The Kingdom of Syam
Project: The Kingdom of Siam
Author: Lem Chuck Moth
Started date: April/01/2010
Last updated: February/01/2011
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.
Through out its existence, Ayudhya was often referred by its neighbors as Siam. By absorbing Sokhodaya into its dependency, Ayudhya inherited the Siam identity but was still referred in many ancient records as Ayudhya. As far as the people are concerned, Ayudhya was formed on the ground of Sri Dhamaraja and was still the country of the Khmer-mon people. Only after the absorption of Xiang-mai and its dependencies, that the Siam identity took its complete meaning of representing the union of Siam countries. At the same time, the Ayudhyan court inherited Tai legacies through its subordinated Siam courts. Even though the legacies of Ramakamheang and Mangrai were already driven to extinction, the Tai legacies, in term of language and scripture stayed on to become the next cultural identity of the Siam kingdom. Through Burmese control, the northern Siam was moreover exposed to the Mien infiltration and the Tai legacy took a different turn to stay until today. During its last phase, the Ayudhyan history is primary connected with the international sea trade of South China Sea. Since its formation, Ayudhya abandoned most of its northern dependency and concentrated head-on in the dynamic of Southern Sea trade. The venture set Ayudhya to make extensive contact with the West and made Siam as one of the most known to the western world Southeast Asian countries. In the early maps of Southeast Asia, Siam Appeared as the official name of Ayudhya. Published by European publishing houses, the maps showed the Siam Kingdom taking a big chunk of the mainland Indochina. It was not by far an accurate representation of geographical data of the Siam country and its people, but rather a political representation of the dependency to the court of Siam as known to the western world. From one version to another, deviation shows the dynamic of a disturbing court of Ayudhya facing with international and its own internal crisis.
The Siam Identity
The Siam Identity dated back since the ancient times and was in reference to the color red of the country. Derived from the Pali word "Syam", meaning red, the Siam identity had been extended to the people of the Red Country as well. In interaction with Chinese courts, records of the Red-earth country (Chi-tu in Chinese) appeared in Chinese records the first time during the formation of Nokor Khmer in early fifth century. Their population were mentioned as Syam in the early reference of Khmerization of the Menam Valley to come from the north, notably Xiang-mai (Nokor Khmer: The Siam countries: The Syam Kuti and Lawaratha). During the formation of Angkor, Lavo was formed in close connection to the court of Lawasangharatha or Xian-mai as one of its cardinal state. Evidences show that until the formation of Sokhodya, Lavo had a high concentration of Khmer-mon and Lawa people. After the Mongol incursion, the Chinese source referred Sokhodaya as Sien-la and some Siamese literature used "Si-Jam" as a reference to the new country. The adoption of the Tai Identity, on the other hand was officially started in the court of Ramakamheang. Sokhodaya (Sokho-daya), meaning the happy Thai, was given to the new formed country founded by the Ruang Dynasty. Through the interference of the Mongols, the Tai pact was formed to consolidate northern Siam counrties under the Great Khan (Notes: The Tai's misconception). During the reign of King Sri Dharamaraja, evidences show that the Tai pact was broken and the Tai identity was also tripped away. Chinese source started referring Sokhodaya in connection with Lavo as Sien-lo-Lohak that scholars readily accepted as a Chinese transcription of Syam-Lavo Kingdom (Notes: Sokhodaya as the Siam Country). The next Syam 's history started with the absorbtion of Sokhodaya by the Ayudhyan King U-tong of which the mixed dynasty of the new Siam court was formed.
THE LAST OF THE AYUDHYAN COURT
The last time that Hamsavati had made its move against Ayudhya, the legacy of king U-tong down to King Cakrapath was wiped out to make room for the Sokhodaya court of King Sri Dharmaraja. While the Khmer-mon movement was seen emerging to recover back the mainland Indochina under the court of Hamsavati, a setback was seen again induced by the court of Ayudhya. The challenger who was no other than the son of King Dharmaraja, drove down the Khmer-mon alliance back to the ground zero. In a strong personal resentment, Narasuan decided to end once for all Hamsavati's interference by waging war deep into its territory. In the fight, he found that the Khmer Court of Lawek did not share his animosity against Pegu and decided to punish Lawek for it. For that, he launched a series of costly battles in two fronts against both the Khmer and the Mon countries.
The Reign of King Narasuan (1590-1605)
After repelling the Burmese' s attack on 1580, Narusuan took on an audacity that concerned his father (Nokor Caktomukh: The fall of Lawek: The reign of king Mahendraraja). In contrast to the Tai history book that portrayed the late King Dharmaraja as a traitor, the Khmer chronicle portrayed him as a wise king and his son as a stone-head monarch. During the last of Nandabayin' attack against Ayudhya that was repulsed by Narasuan, a deep resentment broke out between him and the Khmer Obraja Prah Suryapur. The Khmer Obraja was sent by the court of Lawek to help Ayudhya fighting against Burmese troops in the honor to an accord signed by both courts (Notes: The victory over Hamsavati). The Khmer chronicle made it clear that Narasuan' s victory, then and later over Hamsavati, was due to the breaking of the accord that limited Ayudhya to be off the three western Khmer provinces. By doing so, Narasuan confirmed his father' s worst fear. Upon learning of Narasuan 's conducting the war, King Dharmaraja was not pleased. From the start, Narasuan broke all accords that might set the three countries working in sync to form a new alliance that safeguard Indochina from outside interference. After the Mongolian withdrawal, there were evidences that Sokhodaya under Sri Dharmaraja, Ava under the Three Shan brothers and Angkor under a new line of king from Lampang had formed a pact to restore back the Angkorian past legacy (). Despite his odd situation, there were evidences (from the Khmer sources) that the Ayudhyan king Dharmaraja still honred the pact. The stuborness of king Narasuan to launch Ayadhya for supremacy over old timer alliance, on the other hand, detroyed all hope for the restoration of the Meru Culture. By now, the conflict with Hamsavati went beyond repairable and of the way that his son handled the new alliance with Cambodia, he saw that Ayudhya would stand alone against more attacks from Hamsavati. Of his old age, his worries aggravated and as his long time illness took the upper hand of him, he died soon after in 150. After his death, Narasuan ascended immediately the throne of Ayudhya and showing no concerns of his father's worries, started his campaign against both Hamsavati and Cambodia. In a series of relentless preparation and attacks, he managed to subdue Lawek and after leaving the Khmer capital in shamble, went head-on attacking Pegu. After Lawek was destroyed, Cambodia became dysfunctional and helpless. Without strong central government, provincial authorities took on the warlord style of governing. At the same time, the Khmer king Prah Suryaupur and his two sons were held as prisoner of war at Ayudhya. Even though they were treated well (according to the Khmer source), they were not happy and to make the matter worst, revengeful. Narasuan should remember what he had been through while he himself was held in the court of Hamsavati against his will. When Prah Suryapur was allowed to go back to Cambodia and to establish order in the country, he still maintained a good relationship with Siam. He even organized his court following the tradition of the court of Ayudhya just to show of his subordination. However, when his eldest son King Jaya Chetha was released and returned to form the new Khmer court of Udong, he approached Hue for an alliance. He died perhaps believing that the Udong court was off Ayudhya' s dominance and was secured with the support of the Nguyen's court. It turned out to be another big mistake that set the Meru Culture into a tall spin of its final destruction. After marrying the princess of Hue, the inexperienced King Jaya Chetha turned against Siam and revived back the past rivalry between the two courts. Needless to say, the next kings of Ayudhya saw the alliance between the court of Udong with Hue as a betrayal and a threat to Ayudhya. We shall see that the rivalry of the two courts ended up destroying each other and in long run both of their countries were also dstroyed. By depending on Hue, the court of Udong incurred deeper and deeper into Hue's dependency while the Nguyen court was waiting for any slight opportunity to benefit from the Khmer court's internal crisis. That was just the beginning of the Khmer bad omen. We shall see that more Hue's interference in the internal court of Udong almost costed the latter the whole of Cochinchina. On the other side, Ayudhya also suffered a new era of decline. While succeeding in crushing the Khmer capital of Lawek to ruin, Ayudhya would face with crisis of its own. Unlike he had done to Lawek, Narasuan failed to destroy altogether the Mon audacity. Both Hamsavati and Ava recovered fast from their loss and immediately sprung into action. In no times they regrouped themselves back and the next assault on Ayudhya was the best prepared of all the Burmese campaigns. Already cripple in the financial arena and still having to fight with Cambodia, Ayudhya lost its war with Hamsavati. Even though it took more than a century to realize, the last attack of Pegu reduced Ayudhya to ruin.
