Project: Sokhodaya
Author: Lem Chuck Moth

Started date: June/01/2003
Last updated: April/31/2015
All right reserved.
Since this paper is still drafted, the readers would be advised to ignore any context errors. The content is not final and subjected to be reviewed.

The identification of the cities from the list of Angkorian dependencies, compiled by Chao-ju-kua in the Chu-fan-chih, allowed us to see how vast the Angkorian Empire was during the reign of Jayavarman VII (Nokor Thom: Introduction: The rise to become Maha Nokor). Besides the Menam Valley and the Malay peninsular, the passage also indicates that the remote Irravati's Valley was also brought under the Angkorian control. With a vast territory to cover, the Khmer defense system was spreading thin. It came at the worst moment that Angkor had to face another new emerging world power, the Mongol Empire. After the ascension of Kublai Khan, the Mongols took hold of China and founded the Yuan dynasty in 1280. Although the new founded Sino-Mongol Empire was making few progresses and their campaigns were mostly met with defeats, the great Khan relentlessly pursued the ambition of his grandfather. Added to the misfortune of the Khmer Empire, Northern Siam countries had been at odd with Angkor since the reign of Suryavarman II and were looking for any opportunity to break away (The Construction of Angkor Wat: The Dependency of the Sianm Country: The Crack-down on Xiang-mai). After the fall of Pagan, Angkor was virtually alone to stand against the Great Khan. By secluding itself, Angkor managed to stay out of reach from the powerful control of the Mongol army and along with the help from Rajapati successfully repelled many Mongolian attempts for occupation. That would not discourage the Great Khan who was very much in need of revenues to sustain his flamboyant life-style, from completing his southern drive. As we shall see, his campaigns met with many setbacks and obstacles. For once, the Great Khan knew that the Mongols army were not trained to adapt the tropical climate evironment of Southeast Asia. If he wanted to continue on sucessfully this southern campaign, he must to gather help as much as possible from the locals. His drive to build southern alliance with norther Siam countries of former Angkorian dependency, apparently was more successful that he did expect.
The Formation of Sokhodaya and the Tai Nationality
For long, scholars had postulated that the fall of the Angkorian Empire was mostly self inflicted. True as it might be, the theory had led to many misconceptions, one of which is about the claim of the Tai Nationality. In modern history of Ayudhya, the formation of Sokhodaya was treated extensively as the corner stone of the Tai national uprising against the authority of Angkor. Due to the lack of documentation, the scholarly mistake could be undestandable. Unlike Lanna or other northern Siam countries, Sokhodaya has so far no annal or chronicle of its own. Evidences however show that Sokhodaya still had rich heritage of both Lavo and its sister city Haripungjaya. Vestiges left at the location moreover reveals strong Angkorian connection and we shall see that as much as its leadership was from, Sokhodaya itself was formed on the Khmer-mon legacy of Lavo. It was the Mongols who, asserting their controls from Yunnan, actually turned Sokhodaya and other northern Siam countries into Tai states. After taking control of Yunnan in 1273, Kubali was working on building the Tai pact that was specifically designed to support his southern move. Long time in peace with the Khmer Empire, the Miens of Yunnan fell under the Mongols and became subject of the Great Khan. It was up to the rest of the northern Siamese rulers to join in and unfortunately, they had many good reasons to do so. Connected more or less to the Kambojan legacy of Day Desa, these rulers had been submitted to Angkor's authority for a long time. It was a good time now or ever to revive back their long lost Tai legacy. Under the initiative of the Great Khan, the Tai pact was formed as a start of the Tai consortium (Aydhya: Ayudhya as a kingdom: The Tai Identity). Mangrai, prince of Chiangrai, Ngam Muang, prince of muang Phayao, and Rama Kamhaeng, king of Sokhodaya, met to conclude a strong pact of friendship. In the decade that followed, Mangrai ended the Khom and Mon' s domination over Haripunjaya and founded Lanna while Rama-kamheang extended Sokhodaya to include many of the Angkorian lost cities.
With no chronicle of its own, the modern history of Sokhodaya was so far written as a part of the overall Tai development. Deficiency was largely expected when other sources were ommitted. To start, the accounts about its founder Prah Ruang whose circumstances allowed him to rise up as an independent monarch were limited. Likewise, its foundation is also surrounded by mystery. More or less information were provided by the Siamese sources, nevertheless scholars fell short of picturing Sokhodaya as an emerging country which foundation and development were in tigh connection to the Mongol incursion. Adding the Chronicle of Khmer Heroes and the Yunnan Chronicle into the list of reference, as we shall see, allows us to come out with better result.
The Legend of Prah Ruang *
Different sources agree on the fact that Sokhodaya was founded by a legendary figure named Prah Ruong, but provide different versions about his identity. The northern Siam tradition, especially, appeared to have blurry recollection about his origin. The Chiangmai Chronicle, for instance, introduces him as a son of an ogress and a fisherman (CMC: P. 24).
King Ruang was the son of a fierce ogress named Kangli. The lady beheld a fisherman who was beauteous of form and took him as her husband; and they have a son who became King Ruang.
On the other hand, the history of Northern Siam (Phongsavada-Muangnua), even though has some inconsistency in the chronology, provides more acceptable version and introduces Prah Ruang as the son of a king of Haripunjaya named Aphajakhamani. A queen of Nagas having affair with the king Aphajakhamani gave birth to Prah Ruang and left the baby at the place where they met. This inconsistency in the origin of the Sokhodaya's founder, added to the confusion of identity with his son Rama-kamheang, was one among many misconceptions about the founding of Sokhodaya, in both northern and southern Siam traditions. The Khmer version of Prah Ruang is closely related to the Northern Siam' s version found in the Phongsasavada of Muangnua. The only difference is about the identity of his father who, according to the latter' s version, was a king of Harapangjaya. The problem about this claim is that there is no record of Lapang mentioning about a king named Aphajakhamani to be the father of Prah Ruang. The story about his Childhood and his rise to power is similar to the Khmer's version (RPNK: Prah Ruong). Perhaps because of his involvement in the fate of Angkor, the Khmer source however has better accounts of him. In both oral and written records, his story was part of the Khmer history. The story started with the Khmer king Udayaraja, referring to the late Angkorian king Udayadityavarman II or an immediate descendent of his, went to visit a sand dune at Boripura with a nagi consort. While the two were enjoying the sand dune, the nagi who was at her late pregnancy was in labor and gave birth to an egg (undoubtedly a premature baby).
The king (Udayaraja) made a trip to enjoy himself at the Sand dune at the province of Boripura. He had a nagi as consort who was pregnant and gave birth to an egg left at the sand dune. At that time there was a traveling merchant named Kong with beard. He picked up the egg to his village and the egg hatched to become a baby named Prah Ruong.
When the bearded man Kong brought the egg home, it hatched into a baby boy and the bearded man Kong took care of him as his own child. After the king Udayaraja's death, the king Botom-Suryavamsa (referring to a descendent of the late Angkorian king Suryavarman II) ascended the throne. The bearded man Kong was a commissioner in transporting the tributary water to the Angkorian court. When he died, his adopted son Prah Ruang resumed his duty. Instead of using fragile earthenware, Prah Ruang built containers with rattan that proved to be much more suitable for transporting water during the long trip to Angkor. It did not take long for the Angkorian King to notice the ingenuity. Concerned of being challenged by a man of higher merit, the king ordered one of his generals named Dechodamdin to make an inquiry. Prah Ruang managed to escape to a remote site of Muang Pichit and entered into monk-hood in a Buddhist temple. Dechodamdin who was expert in magical art dived through land and emerged at the temple where Prah Ruang was taking shelter. When he emerged, he saw a monk brushing the yard and he asked where to find Prah Ruang. The monk who was no other than Prah Ruang himself said to Dechodamdin "Stay still and I will get him for you". Because of his past merit, Prah Ruong was blessed with personal power and his command made Dechodamdin to stay still and became rigid as stone. After the story spread, Prah Ruang's prestige became known to the people and after the ruler of Muang Pichit died he was raised to the kingship. The Angkorian king Botom-Suryavamsa, recognizing that Prah Ruang was actually his close relative, granted him the status of an independent sovereign.
