Phetracha

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Phetracha
พระเพทราชา
King of Ayutthaya
Phetracha Drawing by HRH Prince of Nakorn Sawan.jpg
Phetracha Drawing by HRH Prince of Nakorn Sawan
King of Siam
Reign11 July 1688 – 5 February 1703
PredecessorNarai
SuccessorSuriyenthrathibodi
ViceroySorasak
Born1632 (1632)
DiedFebruary 5, 1703(1703-02-05) (aged 70–71)
ConsortsKan, Princess Thephamat
Sudawadi, Princess Yothathep
Si Suphan, Princess Yothathip
Princess Kusawadi of Chiang Mai
IssuePrince Trat Noi
Prince Phra Khwan
Suriyenthrathibodi (adopted)
Princess Chim
Princess Chin
Prince Dam
Prince Kaeo
Prince Bunnak
HouseBan Phlu Luang dynasty
ReligionBuddhism

Phetracha (alternative spellings: Bedraja, P'etraja, Petraja, Petratcha; also called Phra Phetracha; Thai: เพทราชา, pronounced [pʰêːt.rāː.t͡ɕʰāː]; 1632– 5 February 1703) was a king of the Ayutthaya kingdom in Thailand, usurping the throne from his predecessor King Narai and originally settled in Phluluang village. His clan was the last clan of the Ayutthaya kingdom.[1]:252 Originally a member of king Narai's extended family (two of his relatives were among Narai's wives), he was a trusted councilor of Narai, and the Director-General of the Royal Department of Elephants. However, in 1688 he led the Siamese revolution of 1688, had Narai's heirs executed, and by marrying Narai's only daughter took the throne of Ayutthaya kingdom upon Narai's death. He opposed the pro-French policies of Narai, ejecting the French officers and some other French citizens from the kingdom, and launched the Siege of Bangkok, to exile all French troops from Siam. Since then, Siam and France have only contacted a few times. However, Siam trade with China flourished more than ever, causing chronicles in later times to refer to this era as the "prosperous country era".

Background[edit]

Phetracha was born in 1632 at Phuluang village, Suphan Buri. His wet nurse was Chao Mae Dusit who was the mother of Kosa Lek and Kosa Pan, De la Loubère has recorded that he was a cousin of King Narai, and that his mother was also one of King Narai's wet nurses. It was also recorded that his sister would later became one of King Narai's concubine.

He was Right Director-General of the Royal Department of Elephants, and wrote a manual with Narai on the art of elephant craft.[2]:63 Hence, he was sometimes referred to as "the Elephant Prince".

Although Thai historians recorded that Phetracha was not interested in being King, Jesuit missionaries stated otherwise, that he was an ambitious man. While this matter is ambiguous, it is generally agreed that he was a very influential figure in that period, harboring respect from many officers. It is also said that he strongly believed in Buddhism, thus gaining support from many monks, who feared Ayutthaya kingdom was being converted to Christianity. Moreover, Phetracha seemed to gain King Narai's trust as well, as he was one of King Narai's close aides and confidants. When the royal palace at Lopburi was finished, King Narai would stay there for many months in a year, leaving Phetracha as regent to take care of matters in Ayutthaya.

Phetracha's rivalry with counsellor Constantine Phaulkon is understandable. While Phaulkon's ideology was to open Ayutthaya kingdom to the international community (and benefit from the expansion of foreign trading), Phetracha was a traditionalist who was allegedly disgusted by international influence in Ayutthaya kingdom. King Narai himself favored the opening of his country and created many diplomatic ties with European countries, notably France.

Crisis in the kingdom[edit]

When Narai was seriously ill with no hope of recovery, on 18 May 1688 Phetracha had a successful coup and arrested the Narai himself, his half-brothers Prince Aphaithot and Prince Noi, and his adopted son Phra Pi. Phaulkon was summoned to the palace, there he and the French officers were surrounded and disarmed. Phaulkon was thrown to the palace dungeon and brutally tortured.

After questioning Phra Pi, he discovered Phra Pi had conspired with Phaulkon to assume the throne, and Phra Pi was executed on 20 May. Further questioning of Phaulkon revealed a plot to raise a rebellion, and he too was executed by Phetracha's adopted son Luang Sorasak on 5 June. Narai, on his deathbed, was unable to do anything, except curse Phetracha and his son. Luang Sorasak then had Prince Aphaithot and Prince Noi executed.[3]:271–273

Phetracha soon ordered his troops to attack the French troops led by General Desfarges at the start of Siege of Bangkok. On the death of King Narai on 11 July, Phetracha proclaimed himself king, he appointed Luang Sorasak, his son as the Prince Viceroy and Nai Chopkhotchaprasit, the officer under his department and who helped contending the throne as the Prince Deputy Vice King, and gave regalia as Prince Deputy Vice King rank with Khun Ongkharaksa and promoted to Chaophraya Surasongkhram, because of the credit to helped contending the throne too.

After withholding the siege for four months and later a negotiated settlement, the French soldiers were allowed to return to France. Only Hollanders were allowed to trade in the capital before the French and English finally ended their dispute with Siam.[3]:273–276

During his reign, "there were troubles for a long time", according to Damrong Rajanubhab. The governors of Nakhon Si Thammarat and Nakhon Ratchasima rebelled and it took many years for them to be suppressed.[3]:276–277

Upon his death on 5 February 1703, Phetracha was succeeded by his eldest son Sorasak, the Prince Vicroy or "Tiger Prince", who took the title of Suriyenthrathibodi.[1]:260

Issue[edit]

# Consort and Concubines Children
1. Kan, Princess Thephamat None
2. Sudawadi, Princess Yothathep Prince Trat Noi
3. Si Suphan, Princess Yothathip Prince Phra Khwan
4. Princess Kusawadi of Chiang Mai Prince Ma Duea (Suriyenthrathibodi)
5. Others Princess Chim
Princess Chin
Prince Dam
Prince Kaeo
Prince Bunnak

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Reid, Anthony (Editor), Dhiravat na Prombeja, Southeast Asia in the Early Modern Era, Cornell University Press, 1993, ISBN 0-8014-8093-0
  2. ^ Chakrabongse, C., 1960, Lords of Life, London: Alvin Redman Limited
  3. ^ a b c Rajanubhab, D., 2001, Our Wars With the Burmese, Bangkok: White Lotus Co. Ltd., ISBN 9747534584
Phetracha
Born: 1632 Died: February 1703
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Narai
King of Ayutthaya
1688–1703
Succeeded by
Sanphet VIII