The Reign of King Ekathotsarath (1605-1620)
After Narasuan's death in 1605, the Ayudhyan throne went to his brother and long time military Oparaja, Ekathotsarat. Having jointly ruled Siam for a long time, it is expected that the new king carried on his brother's strong policy and in the process, maintained the glory of Ayudhya. In contrast, his short reign was troublesome and fell short of the expectation. It was a total contrast of Ayudhyan policy and the outcome was disconcerting. Some scholars attributed the changes as mostly due to Ekathotsarat's lack of the leadership quality of his brother. It was then known that Narasuan possessed all the aggressiveness that made him famous of bringing Ayudhya from a depressed state to a powerhouse of the region in a short time. Others see it different way and the blame was attributed back to its root cause. Due to the many years of costly wartime, Narasuan spent more than he collected from the war. Even before his brother's death, Ekathotsarat must have been painstakingly aware of the huge deficit that he would inherit. Having to fill back Ayudhya's deplete treasury, he spent the last of his reign courting for foreign investment. An iconic event, happening during Ekathotsarat's reign was the execution of his own son and heir-apparent just a few years before his own death. It is said that he ordered the execution not to resolve his court' s crisis but to appease the demand of a Japanese clique. This personal ordeal, among other adverse events of his reign, indicates that Ekathotsarat was the victim of his brother's past mistakes. It was common to all falling stars as have been repeated itself through out the Meru' s history. Foreign investment was then seen as the only hope and his short reign was particularly tailored to foreign help. His changed policy however did not save Ayudhya and as the glory soon faded away, what were left in the next court of Ayudhya were only internal crises. Following Ekathotsarat' s death, evidences show that the Sokhodaya legacy in the Ayudhyan court was disintegrating. After a few more generations of short reigns, the famous lineage was about to go into extinction. The next king who ascended the throne of Ayudhya under the name of Prasat Thon (the Golden Palace) apparently had little background connected with the last Sokhodaya lineage. Judging from the fact that the title " Somdet Prah Chao Yu Hua" was back in use again in the court of Ayudhya, the line of king U-tong must to come back again into prosperity. The same as the Chinese presence in the court of Ayudhya was seen increasing, the next kings of Ayudhya lost all sense of ancient Siam's legacy. In return for needed revenue, the Ayudhyan court' s affair focused on the international sea business and was dictated by foreign interventions. King's personal advisors and bodyguards alike included foreign suitors that changed depending upon their connection to the control of the South China Sea. As we shall see, foreign interference made the Ayudhyan court volatile and the usurpation was the norm of many reigns to come. Under these circumstances, evidences show that the ancient members of king U-tong's lineage came back to capitalize on the new dynamic of international trades in South China Sea. Under the Confucianism' s influence, foreign competition would mean good business to Ayudhya. The court of King Narai (1656-1688), in particular, was wide open to foreign influence. To facilitate western alliances, he promoted a Greek adventurer named Constantine Faulkon to be his own foreign minister who became a powerful figure of his court and was responsible for the many changes to come. Besides the local Malay and the Persian whose strong Muslim's establishment of South China sea had enjoyed the security of a big piece of pie in the international trade business, other world trading houses also joined in the competition. The Japanese, the Dutch, the French and the English channels in Southeast Asia took turn to interfere in the court of Siam. They come and go following the dynamic of the political up and down of their mother countries. In contrast, the Chinese aristocrats, by blending themselves in the high societies, made themselves permanent in the court of Ayudhya. As in the Nguyen's court, their Confucianism' s background was very much effective in handling foreign affairs during the colonial period. They were first-class hosts to welcome foreign investors in time of need and were the first to capitalize in any time of surprise crisis. Acting as intermediary, they accommodated foreign powers in doing business with Siam and in the process rose prominently into important high position. The comeback of the U-tong lineage in the Ayudhyan court was due to the backing of Chinese aristocrats who became now the policy maker of the court. Their close network with other Chinese communities of the South China Sea became since the backbone of an economic empire that some scholars readily called it as a network of secret societies. To protect their ventures, they backed local government that suited their business. To their credit, they built them into a proven economic and military leadership with their abundant financial support.
The Fall of Ayudhya
The advent of king Narasuan's against Hamsavati changed the politic of the northern Siam region. As uprising against the Burmese occupation rose up, Burma was more constraint in their fight against Ayudhya. The rebellion however failed to uproot the Burmese control altogether. After an elapse time of recovering and regrouping themselves, both Ava and the Mon courts recovered back their past vigor. In the late 1740, the Mon court of Pegu took advantage of Ava's conflict with Manipura and the Shan countries to launch a campaign to subdue Ava. They managed to crush its ruling house, the Toungoo dynasty, but Ava would soon recover itself. Almost immediately, Alaungpaya who emerged from a nearby locality managed to drive the Mon out from Ava and continued on to take control of Pegu in 1757. His success became another bad omen for the Ayudhyan court of which bad circumstances had already inflicted serious internal crisis.
