From Academic Kids

Template:History of Thailand

Lanna (English One Million Thai Rice Fields, Thai ล้านนา) was a kingdom in the north of Thailand around the city of Chiang Mai. It consisted of several partly independent city-states.

The kingdom was founded in 1259 by King Mengrai the Great, when he succeeded his father as the leader of the Chiang Saen kingdom. In 1262 he founded the city Chiang Rai as his capital, naming it after himself. The kingdom quickly grew by unifying the many local Thai rulers of the area under his leadership, as well as by enlarging to the south by annexing the Mon kingdom of Haripunchai in 1292 - the area around the modern-day cities Lampang and Lamphun. In 1296 he founded the city of Chiang Mai as the new capital of the kingdom with help from allies Ngam Muang of Phayao and Ramkhamhaeng of Sukhothai.

The golden age of Lanna was in the 15th century. In 1477 the 8th Buddhist council was held near Chiang Mai, which worked on improving the Buddhist scriptures. The previously independent city-state Nan, capital of a Thai Lue people, was added to the kingdom in 1449.

The decline of the kingdom started in the early 16th century, and became worse after the death of King Phraya Kaeo in 1526. There was fighting over who should succeed him. Some of the kings were assassinated; others had to abdicate. This political instability invited an invasion from the neighboring Burmese kingdom, and in 1558 Lanna had to surrender and became a vassal of Burma. When the dynasty of Mengrai became extinct in 1578, the Burmese sent their own princes to serve as rulers of Lanna.

The Thai kings of Ayutthaya tried to capture Lanna several times, as the Burmese posed a threat to their kingdom as well. Even though around 1600 King Naresuan, and later in 1662 King Narai as well, succeeded in occupying Chaing Mai, they were repulsed by the Burmese after a short time.

In the early 1700s the Burmese divided the kingdom into a northern part, ruled from Chiang Saen, and a southern part, ruled from Chiang Mai. The northern part was for all practical purposes annexed by Burma, while the southern continued to be a vassal state.

After the Burmese destroyed Ayutthaya, King Taksin was determined not only to drive the Burmese out of Siam or Central Thailand, but also out of Lanna. In the night of February 14, 1775 Chiang Mai fell to the Thai army. Prince Kawila, who helped Taksin in his war in the north, became the first king of Lanna under Siamese rulership. Lanna was not to be an independent kingdom again. In 1877 a Viceroy from Bangkok ruled together with the king. In 1892 Lanna was formally annexed by Siam, and administrated as the Monthon Phayap. The last of the Lannathai kings, Chao Keo Naovarat, never held any true administrative power.

The kings of Lanna

In the reign of Burma (1578-1774)

Chao Chet Ton (The Seven Kings) Dynasty




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