Ayutthaya Travel Guide - Thailand Ancient City

Introduction To Ayutthaya, Thailand

Founded by King U Thong (later crowned Ramathibodi) in 1368, Ayutthaya rapidly gained power and, after absorbing Sukhothai, remained the heart of the Thai state for the next 400 years, exercising control over virtually all Thai territory except the North.

War With Burma And Naresuan The Great

After territorial expansion in the 15th century, the 1500s witnessed a succession of wars, mainly against Burma, which defeated Ayutthaya in 1569. Only 15 years later, however, King Naresuan the Great not only defeated the Burmese but also succeeded in pushing his national borders even further than before.

Ayutthaya's Golden Age

Ayutthaya's glory peaked in the 17th century, most spectacularly during the reign of King Narai the Great (1656-88). Aided by his colorful first minister, a wily Greek known as Phaulkon, he attempted an alliance with the French, but was ultimately defeated by conservative elements at court who compounded international intrigues of Byzantine complexity. He was lucky to die a natural death. The French were unceremouniously expelled from the country.

The Fall Of Ayutthaya

In 1767 that perennial enemy, Burma, made an all out attack and after a lengthy siege captured Ayutthaya, systematically looted it, killed or took off into slavery all but 10,000 inhabitants and razed the city. Ferocious though this attack was, the invaders were unable to consolidate territorial gains.

The Thais quickly rallied under General Taksin, who had established a resistance base at Thonburi on the opposite bank of the Chao Phraya River from Bangkok. Before the close of the year that had seen the destruction of Ayutthaya, he had established a new capital, Thonburi, had been crowned king and had begun to reunite the people.

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