After the reign of King Trilokarath (1442-1486), the prosperity of the late King Mangrai's lineage declined. Along with the fading of the Chinese support, the original court of Lanna lost its strength and became prey for its two aggressive neighbors. Through past experiences, the Burmese court knew that Ayudhya counted on northern Siam countries for human and backup supplies during the war. Preparing for his next campaign, Alaungpaya spent most of his time to secure his control over both Lanna and the eastern side of the Lao Kingdom. Early in 1760, he then led the final expeditions against the Southern Siam countries and besieged Ayudhya in the same year. Unfortunately, an accident of guns burst injured him and forced the Burmese troops to retreat back home. Alaungpaya died during the way back to Burma and his next successor, Naungdawgyi continued his work. After stabilizing his country, he launched a new campaign against Ayudhya. As his predecessors had done before, he started by securing himself the full control of the northern Siam countries. In 1762, a Burmese general named Abhayagamani brought his troops from Ava to besiege Xiang-mai and managed to capture it in less than one year. In order to build Lanna's support for his military missions, the Burmese general Abhayagamani created a new court of Lanna to help him administer its civil affair. He installed a local ruler named Chao Chai kaeo to take control of Lampang court as well as installing other Burmese suitors to administer other Lao courts. In 1765, a rebellion broke out at Lampang forcing the general Abhayagamani and his Lao assistant Chao kaeo to escape to Ava but soon returned to take the control of Lanna. After all skirmishes were put down, they launched their final assault on Ayudhya. In coalition with Burmese troops, Burmese vassals of northern Siam had to take part, one way or another, in the campaign. In 1766, the Burmese nine contingents under nine generals marched toward Ayudhya. The Siam King Suryamarin tried in vain to stop the march as most of his expeditions sent to interface with the Burmese troops were crushed. Nevertheless, he managed to slow down the Burmese assault, enough for the rainy season to play its role in creating obstacle to the assailant. Trapped, the Burmese troops had to station themselves into the high grounds and survived through looting. Many Siam records recalled vividly what the Siam people had to endure War' s atrocity during the Burmese occupation. To the misfortune of Ayudhya, the setback would not deter Naungdawgyi who managed to keep his troops lasting through the rainy season. After regrouping themselves, they besieged Ayudhya for the final assault. The Siam King Suryamarin is said to escape by boat but died soon later out of hardship. As recounted in the modern Siam history, it was the end of the Royal court of Ayudhya. Blamed on Burmese atrocity, Ayudhya had been completely destroyed and the new Siam country had to build itself up from the ground zero. The Ayudhyan legacy would soon become history and to make the matter worst, all its historical records were also destroyed. There are however many questions unanswered regarding the involvement of the southern Chinese communities on both the abandonment of Ayudhya and the new settlement at Thonpuri by the new Siam king Tak-sin. As had been done in the past, it is clear that the court of Pegu had no intention to destroy nor to absorb Ayudhya into its territory. It was the wealth of Ayudhya that they came after and their targets was the height court. With all the war trophies collected after the raiding, the majority of the Burmese troops left Ayudhya and headed home leaving just a small army behind to secure their exit. A Siamese source confirms that Burmese court left a few Siamese authorities to take care of the broken Ayudhya during their exit (Notes: Ayudhya after Burmese exit). At least four major political districts were more or less connected with the central court of Ayudhya were left to recover themselves. With no central government, they ruled in warlord style but they could regroup themselves as well to restore back Ayudhya. Evidences also show that the family members of the late king Suryamarin were not totally eliminated. According to the Khmer source, one of his sons named Chol Phya Si Sang escaped to Cambodia and took refuge at the court of Prah Narayraja.
THE FORMATION OF THONPURI
By the time that Hamsavati launched another campaign, Ayudhya was very much disconnected from its northern provinces that were now under Burmese control. In preparation for the final assault, the control of northern Siam countries was a strategic move that secure the victory of the Burmese attack over the Siam's capital. The fall of Ayudhya had an adverse affect on the next development of Indochinese politic. It allowed the Khmer court of Udong to recover back from its bad situation and to take on the leading role of the China seatrade again. Nevertheless, another unexpected outcome would set this opportunity to an adrupt end. After Ayudhya succumbed, a prominent Chinese figure named Tak-sin was next to play important role in the next Siam politic to come. A new city of the seashore, by the name of Thonpuri (Wealthy City), was then formed to replace Ayudhya.
The Reign of King Tak-sin (1767-1782)
The fall of Ayudhya appears to have little impact on the Chinese communities of the southern Siam country. After a setback of short duration, they regrouped themselves quickly and continued on their business as usual. A new leader soon emerged to take advantage of the fall of Ayudhya and to build his own kingdom. As we shall see, the new Siam court had little connection with either the fallen court or the people of Ayudhya. At the contrary, it was the rising of Southern Siam Chinese communities that play a big role in the formation of the next Siam country. At first, the emerging hero was not a member of the Ayudhyan royal family, but a court member of Chinese background. His father was among the early generation of Chinese migrants who came to look for opportunities created by the new International sea-trade. Some sources say that his name was Hai-hong, other says that Hai-hong was his Chinese ethnicity from a southern province of China (Notes: Taksin' s tomb at South China). Like most Chinese immigrants who seek to integrate themselves into the high society of Southeast Asia, Hai-hong married a native wife who would introduce him into the right channel. He served the court of King Boromakot and managed to secure a job for his son also as a court officer. In the modern Tai history books, Taksin rose into fame and power after he drove off the Burmese army out of Siam and regrouped the Ayudhyan legacies into becoming the new Siam country. Some sources says that he was already a prominent figure in the Ayudhyan army and had played a big part in the fight against Burmese invaders and later drove them out of the country. For other sources, the background of Taksin before the fall of Ayudhya was much more flurry. Most agree that he was a governor of the northern province of Kampeng Phet and was not directly involved with the attack of Ayudhya. The Khmer version portrays Taksin's as of a Chinese migrant's son making his way up in his career path in the Ayudhyan court with personal connection. His role as an army general leading the Siam army against Burma happened only after the fall of Ayudhya (Notes: Taksin's Background according to Khmer Tradition). Taksin managed to subdue other contenders that did not submit to him. To form Thonpuri, he had to eliminate all other remaining legacies of Ayudhya. He was first mentioned in the Khmer chronicle because he was after the son of the late king Suryamarin who was taking refuge at the court of Udong. He sent messenger to King Narayraja requesting friendship with the court of Udong. Upon receiving a refusal from the latter, he sent his army to retaliate. That was just the start, Taksin's direct involvement in the politic of Cambodia started soon after he took control of the Southern Siam Country. His involvement in the new development of South China Sea, as we shall see, extended his raids down to the Malay Peninsular and the southern Khmer provinces as well. Siam territories that were subdued next into his control included the last of the Khmer provinces in dispute, Bachinpuri, Rayang and Chandapuri. The acquisition that brought him fame and wealth and the strong support of southern Chinese communities constituted the main factor for his decision to leave Ayudhya. In contact with the sea trade of South China Sea, run mostly by Chinese settlers, Thonpuri offered to Taksin a security that he could not find at Ayudhya. In conjunction with the colonial development of South China Sea, Taksin and the next Siam leadership built the Southern seaport city to become the next powerhouse of Southeast Asia and changed the Siam's history for good. In a closer look, it was a contribution to sustain the overall prosperity of Chinese communities, during the colonization of Southeast Asia that stayed until modern days.
