Posts Tagged ‘Ayutthaya’

Brief Introduction to Tai Kingdoms

August 14, 2008
Sukhothai ruins

Sukhothai ruins

The Tai people were moving southwards into Laos and Thailand from northwest China, probably being squeezed out by the Chinese Han people. They had mastered upland rice agriculture so they started to settle in the northern hill country of both these lands. This was a fairly recent migration and we don’t really pick up their story much until the 11th. Century and the Sukhothai Kingdom.

By the 12th. Century we see the movement of Tais further south and the founding of what would be the Thai kingdom’s capital of Ayutthaya. The ethnic groups which would have been there originally were Mons and Khmers but we can suspect there was quite heavy Tai integration with these peoples.

Ayutthaya was destroyed by the Burmese in 1767 and the capital of Siam moved south, first to Thonburi and later to Bangkok. The southern movement of the Tais into the central plains of Thailand was probably supported by their ability to farm rice in these lowlands. Irrigation and drainage became the tools of the Tais as they bought more land into cultivation and this can be seen at Ayutthaya and even more so in the Bangkok area.


Farangs in Thailand

April 3, 2008

Westerners in Thailand are usually called farangs. Because Thailand was never colonized the mixture of Western nationalities is quite broad. The most famous farang in the Ayutthaya period was a Greek. Today some of the Bangkok trading companies can chase their origins to Swedish or Danish founders.

 Also during this period the two great trading nationalities were the Portuguese and the Dutch. Later it would be the British and the French. The Dutch built a trading post at the mouth of the Chao Phraya river on the west bank of what is now Samut Prakan. Close to where the Phra Samut Chedi is now was the Dutch Town.

 There are no remains or ruins now. The river has changed its course numerous times and the Dutch Town was probably not much more than trading post behind a wood stockade, not much different to the US Cavalry outposts in the Wild West.