Knowing that Ponha Ruang is no other than his own sibling, the king (Botom-Suryavamsa) then granted the vassal state to become independent with a city called Sokhodaya. (CKHI: The reign of Prah Lampang Raja: P. 17)
This act of granting Sokhodaya the status of an independent state could be seen as a mistake of judgment from the part of the Angkorian Monarch, since it had led to the disintegration of the Cakravatin establishment of Angkor. But according to the Buddhist belief, it had been prophesied that Prah Ruang would become a great Monarch of Sokhodaya. Prah Ruang went on, says the Khmer chronicle, to establish an ideal Buddhist society ruled by a paternal style of kingship. One way or another, after the fall of the Chinese court to the Yuan Dynasty, the Angkorian Empire was clearly not in a position to alienate against Sokhodaya and to stand against the Great Khan by itself.
Indraditya and the Ruang Family's Name
The Khmer story of Prah Ruang is checked out by an inscription found at the site of Sokhodaya. Known as the inscription of Nokor Jum (Syam Nogara), the inscription provided an account about the rise of Prah Ruang to become an independent monarch of Sokhodaya. Inscribed by "Somdet Phrah Mahathera Sri Sradharajaculamani Sri Rattanalankadipa Mahasami pen chao," it describes the early reign of Khun Pha Muong at Muong Rat (Ratburi).
In the past, the king of Sri Sodhara gave to Pho Khun Pha Muang his daughter named Nang Sikharamahadevi for consort, the sacred sword Jayasri and the same royal title as his for his coronation. (JA 1920: Le origin de la dynastie de Sokhodaya, G. Coedes)
Khun Pha Muong in the passage was a title referring to no other than Prah Ruang himself. It confirms the Khmer account of the legendary Prah Ruang receiving the hand from the Khmer King, Botom-Suryavamsa. In addition, the inscription elaborates more on the identity of the daughter of the Angkorian king. The title of "Sikharamahadevi" relates her to the god king "Sikharisvara " of mount Prah Vihear where resided the family of the late Angkorian King, Suryavarman II. From there, we can conclude that the king of Sri Sodhara was the contemporary Angkorian king of Nokor Thom (Yasodharapura) who had all the control over the Syam country at the time. Furthermore, the passage provides us with the clue about the title Indraditya that was granted to Prah Ruang to be the same title as his own. It leads us to believe that the Angkorian monarch of the time was actually Indravarman III. It is important to note that Indraditya is the Visnuite version of the Sivaite title Indrasvara and that a son of Jayavarman VII, Indravarman III was a governor of Lavo before his ascension to the Angkorian throne. The title of Indraditya given by Indravarman III was an act of recognition given to Prah Ruong the right to the Aditya lineage of his late ancestor Udayadityavarman. The sacred sword Jayasri was, on the other hand, a ceremonial artifact for coronation of Lavo's throne. It is clear that "Prah Ruang" was not the personal name of Indraditya, and we shall see that it was rather his surname. As often given to a legendary figure in Southeast Asian chronicle, a surname is often his family name that could be used to trace his origin. It was not by chance that the surname "Prah Ruang" was given to Intraditya and later to his son Rama-kamheang. Since the next generation after Rama-kamheang stopped receiving the same surname, we know for sure that it was not due to Sokhodaya's tradition but to the northern Siam's tradition instead. A king of the lineage from King Lawacankharatha of Xiang-mai named Com Pha Ruang (CMC: Chapter I: The lineage of King Lawacankarat) was the father of King Cuang who, after a conflict with the king of the Kaeo Country, went out to invade the Kaeo Country. King Cuang then established, with a princess of the Kaeo court, the Kaeo Phangsa's lineage (The Sri Vijaya: Xiang-mai and Yunnan: The Nan-tchao's connection). Left to rule the Kao country of Yunnan, Chinese text referred them as the Tuan (Ruang) family. During the coronation of the Lanna King Mang-rai, a contemporary Kaeo King who came to render him homage, introduced himself as a member of the Ruang family.
I am the son of Thao Pha Ruang Maen Kham Kha and I rule the Kaeo Prakan domain. (CMC: Chapter I: New Coronation for Mang-rai)
It is important to note that the surname "Ruang" was closely connected to the Dragon or Naga's identity of Northern Siam tradition. The Nagi consort of the Khmer king Udayana who was the mother of Indraditya might have been herself belonged to the Ruang family, which according to the Khmer legend, a legacy that Indraditya inherited his family's name from. This way, we could see the blood relationship between Mang-rai and Rama-kamheang, through the Ruang family of Yunnan that would play its role later in the close alliance between the two rulers.
The Reign of Indraditya (1262-1282)
Through the Khmer chronicle, we know that Prah Ruang was picked up by a northern Siam King of Muang Pichit from whom he inherited the throne. His rise to power however was left out in the dark on both the Khmer and Siam sources. Evidences show that the two had spent their time at Yunnan more than at their native Siam country. Their activities were recorded in the Yunnan chronicle as governor of Ta-li, under the tutelage of the Great Khan. In theirs own records, the Mongols mentioned about their settlement at Nan-tchao in between 1253 and 1256 and orders were given to build a command post at Yunnan under the direct order of an imperial family member (NCHAO: Touan Che: P. 115).
In 124, the 11th tche-yuan of Che-tsou of the Yuan, a member of the Imperial family, To-hou-lou, was named as prince of Yunnan. Order was given to ping-tchang-tcheng-che of the province of Yunnan, Sai-tien-tche, to establish at Yunnan of diverses imperial administration.
As we shall see, the settlement at Yunnan allowed the Mongols to launch the next Mongolian campaigns down south that led to the control of Pagan where lied the military strength of Angkor.
In 1280, the 17th tche-yuan of Che-tsou or Hou-pi-lie of the Yuan, of the second moon, the Songs were destroyed and the Yuans became masters of China. The son of Hou-ko-tche, Ye-sien-tie-mou-eul, was made prince of Yunnan and mang-wou-lou received order to attack the Pa-pai-si-fou. The Burmans having won over the troupes of Hou-tou-tie-mou-eul, the emperor ordered to Tien and Yang, the indigenous chiefs of Sseu-pouo, to supply troupes to help submit the Burmans.
During the early Mongol intercourse with Pagan, the local Ruang family of Yunnan was found at fault and made responsible of the death of many Mongolian embassadors to Pagan (The Fall of Nokor Thom: The drive toward Angkor: The Attack on Pagan). The Great Khan then gave order to dismantle their local Yunnan court and set his own family members to take care of the administration. According to the Yunnan chronicle, the Great Khan spared and pardoned the last Ruang king of Nan-thao named Hing-tche and restored him back to power. Hing-tche died during his trip north, bringing along his Young brother name Touan Sin-tsiu-je to meet the Great Khan. The Mongols anointed Sin-tsiu-je to rule over Tsong-kouan as general governor of Ta-li. Coincidentally enough, the new ruler of Ta-li was referred in the chronicle as Touan Che (Prah Ruang). From there the Yunnan chronicle conveys that Indraditya was made ruler of Ta-li after the original Ruang King died and asummed his surname as the new Ruang King.
Touan Che (or simply Che) joint in the court in 1261. The Chinese Emperor Che-tsou gave him the title of Tsong-Kuouan and gave him as tael with a had as a tiger, with the commandement of Ta-li, Wei-tchou, Chan-chan, Ton-che, Houi-tchouan and other places and gave him the power of assigning funtionaries at the rank of wan-hou and below.
It was the start of the campaign of building-up southern allies that were supposed to help the Great Khan invading Angkor. In conntection to the Khmer account, it is most likely that the last ruler of Yunnan Hing-tche, recognizing Prah Ruang as his relative through the Nagi consort of the Khmer King Udayana, had chosen him as his successor. On the same token, we also conclude that all the arrangements were made under the Mongol sovereignty. As mentioned in the Yunnan chronicle, the top job' s assignment as the real ruler of Yunnan went to a member of the imperial family who oversaw the next campaign.