The Recovery of Udong
The decline and fall of Ayudhya, coupled with the uprising of the Tay-son brothers in Prey-Nokor gave the Khmer court relief from the incursion of both fronts. In conjunction to the rise of the Tay-son brothers in Prey-Nokor, the Khmer chronicle confirms the presence of the Khmer ruler Prah Sothat to take back the control of Ha-tien from the falling Nguyen court. The fall of Ayudhya, on the other hand provided him with opportunity to exert back the Khmer control over the southern provinces. Long time under the control of Ayudhya, these seacoast communities were becoming strategic locations of the South China sea trade. Nevertheless, the campaigns would face with serious setback due to the formation of Thonpuri by Taksin. After forming his new court, king Taksin sent a request to the Khmer King, Prah Narayraja for a diplomatic relationship, but was immediately turned down. The Khmer King' s denial was based on the only reason that Pogna Tak was not of Royal blood and was low in status as being just a son of a Hai-hon Chinese (Notes: The reply of the court of Udong). Receiving the answer, King Taksin was very upset but his retaliation was immediately defeated. Taking the opportunity, the Khmer southern provincial ruler, Prah Sothat launched his own campaign trying to recover southern lost territories to Siam. In 1770, he extended his campaign deep into Chandapuri, one of the three ancient provinces, longtime in dispute with Ayudhya. Upon learning about the Khmer' s attack, Taksin who was campaigning against northern Siam countries immediately returned back to drive the Khmer army out, from the Siam' s southern controlled territory. To retaliate against the Khmer attack, he decided to extend his campaign deep into Cambodia. He commissioned Praya Chakri and his brother Surasi to lead Siamese troops toward Udong directly from the north. He himself led a counter-attack against the Khmer ruler Sothat by the South. Surprised by the attacks of both fronts, Prah Sothat and the Khmer king Prah Narayraja lost the fight. According to the Khmer chronicle, they had to escape to Tuk Khmau of Kampuchea Krom and received help from the reigning Annamete court (Notes: The escape to Prey-Nokor). Judging from their past connection, we believe that the Annamete ruler who provided assistance to the refugee Khmer court was not Nguyen Phuc Thuan of the Nguyen family but Nguyen Nhac of the Tay-son brothers. At this late stage of the uprising, the Tay-son brothers already took controls most of Prey-Nokor and was preparing for a final assault against the Nguyen court of Hue. Back in Udong, king Taksin installed a Khmer ruler named Ramadhipti Non to take control of the Southern Cambodia in 1774. He then ordered to pull out all his troops back to Thonpuri, leaving just a small army to protect his Khmer suitor. With the help of the Annamete king, Prah Narayraja came back to take control of Udong in 1775. To the surprise of his court, he issued a statement that stunned the closest of his best statemen. Despite their objections, he stepped down to become a vice-king (Obyauraja) while delegating the throne of Udong to the deposed King Ramadhipti Non. The Khmer source did not elaborate on the rationale of his suddent decision. The act of unselfishness that was rare among Khmer king at this time of trouble, might have been due to the need of consolidating the Udong court in facing to the rise of Thonpuri. In just a few years, Taksin had built his troops into a powerful and modern army. The recent endeavor with the new Siam's attack forced Prah Narayraja to rethink about the future relationship with the new Siam court. The turn of events concerning the Tay-son brothers might also have been a contributing factor to his decision. The eldest of three brothers, Nguyen Nhac ascended the throne of Hue in 1775 and prepared for a final assault against Tonkin. This bold move perhaps scared the Khmer King Prah Narayraja who saw the extended agression of the Tay-son brothers too risky to rely upon. He then decided to make peace with Siam and invited the new installed Khmer King Ramadhipti Non to take control of the Udong court. If this was the real reason behind his decision, Prah Narayraja had obviously made a grave error of judgement. As we shall see later, the court of Udong was going to experience a great turmoil under the control of bangkok and the return back of the old Nguyen Court.
The Tay-son's Interference in Cambodia
According to European sources, the Tay-son brothers appeared to convey a hidden agenda in regard to Cambodia (Notes: The Tay-son's ambition on Cambodia). This double scheme might have been the cause of the decision that forced Prah Narayraja in leaning toward Siam. However, we could not find any evidences so far to back-up the suspicion. At first, the helps provided by the three brothers to the court of Udong, before and later, were proved to be in good faith as due to the past support that the Chams received from the Khmer court. On the other hand, evidences also show that the brothers had other priority to take care than to invade Cambodia. After capturing the court of Hue, they went head-on against the Trinh 's court of Tonkin that was at the time under the protection of China. This large-scale campaign might show to Prah Narayraja how ambitious the three Tay-son brothers were. As expected, they were desperate for all military supports that they could get. Their army's commander in charge of Prey-Nokor requested the Khmer court to send them supply of Khmer troops to help protect the city. To the Udong Court, it was a rare chance that the Khmer king could capitalize on the Cham support to restore back Prey Nokor. Perhaps of his old age and illness, Prah Narayraja felt himself short of personal strength to comply with this obligation. He instead saw in King Ramadhipti Non, a young stock of power, to be apt to the expectation in fulfilling the mission. If this was the reason behind his abdication, Prah Narayraja was going to be disappointed. After taking power, King Ramadhipti Non rejected the Tay-son' s request and prepared to face their retaliation. According to the Khmer chronicle, the Annamete court then sent its troop in the preparation for the assault of the Khmer military post at Phnom Penh. Located at the opposite shore of the Chatomuk river, a place called Chroy Changwa became since their stationary camp during their campaign inside of Cambodia (Notes: The Cham settlement at Chroy Changwa). The Cham's retaliation might support the idea that the Tay-son brothers had bad motive against the Khmer court and that the king Ramadhipti Non had all the reason to reject their friendship. However after a short fight, they withdrew their troops from Cambodia. Back in Vietnam, again the Tay-son brothers launched their next assault against the last stronghold of the old Nguyen court at Prey-Nokor in 1782. After the campaign against the Trinh, Nguyen Nhac secured himself at Hue and Nguyen Hue settled his court at Tonkin. The brothers however came back in 1783 to launch another campaign that drove the last of the old Nguyen court out in the run (The birth of Vietnam: The Tay-son uprising: The rise of the Tay-son brothers). Apparently, they had neither interest on Cambodia nor on Prey-Nokor (Notes: Prey-Nokor after the fall of Hue). Nevertheless, the change of policy to lean on Thonpuri by the next Udong's court, subsequently alienated against the original plan of the Tay-son brothers. Soon after the old Nguyen court was destroyed, they left Prey-Nokor to lead their troops up north against Tonkin. Without their presence to defend the city, Prey-Nokor was once again left virtually unattended. A member of the old Nguyen court soon took the opportunity and made his move to take control of the region. He was a former general of the old Nguyen court named Do Thanh-Nhom (Notes: Do Thanh-Nhon). After succeeding to wrest Prey-NOkor from the control of the Tay-son brothers he transformed it as a strategic location for the old Nguyen court to regroup themselves for their next campaigns. In a twist of fate, another important turn of event added more strains to to the misfortune of the Tay-son brothers. After the formation of Thonpuri, the Siam court went head-on in the competition of the new International Sea trade. Their eastern venture brought them in contact with the falling court of the Nguyen family in tumoilt, trying to escape the massacre of the Tay-son brothers. After taking control of Hue at 1775 and the death of Nguyen Phuc Thuan a year later in 1776, they were now master of Prey-Nokor. While the rest of the old Nguyen court was on the run, Nguyen Ahn escaped the persecution and went to request protection from Thonpuri. Taksin and his successor, Chao Chakri, took him under his wing and helped him to restore back the old Nguyen court.
