Chairacha

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Chairachathirat[1] (Thai: ไชยราชาธิราช, commonly shortened to Chairacha ไชยราชา) reigned 1534–1546 as King of the Ayutthaya kingdom of Siam. His reign was remarkable for the influx of Portuguese traders, mercenaries, and early Modern warfare technology.

Uparaja[edit]

Prince Chairachathirat was a son of King Ramathibodi II. In 1533, following the death of his brother Borommaracha IV, his nephew Prince Ratsadathirat (Borommaracha IV's son) succeeded the Ayutthayan throne. Chairachathirat was then appointed the Uparaja of Pitsanulok.

Coup[edit]

Government authority under five-year-old Ratsadathirat proved to be weak. In 1534, only five months after his nephew's ascension, Chairacha marched to Ayutthaya to stage a coup, killed his nephew, and took the throne of Ayutthaya.

King of Ayutthaya[edit]

Invasion of Lanna[edit]

In 1545, King Kaew Kesa of Lanna was overthrown. Chairacha took this opportunity to invade Lanna, where he was greeted peacefully by Queen Chiraprapa – daughter of King Kaew Kesa. He sacked Lampang and Lampoon and he ordered Uparaja Tianracha to invade Chiang Mai. Queen Chiraprapa then sued for peace and made her kingdom a tributary state of Ayutthaya for the first time.[citation needed]

Sukhothai nobles[edit]

Chairacha appointed his brother Prince Tianracha (later Maha Chakkrapat) as the Uparaja but did not granted him the title of King of Sukhothai as Chairacha tried to unite the two kingdoms by reducing the power of Sukhothai nobles.[2] He also called the Sukhothai nobles to Ayutthaya to move them from their base at Pitsanulok and made Ayutthaya the sole center of authority.

Mysterious death[edit]

Chairacha's wife, Queen Jitravadee, dies shortly after giving birth to the heir Yodfa. The king takes a new consort, Si Suda Chan, and has another son by her. Si Suda Chan was not the real name of the new consort, it was the title of one of the four first-class concubines, which were Insuren, Si Suda Chan, Inthrathewi and Si Chula Lak. The name of the new consort was not mentioned in the history.

After several years of peace, Chairacha left the capital Ayutthaya for a military campaign in the north. Soon after, Si Suda Chan, descended from the deposed U-Tong dynasty, took Bun Si (later Worawongsathirat), another U-Tong descendant, as her lover and started plotting to take over the throne.

The king was wounded in battle and came back to the capital to recuperate, where Si Suda Chan poisoned him and attempted to blame the deed on Tienracha. Tienracha saved his own life by becoming a Buddhist monk. Monkhood gave rise to legal sanctuary at that time. Si Suda Chan proceeded by naming Worawongsathirat as regent and promptly poisoning young Yodfa, thereby assuming power. Sri Suriyothai then summoned her old friend Piren, who was Chai Raja's troop commander, to help set things right. His troops ambushed and killed Worawongsathirat and Si Suda Chan, and Tien accepted the throne despite his monkhood.

The sources conflicts about the nature of Chairacha's death. The Portuguese chronicles of Fernão Mendes Pinto said he was poisoned by his concubine Si Suda Chan from Uthong clan in 1546. This can be inferred from the later power struggles involving Si Suda Chan and her lover Khun Worawongsathirat. However, some Siamese chronicles said Chairacha died of an illness after going to war.

References[edit]

  1. ^ พระนามพระมหากษัตริย์สมัยอยุธยา [Names of Ayutthayan Kings] (in Thai). Royal Institute of Thailand. 2002-06-03. Retrieved 2014-11-23. 
  2. ^ http://www.sarakadee.com/feature/2001/08/suriyothai.htm
Preceded by
Ratsadathirat
Kings of Ayutthaya
1534–1546
Succeeded by
Yodfa
Preceded by
Ramathibodi II
Uparaja of Pitsanulok
1529–1546
Succeeded by
Khun Pirentorathep
(Maha Thammaracha)