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General Taksin (later King Taksin The Great)

  • In this section of Thailand's World.com we will detail those people and their role in the history of Thailand and the reason for their respect in the hearts and minds of Thai people today. Here is the story of a Thai General who after the sacking of Ayutthaya and Thailand generally by the invading Burmese in 1767 escaped to reform a new army and to conquer the Burmese and their allies, retake control of Siam and reform a new government. His buildings and bronze monuments can be seen in Thonburi. In recognition of what Taksin accomplished for Thailand The Thai Cabinet resolved to entitle him as ' King Taksin the Great ', and since 1954 there has been an annual state ceremony to remember and pay homage to his memory.
  • Taksin (originally named ' Sin ') was born in 1733. His father was a Chinese migrant from China named Haihong of the Teochiu ethnic group and his mother was a Thai called Nok Lang. The chronicles tell us that originally Sin was a trader who later, in recognition of services he had rendered, was appointed Governor of Tak Province. In 1765, ' Phraya Tak ' as he was then called, came to Ayutthaya to help defend the city from the burmese. In recognition of his work he was promoted to the title and rank of Phraya Wachira Prakan, Governor of Kamphaeng Phet. Kamphaeng Phet was a fortified out post city.
  • During the encirclement of Ayutthaya by the Burmese, General Taksin and his army escaped and with armies and supplies from vassal states in East Thailand was able to regain independence for the Siamese within 6 months. The Kingdom of Siam was fragmented but after the establishment by Taksin of the new capital in Bangkok Taksin was able to wrest control back to the new Kingdom of Siam. Taksin tackled the problems of consolidation of the Siam Empire, wars with Cambodia and Burma, as well as domestic economic and administrative issues. This Taksin did as well as restore national identity with religion and the arts.
  • Taksin selected Bangkok as the new capital as it was impossible to restore Ayutthaya to its original condition and secure its defences for the future. Bangkok had excellent forts and its location was an important point of entry for foreign trade (and weapons). In 1773 King Taksin commanded the renovation of the city and named it Krung Thonburi. Thonburi remained the capital for 15 years.
  • In 1781 there was a rebellion against King Taksin and he was executed on 6th April 1782 at the age of 48 after a 15 year reign. The method of execution was, as for nobility, to be put inside a silk sack and clubbed to death. Popular myth has it that someone else was put in the sack and Taksin spent his final years in South Thailand. This appears unlikely as the standard procedure at the time was also to kill heirs of those you wanted to remove from office as well so as to finally remove any possible future claims.
  • Phra Racha Wang Derm or Thon Buri Palace  was built by King Taksin the Great in 1768. It is located on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River near Wichayen Fort (later renamed Wichaiprasit Fort) north of Arun Rajawararam Temple and Nakornban Canal. It originally included Wat Chaeng ( Arun Rajawararam Temple ) and Wat Tai Talad ( Wat Molee Lokayaram ) within its walls.