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.
The Siam's 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 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 (Nokor Khmer: The Siam countries: The Syam Kuti and Lawaratha). During the formation of Angkor, evidences show that Xiang-mai and Lavo were two major cities with high concentration of Khmer-mon and Lawa people. After the formation of Sokhodya, 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. Through the interference of the Mongols, the Tai pact was formed (Notes: The Tai's misconception). During the reign of Sri Dharamaraja, the Tai pact was broken and evidences show that 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). 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 northern Siam. 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 (Ayudhya: Ayudhya as a Kingdom: The Tai Identity).
The evidence from Western Sources
Through out its existence, Ayudhya was referred by its neighbors as either Siam or Ayudhya. Since the acquisition of Sri Dharmaraja, Ayudhya abandoned most of its northern dependency and concentrated head-on in the dynamic of Southern Sea trade. During its last phase, the Ayudhyan history is primary connected with the international sea trade of South China Sea. The venture set Ayudhya to make extensive contact with the West and made Siam as one of the Southeast Asian places most known to the western world. In Western records, Siam was the official name of Ayudhya as shown in the early maps of Southeast Asia. Published by European publishing houses, the early maps showed the Siam Kingdom taking a big chunk of the mainland Indochina. These early maps were far to be an accurate representation of geographical data of the Siam country and its people. They were rather 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. Despite all the discrepancy, Siam was always depicted as the official name of Ayudhya.
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 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. He then 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. Upon learning of Narasuan 's conducting the war, King Dharmaraja was not pleased. 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 his illness and he died soon after. Narasuan ascended the throne of Ayudhya in 1590 and immediately, showing that he did not share his father's worries, started his campaign against both of his rivals, Hamsavati and Cambodia. In a series of relentless preparation and attacks, he managed to subdue Lawek and after leaving Lawek in shamble, went head-on attacking Pegu. By doing so, Narasuan confirmed his father' s worst fear. 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, they were not happy and to make the matter worst, revengeful. Narasuan should remember what he himself had been through while he 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 target and was secured with the support of the Nguyen's court. It turned out to be another mistake. After marrying the princess of Hue, the inexperienced King Jaya Chetha turned against Siam and revived back the past rivalry. 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. In the long run, we shall see that the rivalry of the two courts ended up destroying both of their countries. By depending on the court of Hue, the court of Udong incurred deeper and deeper into Hue's dependency and the Nguyen court was waiting to take all the opportunities to benefit for their own account. The Hue's interference in the internal court of Udong almost cost the latter the whole of Cochinchina. While succeeding in crushing the Khmer capital of Lawek, Ayudhya would face with crisis of its own. Unlike he had done to Lawek, Narasuan failed to destroy the Mon legacies of both Hamsavati and Ava altogether. 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 both Cambodia and Hamsavati, Ayudhya lost its war. Even though it took more than a century to realize, the last attack of Hamsavati 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 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 reversal of policy of his brother 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 in a short time Ayudhya from a depressed state to a powerhouse of the region. 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 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.
The comeback of the U-tong lineage
During the last phase of Ayudhya's history, 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. In a close look, we could see a similarity with Dai-Viet's politic that became since the trademark of Siam's foreign policy. 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. For instance, Ayudhya became then a nation with a flexible central government and most of all a strong westernized army. The success however had its dark side. With the western style of government that suited well both foreigners and Chinese aristocrats, the Ayudhyan court became more isolated with the rest of the Siam Country. Economically, the growing rich of the high societies alienated against the local people who were left out from the development to become poorer and poorer. 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. After Ayudhya succumbed, a prominent Chinese figure named Tak-sin was 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 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. It would become another bad omen for the Ayudhyan court of which bad circumstances had already inflicted serious internal crisis.
The Burmese occupation of Lanna
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 experience, the Burmese court knew that Ayudhya counted on northern Siam countries for human supply during the war and took Lanna as its strategic location to fight against Ayudhya. Preparing for the next assault, Alaungpaya secured his control over both Lanna and the eastern side of the Lao Kingdom. Early in 1760, he led expeditions against the Southern Siam countries and besieged Ayudhya in the same year. 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 next 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 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.
