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Ayutthaya kingdom

The city of Ayutthaya was located on a small island, encircled by three rivers. Due to its superior location, Ayutthaya quickly became powerful, politically and economically. Ayutthaya had different, various names ranging from 'Ayothaya', derived from Ayodhya, an Indian holy city,'Krung Thep', 'Phra Nakorn' and 'Dvaravati'.

Siamese embassy to Louis XIV in 1686, by Jacques Vigouroux DuplessisThe city of Ayutthaya was located on a small island, encircled by three rivers. Due to its superior location, Ayutthaya quickly became powerful, politically and economically. Ayutthaya had different, various names ranging from 'Ayothaya', derived from Ayodhya, an Indian holy city,'Krung Thep', 'Phra Nakorn' and 'Dvaravati'.

The first ruler of the Kingdom of Ayutthaya, King Ramathibodi I (ruled 1351 to 1369), made two important contributions to Thai history: the establishment and promotion of Theravada Buddhism as the official religion ? to differentiate his kingdom from the neighbouring Hindu kingdom of Angkor ? and the compilation of the Dharmashastra, a legal code based on Hindu sources and traditional Thai custom. The Dharmashastra remained a tool of Thai law until late in the 19th century. In the 417 years of existence, the Ayutthaya kingdom was frequently plagued by internal fighting but this did not prevent its rise as a major power on mainland Southeast Asia.

Ayutthaya's culture and traditions became the model for the next period in Thai history, the Bangkok based Rattanakosin Kingdom of the Chakri Dynasty.

Beginning with arrival of Portuguese ambassador Duarte Fernandes in 1511, Ayutthaya, known to the Europeans as 'Kingdom of Siam', came into contact with the West during the 16th century. It became one of the most prosperous cities in East Asia. According to George Modelski, Ayutthaya is estimated to have been the largest city in the world in 1700 CE, with a population of around 1 million.[4] Trade flourished with the Dutch and French among the most active foreigners in the kingdom together with the Chinese and Japanese.

The Ayutthaya period is known as "Golden age of medicine in Thailand" due to progress in the field of medicine at that time.

Ayutthaya in the 17th centuryAyutthaya expanded its sphere of influence over a considerable area, ranging from the Islamic states on the Malay Peninsula, the Andaman ports of present day Myanmar, the Ankhor kingdom of Cambodia, to states in northern Thailand. In the 18th century, the power of the Ayutthaya Kingdom gradually declined as fighting between princes and officials plagued its political arena. Outlying principalities became more and more independent, ignoring the capital's orders and decrees.

In the 18th century, the last phase of the kingdom arrived. The Burmese, who had taken control of Lanna and had also unified their kingdom under the powerful Konbaung Dynasty, launched several blows against Ayutthaya in the 1750s and 1760s. Finally, in 1767, after several months of siege, the Burmese broke through Ayutthaya's walls, sacked the city and burned it down. The royal family fled the city and Ayutthaya's last king Ekkathat died of starvation ten days later while in hiding. The Ayutthaya royal line had been extinguished. Overall there had been 33 kings in this period, including an unofficial king.

Five dynasties ruled the Ayutthaya Kingdom:

  1. U-Thong Dynasty which consisting of 3 kings
  2. Suphanabhumi Dynasty consisting of 13 kings
  3. Sukhothai Dynasty consisting of 7 kings
  4. Prasart Thong (Golden Palace) Dynasty consisting of 4 kings
  5. Bann Plu Dynasty consisting of 6 kings

 

 
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