Lavo Kingdom

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Kingdom of Lavo
Light Blue: Lavo Kingdom
Red: Khmer Empire
Green: Hariphunchai
Light Green: Srivijaya
Yellow: Champa
Blue: Đại Việt
Pink: Pagan Kingdom
Capital Lavo (450–1087)
Ayutthaya (1087–1388)
Languages Mon language
Religion Hinduism
Theravada Buddhism
Mahayana Buddhism
Government Monarchy
Historical era Middle Ages
 •  Formation 450
 •  Annexed into Ayutthaya Kingdom 1388
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Ayutthaya Kingdom

The Kingdom of Lavo was a political entity (mandala) on the left bank of the Chao Phraya River in the Upper Chao Phraya valley from the end of Dvaravati civilization, around the 7th century, until 1388. The original center of Lavo civilization was Lavo (modern Lopburi), but the capital shifted southward to Ayutthaya around the 11th century, whereupon the state became the Ayutthaya Kingdom according to recent historical analysis.


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The legendary first king of Lavo, Phraya Kalavarnadit, was said to have established the city around 450 CE[1] as one of the Dvaravati city-states. Kalavarnadit established a new era called the Chulasakaraj, which was the era used by the Siamese and the Burmese until the 19th century.

Isanavarman I of the Chenla Kingdom expanded Khmer influence to the Chao Phraya valley through his campaigns around the 7th century.[2] Dvaravati cities that fell under Khmer hegemony became Lavo, while the Western cities were spared from Khmer hegemony and formed Suvarnabhumi.[3] Lavo was the center from which Khmer authority ruled over the Dvaravati.

Prang Sam Yot, showing considerable Khmer influences on the architecture

The only native language found during early Lavo times is the Mon language. However, there is debate whether Mon was the sole ethnicity of Lavo. Some historians point out that Lavo was composed of mixed Mon and Lawa people (a Palaungic-speaking people),[4][5] with the Mons forming the ruling class. It is also hypothesized that the migration of Tai peoples into Chao Phraya valley occurred during the time of the Lavo kingdom.

Theravada Buddhism remained a major belief in Lavo although Hinduism and Mahayana Buddhism from the Khmer Empire wielded considerable influence.[6] Around the late 7th century, Lavo expanded to the north. In the Northern Thai Chronicles, including the Cāmadevivaṃsa, Camadevi, the first ruler of the Mon kingdom of Hariphunchai, was said to be a daughter of a Lavo king.

Few records are found concerning the nature of the Lavo kingdom. Most of what we know about Lavo is from archaeological evidence. Tang dynasty chronicles record that the Lavo kingdom sent tributes to Tang as Tou-ho-lo. In his diary, the monk Xuanzang referred to Dvaravati-Lavo as Tou-lo-po-ti, which seems to echo the name Dvaravati, as a state between Chenla and the Pagan Kingdom. By the Song dynasty, Lavo was known as Luówō (Chinese: 羅渦).[citation needed]

Around the 10th century, the city-states of Dvaravati merged into two mandalas – the Lavo (modern Lopburi) and Suvarnabhumi (modern Suphan Buri). According to a legend in the Northern Chronicles, in 903, a king of Tambralinga invaded and took Lavo and installed a Malay prince to the Lavo throne. The Malay prince was married to a Khmer princess who had fled an Angkorian dynastic bloodbath. The son of the couple contested for the Khmer throne and became Suryavarman I, thus bringing Lavo under Khmer domination through personal union. Suryavarman I also expanded into Isan, constructing many temples.

In the 11th century the Khmer influences on Lavo began to wane as a result of the growing influence of the emerging Burmese kingdom of Pagan. In 1087 Kyansittha of Pagan invaded Lavo, but King Narai of Lavo was able to repel the Burmese invasion and Lavo, emerging relatively stronger from the encounter, was thus spared from either Khmer or Burmese hegemony. King Narai moved the capital to Ayodhaya[7] and Lavo was then able to exert pressure on Suvarnabhumi to the west and slowly to take its cities.

Yet another wave of Khmer invasions arrived under Jayavarman VII. This time, Lavo was assimilated into the religious cosmos of the Khmer Empire – Hinduism and Mahayana Buddhism. Khmer influence was great on Lavo arts and architecture as seen in the Prang Sam Yot. In 1239, the Tai governor of Sukhothai rebelled and declared independence from Lavo – giving birth to the Sukhothai Kingdom. In Thai chronicles Lavo is called “Khmer”, and during the 13th century the Lavo kingdom shrank swiftly due to the expansion of Sukhothai under Ram Khamhaeng the Great, retreating to its heartland around Lavo and Ayodhaya.

The Kingdom of Lavo, Lo-hu, sent embassies to China between 1289 and 1299.[8]:221–222

King Vorachet, the tenth king of Ayodhaya (counting King Narai as the first) is hypothesized to be the same person as Uthong of the Ayutthaya kingdom.[7] Uthong of Lavo and Borommarachathirat I of Suvarnabhumi co-founded a new Ayutthaya, and Uthong became the king of the city. But Pa Ngua took Ayutthaya from Uthong’s son Ramesuan in 1370 and Ramesuan returned to his homeland at Lavo. In 1388 Ramesuan took revenge by taking Ayutthaya back from Pa Ngua’s son, Thonglan.

Pa Ngua's nephew Intharacha took Ayutthaya back for Suvannabhum in 1408. The Lavo dynasty was then purged and became a mere noble family of Ayutthaya until the 16th century.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ [1] Archived May 26, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ [2] Archived August 28, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ "๏ฟฝาณาจัก๏ฟฝ๏ฟฝ๏ฟฝ๏ฟฝาณ". Archived from the original on October 26, 2009. Retrieved 2015-12-14. 
  4. ^ "The Kingdom of Syam". Retrieved 2015-12-14. 
  5. ^ John Pike. "Thailand - 500-1000 - Lavo / Lopburi". Retrieved 2015-12-14. 
  6. ^ [3][dead link]
  7. ^ a b [4] Archived August 22, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ Coedès, George (1968). Walter F. Vella, ed. The Indianized States of Southeast Asia. trans.Susan Brown Cowing. University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 978-0-8248-0368-1.