The fall of Ayudhya
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 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, 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.
THE FORMATION OF THONPURI
Taksin's direct involvement in the politic of Cambodia started soon after he took control of the Southern Siam Country. 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 the Southeast Asia that stayed until modern days.
The relationship with the court 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 dynasty 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. After forming his new court, 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 family 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 drive his campaign deep inside Cambodia. He commissioned Praya Chakri and his brother Surasi to lead Siamese troops to attack Udong directly from the north. He himself leaded a counter-attack against the Khmer ruler Sothat of the South. Surprised by the attack of both fronts, Prah Sothat and the Khmer king Prah Narayraja of Udong lost the fight and had to escape to Tuk Khmau of Kampuchea Krom. According to the Khmer chronicle, they received help from the reigning Annamete court (Notes: The escape to Prey-Nokor). 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. 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. After installing a Khmer ruler named Ramadhipti Non to take control of the Southern Cambodia in 1774, Taksin pulled out 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. However, the recent endeavor with the new Siam's attack forced Prah Narayraja to rethink about the future relationship with the new Siam court. In just a few years, Taksin had built his troops into a powerful and modern army. Ignoring the objection of his court, Prah Narayraja stepped down to become a vice-king (Obyauraja) while delegating the throne of Udong to his rival, King Ramadhipti Non. The turn of events concerning the Tay-son brothers might also have been another 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 old and sick Khmer King Prah Narayraja who decided to make peace with Siam and invited the new installed Khmer King Ramadhipti Non to take control of the Udong court.
The politic and demographic background of Thonpuri
The misjudgment of the Khmer King Prah Narayraja about the low status of King Taksin, as we had seen, came back to haunt him during his last reign. As other royalty of Southeast Asia, his judgment was influenced by centuries old tradition assuming that royalty only was born of high merit. Taksin however had proved him wrong as he soon rose to become a powerful figure of the region. His low status happened to work better for him in the time that western authority came to build their venture. In conjunction with the formation of Hue by the Nguyen's family at Prey-Nokor, the formation of Thonpuri was in tune with the colonization of 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 many meetings, they were already frustrated with the local court' s complex proceedings and all the royal customs that did not facilitate their mission. As their real objective were not to make friend with the local Kings but to establish their own authority in the region, the low status of Taksin would suit them well. In contrast, they saw in Taksin qualities that local royalty does not have. Being of Chinese background, he was practical and was seen as a natural leader for the Chinese communities who were already in control of the Southern economy. The choice of Thonpuri as his capital was not by coincidence, but a strategic move for the quick gathering of personal supports from Chinese communities. It is well known that Taksin had strong personal relationship with the high court of Ayudhya, but there were no evidences that he had the same support from the rest of the rural people. Adding to the strain, Ayudhya was virtually deserted after its fall, as most of its population was captured and brought to Hamsavati 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. He soon stopped altogether the ancient practice, as it did not suit him anymore. To populate Thonpuri, 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 need local supports would find in Thonpuri an ally that politically suited their ventures. As to their neighbors, it did not take long for them to realize that Thonpuri was becoming a powerhouse not to be messing with. As we had seen, the Khmer king Prah Narayraja was the first to find out about his mistake and had to adjust his policy accordingly. The Lanna's court soon followed the example and without restraining, submitted to Thonpuri.