The son of Hou-ko-tche, Ye-sieen-tie-mou-eul, was made Prince of Yunnan and Mang-wou-lou received the order to attack the Papi-si-fou
From the Yunnan chronicle, we also know the time of his death at 1282, when he was on the mission to follow the Mongolian army in the fight against Birmany. We shall see next the foundation of Sokhodaya under Rama-kamheang that played important role in the next Mongolian development in regard to the invasion of the northern command post of the Angkorian Empire, Papi-si-fou.
Scholars were mistaken to treat Sokhodaya as the foundation of the first Tai nation on the ground of Tai immigrants from Yunnan or Nan-tchao. The inscription of Rama-kamheang in Tai Language, inscribed using the first Tai scripture was a contributing factor to the mistake. As we had seen, Sokhodaya was part of Haripunjaya and might have been retaining still the Khmer-mon culture as any other part of the Menam Valley. We also seen that the Mongols had helped earlier rulers of Sokhodaya who were then functionary and at the same time vassals of the Great Khan to extend Sokhodaya's territory at the expense of Angkor. The control of the Khorat Plateau for instance, that was though to be the exploit of Rama-kamheang was actually done through the Mongol's southern attacks. We shall also argue that the Mongols did not only provide Sokhodaya with territory expansion, but also were responsible for the Tai cultural implantation into the mainland Indochina that stayed until today.
The Alliance between the Mongols and Sokhodaya
The Northern Siam tradition that was compiled into the chronicle of Muang Nua was by far, one of the rare sources about the formation of Sokhodaya. Even though many discrepencies are found, accounts relating the relationship between the Sokhodaya and the Chinese courts were nevertheless genuine. The tradition claims that Prah Ruang himself went to China and threatened the Chinese emperor into handing a daughter to him as his queen (Notes: Prah Ruang and the Trip to China). His personal euphoria was so great that the actual Chinese ruler (the Great Khan of the Mongols) was so impressed and immediately gave him his respectful homage.
He had Phra-Ruang sit in his own throne, gave him his homage, and offered to him his daughter for marriage. (THAI: History of the Kingdom of the North: P. 66)
Since the chronicle presented Prah Ruang as a combined historical personage of Indraditya and his son Rama-Kamheang, there is a confusion of identity between the two. It is not clear who got the daughter of Chinese king's hand, however we had seen that the queen of Indraditya was actually the daughter of the Angorian king who was no other than Indravarman III. As we had seen, Angkor was then controlling Nokor SaJum through the court of Lavo. Indraditya was then granted as an indepent monarch of the Siam Country. We know from the chronicle of Yunnan, that Rama-kamheang (Ruang kIng) continued to receive the Khan' s blessing after the death of his brother. Evidences show that it was him who, by then was already ruling over Sokhodaya, received the hand of the Chinese princess. The chronicle however gives us a diffrent picture to the same account (NCHAO: Gouverneurs generaux de la famile Touan: Touan Tchong). There is no mentioning of Rama-Kamheang's personal impression that drove the Great Khan to render the latter a great honor as mentioned in the Siam account. Nevertheless, the chronicle confirms that the Ruang King received the hand of an imperial princess and was annointed to be the governor general of Ta-li. The Khan's maneuver was, as we shall see, purely political as he needed as much support as he could generate from his southern allies.
At the end, he (Ruang King) obtained the hand of an imperial princess and was sent to his country with the title of Tsan-tcheng of the province of Yunnan. (NCHAO: Gouverneurs generaux de la famile Touan: Touan Tchong)
Undoubtedly, the Ruang King of the passage was Rama-kamheang when he was going to receive from the Great Khan an important assignment in supporting the next Mongolian campaign. Prah Ruang (Indraditya) must to prove himself worthwile to the Mongolian court for, after his death, the Khan would delegate all the Siam affairs to his eldest son Che (the elder brother of Rama-Kamheagn) to administer. In 1282, Che received from the emperor the order to go join the army sent in expedition to Birmany. But arriving at Kin-tche, he fell ill and died. The emperor then appointed his younger brother Chong (whom we shall identify as no other than Rama-kamheang himself) as the next imperial commissary. As indicated later in the chronicle, Sokhodaya was then crucial in the southern campaign of Kublai Khan. After conquering Nokor Rajasima (Kin-tche) and later Birmany (Piao-tien), the Khan started on preparing for his final assault to Angkor.
The Yuan subdued the country of Kin-tche and the country of Piao-tien gave its submission. The thirty seven districts Man of Ta-li were split into three provinces of the South, the North and the center. A-lou-to-eul was sent as the imperial commissiary to Ta-li in charge of exerting the imperial orders to all the Miens.
Unlike his father, Rama-Kamheang only ruled over Ta-li as a governor. Ta-li and the rest of Yunnan was then put under direct control of the Khan. That would not stop the northern Siam tradition of bragging Rama-Kamheang as an Thai monarch of hight merit to intimidate even the Great Khan of China and whose campaign against Angkor, at least by impression, was resulting in freeing the Tai states from Angkor.
The Reign of Rama-kamheang (1283-1298)
Considered by the modern Tai people as their liberator, Rama-kamheang was not of Tai stock from Yunnan. As we had seen, both of his parents had very close relationship weith Angkor. An inscription inscribed in 1292 was an autobiography that provided detail information about his youth and his family (The making of Southeast Asia: The repercution of the Mongol conquests, George Coedes).
My father was named Sri Indraditya. My mother was named Neang Suang. My old brother was named Ban Muang. We were five children born of the same womb: three boys, two girls. My eldest brother died when he was still little.
According to the inscription, Rama-kamheang was the third son of king Indraditya whom we had identified as Prah Ruang. His mother, referred as Neang (Lady) Suang, was undoubtedly the Khmer princess Sikharamahadevi. It was after a victory over Muang Sot that he received his glorified name Rama-kamheang (Rama the Strong).
When I had grown and reached the age of nineteen, khun Sam Chon, chief of Muang Chot came to attack Muang Tak. My father went to fight him from the left. Khun Sam Chon came from the right and attacked in force. My father's people fled and dispersed in complete disorder. I did not flee and climbed on the elephant Anekaphon and drove it in front of my father. I began a duel of elephant with Khun Sam Chon: I smote his elephant named Mat Muang and put it out of the battle. Khun Sam Chon fled. Then my father gave me the name Phra Rama-kamheang because I had smitten the elephant of Khun Sam Chon.
After the death of his father, continues the inscription, Rama-kamheang spent his youghtful time to serve his elder brother, Ban Muang. By now they have expanded their territory through series of battle over neighboring muangs. The inscription of Sokhodaya describes on how he won the battle along with his father, Pho khun Ban Klang Thao.
Pho khun Ban Klang Thao and Pho khun Ban Muang mounted on top of elephants and the Pyas were regrouped and prepared to mount on elephant at once. Once the situation was under control, Pho khun Ban Klang Thao engaged in combat with the Khom Klon Lumphung. Pho Khun Pha Muang send a messenger to the Pho Khun Pha Muang that the Khom Klon Lamphung lost the battle.
After the victory, Rama-Kamheag received the same title Indraditya from his father and became the ruler of Sokhodaya. The inheritance and the reference of Rama-Kamheag also as Prah Ruang in some Siam sources lead to the confusion of identity between the two. About the battle, it is important to note that the other combatant, the Klon of Lamphung, was identified as a Khom who was a ruler of Lamphung. As Khom was often associated as Khmer, many scholars were misled to believe that the battle was the fight that freed Sokhodaya from the Angkorian Empire. In reality, the battle was instead fought against a ruler of Lamphung or Haripangjaya (Klon Lamphung), identified to be of Kambojan (Kam) stock. In back reflection, Khom was a common nationality of both Mon and Khmer during the Kambojan era. After the attack by Suryavarman I, the Khom rulers of Lavo escaped to Haripunjaya and established the northern Mon community. Obviously the battle delivered Sokhodaya to Rama-kamheang at the expense of Haripunjaya that marked the decline of the Mon control of the northern region. The word "Nokor Jum" mentioned in the inscription suggests that Sokhodaya was part of Raktamratika, the forefront of Nokor Siam mentioned in Chinese texts as Sien-lo. Accoroding to the Inscription of Sokhadaya, Rama-kamheag was taking hold of the throne of Sokhodaya only after the death of his second elder brother. It is in agreement with the Yunnan Chronicle that he was also made the Khan's imperial commissary to replace his dead brother named "Touan Tchong".
