Burmese–Siamese War (1809–1812)

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Burmese–Siamese War (1809–1812)
Part of the Burmese–Siamese wars
DateJune 1809 – January 1812[2]
Result Siamese victory[1]
Flag of the Alaungpaya Dynasty of Myanmar.svg Konbaung Dynasty (Burma)[1] Flag of Thailand (1782).svg Rattanakosin Kingdom (Siam)
Flag of Kedah (18th century - 1912).svg Kedah[1]
Commanders and leaders
Flag of the Alaungpaya Dynasty of Myanmar.svg Bodawpaya
Flag of the Alaungpaya Dynasty of Myanmar.svg Zeya Suriya Kyaw[1]  (POW)
Flag of the Alaungpaya Dynasty of Myanmar.svg Atwinwun[1]
Flag of the Alaungpaya Dynasty of Myanmar.svg Chik-ke  (POW)
Flag of Thailand (1782).svg Rama I
Flag of Thailand (1782).svg Rama II
Flag of Thailand (1782).svg Maha Senanurak
Flag of Kedah (18th century - 1912).svg Sultan Tajjudin[1]
Units involved
Flag of the Alaungpaya Dynasty of Myanmar.svg Royal Burmese Army
Flag of the Alaungpaya Dynasty of Myanmar.svg Royal Burmese Navy
Flag of Thailand (1782).svg Royal Siamese Army
Flag of Thailand (1782).svg Royal Siamese Navy
Flag of Kedah (18th century - 1912).svg Kedah Army

October 1809

May 1810

  • 6,000 men

December 1811

18 November 1809
Reinforcements including:

May 1810

December 1811

Casualties and losses
+4,110 men
20 war boats[1]

The Burmese–Siamese War (1809–1812) was an armed conflict fought between Burma and Siam, during the period of June 1809 and January 1812. The war centered over the control of the tin rich Tenasserim coast and served as the continuation of a long list of Burmese–Siamese wars. The conflict ended in a Siamese victory.


Control of the Tenasserim coast (present-day Mon State and Tanintharyi Region in Myanmar) in the early 18th century was divided between Burma and Siam, with the Burmese controlling down to Dawei and the Siamese controlling the rest. Throughout history, both kingdoms had claimed the entire coast – the Siamese to Mottama, and the Burmese to Phuket – and control had changed hands several times. The Burmese Pagan Dynasty controlled the entire coast until 1287. Throughout the 14th and 16th centuries, Siamese kingdoms (first Sukhothai, later Ayutthaya) controlled much of the coast, up to just south of present-day Mawlamyine. In the mid-16th century, the Burmese under Toungoo kings Tabinshwehti and Bayinnaung tried to regain the coast, first failing in 1548, and finally succeeding in 1564 when they conquered all of Siam for the first time. The Siamese revolted in 1584, and under their king Naresuan regained the lower coast by 1593 and the entire coast by 1594. The Burmese retook the upper coast down to Tavoy in 1614 but failed to recover the rest.[3]

This arrangement lasted until 1740 (although the Siamese unsuccessfully tried to take the upper coast in 1662–1664). During this period, Myeik on the Andaman Sea was the primary port of Siam through which its trade with India and the West was conducted.[3]


First Burmese invasion[edit]

In June 1809, Burmese king Bodawpaya received information concerning the serious illness of the Siamese king Rama I, plans were then made regarding the invasion of the tin rich Siamese Phuket province. In October 1809, Bodawpaya's chamberlain assembled a force of 30,000 soldiers, 60 war ships and 200 swivel guns in Dawei. The troops were then divided into two columns, the first seized Ranong and Na Toei, moving further into Chumphon where it was defeated an pushed back. The second column embarked on ships and after capturing Takua Pa continued its journey along the coast to Phuket the countryside of which was seized, with the Mueang Thalang citadel under siege. On 7 August 1809, the Burmese launched their assault on the citadel, storming it six days later, plundering the city and slaughtering the inhabitants. Boats were then loaded with plundered goods and sent to Dawei, part of the fleet was hit by a tempest, enabling a small group of Siamese soldiers to recapture many war boats as well as the Burmese general Chik-ke. The governor of Thalang was replaced for his failure to adequately defend the island and preparation were started in anticipation of new raids.[2][1]

Second Burmese invasion[edit]

On 17 October 1809, Burma raided Takua Thung and Takua Pa which offered no resistance and landed at Phuket. On the night of 18 November 1809, the Siamese garrison of the Thalang repelled a Burmese assault on the citadel, at the same time 6,000 troops in 80 war ships were attempting to relieve the besieged. The Siamese reinforcements engaged the Burmese outside the island but were completely destroyed after sparks stuck the gunpowder storage of a Siamese ship setting off a powerful explosion. The Burmese managed to regroup and after receiving reinforcements captured the city on 13 January 1810. In the aftermath of Thalang's fall, Burma sent envoys to the Sultanate of Kedah demanding that it resumes sending tributes to Ava, while also assuring the East India Company of its peaceful intentions towards it. Sultan Tajjudin had however already dispatched a fleet in support of Siam, the combined Siamese-Kedahan forces retook the island in March 1810, pushing the invaders into Pak Chan.[2][1]

Third Burmese invasion[edit]

In late May 1810, the Burmese sent another 6,000 man army against Phuket, the second expedition suffered considerable losses due to storms thus general Zeya Suriya Kyaw headed to Myeik in an attempted supply mission. In the meantime the Burmese continued to suffer from hunger and sickness as the island had been completely devastated from previous fighting. Kyaw's ship was wrecked ashore and he was detained by a Siamese patrol. A Siamese counter offensive expelled the Burmese from the island, who once again fell victim to sea storms off Ban Sakhu.

Fourth Burmese invasion[edit]

In late December 1811, Burma landed a 5,000 army on Phuket encircling Thalang city, Siam gathered a 10,000 man relief which was soon disbanded as the Thalang garrison managed to fend off the invaders. Burmese casualties amounted to more than 4,110 men killed in action as well as 20 war boats and other equipment. Those defeats prompted Burma to abandon any plans of conquering Siam and instead focus on Assam and Manipur.[2][1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Cyril Skinner. "A Burmese Account of the Junkceylon Campaigns of 1809–1810" (PDF). Journal of the Siam Society. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i G.E. Gerini. "Historical Retrospect of Junkceylon Island" (PDF). Journal of the Siam Society. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  3. ^ a b James, SEA Encyclopedia, pp. 1318–1319