The submission of Northern Siam
After consolidating the South, Taksin saw the necessity to take control of the northern Siam countries. It was a strategic move to make sure that Thonpuri would not suffer the same fate as Ayudhya in future Burmese attacks. During the Khmer's incursion on Chandapuri, he had to put his plan on hold and brought his troops to face the Khmer intrusion. Soon, after installing the Khmer King Ramadhipti Non at Ha-tien and left for his Khmer ally just a small army, he commanded Cao Cakri to pull all the Siamese troops and departed quickly for Thonpuri. He did it after receiving a new threat from the Burmese general of Lanna and needed all his troops to stand against Burmese assault (Notes: The Burmese Generallissimo). It turned out that the threat, induced by Burma, was no longer of a big concern. Due mostly to the change of events of northern Siam, Taksin found himself in control of northern Siam without much fighting. Under the Burmese general Abhayagamani and later his successor, Phraya White Head, Lanna was ruled to serve for only one purpose which was to assist Burma in the fight against Ayudhya. After the successful campaign, the Burmese troops headed home with a high retinue of human trophy, leaving only a small army behind. During the Burmese occupation, these rulers were picked and made royalty by the Burmese court (Notes: New generation of Lanna's rulers). Taking the opportunities of the Burmese withdrawal, they started to rebel against the left-behind Burmese army. During the fight, one of rebellious leaders named Chao Chai Kaeo, was caught and imprisoned in Burmese controlled city of Lanna. Taking the opportunity, Taksin brought his troops to join with other defecting northern Siamese rulers, and together they drove the rest of the Burmese army from the city. The eldest son of Chao Chai Kaeo named Kawila managed to free his father from the Burmese jail and together they rejoiced the freedom and at the same time made themselves rulers on the small population left of Lanna. They would soon find out that the help of the South was not free of hidden intention. Not before long, they were oppressed by Thonpuri and when they tried to resist the ordeal, they would face with punitive retaliation. As soon as it was started, their resistance was crushed and their insubordination was punished (Notes: Punishment on northern Siam rulers). One of the Lao rulers named Phraya Ca Ban fell ill and died while still imprisoned in Bangkok. As to the Lao King Kawila, he was allowed back to rule Lanna only after pledging total subordination and a promise to help taking Chiang-Saen, still under Burmese troops, into the control of the South. His speech, addressing later to his brothers, was best to prove his changed of policy (Notes: King Kawila' s Advice to his brothers). Sounding more like an oath, he advised his relatives to be faithful to Thonpuri or otherwise they would face with uncertain future. More or less at odd with the Burmese military ruling, these Siam rulers saw in the new Siam King Taksin a similar background and interest to be reckoned with. They were the first generation of kings that had no or little background with the ancient Ayudhyan royal house. Kavila's speech sealed once for all northern Siam's submission with the court of Thonpuri until modern day. In return, King Taksin and the next Siam kings rewarded them to keep their royal status and authority as warlord kings as long as they submitted to them. Thonpuri would not interfere in their internal affair, at least until the fall of Ava to Britain. Needless to say, their policy gained the northern Siam submission and drove Burma, politically and military, out of the northern Siam countries for good. As a consequence, the Mien control was wiped out and only the shadowy Tai legacy remained in the mainstream of the new Siam tradition.
THE CONNECTION WITH PREY-NOKOR
The change of policy to lean on the new Siam court by King Prah Narayraja, subsequently alienated against 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 was looking for protection. 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. Taksin and later his successor, Chao Chakri, would help them to fight against the Tay-son brothers and to resuscitate back the old Nguyen legacy. While the Siam court was nurturing the fallen court of the old Nguyen, we shall see that the Tay-son brothers, along with a faction of the Khmer rulers at Udong, fought off the Siamese installed court in Cambodia.
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 also contribute to the decision of Prah Narayraja in yielding to Siam. However, so far we could find any evidences to back-up the suspicion. At first, the helps provided were proved to be in good faith as due to the past support that the Chams received from the Khmer court. At the contrary, the Tay-son had obviously other priority to take care than to invade Cambodia. After capturing the court of Hue, the Tay-sons 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 much ambition the three Tay-son brothers had. As expected, they were desperate for all military supports that they could get. Their army's commander in Prey-Nokor requested the Khmer court to send them supply of Khmer troops to help protect the city. Perhaps of his old age and illness, Prah Narayraja felt himself short of personal strength to comply with this obligation and instead saw in King Ramadhipti Non, a stock of power that could fulfill the mission. Against advises from his court, he then relegated all his power to his rival. 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 (Tay-son) court then sent its troop in the preparation for the assault of the Khmer military post at Phnom Pehn. A place called Chroy Changwa, at the opposite shore of the Chatomuk river, 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. Prey-Nokor was once again left virtually unattended. 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). Soon after the old Nguyen court was destroyed, they left Prey-Nokor again to lead their troops up north against Tonkin. Without their presence to defend the city, a previous member of the old Nguyen court soon made his move to take control of the region and made it as a strategic location for the old Nguyen court to regroup themselves for their next campaigns (Notes: Do Thanh-Nhon).
