery to help. To make the theory more appealing, they presumed that the work was done under slavery.
Pa-pai-si-fu was identified at first by many scholars to be Xiang-mai where the three Shan Brothers came from to take control of both Pagan and the Shan countries. We shall see that not only the identification was wrong, but the speculation about the whole dynamic of the Mongolian incursion, in regard to Lannatai's resistance, was also wrong. As we have argued, Rama-kamheang and his two friends, Mangrai and Ban-Muang, were not fighting against the Mongols, but instead took side with the Mongols against Angkor.
- The kingdom of Vochang
In the record of Marco Polo, Vochang was the kingdom where the clash between the coalition force and the Mongol's army took place (MARCO:Chapter XLII: Of the manner in which the Grand Khan effected the conquest of the Kingdom of Mien and Bangala). It was supposed to be located between Ta-li where the Mongol army stationed and Burma where the Angkorian military commanding post was also forming. Etymologically the word Vochang might had been the Chinese transcription of Var-Xiang or Varadhana. Its variants, Unchang or Yunchang were both the references to Yunnan.
- Vanga vs Bengal
Manipura was actually the ancient capital of Vanga. The established Rajapati as a commanding post of Vanga was to suit Angkor in controlling this western conquest. Evidences show that the court of Rajapati had already settled at Manipura, even before the Mongol incursion. To the Mongols and Marco Polo, Bengal was then the country of Vanga (Vanga=desa).
- The Mongolian Conquest's Strategy
It is known that the Mongols did not attempt to crush all resistance along their conquest's path. They would advance toward their target and bypassed resistance if circumstances allowed to. In the assault against the Southern Song of the province of Manji, the Mongols had faced with much resistance along the way.
Upon landing there, he immediately summoned the inhabitants of the city of Koi-gan-zu to surrender to the authority of his sovereign. Upon their refusal to comply, instead of giving orders for an assault, he advanced to the next city, and when he there received a similar answer, proceeded to a third and a fourth, with the same result. (Polo: Chapter 65: Of the noble province of Mini and the manner in which it was conquered by the Great Khan)
Only when they found out that leaving many enemies behind their back would jeopardize their campaign that they managed to subdue hard the next resistance. Upon hearing the bad new and the fate of the destroyed city, others would soon submitted without fighting.
The Chinese word "Kin-tche", meaning the golden city or country, is by all-means the same Chinese reference to Kin-cheng or Kin-lin. We know about them in Chinese texts since the start of the Funan era mentioned to be the location that the Funan ruler Fan Man was trying to conquer, during the last days of his life. We have then identified it as Prachinpuri of the Khorat plateau (Kamboja: The Funan Kings: Fan Man). Identifying Kin-tche to be Prachinpuri at the Khorat Plateau, seams to be far fetched since scholars never come close to the idea that the Mongols were at the doorstep of Angkor.
- The Control of the Khorat Plateau
In contrast to common belief that Sokhodaya had control of the Khorat Plateau, evidences show that most territory claimed by Ramakamheang to be under his suzerainty was in fact under the Mongol tight control. The Yunnan chronicle does provide us proofs that not only Sokhodaya cooperated with the Great Khan, but that it was the Great Khan himself who did most of the conquests of Angkor' s territory, including Pa-pai-si-fu and Kin-tche.
- The natural Resources of Lahac
In this country sampan or brazil wood is produced in large quantities. Gold is abundant to a degree scarcely credible; elephants are found there; and the objects of the chase, either with dogs or birds, are in plenty. From hence are exported all those porcelain shells, which, being carried to other countries, are there circulated for money, as has been already noticed. Here they cultivate a species of fruit called berchi, in size about of a lemon, and having a delicious flavor.
- The internal Crises of the Mongols
As expected, the blame game soon followed. Lieou Chen, the right hand general Lieutenant was charged of his incompetence butgot his pardon. The left-hand minister of State Ha-la-souen renews the accusation. Arguing that Lieu Chen had only think about his own fortune and had caused the destruction of the army and in consequence, dishonored the empire. Ha-la-souen finally requested the emperor the death penalty for Lien Chen and was granted. (NCHAO: Gouverneurs generaux de la famille Toun).
- The Rebel Chief Sa-yue
The title "Sa-Yue" of the slain Chief of Yunnan wight have been the same as "Sa-Day" or "Sadayaraja", a title ending with the word "Daya" adopted by close family members of the Ruang familiy (Sokhodaya: The Decline of Sokhodaya: The Reign of King Ladayaraja).