THE CONNECTION WITH DAI-VIET
While the Siam court was nurturing the fallen court of the old Nguyen family, we shall see that the Tay-son brothers, along with a faction of the Khmer rulers at Udong, fought off the Siamese installed court of Ramadhipti Non. Nevertheless, the Khmer court was too divided to capitalize of the situation. As their efforts failed to uproot altogether the next Siamese interferences on the Khmer court, the Tay-son brothers went on their own odyssey to take control of the whole Vietnam. At the meantime, circumstances allowed Thonpuri to take the control once again of the Khmer court to their disposition.
The Udong's Uprising
After defeating the Annamite (of the new Nguyen court) incursion, King Ramadhipti Non decided to build stronger relationship with the court of Siam. When he approached Thonpuri for a friendly diplomacy, the Siam court received him with warm welcome. The eagerness of the Khmer King to join with the alliance came out to be at the right time that King Taksin had planned for the invasion of Laos. The Siam king took no time to capitalize on the new alliance and requested King Ramadhipti Non to join in with his northern campaign against the scattered Lao countries. In the attack, the Siam troops would need constant supplies for the battlefield and Thonpuri was too far for the mission. In the accord, the Khmer King promised that Udong would be the supplier of the operation. While Praya Chakri went ahead leading his troops to the Lao country, his brother Surasi went down to Udong to coordinate the back-up's supply from the Khmer court. Despite his court's strong objection, King Ramadhipti Non went on to fulfill the Siam's demand. His subordination to Siam King alienated against his own people who were placed into servicing the Siam campaign. Most men were drafted to join in the fight while the rest of the population took care of all the necessary work on the field to produce food for the Siam army' s supply. Under these helpless conditions, the people were subjected to other abuse. Some local officials decided to take the opportunity into their own hand and carried on their own crimes. They created havoc into the Khmer communities that were under their control. As most men were not home, their defenseless women were raped and their properties were looted. Hearing the bad new, the men defected from the frontline and headed back home to defend their village. To protect themselve from the court of Udong they regrouped themselves to repel any attempt to punish them. The corrupted officials were summoned to Udong to be trialed for their failure to quiet down the uprising. They happened to be members of the same family that was closely related to a powerful member of the court of Udong named Chaopha Mo who happened to be one of the old court members of King Narayraja and a close associates of the new Annamite court of Hue. One of the conspirators named "Su" was tried by King Ramadhipti Non to be executed while two of his nephews were punished but were later released. They managed to join the angry people and through elaborate scheme turned them against the king. Chaopha Mo who turned out to be the eldest brother of the two was secretly asked to join in the revolt. When the king ordered him to resolve the uprising, he led his troops instead to join his two brothers and turned the combined troops against Udong. Before he left the court, Chaopha Mo secretly sent request for help to the Annamite authority of Prey-Nokor with whom he had long time connection. The Chief of Prey Nokor who was no other than a member of the Tay-son brothers immediately send his troops to support his friend. Upon learning that Chaopha Mo had defected and conspired against him, the Khmer king Ramadhipti Non led his troops to subdue the uprising himself. He was caught between the ennemiy lines coming in two fronts. On one side were the Khmer troops led by the three rebellious brothers and the other side were the Annamite troops sent for reinforcement from Prey-Nokor. The Khmer King was captured and executed on the spot. His children were also executed as Chaopha Mo and his brothers took control of the court of Udong. To legalize their power' s holding at the court of Udong, they installed the young son of the late King Prah Narayraja who was then at the age of 7 years old on the throne of Udong in 1779.
The End of King Taksin's Reign *
Hearing the new about the death of King Ramadhipti Non from the Khmer court' s members who escaped the uprising, King Taksin sent his associate Chao Ponha Chakri and his brother Surasi to head Siam troops toward Udong. Upon learning of the Siam troops' arrival, Chaopha Mo who now in control of the court of Udong prepared to face the Siam attack. The confrontation was postponed from the part of the Siamese troops, due to an unexpected event . While Chao Chakri and his brother Surasi were in Cambodia and approaching Udong, he received new that Thonpuri was on the verge of its own crisis. In an internal court fighting, King Taksin himself was attacked by his own subjects and restrained under house arrest. From the Siam source, it is said that his obsession with the self-proclaiming as a pious king turned his insane paranoia into a serious offense against the Buddhist communities of Thonpuri and his own court. The two Chakri brothers, in the mission inside Cambodia were then notified of the incidence. Chao Ponha Chakri left his younger brother Surasi alone to take care of the mission and headed back to Thonpuri where he would decide on the fate of his old master. Taksin was soon executed and Chao Ponha Chakri took control of Thonpuri with the support of other court members. After eliminating all oppositions, including many of Taksin's sons, he ascended the throne under the name of PutyotphaCholalok, in 1782. He later moved his city to the other shore opposite site of Thonpuri that became the actual site of Bangkok. He named his new city as "Sri Tep Maha Nokor". In regard the Khmer affair, he decided to pull the Siamese troops back to Bangkok. He also requested the court of Udong to hand over Chaopha Ben to be brought with the Siam army to Bangkok. Off the Siamese attack and happy to see one of his rivals taken away from his court, Chaopha Mo who was in control of the court of Udong was more than happy to comply with Siam' s demand. In the court of PutyotphaCholalok, Chaopha Ben was tried for his inability to take action during the uprising that ended the life of King Ramadhipti Non. He was punished and held for some time in captivity in Bangkok (Notes: The punishment of Chaopha Ben). Working on their own scheme, members of Udong's court who had political leaning toward Siam secretly sent messengers to Bangkok to request the release of Chaopha Ben back to Udong. After reviewing their proposition, the Siam King PutyotphaCholalok agreed to their demand. Before the release, King PutyotphaCholalok had Chaopha Ben taking an oath of allegence and to fulfill his duty to the Siam court. The Siam King then promised to him personally that he would be up in favor again if he succeed in the mission of eliminating Chaopha Mo from the court of Udong. Showing the scars from the punishment by the Siam king, Chaopha Ben quickly convinced Chaopha Mo of taking him back into the court of Udong. Believing that his rival had really changed his attitude toward the court of Siam, Chaopha Mo granted leniency to his former rival who lost no time in working with other conspirators to plan on their next attack. In a grand gala organized by the court of Udong for the reunion of all high court members, the conspirators found the way to incorporate their people among the guests. The auspicious moment came when the un-suspicious Chaopha Mo and his people were completely drunk. They then drew their weapons and started to kill them. In the chaos, Chaopha Mo managed to escape and hid himself in a nearby province but was caught and executed by the local governor who decided to align himself with the winning party. All members of his family, including his youngest brother, Chaopha Peang, were also executed. His younger brother, Chaopha Ten, however escaped the execution. During the ordeal, he was assigned to take control in a rural province far from Udong. The conspirators' plan to go after him was put on hold due to another unexpected event. After the near perfect takeover of the court of Udong, the conspirators turned against themselves. Tipped by close acquaintance, Chaopha Ben managed to act quickly to rid off his rivals in the conspration 's ring before they turned against him. After the purging was done, he took the court of Udong for himself.
