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September 2005[edit]

I'm re-posting the new text here, in case some Thai nationalist comes along and decides to re-write the entire entry with the same propaganda nonsense they put in the museums.

(Applause! I was very glad to find the text below, indeed, a step up from the "propaganda nonsense" alluded to above. The latest wave of this is now enshrined in Bangkok's N.D.M.I. (National Discovery Museum Institute) --offering a convoluted justification for the continued mis-use of the term (but, at the same time, admitting that there is no real basis for the Thai tradition of Suvannabhumi's meaning except the early "propaganda" of Prince Damrong (in effect, his pseudo-histories coined the term, in this usage). As I may be the only one here who actually reads Ashokan inscriptions in the primary source, I note: there is one fragmentary inscription wherein a word similar to suvannabhumi does appear, however that is the only legible word in the entire inscription (and the word does not appear in the other contexts mistakenly attributed to it) --thus, most of the sources that try to attribute this term to Ashoka, or to associate it with his "missionaries" (etc.) make confusing allusions to this very limited "fact" (viz., there is one word, on one stone, in no legible context). Woolner's corpus of Ashokan inscriptions includes this fragmentary text, as I recall, and, of course, the intact texts are widely available for comparison, viz., where the word does not appear at all.) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:21, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

Extended content


Suwannaphum (also Suwarnabhumi) remains one of the most mythified and contentious toponym in the hisory of Asia. In Thailand, government proclamations and state museums insist that it was somewhere along their southern coast (and, in celebration of this, the government has named the new Bangkok airport after the mythic kingdom of Suwarnabhumi, or "Suwannaphum"); meanwhile, in Myanmar, authorities insist that it was the Sittang River in Burma. Working from limited historical sources (primarily, the vague accounts of the region provided by Chinese pilgrims on their way to and from India) the term has been idenified with coastal regions from Indonesia to Malaysia.

The issue at the base of all these modern myths is the appearance of the term in the ancient stone inscriptions of Ashoka; it is significant that none of these myths existed (in any country in South-East Asia) prior to the publication and translation of the edicts of Ashoka in the 19th century.

Scholars identify the "Suvannabhumi" named by Ashoka as a toponym in Southern India, and deny that it has anything to do with South-East Asia. The later (and less contested) references to the region in Chinese historical sources depends on the (highly conjectural) identification of Chinese idiograms with phonetic equivalents, and the subsequent identification of those phonetic toponyms with ancient civilizations.

Responsible modern scholarship does not accept that Ashoka's missionaries went any further east than Sri Lanka, and archaeological evidence tends to affirm this. Further, the attempts to identify the modern ethnic/political groupings of "Thai" and "Burmese" with a conjectural "Suvannabhumi" of the 2nd century BCE flounders on the simple fact that neither the Tai-Kadai migration nor the Sino-Tibetan population of Burma had yet come to pass. In other words, if the myth identifying Ashoka's "Suwannaphum" with Burma or Thailand were true, it would entail an impossible anachronism, as neither any Thais nor any Burmese lived on that coast for many centuries thereafter.

See also:

         History of Burma
         History of Thailand


NPOV notice[edit]

I've added the NPOV notice to this article. This is due to the use of terms like "highly conjectural", "responsible modern scholarship", "attempts ... flounders on the simple fact that" and "if the myth were true". This borders on original research. I could have simply removed the sentences, but I know nothing about this subject. I think any cleaning up needs to be done by someone knowledgeable, i.e. someone else. Aecis 11:06, 16 October 2005 (UTC)

Agree: The articles indicates confusion of the language issues and the people groups.-—The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) .

I will humbly try to improve this article. The main problem with this article (aside from the weasel words and POV) is that it just addresses the dispute, not describing the kingdom. I have removed the weasel words mentioned by Aecis above and fixed a few other factual references. I will gradually add more info to change the nature of the article. With no objections, I will also remove the NPOV tag.--WilliamThweatt 01:42, 12 May 2006 (UTC)
I rewrote the article, trying to put the focus on the place itself instead of the disputed legacy. I consulted many sources, including translations of the ancient originals, and recent scholarly analysis. It was hard weeding through the conjecture, baseless nationalistic claims and tradition to find useful sources and even then, they sometimes contradict one another. Also, I can't believe how many websites mirror or cite Wikipedia (but that's a topic for another day). The article could use some more fleshing out but I feel it is now sufficiently NPOV to remove the tag so I will do that now.--WilliamThweatt 02:12, 17 May 2006 (UTC)

Changes of July 27 by User:[edit]

I'm not going to revert the changes, for now. However, I don't believe this is an improvement to the article. The article previously stated that Suwannaphum isn't mentioned in any verifiable independent sources, which is true. All of the "sources" noted in today's changes (with the possible exception of the Roman one) are merely later retellings or reworkings of the original story...not contemporary independent sources. Also, all of the info regarding the Rock Edict (as it is presently written) is superfluous as it doesn't mention Suwannaphum and the explanation of the rulers mentioned is irrelevant to the article as well.

