Friday, 23 May 2008

The Earliest Kingdom of Thailand

The earliest kingdom of Thailand was the Sukhothai Kingdom, built around the city of Sukhothai. Sukhothai was the capital of Siam, and is located in north central Thailand. This was the earliest kingdom and it existed between 13th and 14th century.

In the 13th century, Sukhothai was a part of Khmer empire. It was recognized as a Thai ruled kingdom when two Thai chieftans, Pho Khun Pha Muang and Pho Khun Bang Klang Hao, declared their individual independent kingdom in Thailand. The first king of Sukhothai was Pho Khun Bang Klang Hao who also called himself Pho Khun Si Indrathit or Intradit.

The kingdom of Sukhothai eventually expanded and made alliances with other Thai kingdoms. Their adopted Theravada Buddhism as their state religion. The son of the king Pho Khun Bang Klang Hao succeeded the throne after him. Later on, his brother Pho Khun Ramkhamhaeng took over the throne. During his regime, Sukhothai enjoyed a golden time and prospered to its maximum.

Ramkhamhaeng introduced the first Thai letters. During his regime, the kingdom expanded and spread over a large area from Martaban (now Myanmar) to Luang Prabang (present day Laos) and down to the Malay Peninsula. The kingdom was larger than modern day Thailand.

Loethai, the son of Ramkhamhaeng, took over Sukhothai after his father died. But he could not bring the same prosperity to his kingdom as his father. Soon, other dependent Thai kings started liberating themselves from King Loethai. The once great Kingdom of Sukhothai quickly became a small local province and very soon lost its importance in the region.