THE IMPACT OF COLONIZATION
During the early colonial era, historians agreed that Bangkok and subsequently the rest of the Siam country was the most successful state of Southeast Asia. Not only that it could maintain its own suzerainty, but also sustain a good relationship with the western world. Thai historians furthermore credited the success to the provenance of the court of Bangkok in handling International affair. We shall argue that other circumstances had also played important role in the making of Bangkor' s success story. One key factor often ignored was the subsequent role of the Chinese migrants from Southern China to suit the colonial rule. In parallel to the formation of Hue by the Nguyen's family, the formation of Thonpuri by king Taksin was perfectly in tune with the colonization of Southeast Asia.
Bangkok vs the Kingdom of Siam
Started with the spice trade, European venturist found in Southeast Asia lucrative business uncommon to any other part of Asia. As rivalry accentuated, many seacoast trade centers became gradually colonized. The success of the British India brought other venturists of similar minds to start on a full blown colonization in Southeast Asia. The colonists were mostly military figures, businessmen, or sometime missionary, who came with the same specific agenda of taking the regional economy under their control. Through previous contacts in the past, they were particularly not in good terms with the local power elite. From the start, they were frustrated with the local court' s complex proceedings and all the royal customs that did not suite their mission. As their real objective was not to make friend with the local kings but to establish their own authority in the region, the latter's tendency of insubordination became more than a nuisance for their colonial work. In contrast, they found in Chinese communities and their business leaders perfect colloaration for their colonization. They saw in Taksin, many specific qualities that other native royalty does not have. Being of Chinese background, he was practical and most of all, he had established himself as a natural leader for the Chinese communities who were already in control of the Southern economy. As the Nguyen court, Taksin had not much sympathy for the natives as his endeavor was based completely on foreign resources. The choice of Thonpuri as his capital was not by coincidence. It was a strategic move for the quick gathering of personal supports from Chinese communities that were establishing along the seashore of Southeast Asia. After King Taksin' s death, the next Siam King PutyotphaCholalok (Rama I, 1782-1809) continued on consolidating the Siamese control over its dependency. Due to pressures exerted by the seatrade competition, the new King shifted his focus to Sri Dharmaraja where the seatrade business was then the main source of his revenue. The effort to take full control of other dependencies was however facing with setbacks. Since the start, Sri Dharmarja was always the focus. Facing with Burmese attack, Thonburi started on a military campaign to take control of the northern Siam countries. Nevertheless, the Chinese communities were eager to get back to their own business and had little interest in the northern Siam countries. Under these conditions we shall argue that Bangkok's control over the whole Siam Country was very much fragile. It is known that Taksin had strong personal relationship with the high court of Ayudhya, but there was no evidence that he had the same support from the rest of the rural people. Adding to the strain, Ayudhya was virtually deserted after its fall. Most of its population was captured and brought to Pegu as war booty and the rest hid themselves in forest. During his early campaign against Burmese troops and in neighboring countries, evidences show that Taksin had also applied past measures of capturing as much human trophy as he could from the losing side to form Thonpuri. He soon stopped altogether the practice, as it did not suit him anymore. To populate the city, all Taksin had to do was to leave his city' s gate wide open. As soon as the Burmese army was driven out, Thonpuri grew quickly into a big city due to the arrival of new immigrants. His open policy would make Chinese migrants, coming to take advantage of the business boom into becoming the majority of the new population. In a short time, Thonpuri had transformed itself from a small coastal Chinese community to become a strong populated city of the Southern Siam. Its economic well off and military built up would guarantee its security among foreign competitors. French and England alike that needed local supports would find in Thonpuri an ally that military and politically suited their colonial ventures. In that situation, Bangkok became then a political center with a flexible central government and most of all a strong westernized army.
The Strategy over dependency
As we had argued, Thonpuri and later Bangkok was formed on a dynamic development of the Seatrade brought by a new influx of Chinese immegrants from the Southern part of China. From the beginning, Sri Dharmaraja became increasingly drawn into Bangkok's control. At first, Chao Phraya Nu who was a local ruler was allowed to reign as a warlord king. The policy shifted after Bangkok had full control of the region. After ascending the throne, Rama I saw the need to exert more control on this important seaport. He allowed Phraya Nu' s son, Chao Praya Nakhon Phat, to succeed his father only as a governor. He threnghtened his control even further during the return of Burmese interference. In the wake of Burmese attack in 1785 by King Bodawpaya (1782-1819), he detached Songhkla and the Malay tribute systems altogether from Sri Dharmaraja and delegated all the control to a Chinese governor of Songhla. Since then, all the control of the seatrade was directly put under the control of Bangkok. On his other dependency, the Siam King's strategy followed very much the same model set in Sri Dharmaraja. It started by consolidation conrol under Bangkok anyway possible through manipulation of local court members. One important aspect of the schemes was to capitalize on local internal crisis and turned it into a political or military advantage for Bangkok. In the game, the Siam court played on local independent minds who were looking for personal gain to form a tight alliance and used them to generate bigger conflict. It was settled at first as a consortion with the Siamese court but was gradually tailored into Bangkok's control. In Northern Siam countries, local rulers who were revolting against Burmese control got at first their vital support from King Taksin. After driving the Burmese troops out, Taksin then sent his own troops to take over the freed countries. The local courts who were resisting the control of Southern court were next to face his retaliation. King Kawila of Xiang-mai and other northern Siam leaders were subdued and were punished of insubordination. They escaped execution only after swearing to cooperate with the Siam Kings. After his release, Kawila kept his promises to King Taksin and launched the final campaign to free the northern and western Shan regions still controlled by the Burmese troops from their base at Chiang Saen. The raids provoked Burmese retaliation that was put down soon later with the Siamese assistance. This victory yielded additional manpower for his campaign to repopulate the Chiang Mai and Lamphun region. Through the eighties and the early nineties, he was able to return to Chiang Mai from Lampang in 1796. By 1802, he raids Keng Tung and carried off many families of prisoners for resettlement farther south. Finally, he expelled the Burmese from Chiang-Saen in 1804-05. With the Burmese out of the way, he subjugate Muang Yang, Muang Luang Phukha and Chiang Hung as well as smaller numerous muang in the upper Mekong hightland. As many localities were wrested and were included as part of Chiang-mai, the Siam court recognized at last King Kawila for his dedication. Allowed to rule as a Warlord King over the extended Lanna kingdom, he pledged allegiance and stayed faithful to the Siam court. In Cambodia, Bangkok needed much more tact in handling the court of Udong. One of the Siam court's sympathizers, Chaopha Ben, wrested the control of Udong through elaborate scheme set by the Siam court. Even though in control of the Udong court, Chaopha Ben was not in the position to control the whole country. As we shall see, many court members as well as provincial rulers were still faithful to the Khmer legacy and stood against him in any cooperation with Bangkok (The birth of Vietnam: The fall of the Tay-son Dynasty: The campaign against the new Nguyen court). Still the Siam's court would find in Chaopha Ben a faithful collaborator that was worth of their association. In a stunning move, Chaopha Ben brought two important provinces of Cambodia into the control of Bangkok. In correlation with the work of King Kawila of Lanna, Chaopha Ben's works represented Bangkok 's typical maneuver of manipulating independent minds in favor of their long term agenda. The control was at first subject to local politic but the Siam court was well apt to wait patiently for more favorable opportunities. Like King Taksin had done on Sri Dharmaraja, Bangkok was working gradually on channeling local controls into its own. The works however was restricted to court manipulation rather than a full-blown military campaign. Under these conditions, it is fair to say that the Siam court had no real control on its dependency. By a large, Bangkok's control over its dependency was very fragile and varied from one dependency to another.