The Udong's uprising
After defeating the Annamite incursion, King Ramadhipti Non decided to build stronger relationship with the court of Siam. As he approached Thonpuri for a friendly diplomacy, Taksin took no time to capitalize on the new alliance. He requested the Khmer King Ramadhipti Non to joint his northern campaign against the scattered Lao countries. In the campaign, the Siam troops would need constant suppliers for the operation and Thonpuri was too far for that mission. The eagerness of the Khmer King Ramadhipti Non to join with the alliance came out to be at the right time that the Siam King planned for the Lao invasion. While Praya Chakri went ahead leading his troops to the Lao country, his brother Surasi went down to Udong to correlate for the back-up's supply as promised by the Khmer King. Despite his court's strong objection, King Ramadhipti Non went on to fulfill the Siam's demand and in the process 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 and supply food to the Siam army. 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 and 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 back from the frontline and regrouped themselves to rebel against the mistreatment. The corrupted officials were summoned to Udong to be tried for their failure to quiet down the uprising. They happened to be close members of the same family and were related to a powerful member of the court of Udong. The uncle named "Su" was tried by King Ramadhipti Non to be executed while two of his nephews were punished but were later released. Through elaborate scheme, they managed to turn the angry people against the king and became their leaders. A high court official named 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 went instead joining them and leaded their combined troops toward Udong. Before he left, he sent request to the Annamite authority of Prey-Nokor with whom he had long time connection, for help. The annamite authority 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, the king leaded his troops to subdue the uprising himself. He was caught in between the rebellious troops leaded by the Khmer brothers and the Annamite troops sent for reinforcement from Prey-Nokor. The Khmer King was captured and executed on the battlefield. His children were also executed as Chaopha Mo and his brothers took control of the court of Udong. To legalize their next move, they installed the young son of the late King Prah Narayraja on the throne of Udong in 1779, at the age of 7 years old.
The end of King Taksin's reign
Hearing the new about the death of King Ramadhipti Non from court 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. While Chao Chakri and his brother Surasi were in Cambodia and approaching Udong, Thonpuri was on the verge of its own crisis. In an internal court fighting, King Taksin himself was attacked by his own subject and restrained under house arrest. From the Siam history books, it is said that his obsession with the self-proclaiming as a pious king of high merit turned his insane paranoia into a serious offense against his own court and the Buddhist communities of Thonpuri. 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 boss. Taksin was soon executed and Chao Ponha Chakri took control of court 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, and named his city as "Sri Tep Maha Nokor". In dealing with the Khmer affair, he ordered the Siamese troops to pull back to Bangkok. He also requested the court of Udong to hand over one of his faithful suitors named 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 the 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 Thonpuri to request the release of Chaopha Ben. After reviewing their proposition, the Siam King PutyotphaCholalok agreed to their demand. Before the release, he had Chaopha Ben taking an oath to fulfill his duty toward Siam as should. King PutyotphaCholalok promised that he would bring him up again in favor if he succeed in the mission of eliminating Chaopha Mo from the court of Udong. Showing the scars from the punishment by the Siam court, Chaopha Ben quickly convinced Chaopha Mo of accepting him back at the court of Udong. Believing that his rival had really changed his attitude toward the court of Siam, Chaopha Mo granted leniency to Chaopha Ben 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. His whole family, including his youngest brother, Chaopha Peang, was also executed. His younger brother, Chaopha Ten, was however spared as 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 maneuver, they turned against themselves. Tipped by close acquaintance of a new intrigue against him, Chaopha Ben managed to act quickly and rid off his rivals first and took control of the court of Udong for himself.
