Maha Sura Singhanat

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Maha Sura Singhanat
Maha Sura Singhanat.jpg
Painting of Maha Surasinghanat at Wat Chana Songkhram
Viceroy of Siam
Tenure1782 – 3 November 1803
AppointedPhutthayotfa Chulalok (Rama I)
PredecessorCreation for the new dynasty, previously Krom Khun Inthraphithak
SuccessorIsarasundhorn (later Rama II)
DeputyAnurak Devesh
Born(1744-11-01)1 November 1744
Ayutthaya, Kingdom of Ayutthaya
Died3 November 1803(1803-11-03) (aged 59)
Bangkok, Siam
SpousePrincess Sri Anocha (born Princess Rojja of Lampang)
Issue43 sons and daughters with various consorts
HouseChakri Dynasty
FatherThongdi (later Somdet Phra Prathom Borom Maha Rajchanok)
MotherDaoreung (Yok)

Somdet Phra Bawornrajchao Maha Sura Singhanat (Thai: สมเด็จพระบวรราชเจ้ามหาสุรสิงหนาท; RTGSSomdet Phra Boworaratchao Mahasurasinghanat, lit: His Royal Highness, Maharurasinghanat, Prince of Front Palace) (1744–1803) was the younger brother of Phutthayotfa Chulalok, the first monarch of the Chakri dynasty of Siam. As an Ayutthayan general, he fought alongside his brother in various campaigns against Burmese invaders and the local warlords. When his brother crowned himself as the king of Siam at Bangkok in 1781, he was appointed the Front Palace or Maha Uparaj, the title of the heir. During the reign of his brother, he was known for his important role in the campaigns against Bodawpaya of Burma.

Early life[edit]

Bunma was born in 1744 to Thongdee and Daoreung. His father Thongdee was the Royal Secretary of Northern Siam and Keeper of Royal Seal. As a son of aristocrat, he entered the palace and began his aristocratic life as a royal page. Thongdee was a descendant of Kosa Pan, the leader of Siamese mission to France in the seventeenth century. Bunma had four other siblings and two other half-siblings. Bunma himself was the youngest born to Daoreung.

Campaigns against the Burmese[edit]

In 1767, Ayutthaya was about to fall. Bunma fled the city with a small carrack to join the rest of his family at Amphawa, Samut Songkram. His brother the Luang Yokbat of Ratchaburi suggested that he should join Taksin's forces at Chonburi.

After the fall of Ayutthaya, the city and peripheral areas were under the control of the Burmese, while local Siamese nobles established their own states. In 1768, Taksin recaptured Ayutthaya and repelled the Burmese. After the establishment of Thonburi and coronation of Taksin, Bunma was appointed Phra Maha Montri (Royal Police of the Right).

In the same year the two brothers joined the forces against Lord Pimai of Korat. After the campaign he was raised to Phraya Anuchitraja Anuchitraja waged several fightings to repel Burmese invasions. In 1770, after the defeat of Lord Fang, Anuchitraja became Chao Phraya Surasi - the ruler of Pitsanulok and defender of northern frontiers. In 1771, Surasi joined Phraya Pichai in his legendary fighting that broke his sword. Chao Phraya Surasi was known for his ruthlessness in wars that the Burmese gave him the epithet Tiger Lord.[1] In 1774, Phraya Surasi and his brother was assigned the mission of the capture of Lanna from the Burmese. With the help of Prince Kawila of Lampang, the Siamese forces were able to take Chiangmai. Surasi then took Kawila's sister, Sri Anocha, as his principal wife.

During 1771 - 1781, Surasi joined his brother in massive campaigns subjugating the Laotian kingdoms of Vientiane, Luang Prabang, and Champasak, and Cambodia. In 1781, Taksin fell ill and a rebellion sprang out to depose the king. His brother the Somdet Chao Phraya Maha Kshatriyaseuk returned to Bangkok to undo the rebellion. Maha Kshatriyaseuk then crowned himself as Phutthayotfa Chulalok and moved the capital to the left bank of Chao Phraya river - modern Bangkok. Surasi, as Phutthayotfa Chulalok's right hand, was appointed the Front Palace or heir to the throne.

The Front Palace[edit]

Maha Sura Singhanat pioneered the construction of the Front Palace. In 1785, the Burmese king Bodawpaya launched the massive invasions of Siam in the Nine Armies War. Maha Sura Singhanat led the Siamese forces to receive the Burmese attacks coming from the west and south. He strategically defeated the superior Burmese armies and forced Bodawpaya to retreat. Next year in 1786, Bodawpaya came again and encamped his armies at Ta Din Daeng. Maha Sura Singhanat then inflicted the fatal blow to the Burmese and forced them to retreat for the second time.[2]

In 1802, the Burmese invaded Chiangmai. Phutthayotfa Chulalok sent his brother to relieve the siege on Chiangmai. However, Maha Sura Singhanat fell ill on the course of journey but dispatched his troops to Chiangmai in substitution. Phutthayotfa Chulalok, upon hearing about the illness of his brother, then sent his nephew Anurak Devesh the Rear Palace to get Chiangmai. But the Front Palace forces took Chiangmai beforehand and complained Royal Palace forces' inefficiency.[3] This stirred the conflicts between militarymen of the two palaces.


statue of Maha Sura Singhanat at Wat Mahathat

In 1803, Maha Sura Singhanat fell ill seriously. However, as recorded by Princess Kampushchat, Maha Sura Singhanat's daughter with his Cambodian concubine, the Front Palace officials blocked the Royal Palace forces from entering the Front Palace as Phutthayotfa Chulalok came to take care of his brother.[4] Maha Sura Singhanat also expressed his will that the treasures of the Front Palace should be inherited only by his own descendants. Maha Sura Singhanat finally died in 1803.


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-02-28. Retrieved 2014-01-07.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-06-16. Retrieved 2009-04-25.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-06-16. Retrieved 2009-04-25.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
Maha Sura Singhanat
Born: 1744 Died: 1803
Preceded by
of Thonburi Kingdom
Viceroy of Siam
Succeeded by