In winter, at the twelth moon, Tchong died. The Son of Che (Touan Che), A-king, was appointed to be imperial commissary and the military commanding of Chief for Ta-li, kin-tche and other places.
The passage also mentions that the Khorat Plateau (Kin-tche) was at this specific time under Rama-kamheang. It indicates the start of an aggressive policy toward Angkor in close cooperation with the Khan. On his next move, Rama-kamheang led the Tai pact to dismantle the Angkorian Empire.
The Impact on Angkor
In the position of the military cammanding in Chief of Ta-li, Rama-kamheang must to be particularly vigourous in regard to the attack on Angkor. Tai chronicles commemorate his exploit in such way of making believe that he was working on his own account. No mention about the Mongolian involvement in the founding of Sokhadaya was ever made. In contrast, the Yunnan chronicle portrays the relationship totally of a different nature. In a deal with the Mongols, Rama-kamheang was not in equal foothing with the Great Khan. First, the Ruang King that we identified as Rama-kamheang in the Yunnan chronicle was not free to act on his own initiative, but instead was working as a governmental employee for the Mongols. While appointing his own people to take care of all strategic locations, the Great Khan only appointed the Ruang King as a governor of Ta-li. Already under the control of Prah Ruang, Ramahamheang' s father, for a long time, Ta-li was not any more challenging the Great Khan's authority. During earlier attacks, evidences show that the Khan involved as much as he needed the Ruang family in his campaigns against the south. Apparently, Rama-kamhenag's elder brother was death on mission to join the Mongols' s army fighting against Birmany. In the context of connecting the Great Khan's campaign over the Khmer Empire, the Yunnan chronicle never made any mention about Rama-kamheang taking parts with the Mongolian battles against neither Angkor's territory nor Birmany (The Fall of Nokor Thom: The southern escape: The Mongol's last interferencence). The chronicle mentions that during the Mongol attacks on Kin-tche, the Ruang King was sent instead to stablize Kiao-tche (Yunnan). The arrangement indicates clearly that the Great Khan had no plan for Rama-kamheang to be at the forefront against both Pagan and Angkor. It was not because that he did not trust Rama-Kamheang 's capability to carry on the mission, but because of other reasons. It was the need to reserve full control and the collection of booty all for himself. As we shall see, the same strategy was also seen applying to his eastern ally Dai-viet as well. In regard to their joint campaign against Champapura, the Great Khan would not allow Dai-Viet to benefit from the conquest of this strategic location (The Fall of Nokor Thom: The drive toward Angkor: The relationship between the Mongols and Dai-viet). As to the control of the Khorat Plateau and Muang Yang, evidences show that despite all his efforts, the Great Khan had not been completely successful to have a total control of his conquered territories. Nevertheless, he was able to conduct a land campaign, through these Angkorian northen states, at least in one occasion. The campaign was carried on in conjunction with the sea raid conducted from Champapura against Angkor during the reign of Jayavarman VIII (The Fall of Nokor Thom: The last of the Angkorian Court: Jayavarman VIII). While visiting Angkor in 1296, Chou-Ta-Kuan wrote down in his records about the fight with Siam.
In the recent war with the Siamese, all the Khmer people have been obliged to fight, and the country has been entirely destroyed.
The account was not specific about what the war was about and does not mention which country that was entirely destroyed. We know however that it was not Angkor since Chou-Ta-Kuan himself described in different account to be still in good shape. On the other hand, Rama-Kamheang' s list of conquests gave us a clear picture that most territory lost to Siam was mostly in the north about the Khorat Plateau. The Yunnan chronicle moreover gave us information that the rapid expansion of Sokhodaya was mostly done in conjunction to the Mongol southern conquest (The Fall of Nokor Thom: The last of the Angkorian Dynasty: Jayavarman VIII). Dispatched by General Sogatu, the Mongol Army invaded Champa in 1283 and used it as their southern command post to launch campaign against Angkor. Before a Mongolian faction launched a raid deep into Angkor during the reign of Jayavarman VIII, many campaigns were conducted from Yunnan into Angkor's northern territorie of Muang Yang and the Khorat Plateau. Even though faced with many obstacle, these campaigns were extensive enough to disable the Khmer court from any attempts to fight against Sokhodaya and its northern Tai allies. Under these conditions, the Khmer empire was losing one by one its own alliance. On the western front, Ramanadesa was disconnected from Angkor under repeated attack of the Mongols. Thihathu (Sihasura) who, after poisoning his father Narathipate in 1287 and ridding himself of his other brothers, made his move to attack the southern Mon country. The governor of Hamsavati (Pegu) named Tarabya who declared himself independent from Pagan even before its fall to the Mongols, defeated Thihathu and continued to rule Hamsavati. To safeguard his position, he made alliance with the ruler of Martaban who was happened to be Wareru, Rama-Kamheang's son in law.
Of the modern theories relating to the founding of northern Siam Countries, none so far connects theirs early development to the Mongol's incursion of Southeast Asia. The most accepted one was that following the independence of Sokhodaya, these Tai states broke through the Khmer control and established theirs independance. According to the theory, the Tai people regrouped themselve as Tai communities and after chasing out their Khmer masters, became independent. The theory was made appealling with the add-on Tai migration theory, based on the assumption that the Tai people were migrating into Southeast Asia, long before the Mongol invasion of Yunnan. Our study would show instead that Sokhodaya and other Siam countries were formed under the Mongol's initiative during its intense incursion against Angkor.
The Tai Language and Scripture *
According to the chronicle of Maung Noa, Rama-kamheang assigned the task to his scholars for the establishment of a new era when he was 50 years old. If the chronicle is correct, Rama-kamheang must to be born in 1233. We do not know exactly when he ascended the throne of Sokhodaya, but We know that it was after the death of his eleder brother. According to the Yunnan chronicle, the son of Touan Che (Indraditya) named A-king was introduced to the Yuan court by his father and stayed as mandarin in Yunnan (Notes: The reference of A-king). After marrying a Mongolian princess he came back to rule Sokhodaya. The Chinese Emperor also sent a big retinue of Chinese courtesans along with the Chinese princess to become new residents of the Siam court. The Nan-tchao tradition clearly indicates that the Mongols, by rebuilding Nan-tchao under the strict imperial control of the Yuan Dynasty had allowed the new Ruang family to share its control as a governor of Ta-li (Notes: The new Ruang Family of Yunnan). Nevertheless, we had seen control and restriction to be imposed by Kublai on Sokhodaya since the start. The restriction questions very much the purpose of Rama-kamheang' s invention of the Tai scripture first used in his inscriptions (Receuil des inscriptions du Siam, George Coedes).
Heretofore the Tai characters of Tai writing did not exist. In 1205 (1283 AD), the year of the goat, king Rama-kamheang applied all his energy and all his heart to invent these characters of Tai writing, and these characters existed because the king invented them.