The triangular affair with Hue and Cambodia
In modern history books, the history of Bangkok was wrongly portrayed as the history of the Tai nation. Discrepency occured when Bangkok was though to be the continuance of the Siamese court of Ayudhya. There are similarity on the background of king U-Tong, founder of Ayudhya and king Taksin of Thonpuri as both had Chinese backgrounds. Nevertheless the similarity does not convey any ethnic relationship with the Tai nation. We shall argue later that the Han-Chinese background of King Taksin was not the same as the ancestral Shan-Chinese of king Utong. Unlike the court of Ayudhya that was compatible with the Siam Country, Bangkok' s limited success in controlling northerm Siam country was mostly due to the ambition of local court members. Nevertheless, the conflict soon emerged when Bangkok tried to set full control on its northern dependency. In exception for Lanna where the submission of King Kawila was unquestionable, other Bangkok' s dependencies were looking for any opportunities to breakaway. As to Cambodia, the lost of the two provinces to Siam was enough to persuade the son of King Ang Eng, the next Khmer King Ang-Chan, to break off tie with Bangkok. The rivalry of Hue also complicated the situation. The advent of the Vietnamese Emperor Ming-Mang fighting the West with the support of China and their fair advance in approaching the Udong court induced the Khmer King into falling, once again, in the Vietnamese trap (The Kingdom of Cambodia: The last court of Udong: The reign of King Ang Chan). At the same time, the far-reached northeastern Lao countries also followed his footstrep and started to challenge Bangkok's control. The most iconic development was the uprising of king Anu of Vien Tian whose campaign against Bangkok resulted in the consolidation of the Lao country. With the support of his son who was then ruler of Champasak, his forged an alliance with King Mangthathurat of Luang Pra Bang to consolidate the Lao Country. His achievemnt resulted in a nationalist movement that constituted the foundaton of modern Laos of today. Betting on the rumers that the Brittish would invade Siam he went ahead to prepare his own invasion. In early 1870, his troops occupied Khorat and proceeded toward Bangkok. As we shall see it was a risky business for both the Khmer and the Lao courts. To recall back it was Bangkok that sponsored the fallen Nguyen court to take back control of Cochinchina, and despite of his audacity the Viet Emperor Ming-manh was not in the position to offend Bangkok openly. As the Brittish attack never realized and the rumers started to subsize, King Anu soon faced with Bangkok' s strong retaliation. While his troops were pushed back he fled to Vietnam and requested protection from Hue. In a blunt political move, Rama III went on consolidating his control over the Lao Country. He then decided to take on Hue in the attempt to restore back Cambodian full dependency. A joint campaign by Siamese and Lao armies was launched in 1833-34 from both Bangkok and Champasak against King Ang Chan of Udong forcing the Khmer King to take refuge in Vietnam (THAI: The Early Bangkok Empire: Rama III: Conservative or reactionary?). At the same time a naval force rounded the coast to join the rebels in Saigon was defeated by Vietnamese force. The Siamese retreat resulted in a more daring Vietnamese intervention in the politic of the Khmer court. When king Ang-Chan died in 1834 The Vietnamese took the unhearded of step of securing the elevation of his daughter Mei to the throne as queen of Cambodia. They then began a thorough-going program of Vietnamization. Facing with a joint campaign by siamese troops, headed by the Siamese general Decho-bodin, and by Khmer recruits, headed by King Ang-duang, Ming-Manh lost the battle and the credibility over the Khmer court ever since. Modern history books gave full credit to RAma III in restoring back the Khmer court of Udong. The Cambodian source however gave a different version. It was the uprising of the Khmer people that drove away the Viet occupation from Udong. After the ordeal, King Ang-Duang was crowned as the Khmer king under the tutelage of Bangkok. A lady of the Caopha Ben' s court named Khlib who was married to the son of the Siam general Bodindecho was received in high honor at the court of Siam and was appointed as Khmer representative to carry the annual tribute to Siam. It was planned that her husband would be the next successor of Chaopha Ben as governor of Battambang and Siem reap province after the latter' s death. The scheme that was later discovered by the latter' s son named Chaopha Chhum and was foiled. He managed to assassinate the husband of the lady Khlip, using the privileged sword granted by the Siam court. It is important to note that up to this time, Chaopha Ben was allowed to rule with total privilege as warlord king. He was awarded the Siam privileged sword that can be used to kill anyone, Cambodian and Siamese alike, without being in fault (Notes: The privileged sword). At the mean time, the two provinces were held under Bangkok' s under Bangkok's control and Rama III still hold on to the suzerainty of the Khmer court during the reign of King Ang-Duang and the early reign of his son, king Norodom. The attack of France over Hue that resulted in the formation of the Frenh Indochina furthermore curbed the intervention of both Bangkok and Hue from interfering into the internal politic of Cambodia and Laos until modern time. During the next colonial rule, the new generation of Siam kings were more interested in safeguarding Bangkok' s suzerainty than to compete against European colonial drive. In collaboration with Britain, Bangkok was left alone and Siam was then known as the only Southeast Asian country free from direct colonization. At the same time, Bangkok was modernizing itself and became one of the big Asian cities of pro western world. From the reign of King Mongkot (Rama IV) onward, the next history of Bangkok involved very much in westernization.
- CRC: JA: Chronique Royale Du Cambodge, by Ochna Vong Sarpech Nong, French Translation by M. Francis Garnier
- CKHIII: The Chonicle of Khmer heroes Part III, by Sot Eng
- APAA BEFEO XIV: The Recession Palie des Annales d'Ayuthya, Translated by G. Coedes
- ANNAM:Histoire Moderne du Pays D' Annam (1592-1820), M. Maybon
- CMC: The Chiang Mai Chronicle, by David K. Wyatt and Aroonrut Wichienkeeo
- SIAM: Royaume Thai ou Siam, by Mr Pallegoix
- THAI: Thailand: A short History, by David K Wyatt
- TSON: The Tay son Uprising, By George Dutton
- HSEA: A history of Southeast Asia, by D.G.E. Hall
1590-1605: The reign of King Narasuan (Ayudhya); 1605-1620: The reign of King Ekasarath (Ayudhya); 1767-1782: The reign of King Tak-sin (Thonburi); 1775-1779: The reign of Prah Ramadhipti Non (Udong); 1778-1802: The reign of Nguyen-nhac(Vijaya); 1782-1809: The reign of Prah PutyotphaCholalok or Rama I (Bangkok); 1809-1824: The reign of Prah Putloethla or Rama II (Bangkok); 1824-1851: The reign of Prah Nangklao or Rama III (Bangkok).
- The Tai's misconception
During the writing of the modern history of Thailand, misconception emerged around the new Tai Identity. A subsequent of the Tai migration theory, the misconception was primary due to the belief that Sokhodaya was the first Tai state formed on the ground of Tai people (Ayudhya: Ayudhya as a Kingdom: The Tai Identity).
