The kingdom of Thailand

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Sukhothai

The Kingdom of Sukhothai was an early kingdom in the area around the city Sukhothai, in north central Thailand. The Kingdom existed from 1238until 1438. The old capital, now 12 km outside Sukhothai in Tambon Mueang Kao, is in ruins and has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage

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Geography

Sukhothai is in the valley of the Yom River in the lower north of Thailand. The provincial capital, Sukhothai Thani is 427 kilometres (265 mi) north of Bangkok and 300 kilometres (190 mi) south of Chiang Mai. The province covers some 6,596 square kilometres (2,547 sq mi).

The Khao Luang Mountain Range, with its four main peaks: Khao Phu Kha, Khao Phra Mae Ya, Khao Chedi, and Pha Narai, lies within the Ramkhamhaeng National Park in the south of the province.

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King Ram Khamhaeng

 

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Ram Khamhaeng was a son of Pho Khun Bang Klang Hao, who ruled as Pho Khun Silnthrathit, and his queen, Sueang, though folk legend claims his real parents were an ogrees named Kangli and a fisherman.:23 He had two brothers and two sisters. The eldest brother died while very young. The second, Ban Mueang, became king following their father’s death, and was succeeded by Ram Khamhaeng on his own death.

At age 19, he participated in his father’s successful invasion of the city of Sukhothai, formerly a vassal of the Khmer, establishing the independent Sukhothai Kingdom. Due to his courage in the war, he allegedly was given the title “PhraRam Khamhaeng” or “Rama the Bold”.:196 After his father’s death, his brother Ban Mueang ruled the kingdom, assigning Ram Khamhaeng control of the city of Si Satchanalai.

 

 

The Royal Institute of Thailand speculates that Ram Khamhaeng’s birth name was “Ram” (derived from Rama, the name of the hero of the Hindu epic Rayamana), for his name following his coronation was “Pho Khun Ramarat” (Thai: พ่อขุนรามราช). Furthermore, the tradition at the time was to give the name of a grandfather to a grandson; according to the 11th Stone Inscription and Luang Prasoet Aksoranit’s Ayutthaya Chronicles, Ram Khamhaeng had a grandson named “Phraya Ram”, and two grandsons of Phraya Ram were named “Phraya Ban Mueang” and “Phraya Ram”.

In English, an alternate spelling of his name is Ramkhamhaeng. The title Maharat (Thai: มหาราช) is the Thai translation of “the Great”.

King Ramkhamaeng also create Thai alphabet.

History

Liberation from Lavo

Prior to the 13th century, Tai kingdoms had existed in the northern highlands including the Ngoenyang Kingdom of the Tai Yuan people(centred on Chiang Sean and the predecessor of the Lan Na), and the Heokam Kingdom of the Tai Lue people (centred on Chiang Hung (today Jinghong in China). Sukhothai had been a trade centre and part of Lavo(present day Lopburi), which was under the domination of the Khmer Empire. The migration of Tai people into the upper Chao Phraya valley was somewhat gradual.

 

Modern historians stated that the secession of Sukhothai (also spelled Sukhodaya) from the Khmer empire began as early as 1180during the reign of Pho Khun Sri Naw Namthom who was the ruler of Sukhothai and the peripheral city of Si Satchanalai(now a part of Sukhothai Province as Is Satchanalai District). Sukhothai had enjoyed a substantial autonomy until it was reconquered around 1180 by the Mon people of Lavo under Khomsabad Khlonlampong.

Two friends, Pho Khun Bangklanghao and Pho Khun Pho Mueang revolted against the Khmer Empire governor of Sukhothai.:195–196 Khun, before becoming a Thai feudal title, was a Tai title for a ruler of a fortified town and its surrounding villages, together called a mueang; in older usage prefixed by pho (พ่อ) “father”,] (comparable in sound and meaning to rural English Paw). Bangklanghao ruled Sukhothai as Sri Indraditya– and began the Phra Ruang Dynasty—he expanded his primordial kingdom to the bordering cities. At the end of his reign in 1257, the Sukhothai kingdom covered the entire upper valley of the Chao Phraya River(then known simply as แม่น้ำ (mae nam, ‘mother of waters’), the generic Thai name for rivers.)

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Traditional Thai historians considered the foundation of the Sukhothai Kingdom as the beginning of their nation because little was known about the kingdoms prior to Sukhothai. Modern historical studies demonstrate that Thai history began before Sukhothai. Yet the foundation of Sukhothai is still a celebrated event.

 

Expansions under Ramkamhaeng

Pho Khun  Ban Mango and his brother Ram khamhaeng  expanded the Sukhothai kingdom. To the south, Ramkamhaeng subjugated the kingdom of Supannabhum and Sri Thamnakorn (Tambralinga) and, through Tambralinga, adopted Theravada as state religion. Traditional history described the extension of Sukhothai in a great fashion and the accuracy of these claims is disputed. To the north, Ramkamhaeng put Phrae and Muang Sua (Luang Prabang) under tribute.

To the west, Ramkhamhaeng helped the Mons under Wareru(who is said to have eloped with Ramkamhaeng’s daughter) to free themselves from Pagan control and established a kingdom at Martaban(they later moved to Pegu). So, Thai historians considered the Kingdom of Martaban a Sukhothai tributary. However, in practice, such Sukhothai domination may not have extended that far.

With regard to culture, Ramkhamhaeng requested the monks from Sri Thamnakorn to propagate the Theravada religion in Sukhothai. In 1283, the Thai script was invented by Ramkamhaeng, formulating into the controversial Ramkamhaeng Stele discovered by Mongkut 600 years later.

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It was also this time that the first relation with Yuan dynasty was formulated and Sukhothai began sending trade missions to China. The well-known exported good of Sukhothai was the Sangkalok (Song Dynasty pottery) – the only period that Siam produced Chinese-styled ceramics and fell out of use by the 14th century.

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