Apparently during the Mongolian conquest, the Mongols took care of the military campaigns themselve leaving Rama-Kamheang and other members of the Tai Pact to take over the cultural development of the new conquered territory. In contrast to previous inscrptions found in Dvaravati predominantly inscribed in Mon Language, Rama-Kamheang's inscriptions were the first to use the Tai language. With no other information, we can only speculate that the adoption of both Tai Language and scripture was made for the convenience to Rama-Kamheang 's court of Sokhodaya. Evidences however show that the Sokhodaya's court was still composed of Khmer-mon stocks and it was not to their advantage and to his own if he was not made ruler of the Yunnan country under the Great Khan. Further more, we knew that he was raised in Yunnan perhaps among the Tai tribesmen whom he learned to speak the language. Our assumption was that he recruited many of them to be members of his court and personal entourage and for their accommodation, he implanted the Tai Language to replace the Khmer-mon tongue in the new Tai state of Sokhodaya. Following the example of Rama-Kamheang, Mang-rai and king Gnam Muong also spreaded the Tai language and scripture over their own controlled territories. This cultural underchange was typical of colonization carried on later by modern time European colonists. It was consisting of eliminating native tradition and replaced it with a new form of cultural identity set by the conqueror. The adoption of the Tai language and scripture did not help Rama-Kamheang for the long run, but became a legacy of him to the emerging of Tai nationality later on in history. At the mean time, Rama-Kamheang could at least brag himself as being the sovereign of all the Tais.
Rama-Kamheang is the chief and the sovereign of all the Tais. He is the master who instructs all the Tais so that they know in truth the merits and the law. Among all the men who live in Tai country, one would search in vain for his equal in science and in knowledge, in courage and in endurance, in strength and in energy.
We come to the conclusion that the modern Tai identity was not brought by Tai immigrants from central Asia or China, as generally assumed by Thai scholars. but was in fact the effect of the Mongolian control of Yunnan. It was Rama-Kamheang who, voluntarily or by cohersion, extended the Tai identity and culture into the Siam Country. As we shall see, this policy stayed as it was adopted by other members of the Tai Pact as well. It constituted the late phase of Tai Language differenciation as classified in modern Thai history book (Notes: Geographical representation of Tai Language dispersion). Even though evidences of Tai speakers moving from place to place could not be ignored, we had argued that mass migration of ethnic Tai people that resulted in displacing non-tai speaker natives could not be verified during the Angkorian control of Southeast Asia.
Nokor Sajam as the Progenator of Sokhodaya *
Scholars had been bothered by the fact that northern Siam tradition consistently refers Sokhodaya as Nokor Jum, but had no ideas what it was referring to (SAJAM: History of the Kingdom of the North: P. 64). The word "Jum" or "Sijam" is a Khmer-mon word meaning dard-red and is also referred by the Pali word "Syam".
At that time, the country of Sajum was under the domination of the King of Nokor Kamboja and paid him tribute. It is recalled that Prah Ruang himself went to present his hommages and bring presents to the king of that country.
The passage confirms the Khmer tradition that as part of Lavo, northern Siam countries were part of northwestern cardinal state of Angkor. Prah Ruang who was the adopted son of the commissioner in charge of carrying tribute to Angkor resumed this job himself after his father died. Nevertheless, the next passage contradicted head-on with the Khmer source.
From that moment on, Phra-Ruang not only stop sending tribute to the king of Kamboja, but, at the contrary, forced the latter to recognize his domination. It was at that time that the Sajam took the name of Thai, which mean free.
For a different reason, the Khmer tradition confirms that the Khmer monarch, identified as Indravarman III, by regconizing Prah Ruang as a relative of his, granted him as an independent monarch of the northern Siam countries. The northern Siam chronicle agrees to the fact that It was only after Prah-Ruang formed Sokhodaya that the Sajuam (Siam) country changed its name as Thai, meaning free. Nevertheless, both sources omitt anther important fact that at the time, Prah Ruang or Indraditya had already made a pact with the Great Khan and had been appointed by the latter as the governor of Ta-li. As we had argued, Sokhodaya was then formed under the tutelage of the Mongols and, as we had seen, its Tai identity and legacy was closely connected to the Tartarin Tai-Yuan's root. Playing subordinator to the Great Khan, both Rama-Kamheang and his father were not only detaching Sokhodaya from Angkor, but also fought along side the Mongols against Angkor. Taking Lavo under its control, Sokhodaya expanded its dominion at the expense of the Khmer Empire. Politically and culturally, we had argued that Rama-Kamheang brought many changes to the new Siam Country, of which the Chinese source still referred as Sienlo-lohuk. Demographically, Sokhodaya and many parts of the northern Siam Country were still home of the Mon-khmer people. Like in Cambodia proper, diverse austroasiatic ethnic people were still inhabiting northern Siam. The ethnic Kuay, in particular, still subsists in the Khorat plateau as remnant of the Great Flood's survivors. These ancient tribesmen could be distinguished from later immigrants by their particular life style that could be easily recognized as of Southeast Asian origin. They built their dwelling on stilts in contrast to the new migrants who preferred their dwelling flat on the ground. As we had seen, Rama-Kamheang ' s inscibed own memoir confirms that the Sokhodaya was formed mostly on the ground of the fallen state of Haripangjaya. The inscription moreover indicates that among tribes who rendered homage to him were the Ma, Kao, Lao, the Tai tribes who live under the canopy of heaven, and the river-dwelling Tai of the Nam U and the Mekong river. The ethnic Ma, as we had seen was of Han Chinese by origin settling at Siang-lin (Prey Nokor: The Han expansion: Siang-lin). The ethnic Kao or Kaeo on the other hand constituted the leadership of Yunnanese and Dai-viet and as the Ho, were Mongoloid by origin. The Lao or Lawa were in fact indegenous of Southeast Asia and were originally speaking of Austroasiatic tongue. They constituted in fact the majority of inhabitants of northern Siam countries. They were in fact among the first to receive the Tai Culture through the first wave of Tartarization. Most Lao ethnic groups however, still retained their difference from their Tai compatriotes of northern Vietnam (The Sakadvipa: The Sakan Incursion: King Suvanna Kahamdeng and the Formation of Nararatha). On the other hand, the expression "Tai who live under the canopy of heaven" seams to be a reference to the Tais under the Mongol rulers of the Yuan Dynasty. Apparently Rama-kamheang extended his authority into Southern Yunnan province and the river-dwelling Tai tribes who had rendered him homage were as far as the Mekong River at the border of Luang Prah Bang. Clearly, there is no indication that the ethnic Tai people was concentrated or even lived in Sokhodaya. In the listing, he conveniently ommitted the Khmer-mon stocks who were the original inhabitants of Lavo and Haripangjaya. Clearly, Rama-Kamheang was in the mission to form the Tai state in close subordination to the Great Khan' s colonial order.
The Mongol's Intervention
Under the protection of the Yuan Dynasty, Rama-kamheang had nothing to worry about. The retaliation of his friend Mangrai whose interest was to hold on to the friendship at all cost did not realize. At the contrary, the pact was still maintained even stronger after Rama-kamheang was caught in the act of adultery with the wife of another friend, king Gnam Muang. As inscribed in his inscription, he made claim of a vast extension of Sokhodaya, presumeably at the expense of Angkor and Ramandesa.
He had defeated the throng of his enemies possessing large cities and numerous elephants. In the east he has conquered the country of Saraluang, Song Khwae, Lum, Bachai, Saka as far as the shores of the Mekong, and beyond to Wiangchan and Wiangkham that make the border. In the south, he has conquered the country of Khonthi, Phraek, Suphannaphum, Ratburi, Phetchaburi, Sri Thammarat, up to the sea that marks the border. In the west, he has conquered the country up to Muang Chot, Hongsawati, and up to the sea that make the border. In the north, he has conquered the country up to Muang Phlae, Muang Man, Muang Phlua, and from the other side of the Mekong up to Muang Chwea, which marks the border. He has established and maintained all inhabitants of these countries in the observance of the law, without exception.