- Sokhodaya as the Siam Country
Perhaps to distinguish itself from Cambodia that became officially known as the Khmer country and from Pegu as the country of the Mon people that Sokhodaya adopted the Siam as its own identity.
- The victory over Hamsavati
In modern Siam history books, Narasuan was presented as a hero to liberate Ayudhya from Hamsavati. His victory was quoted to be of his personal gut and strength. While the statement is partly valid, it does not convey the fact that Ayudhya was left with a small population and that Narasuan need a big army to fight off the Pegu' s army.
- Taksin' s tomb at South China
A tomb was built at Chienghai district of Guangdong province of south China in his memory. It is said that it contains not his copse but his clothes.
- Taksin's Background according to Khmer Tradition
The Khmer chronicle had a no specific mentioning of his background and that his career as an army general happened only after the fall of Ayudhya.
There was a Chinese man at Muan Tak working for the Siam government and received the title of Khun Suchinda. He had many connections and friends. They called him Ponga Tak, in reference to his birthplace. During the fall of Ayudhya, he assembled all his acquaintances of both Siam and Chinese and proclaimed himself their general and succeeded to chase out the Burmese back to Hamsavati. He then ascended the throne of Ayudhya under the name of Prah Chao Taksin. He left Ayudhya and moved his court to Thonpuri. (CKHIII: The reign of Prah Uday raja Ang Tan)
- Ayudhya after Burmese exit
Just like Narasuen left Lawek dysfunctioning after his invasion, Naungdawgyi left Ayudhya with independent governors fighting for their own account.
The King of Burma left at Ayudhya four or five Siamese rulers, telling each one of them that he could hold the power, who did not wait long to fight each other. (APAA: P. 30)
The rulers claimed themselves kings were of Phitsanulok, Nokor Sri Dharmaraja and Nokor Rajasima. It is important to notes that the three provinces still had strong Khmer-mon heritage.
- The reply of the court of Udong
Prah Bat Prah Narayraja Tanraja, upon learning the petition (from Taksin), decided that he should not agree for the friendship' s proposal with the new Siam King. His decision was based on the only fact that Pogna Tak was not of Royal background and was just a son of a Hai-hon Chinese (CKHIII: The reign of Prah Udayraja Ang In 1757).
- The escape to Prey-Nokor
The Khmer chronicle identifies that the king of Annam at the time was the King Ya-long (CKHIII: The reign of Prah Udayraja Ang Tan). Upon learning that the Khmer King escaped into Vietnam, he set a meeting with his court and decided to help. The chronicle does not make it clear that King Ya-long was a reference to either Nguyen Phuc Thuan or Nguyen Nhac of the Tay-son brothers. At this specific time, the Tay-son brothers already took controls most of Prey-Nokor and was preparing a final assault against the Nguyen court of Hue. Considering that during this late stage, Nguyen Nhac was taking control of most the Annam territory, we believe that he was the one who was referred in the Khmer chronicle as King Ya-long. As to Nguyen Phuc Thuan, his last stand against the Tay-son brothers ended in 1777.
- The Burmese generalissimo
The Generalissimo left the Lao domain and came to Chiang Mai, and said that he would go down to re-take Ayudhya; so he had a great many boats built. (CMC: Chapter 6: The Burmese assault Ayudhya)
- New generation of Lanna's rulers
A local ruler named Ca Ban Bunma, in his fight against Burmese troops, made alliance with another local ruler Chao Chai Kaeo' s eldest son named Chao Kawila. Along with the latter' s six siblings, they were to become effective Lao leaders in the fight against Burmese's occupation.
- Punishment on the Lanna's rulers
The King (Taksin) judged Phraya Ca Ban guilty for killing the Uparaja, his nephew; and Cao Kawila guilty for having killed the Southerners. And for having failed to heed repeated summons to pay attendance; and he ordered a lashing of a hundred strokes for each, and a small earlobe cutting on Cao Kawila. For having failed to come when summoned, he was imprisoned. (CMC: Chapter 8: The revival of Lan Na from 1796/97: A Siamese force oppresses the North)
- King Kawila's Advice to his brothers
From this our own time, forever for ten generations, though our children and grandchildren and their children and grandchildren until the very end of our royal lineage, whoever of our descendant might revolt against the Great King of Ayudhya, they will become slaves of the Burmese, Ho, Gulawa, Phasi, and Vietnam, whoever; any such person, whatever they do, however successful they may be, may they be destroyed utterly and die, like the banana tree dies when its fruit are picked or the reeds wilt when cut, and fall into hell for a hundred-thousands eons, never to be reborn or arise again. (CMC: Chapter 8: The revival of Lan Na from 1796/97: King Kawila's Advice to his brothers)
- The Tay-son's ambition on Cambodia
It appears that Nguyen Nhac had conveyed to western acquaintances of the toy-son brother's long-term ambition on Cambodia
The Tay Son had ambitions of seizing Khmer territory since at least 1778, when Nguyen Nhac confided his long-term military ambitions to Charles Chapman during the Englishman's visit to the Tay-son capital. (TSON: Tay Son relations with Non-Vietnam Ethnic Group: The Tay Son and the Khmer)
This military campaign was in fact a punitive attack on the court of King Ramadhipti Non because the latter refuse to send Khmer troops in protecting Prey-Nokor. The attack was defeated by King Ramadhipti Non and the Chams went back to their own business.
- The Cham settlement at Chroy Changwa
The attack was launched in 1776, the year that the last king of the old Nguyen court died by the attack of the Tay-son brothers. During the Tay-son brothers taking control of Hue, what was mentioned as the Annamete court in the Khmer source was in fact the court of the Tay-son brothers. Both facts strengthen our assumption that the Annamete army was sent by the Tay-son brothers who were themselves Cham. Chroy Changwa became since known to be the stronghold of Cham settlement until today.
- Prey-Nokor after the fall of Hue
For the rest of their campaign, the Tay-son brothers concentrated on Tonkin and left Prey-Nokor virtually unattended. The Khmer king Prah Narayraja might have his last chance to reclaim back Prey-Nokor if joining the campaign.
- Do Thanh-Nhon
There are conflicting account about a general of the Nguyen court named Do Thanh-Nhom who helped Nguyen-Ahn to take back control of prey-Nokor. Taking the opportunity of the absence of the Three Tay-son brothers, he raised supports from the left-over Viet communities and once again regrouped the old Nguyen court. For unknown reason, the recovery was not copmplete. According to the Vietnamese sources, Nguyen-Anh later murdered Do Thanh-Nhom and had to face the next attack of the three Tay-son brothers by himself.
- Punishment of Chaopha Ben
Prah Chao Tak, upon seeing Chaopha Ben was very angry. After blaming him of failing to take actions in preventing the King Ramadhipti Non's death, he ordered Chaopha Ben to be punished.
A 100 whips, two of his ear-lopes chopped off and put under consignment. ( CKHIII: The reign of Prah Ang Eng)
The punishment reminds us of the punishment, also by Taksin, of the Lanna' s ruler Kawila. And like the latter, Chaopha Ben became one of the most faithful suitors of the Siam court after his released.