The Tipchang Dynasty
Northern Thailands Last Royal Family (1732-1939 A.D.)
The Kingdom of Lanna (present day Northern Thailand) flourished for three hundred years under the Mengrai Dynasty (1258-1558) before the Burmese invaders put a stronghold on the region. For the next 216 years, the Kingdom was ruled by little more than puppet kings manipulated by the rulers of Burma. The Lanna people, aided by armies from its parent kingdom of Siam, continued to fight the Burmese, and finally achieved an opening for a proper Lanna king to take the throne in Chiangmai in 1732.
King (Jao) Tipchang took advantage of weakening Burmese forces and installed loyal rulers in various Lanna prefectures, including his son Prince Kaew, who he put in charge of Lampang. But the Burmese gathered another round of strength between 1764 and 1774 and attacked Siam a total of nine times during that period.
BIRTH OF A DYNASTY
The Lanna capital at Chiangmai was finally released from the Burmese stronghold on 5 Feb. 1774, when Siams King Taaksin led an army into the city. Prince Kaews son Prince Gawila of Lampang and Phraya Ja Baan of Chiangmai helped. After their heroic deeds, King Taaksin officially appointed Prince Gawila to rule Lampang and Phraya Ja Baan took over at Chiangmai.
But when Taaksins successor, Phraya Chakri (Rama I), took the throne in Siams new capital, Bangkok, the new king accused Chiangmais Phraya Ja Baan of spending too much time rubbing elbows in the capital during Taaksins reign, when Chiangmai needed him more at home. Rama I then banished Phraya Ja Baan from the throne in Chiangmai and promoted Lampangs Prince Gawila to the northern capital. As Tipchangs grandson, Gawila in effect continued the family dynasty.
THOSE BURMESE JUST DONT GIVE UP, DO THEY?
There years after The War of Nine Armies, 1782, that Siam repelled the Burmese invaders out of the kingdom. By 1785, Jao Gawila was trying to repair Chiangmai after so many years of war and ruin, when the Burmese struck againthis time in Lampang. The Kings army held them off for about four months, until Siamese troops from Bangkok stepped in yet again to help free the northern Kingdom from Burmese invaders. Together, the two armies managed to push the invaders back, and the struggle seemed to bring the two kings closer together as well.
In 1802 the Burmese surrounded Chiangmai with seven troops. The siege lasted for two months. Again, Siamese troops marched from Bangkok to help. Again, the Burmese were expelled. This time Rama I, continuing the effort started by Taaksin to unify Siam as one kingdom, promoted Gawila as King of 57 Lanna cities.
But the Burmese still had a hold on Chiangsaen. In 1804, Gawila and Rama I marched their respective Lanna and Siamese armies into the city, but the Burmese fought hard. The Bangkok soldiers grew ill and lacked food and medicine, resulting in their temporary withdrawal. But Gawilas soldiers kept fighting, eventually seizing Chiangsaen along with many, many Burmese captives.
The following year, Rama I bade Jao Gawila to attack Muang Yong, Chiangroong, Saenwee, Sipaw, Chiangtoong and other northern citiesin some cases to drive out Burmese, and in others, simply to continue building a bigger Siam.o
The Latest Kingdom of Lanna
By the mid-1700s, The Lanna Kingdom consisted of seven prefectures, also known as the Seven Valleys that make up northern Thailand: Lampang, Lumpoon, Chiangmai, Prae, Naan and Mae Hong Sorn.
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