(The early Siam in Burma history, Luce)
His conquests to the east extended as far as the shores of Mekong up to Luang Prah Bang (Muang Chwea). It is interesting to note that Muang Chwea was left from the control of Rama-kamheang obviously because it was part of Champapura and was under the control of the Great Khan himself. Also left out is the Khorat Plateau or Nokor Raja Sima where evidences show that, despite the Great Khan's effort, this ancient part of Angkorian northern cardinal state was never been completely subdued (The Fall of Nokor Thom: The Mongols targeted Angkor: The Mongols took control of Rajapati). In the Menam Valley, the inscription claims that the conquest continued down south to the Malay Peninsular. The Siam tradition recounted the story of Makatho, a merchant at Donwun (near Thaton) entering the service of Rama-kamheang at Sokhodaya. He became soon the governor of the palace. During an absence of the king, he seduced one of the king's daughters and the two fled in 1281, to Martaban where he managed to rid off the Raman governor named Aleimma and took his place. He got the investiture from Rama-kamheang who obviously pardoned him and gave him the title of Chao Fa Rue known as Wareru in Burmese tradition. Through the exploit of Chao Fa Rue, Sokhodaya extended its expansion down south to Phetchaburi (The Crystal sands: The Chronicles of Nagara Sri Dhammaraja, David K. Wyatt).
In the year 1196, a ruler named Brah Sri Sainaran came from the west. His queen was named neang Candradevi. His younger brother was named chau Dharmakrasatriya. He became ruler of moan Nagara Sri Dhrmaraja. The Sihinga [Buddha image] was enshrined in the reliquary for seven days, and then departed moung Nagara for moung Jianghmai.
The event was happening in 1256 AD during the high threshold of Rama-kamheang's conquest. It is interesting to note about the Sihinga Buddha image being brought from Sri Dharmaraja to Xiang-mai by Brah Sri Sainaran (Notes: The Sihinga Buddha image). The title Sainaranga (Sri-Nara-anga) was related to the Ruong Dynasty but might not refer to Rama-kamheang himself since he was mentioned to come from the west. We shall see that it was Wareru who according to chronicle of Sri Dhammaraja came from the west (Martaban) to take control over Sri Dhamaraja. The Chinese text Tao-I Chih-lioh compiled by Wang-ta-yuan provides additional state affair conducted under Wareru.
The people of [Sien] are much given to piracy. In recent years they came with seventy odd junks and raided Tan-ma-shi and attack the city moat. (The town) resisted for a month, the place having closed its gates and defending itself, and they didn't dare to assault it. (ISSA: The Malay Peninsula and Sumatra: The spread of Islam)
The same author also mentions that other cities were also raided; among them were the states of Ting-chia-lu, Peng-heng (Pahang), Chi-lan-tan (Kelantan), Tan-ma-ling (Tambralinga) and Lung-ya-his-chiao (Langkasuka) and various other islands. These raids however did not result in placing Sri Dhammaraja under the control of Wareru, and were stopped after the warning from the Yuan dynasty. The warning obviously did not apply to the western front where he planned his next move; this time it was not an invasion but a maneuver that took advantage from the unstable internal politic of Hamsavati (Pegu). Makatho or Wareru, the Siamese chief at Martaban, reached out to Tarabya by sending his own daughter for marriage. On the reverse side, he received Tarabia's daughter in exchange. After conflicts broke out between the two, Wareru subdued Tarabya and became the ruler of Pegu. While residing at Martaban, he was assassinated by his own grandsons who were related to Tarabya through the daughter that he married.
Approximitely two years before the trip of Chou-Ta-Kuan in 1296, Angkor already fell into the Mongolian spell. A military coup carried on by the son-in-law of Jayavarman VIII who later ascended the Angkorian throne under the crown name of Srindravarman, ended the last the last lineage of the Angkorian monarch. The fall of Angkor had serious impact on Sokhodaya. Never again the Tai pact was needed. For what happened next, only the Khan knew of what he had in mind. Nevertheless, indications show that a plan was under way to set Sokhodaya as a new command post for the the Yuan Dynasty. For a specific reason, the Great Khan's new strategy left out Rama-kamheang on the sideline.
The End of Rama-kamheang *
Strategically, it is well known that the Great Khan would keep any new controlled territory of high strategic importance, especially the one that yielded potentially high booty, under his own control. Rama-kamheang would find-out that the great Khan decision to keep Angkor and the rest of Southeast Asian affair under his direct control, rather than leaving it to his ally. In addition, the cooperation of the court of Pagan, through king Ngam Muang of Piao, appears to render him better services than the governor of Ta-li. The measures obviously undermined the cooperation of the latter as evidences show that Rama-kamheang, by being too assertive for his own account, had aggravated his case with Kublai Khan. The clash with the Mongol interference was seen when Sokhodaya had prepared for the final conquest of the Malayu Peninsula around 1294. By the time, the Great Khan had already made a pact with the Javanese court of Sri Kritanagara to take control of the south (The Fall of Nokor Thom: The Southern escape: The Kingdom of Singhasri). As we had argued, it was designed to stop the Khmer refugee court from moving deeper into the Malay Peninsular. Apparently, the deal left Sokhodaya on the sideline and protesting. the history of the Yuan mentions that Siam then sent an envoy to the Chinese court in 1295. The record mentions that the Siam delegate received a gold tablet as token of friendship, but returned with an imperial order to leave Sri Vijaya free from any Siam' s intervention.
Since the people of Sien and of Malayu have long been killing each other and are all in submission at this moment, an imperial order has been issued telling the people of Sien: do not harm the Malayu and hold to your promise.
Another petition sent by the ruler of Siam to the Mongol court was recorded in the history of the Yuan in 1299. The request was received and was soon replied with partial refusal. It is important to note that Angkor under Srindravarman already pledged allegiance to the Great Khan (The Fall of Nokor Thom: The impact on Angkor: Srindravarman). It was not for the great Khan's interest to relegate the control of the south any more so to Rama-kamheang who in vain tried to resuscitate the past favor.
The king of Sien presented a petition to the throne stating that, when his father was on the throne, the court had granted him a gift of white horses with saddles and bridles and vestments of gold thread. He requested that the same be granted to him in conformity with this precedent.
Obviously, Rama-kamheang was claiming a special recognition from the great Khan that was granted to his father, Prah Ruang, in the past. Now at odd with the Yuan dynasty, Rama-kamheang appeared to revoke that ancient accord that was long before settled with the Mongols by his late father. Since the wind was blowing in different direction, the request was of course denied and the worst of his fate was still to come. In 1313, according to the history of Martaban, the successor of Wareru received from Phra Ruang (Rama-Kamheang), the title of Ramapratishta. His agression over the south was obviously alianeting against the Great Khan's own plan of resucitating back the ancient Sri Vijaya as part of the Yuan empire. It was the last time that Rama-kamheang was ever mentioned again in the Siam Tradition. Apparently, his attempt to interfere in favor of his son-in-law upset the Great Khan to the point of breaking off completely their mutual relationship. In the Mongol's own records, Maharaja with the family name of Ruang (Toun) was then stripped of power from the Ta-li court indicating that Rama-Kamheang' association with the Great Khan as an ally had came to an adrupt end (BEFEO IV: Deux Itineraires de Chine en Inde a la fin du VIIe Sciecle, page 164, Paul Pellio). Consistent with the Mongolian source, Ramakamheng was then excommunicated and the cut was always crual according to the Tartaric rule. It might explain the obscurity of the end of his life. On the last part of Rama-kamheang' reign, the Northern Siam's tradition simply says that Prah Ruang disappeared into a river stream (Notes: The End of Prah Ruang). Some other sources even posited that he went back into the naga kingdom where his mother resided. As we know that his mother was a Khmer princess, the myth might indicate a political shift toward Angkor that changed the course of the Sokhodaya' s court for good.
The Reign of King Sucharat (1298--1346) *
According to northern Siamese source, the prince Sucha-kumar who was Rama-kamheang's son with the Mongolian Queen took the throne of Sokhodaya after his father's disappearance (SAJAM: History of the Kingdom of the North: P. 66). From the same source, we know that he received all the support of the Yuan court of China. His reign might have been part of Kublai' s campaign to set Northern Siam country to become a vassal of China under the control of his grand-son. After the withdrawal of Key Mogolian government from Yunnan, preparation was under way to set Sokhodaya as the new command post toreplace Yunnan. King Sucharat was obviously comissioned to build Sokhodaya into becoming a military powerhouse of the region. To prevent possible attacks, he sent request to his grand father to help him fortifying the city.