THE DEPENDENCY OF SIAM
After the death of King Taksin, the next Siam King PutyotphaCholalok (Rama I) continued on consolidating the Siamese control over its dependency. The effort was however facing with setbacks as the Chinese communities were back to their own business and lost all interest in the northern Siam countries. Due to pressures exerted by the sea trade competition, the new King shifted his focus to Sri Dharmaraja where the sea trade business required more of his attention. During the reign of Taksin, Chao Phraya Nu was allowed to reign as a warlord king but Rama I saw the need to exert more control on this important seaport. He allowed Phraya Nu' s son, Chao Praya Nakhon Phat, to rule only as a governor. The setback was aggravated by the return of Burmese interference during the reign of King Bodawpaya (1782-1819). In the wake of Burmese war of 1785, he further detached Songhkla and the Malay tribute systems and delegated the control to a Chinese governor of Songhla. This constant preoccupation forced the Siam King to let loose other dependencies, in the process of luring them into fighting the Burmese interference.
The Thonpuri' s strategy
On a whole, Bangkok's strategy on dependency followed very much the same model set in Sri Dharmaraja. It started by capitalizing on local internal crisis and turned the situation into a political or military trap. In the game, Thonpuri 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 done at first through coalition but was gradually tailored into Thonpuri's control. In Northern Siam countries, local rulers who were revolting against Burmese control of Lanna got support from King Taksin. After driving the Burmese troops out, Taksin sent his own troops to take control of Lanna. The local courts who were resisting the control of Thonpuri were next to face the latter' s retaliation. King Kawila and other northern Siam leaders were subdued and punished of insubordination. 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 height-land. As many localities were wrested and were included as part of Chiang-mai, Thonpuri 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 Thonpuri. In Cambodia, Thonpuri needed much more tact in handling the court of Udong. One of Thonpuri's sympathizers, Chaopha Ben, wrested the control of Udong through elaborate scheme set by Thonpuri. 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 Thonpuri 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 Thonpuri had no real control on its dependency. Looking closely, the control was very fragile and varied from one dependency to another. Even at Sri Dharmaraja where controls had been mostly shifted to Bangkok, local rulers never stopped rebelling. In exception for Lanna where the submission of King Kawila was unquestionable, other 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 Thonpuri. 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 new King into falling, once again, in their trap (The Kingdom of Cambodia: The last court of Udong: The reign of King Ang Chan). The far-reached northeastern Lao countries also followed suit.
The last legacy of the Lao Country
Historically, the part of Indochina that became Laos today had been in connection with the formation of Nokor Khmer since its early stage. During the high apogee of the Angkorian Empire, Laos was part of Rajapati that was itself an Angkorian gateway to the west. The Khmer chronicle reveals that Laos was actually the royal house of king Botomsurya' s lineage that was no other than Suryavarman II. It is important to note that this lineage was of Angkorian Cholan Dynasty and was different from the Sri Vijayan tradition of Khun Borom, shared by Lanna and Lan-xang royal houses. Resuscitated back by the Phukha dynasty of Rajapati, these Lao Kings had strong tie with the Burmese Dynasty of Ava. The tradition however stopped after the formation of Thonpuri by King Taksin. During the campaign conducted by the two brothers Chao Chakri and Surasi in the late 1770, the Lao Royal house were dispersed as some were captured and brought to Thonpuri. In Champassak, when king Sainyakuman died in 1791, the Siamese installed King Visainyarat. In 1778, the Vientian royal house, on the other hand, had been removed to Bangkok and the Lao royal family served the Siamese court during the warfare of the next decade. We had argued that Bangkok was able to subdue these Lao courts only with the support of the Khmer king Ramadhipti Non who lost his life by his own people, during their uprising against him. The