Please provide rationale for your edits, including citation of sources or I will revert back to the previous version. I am going to make some changes to the formatting and other errors introduced today. I will revert in a couple days if the edits aren't justified.--WilliamThweatt 20:46, 27 July 2006 (UTC)

Sumatra and such[edit]

Can anyone tell me why there is no mention whatsoever of Swarnabhumi referring to Sumatra and/or the Malay peninsula (instead of "centered on Java")? I know these claims are also not undisputed but if you mention India and Burma, why not mention Sumatra? (for reference, albeit a bit old, see here (pdf)). Martijn →!?← 12:46, 21 April 2008 (UTC)

I want to share the ideas!!! =[edit]

I have learned the possible theories of Suvarnabhumi kingdom which I'd like to share.

Firstly, It is at "somewhere" in South-east Asia, either mainland or the islands, or both, because there are lacks of solid evidence as the script, but there are lots of old Pagodas and towns which are created "before" the migration of Tai-Kadai or Burman or Malay groups. So, these ruins are made by the local people (or kingdom) which possible the Mon, the Khmer or the Siem (Siem is not Thai, not Lao, not Khom or else, Siem means 'black people' in Khmer language), or else. In modern theory of "Who is Thai", it is believed that the present Thai people has the mixed blood, not the pure blood. It is believed that there is the mixture between Tai-Kadai tribe, which settled in Northern & Northeast Thailand, Laos PDD & Shan state of Myanmar; with local people who lived in central & Southern Thailand - people of Suvarnabhumi; the Mon, and the Khom. This mixture has left lots of tradition which be influent by all 3 groups e.g. rice eating from the latter (not sticky rice as Tai-Kadai), languages from the Tai-Kadai, the Architecture etc. There are many old cities around the old Gulf of Bangkok (Northern area of Gulf of Thailand), which was beyond the present gulf due to sea level rising after the last ice age. These ciities can trace back to the Suvarnabhumi era. Examplesa are Petchaburi, U-tong (Suphanburi, Thailand), Sri mahosot (Prachinburi, Thailand), Phra Pathom (Nakon Pathom, Thailand),etc., and some towns in Teneserim division and Mon State of Myanmar.

Secondly, it was proposed that Suvarnabhumi is the area, not exactly the kingdom. In Pali-Sanskrit languge, 'Suvarnna' means 'Gold', and, 'Bhumi' means 'Land'. There are the trading are between Indian and Chinese. The old cities was constructed around the important trading routes, e.g. Takola - Srivijaya (Pung-nga & Suratthani, Thailand), Bunda Acheh (Acheh province, Northern Sumatra), old cities around the old Gulf of Thailand, old cities in Teneserim division & Mon State of Myanmar and lower Myanmar plain, etc.

In conclusion, the future researches of Suvarnabhumi are needed. Do not conclude any things. By BDev on 13 Jan 09. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:21, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

Merge to Suvarnabhumi[edit]

Let's merge this article to Suvarnabhumi instead of Thailand name, according to original sanskrit name. Gunkarta (talk) 11:16, 6 February 2012 (UTC)

Done. Gryffindor (talk) 12:59, 31 January 2014 (UTC)


These two articles should be merged. It is exactly the same name, one is spelled the Thai way and the other is spelled how it sounds phonetically in English - but the pronunciation (if you say the Thai version correctly) is exactly the same and the meaning is exactly the same. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:46, 9 January 2012 (UTC)

Agreed, merge Suwannaphum into Suvarnabhumi. I think it is the same anyway. Gunkarta (talk) 11:09, 6 February 2012 (UTC)

Seventh reference typo[edit]

in the seventh reference, does the title actually include "Philosopgy" or is this a typo? Zer0n888 (talk) 22:38, 26 October 2012 (UTC)


I corrected the transliteration of the original to suvarṇabhūmi. The Pali appears to me to be wrong - there is a short 'u' and long 'i' in the current transliteration. Imc (talk) 07:20, 9 April 2014 (UTC)