He sent ambassadors to his grand father in China, asking him at least six employees capable to make the canons. The king of China was glad to receive the envoy of his grand-son and provided what he asked for. From these helps, Phaja-Sucharat made 120 Big canons and 500 small canons.
It is important to note that canons were rare military commodities for Southeast Asian armies at the time. With those canons installed, King Sucharat could never fell unsecure of the lack of external support. Any contender of his would need to think twice before challenging his suzerainty. Nevertheless, the support that he received from the the Chinese court appeared to give him little confort. The worry might have been connected to the absence of his father for the blessing and the troubles of war that continued on after he took the throne of Sokhodaya. We shall see that not before long his reign would be challenged by other family member of the Ruang family. According to the Siam tradition, the challenge came first from a contemporary King named Thama-Tri-Pidak who was probably no other than a son of Rama-kamheang from a different mother. When the King Thama-Tri-Pidak brought his troops to assault Sajjanalaya, King Sucharat sent a message to the king of Xiang-mai for help but the latter had just died. His son, Phromavati, who succeeded his father came to help. It is important to note that the Xiang-mai court, since the reign of king Mang-rai, still remained faithful to the Tai pact. During the fighting, a hight priest by the name of Phra-Putha-kosa interfered and both sides agreed for a peace deal. Realizing that the aggressor was more interested in his daughter than his throne, king Sucharat then agreed to hand her over to him. King Thomma-Tri-bidak then left Sokhodaya in peace and went back to his country along with the princess (Notes: The country of king Thama-Tri-Pidak). He had two sons from her, one was named Kraison, the other was named Xat-Sakhon. He built the city of Phitsanulok and crowned Chao Kraison as king of Lopburi. We shall identify him as no other than the next king of Sokhodaya named Sri Dhammaraja who conducted a campaign to claim back the Sokhodaya' s throne for himself. If our assumption is corrected, the Lao King Thomma-Tri-bidak was then no other than the king Brana Luadayaraja as referred later in his son's incription of Nokor Jum. It is interesting to note about the title "Thomma-Tri-bidak" that was going to be become the next title of "Dharmaraja", which was actually a Sri Vijayan legacy. Nevertheless, evidences show that he was satisfied with the arrangement with King Sucharat and agreed to carry on the Tai pact. He bore the Tai title of "Luadayaraja" and his son Kraison would also bore the title of "Ladayaraja". He also crowned his other son named Xat-Sakhon as the king of Xiang-rai. At the mean time, we knew that king Thama-Trai-Pidak was reigning at Phitsanulok where the last Mon court took refuge after Haripangjaya was overran by king Mang-rai (The Lanna State: The Mongolian Connection: The Conquest of Haripangjaya). As we shall see, another important event had also taking place during this time that would affect the future of Sokhodaya. The Xiang-mai chronicle moreover referred the ruler of both Xiang-mai and Xiang Saen as king Kam-fu who was descended from the Lanna king Mang-rai. Led by King Kam-fu' s attack on the Kaeo court of Nan, Ayudhya was formed to challenge the suzerainty of both Sokhodaya and the new Khmer court at Angkor (The Lanna State: The establishment of Lanna: The conflict with the Kaeo King of Nan).
The Reign of King Ladayaraja (1347-1368) *
Rama-kamheang obviously left many descendants and court members who retained strong Tai legacy from his Mongolian consort. They were forming the Tai core of Sokhodaya' s court under the reigning king Sucharat. Evidences show that he left no less of non-Tai legacy outside Sokhodaya also. The emergence of the next Siam ruler to challenge king Sucharat appeared to be one of the members of the new Khmer-mon consortium that was formed to uproot the Tai court of Sokhodaya. The Inscription of Prey Svay (Mango's forest) tells us that the Siam King Ladayaraja, the ruler of Sajjanalaya, brought his troops to challenge the court of Sokhodaya.
In saka 1269 (1347 AD), the year of the pig, Prah Pad Kamratem An Ladayaraja, the grand son of Prah Pad Kamraten An Sri Ramaraja, at Sajjanalaya organized an army at the eighth month, the fifth day of the rising moon and marched toward Sokhodaya and arrived at the full moon. >(BEFEO 65: Inscription de Prey Svay (Sokhodaya), Saveros Pou)
He was mentioned in the inscription as the grand-son of Ramaraja whom we shall identify as no other than Ramakamheang himself. On the other hand, the inscription of Nokor Jum (Journal of Siam Society: JSS V 12-14 1918: L'Inscrption de Nagara Jum: bt G. Coedes) referred him as a son of Luadayaraja. During the Reign of King Sucharat, King Thama-TraiPidaka who must then be king Luadayaraja, father of Ladaya went also attacking Sokodaya. From these findings we have the reason to believe that LaDaya who was actually the son named Kraison of king Thomma-Tri-bidak (Luadayaraja) came to claim the Sokhodaya' s throne for himself. It is interesting that his title "Ladayaraja" as well as of his father "Luadayaraja" was ending in "Daya" of which modern scholars referred as "Thai". We had no idea that this reference had its source for "Daya Desa" that was in common with the Mongolian tradition of using "Daya" incorporated in their title. Judging from the fact that the practice was restricted to close family members of Cambodian lineage of the Khmer King Udayaditiavarman, also known in Khmer tradition as Udayaraja, we believe that the title was not of Thai origin. He was better known later in Siamese source as king Mahadharmaraja. His strong connection with the court of Lavo where Khmer' s legacy was well known during the Angkorian era might explain his personal policy in regard to the Tai pact. Like his father had done before, he was waiting for the auspicious moment to launch the campaign against the court of king Sucharat. When the late king "Prah Pad Kamraten An Harideva-Jaya-Jeta" fell sick, he raised an army and stormed the palace to ward off the rightful heir, mentioned in the inscription as his brother (cousin ?), who was undoubtedly a son of King Sucharat. According to the inscription of Prey Svay, the campaign was carefully planned and was perfectly executed.
Encircling the city, the troops entered into the city by all gates and put down all resistance, killing all chief principals of the city. He ascended the throne and ruled the kingdom of Sokhodaya with wisdom and glory, following the tradition of his father and ancestors. After restoring the order and confidence of the court, the king went on ruling both Srisajjanalay and Sokhodaya for 22 years. (BEFEO 65: Inscription de Prey Svay (Sokhodaya), Saveros Pou)
As mentioned in the passage, the campaign was succesful. In 1347, Ladayraja proclaimed himself king of Sokhodaya under the name of Sri Suryavamsa Rama Mahadhammarajadhiraja. His royal title "Sri Suryavamsa" reflects his claim to the Surya's lineage of the Angkorian court throught his great grand father Indraditya or Prah Ruang. On the other hand, the title "Rajadhiraja" was well known to be an Angkorian title for a cakravatin monarch. Holding on to the title implicates his high ambition to form a cakravatin empire of his own and became the leader of the new Buddhist consortium. It explains his interference in the safeguarding of the fallen court of Haripangjaya and establishing it later at Anggkor. We shall see that during the fall of Haripangjaya and Lampang under the attack of King Mangrai, the displaced court of King Yiba was allowed to take refuge at Pitsanoloka, obviously under his protection (Lanna: The Mongolian Connection: The conquest of Haripunjaya). The rest of the inscription commemorated the religious deed of the king in organizing numerous tributes to the Buddhist monastery of Prey Svay. It also conveyed the visit of the high-ranking monk (Sangharaja) from Langka to help establishing the Buddhist Sangha in the new country. The inscription that was written entirely in Khmer language reveals the background of Ladaya in close connection with the Khmer tradition of the Lavo court. The text was inscribed in the traditional Angkorian style, using ancient Khmer titles such as "Kamaratem" and "Rajadhiraja". His reign marked the return back of the Angkorian art in the construction of brique monument, left as legacy of Sokhodaya after the end of the Mongolian interference.

