Ekkathat

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Ekkathat
เอกทัศ
King of Ayutthaya
King of Siam
Reign 1758–1767
Predecessor Uthumphon
Successor Taksin
(after fall of Ayutthaya, as King of Thonburi)
Spouse Krom Khun Vimol Phakdi
House Ban Phlu Luang Dynasty
Father King Borommakot
Mother Krom Luang Phiphit Montri
Born Unknown
Died 1767
Ayutthaya, Ayutthaya Kingdom

Phra Bat Somdet Phra Borommaracha Kasat Bowon Sucharit (Thai: พระบาทสมเด็จพระบรมราชากษัตริย์บวรสุจริต), Somdet Phra Chao Yu Hua Phra Thi Nang Suriyat Amarin (Thai: สมเด็จพระเจ้าอยู่หัวพระที่นั่งสุริยาสน์อมรินทร์) or Somdet Phra Chao Ekkathat (Thai: สมเด็จพระเจ้าเอกทัศ) was the 33rd and last monarch of Ayutthaya Kingdom, ruling from 1758 to 1767 prior to the fall of the kingdom. The name "Ekkathat" means the one with only one eye, for the King was believed to have lost one of his eyes. Moreover, he was called by the people at the time being that "Khun Luang Khi Ruean" (Thai: ขุนหลวงขี้เรื้อน), meaning "the mangy king"; he was also believed to have been in leprosy.

Reign[edit]

Prince Ekkathat, or Kromma Khun Anurak Montri (Thai: กรมขุนอนุรักษ์มนตรี), was a son of Borommakot. His elder brother, Prince Thammathibet, was made the Front Palace in 1732. However, Thammathibet had an affair with one of his father's concubines. Ekkathat, upon knowing this, told Boromakot about the lovers. Thammathibet was thus beaten to death in 1746. Ekkathat, who was then next in the succession line, were expected to be the Front Palace. However, Borommakot halted the appointment because of Ekkathat's incompetence.

One year before his death, Borommakot decided to skip Ekkathat and appointted Ekkathat's younger brother, Uthumphon, as the Front Palace. In 1758, Borommakot died. Uthumphon was then crowned, and Ekkathat entered in priesthood to signify his surrender. However, two months after that, Ekkathat returned and claimed for the throne. Ekkathat settled himself in the Suriyat Amarin Palace—therefore came his name Somdet Phra Thi Nang Suriyat Amarin (Literally: the King of Suriyat Amarin Palace). The civil war ensued. He fought against his half-brothers—Kromma Khun Chit Sunthon, Kromma Muen Sunthon Thep and Kromma Muen Sep Phakdi. Ekkathat readily defeated and executed them. Uthumphon was forced to abdicate, and Ekkathat was crowned.

According to an account of Siamese captive after the fall of Ayutthaya, the early years of Ekathat witnessed the revival attempt. The king followed the tradition by donating money to temples. Building of new temples occurred. The trade with foreigners was supported. The western coast ports such as Mergui and Tenasserim were active. However, according to the Burmese and English accounts, when the Mons took refuge in the kingdom, after the Burmese conquest, Ayutthaya became the next target of the Burmese.

Burmese Invasion and Ayutthaya's Downfall[edit]

In 1760, Alaungpaya of Burma led his armies invading Ayutthaya. Ekkathat urged his abdicated brother, Uthumphon, to lead the battles. However, Alaungpaya died during the campaigns, postponing the death of Ayutthaya for another 7 years.

Siam under Ekkathat was in turmoil. Ayutthaya lost its control over network cities and Ekkathat was said to be indulged by the luxury of the court and concubines. The peasants went on the rebellion. In 1766, the Burmese armies again invaded Siam—through Mergui under Mahanoratha and Lanna under Neimyo Thihapate after subjugating Lanna and Laotian kingdoms. The Burmese captured various peripheral cities to cut down any supports given to Ayutthaya. A Dutch source said the court faced bankruptcy. The capital totally lost contact with its satellite. Ayutthaya was then helpless.

Local accounts told that Ekkathat desperately tried to counter the Burmese. He ordered his remaining armies and fleets to counter the Burmese at Ratchaburi and Thon Buri, but the Burmese crushed them all. The two Burmese armies joined at Ayutthaya and laid the siege on the city. A foreign account claimed that Ekathat and his family secretly fled from the capital. The nobles then agreed to surrender. On April 7, 1767, Ayutthaya fell. The Burmese looted and burnt the city to the ground.

Siamese chronicles said Ekkathat died upon having been in starvation for more than ten days while concealing himself at Ban Chik Woods (Thai: ป่าบ้านจิก), adjacent to Wat Sangkhawat (Thai: วัดสังฆาวาส). His dead body was discovered by a monk. It was buried at a mound named "Khok Phra Men" (Thai: โคกพระเมรุ), in front of a revered Siamese temple called "Phra Wihan Phra Mongkhonlabophit" (Thai: พระวิหารพระมงคลบพิตร).

The Burmese occupation did not last long. By the end of 1767, the remaining Burmese troops in Siam had been recalled to defend their homeland against the Chinese invasions (1765–1769), leaving Siam in a power vacuum. Taksin (governor of Tak) founded the Kingdom of Thonburi in 1768, and emerged as the primary contender by 1769.

Ekkathat
Ban Phlu Luang Dynasty
Preceded by
Borommarachathirat IV
(Uthumphon)
King of Ayutthaya
1758–1767
Succeeded by
Taksin
(after fall of Ayutthaya, as King of Thonburi)