revolt that was diverted by Chaopha Mo's family members, was neverteless against the Khmer King Non' s support to Siam invasion in Laos. The political changes at Udong after the uprisings limited Thonpuri to intervene in the next Lao development. One by one, the Lao court regrouped themselves and restored back their past heritage. Now that Thonpuri could no longer count on Cambodia for help, Bangkok was too far a way to stop the restoration. Moreover, the Siamese control was further restricted by the return of Burmese troops, back to the control of Lanna and Nan. According to the Nan chronicle, Burma sent its troops back to take control of Lanna as soon as Thonpuri had proved itself as a serious contender to the Burmese supremacy. In 1707, the King of Ava appointed a local named Noi In as acting Governor of Nan, in recognition of his help to the Burmese campaign. During the besiege of Nan, he created havoc to help the Burmese troops taking Nan. After the Burmese withdrawal, he then persuaded the people to return. A year later, the kaeo and Lao army invaded Nan and took the people to Muang Kaeo and Munag Lao as prisoners. Noi In once against rebuilt Nan after they left. In recognition of his assistance, the Burmese king appointed him as a full governor. After the death of Fa Muang Khong die in 1714, the King of Ava appointed another prince, Chao Fa Miao Sa to replace him. When Chao Fa Miao Sa died in 1078, No in was made again governor. Realizing that he was not of royal family, he invited a prince from Chiang-mai to rule Nan. The King of Ava sent Chao Praya Tin as requested. Soon after, Noi-in regretted what he had done and plotted to overthrow Chao Praya Tin. The latter however knew of the plot and confronted Noi-in of his involvement. Found himself in an awkward situation and having no other solution, Noi In decided to commit suicide. In 1766, the Burmese general heard about the uprising in Lanna and brought his troops to fight off the rebellion. When the Burmese troops stationed at Pak Ngo, Chao Luang Aryavong of Nan came with his force to attack the Burmese. In 1785, the King of Ava Bodawpaya sent a huge army to invade Bangkok by way of Tavoy and another army of ten thousands men, under the command of a prince of Pagan to capture Lanna, by way of Chiang-saen. Facing with strong local resistance, the Burmese troops were defeated by the Siamese coalition leaded by King Taksin of Bangkok. Back home, Ava would face with even greater crisis in handling the French interference in the Mon country and the invasion of British India in Arakan. The Dynamic of European involvement in Southeast Asia, had played its part in preventing Burma for more interference in the Siam country. By reducing Burma from a powerful empire of the past to a mere nation, the Colonial British authority saved Ayudhya of future Burmese attacks. If Burma was not strained by the British invasion, the probability was high that Thonpuri would suffer the same fate as Ayudhya.
- 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; 1605-1620: The reign of King Ekasarath; 1767-1782: The reign of King Tak-sin; 1775-1779: The reign of Prah Ramadhipti Non at Udong; 1778-1802: The reign of Nguyen-nhac at Vijaya; 1782-1809: The reign of Prah PutyotphaCholalok or Rama I; 1809-1824: The reign of Prah Putloethla or Rama II; 1824-1851: The reign of Prah Nangklao or Rama III.
- 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
Chroy Changwa was known to be the stronghold of Cham settlement until today. The attack was launched in 1776, the year that the last king of the Nguyen court died by the attack of the Tay-son brothers. Both facts strengthen our assumption that the Ananmete army was sent by the Tay-son brothers who were themselves Cham. During the Tay-son brothers taking control of Hue, what was mentioned as the Annamete court was in fact the court of the Tay-son brothers.
- 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. If joining the campaign, the Khmer king Prah Narayraja might have his last chance to reclaim back Prey-Nokor.
- Do Thanh-Nhon
There are conflicting account about a general of the Nguyen court named Do Thanh-Nhom who, taking the opportunity of the absence of the Three Tay-son brothers, helped Gnuyen-Ahn to move back at prey-Nokor. By raising supports from the left-over Viet communities, they once again regrouped the old Nguyen court. However, the Vietnamese sources mentions that, for unknown reason, Nguyen-Anh later murdered him 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.