  1. ISSA: The Indianized States of Southeast Asia, by G. Coedes
  2. CKHI: The Chonicle of Khmer heroes Part I, by Sot Eng
  3. CMC: The Chiang Mai Chronicle, Translated by David K. Wyatt and Aroonrut Wichienkeeo
  4. LAOS:History of Laos, Maha Sila Viravong, Translated by the U.S. Joint Publications research Service
  5. ESBH: BEFEO 28: The early Syam in Burma's History, by G.H. Luce
  6. RPNK: The Royal Pangsavadra of Nokor Khmer, by M. Tranet
  7. NCHAO: Histoire particuliere du Nan-tchao, by Yang Chen, Translated by Camille Sainson
  8. CNSD: The Christal Sands: the chronicles of Nagara Sri Dharmaraja, Translated by David K. Wyatt
  9. SAJAM: Royaume Thai ou Siam, by Mr Pallegoix
  10. THAI: Thailand: A short History, by David K Wyatt
  1. Chronology
    1225-1282: The reign of Prah Ruang (Indraditya); 1233: Probable birth of Rama-kamheang; 1253: Kublai's conquest of Ta-li; 1262-1282: The reign of King Intraditya (Prah Ruang); 1273: Mongols requested Pagan to submit; 1277: Pagan attacked the state of Golden Teeth; 1280: Kublai Khan conquested China and founded the Yuan Dynasty; 1281: Wareru settled at Martaban; 1283: Mongols's attack on Pagan; 1282-1298: The reign of Rama-Kamheang; 1283: Tai's script was invented; 1283: Mongols invaded Champapura; 1287: Fall of Pagan; 1289: The ascention of Kyozwa II at Pagan; 1292: The inscription of Sokhodaya was inscribed; 1294: Rama-kamheang invaded Sri Vijaya; 1295: Rama-kamheang received warning from China; 1296: Chou-Ta-Kuan visited Angkor; 1298: Last record of Rama-kamheang (more likely his death); 1298-1346: The reign of King ucharat; 1303: Mongols' withdraw from Kin-tche; 1347-1368: The reign of King Ladayaraja.
  2. Prah Ruang and the Trip to China
    It is said in the history of muang Nua that Phra-ruang had made his trip to China to look for his queen. Along with his brother Ritthi-Kuman, they took a boat and sailed to the coast of China. The Chinese Monarch was convinced that the two Siam Kings were fulfilling an ancient prophecy that one of them would become the soverain of the whole continent and would establish his own era to replace Buddha's era. (SAJAM )
  3. The Dai Movement Southward
    Of the Tai migration' s theory, the following Luke' s comment gave uas another perspective from other views. And since the earlier period, say 1250 to 1450 A.D., is the time of the mass movement of the Dai southward from Western Yunnan, radiating all over India and beyond, the subject is one, I think that concerns Siam no less than Burma. (ESBH: P. 1)
    In his comment, Luke's choice of word "mass movement" might refer to a mass migration of Tai population into northern Siam countries. While evidences show that the Miao-Yao stocks were actually migrating from Southern China, there are no evidences whatsoever that the Tai speaking people were among them. In a stricter sense it was only referring to a substantially Tai cultural transfer during the Mongol's incursion.
  4. The Reference of A-king
    A-king was likely a Mongolian title given the elder brother of Rama-Kamheang. Considering that the title ending with "Daya" was used later to refer Sri Dharmaraja as Ladaya and his father as Luadayaraja, we believe that A-king was actually Adayaraja.
  5. The Ruang Family of Yunnan
    In regard to the Ruang Family ruling over Ta-li, the advent of King Cuang invading the Kaeo country to the Mongol incursion of the Nan-tchao chronicle has the following quote (NCHAO: Hing-tche: P.112):
    We note that the kingdom of Ta-li posterior, under the government of the family Ruang, from Touan Tcheng-chouen recovered the kingdom, the 3th year Chao-cheng of Tcho-tsong of Song, year Ping-tseu (1096), until the 1st year pao-yeou of Li-tsong of the Southern Song, year Kouei-tcheou (1253) counted eight consecutive reigns, during altogether 157 years.
    The family was composed of the Kaeo kings who, in the verge of the Mongol's incursion, fought against theirs settlement in Yunnan and was destroyed in the process by the imperial power. The last king Hing-tche of the family left his throne to Tousn Che, who according to the history of Nan-tchao, would constitute a new line of the Ruang family at Nan-tchao.
  6. The joint Campaigns against Angkor
    The incidence was noted by the Lao Tradition to happen even before the fall of Pagan in 1283 (LAOS: The Lan-xang Kingdom: The reign of Chao Fah-Ngum).
    The king of Sokhothai, the then capital city of the Thai Kingdom, which used to be under the control of the Khmer kingdom, had renounced his dependence to the Khmer Kingdom. Successive acts of dissidence occurred during the reign of Khun Pha-Muang and Khun Bang-Kang-Thao, the ruler of Muong Ban-Yang, in the year 1227.
    With the support of the Great Khan, Rama-kamheang then took the opportunity to benefit himself at the expense of Angkor.
    Later, in the year 1282, King Khun Ramkamhaeng of SokhoThai had further extended the limit of the Thai kingdom itself in the east, from Muong Sra-luang or Muong Nong-Han down to Muong Roi-et and Khorat.
  7. The new Ruang Family of Yunnan
    The next phase of Nan-tchao's history, from the Mongol taking over in 1253, as best summarized by G.H. Luce, marked the emergence of another line of the Ruang family started by Hsin-chu-jih (ESBH: P. 127).
    After Kublai' s conquest of Ta-li in 1253, he executed the Kao ministers and put a Tuan family member named Hsin-chu-jih in power to retain his title as maharaja. He rose high in the Mongol ranking and played an important part on the Burma frontier. He died in 1282, "having ruled Ta-li for altogether 23 years," from about 1259 onwards.
    The chronology places Touan Che of the passage in the same time-frame of Indraditya. More passages on his successors, especially of the next Ruang King of Yuan-nan, seams to indicate that the Ruang family of Nan-tchao was no other Prah Ruang's family of Sokhodaya.
  8. Geographical representation of Tai Language Dispersion
    Hypothetical reconstruction of the differentiation of the Tai language by the eight century AD:
    I Northern Group, ancestor of the Chuang, etc
    II Upland Tai Groups, ancestor of Black, Red White Tai
    III Siang Kwang group, anscestor of Central Thai (Siamese)
    IV Lao Groups, ancestor of Lao and Sokhothai Languge
    V Western group, ancestor of Shan, Ahom, Lu etc. language
    (THAI: The Tai Village and Muang: P. 11)
  9. This Sihinga Buddha
    Sri Sainaran moved the Sihinga Buddha image from Sri Dharmaraja to Chiangmai. This Sihinga Buddha mentioned here is the same as the Buddha image of Adyudhya known as the Emarald Buddha. The Buddha image was brought back later to Ayudhya from Xiang-mai. This Sihinga Buddha might not be the same as the Emarald Buddha that was still residing at Angkor.
  10. The End of Prah Ruang
    So far, only the Northern Siam tradition has an account about the end of Rama-kamheang and as usual, is full of myth.
    Having called his son, Sucha-kuman, he said to him: My son! I am going to take a bath in the river, I would not come back here anymore; take the government of the kingdom. The prince took the paroles of his father as a joke; but Phra-Ruang jumped into the water and disappeared for good. Since he was the son of a Naga, people pretended that he went to reign in the underground kingdom of his mother for the rest of his life. (SAJAM: History of the Kingdom of the North: P. 66)
    The prince Sucha-kumar who was Rama-kamheang's son with the Mongolian Queen took the throne of his father.
  11. The country of king Thama-Tri-Pidak
    The Siam chronicle did not clearly mentioned what country that king Thama-Tri-Pidak reigned. However, the chronicle mentioned of Xiang Saen as the place that he went bavk with the princess. This association however creates a conflict with the Xiang-mai 's chronicle, which refers that Xiang Saen was under the rule of King Kam-fu (1328-1345). At the time, King Kam-fu was also reinging over Xiang-mai, from which King Sucha-kuma went to ask for help during the attack by king Thama-Tri-Pidak.