Mangrai, the 25th king of Ngoen Yang of Lavachakkaraj dynasty, centralized the city-states of Ngoen Yang into a unified kingdom and allied with the neighboring Kingdom of Payao. In 1262, Mangrai moved the capital from Ngoenyang (modern Chiang Saen) to the newly-founded Chiang Rai, naming the city after himself. Mangrai then expanded to the south and subjugated the Mon Haripunchai kingdom centered on modern Lamphun in 1292. Mangrai swore allegiance with two other kings, Ngam Mueng of Payao and Ramkamhaeng of Sukhothai. Mangrai moved the capital several times. He founded Chiang Mai in 1296 and eventually settled there. Claimed territories of Mangrai’s Lanna include modern northern Thailand provinces (with exception of Prae, which was under Sukhothai, and Payao and Nan, the Kingdom of Payao), Kengtung, Mong Nai, and Chiang Hung (modern Jinghong in Yunnan).
Disunity and Prosperity
In 1317, Mangrai died and was succeeded by his son Paya Chaisongkram. After four months of ascension, Chaisongkram moved the capital to Chiang Rai and appointed his son Thau Saen Phu as the Uparaja King of Chiang Mai. Chaisongkram’s brother, Khun Kruea the King of Mong Nai, invaded Chiang Mai for the throne. Facing the invasion of his own uncle, Saen Phu fled the city. Thau Nam Tuam, another son of Chaisongkram, intervened and repelled Khun Kruea. Chaisongkram then appointed Nam Tuam the Uparaja replacing Saen Phu in 1322. However, it was rumored that Nam Tuam was planning a rebellion, so Chaisongkram turned back to Saen Phu in 1324.
Paya Kam Fu, son of Saen Phu, moved the capital to Chiang Saen in 1334, only to be returned to Chiang Mai by his son Pa Yu. Theravada religion prospered in Lanna during the reign of religious Kue Na who established the dhatu of Doi Suthep in 1386. Kue Na promoted the Lankawongse sect and invited monks from Sukhothai to replace the existing the Mon Theravada that Lanna inherited from Haripunchai.
Lanna enjoyed the peace under Saenmuengma (which means ten thousands cities arrive to pay tribute). Only disturbing event was the failed rebellion by his uncle Prince Maha Prommatat. Maha Prommatat requested aids from Ayutthaya. Borommaracha I of Ayutthaya sent his troops to invade Lanna but was repelled – the first armed conflicts between the two kingdoms. Lanna faced invasions from newly-established Ming dynasty in the reign of Sam Fang Kaen.
Expansions under Tilokaraj
Lanna kingdom was strongest under Tilokaraj (1441 - 1487). Tilokaraj seized the throne from his father Sam Fang Kaen in 1441. Tilokaraj’s brother, Thau Choi, rebelled to reclaim the throne for his father and sought Ayutthayan support. Borommaracha II sent his troops to Lanna in 1442 but was repelled and the rebellion was suppressed. Tilokaraj conquered the neighboring Kingdom of Payao in 1456.
To the south, the emerging Kingdom of Ayutthaya was also growing powerful. The relations of the two kingdoms had been worsened since the Ayutthayan support of Thau Choi's rebellion. In 1451, Yuttitthira, a Sukhothai royalty who had conflicts with Trailokanat of Ayutthaya, gave himself to Tilokaraj. Yuttitthira urged Trilokanat to invade Pitsanulok which he had claims on igniting Ayutthaya-Lanna War over Upper Chao Phraya valley, i.e. the Kingdom of Sukhothai. In 1460, the governor of Chaliang surrendered to Tilokaraj. Trailokanat then used the new strategy and concentrated on the wars with Lanna by moving the capital to Pitsanulok. Lanna suffered setbacks and Tilokaraj eventually sued for peace in 1475.
Tilokaraj was also a strong patron of Theravada. In 1477, the Buddhist Council of Tripitaka Recompilation was held near Chiang Mai. Tilokaraj also built and rehabilitated many notable temples. In 1480, Tilokaraj sent aids to help the King of Lan Xang to free his kingdom from Vietnamese occupation. Tilokaraj then expanded to the west to the Shan States of Laikha, Hsipaw, Mong Nai, and Yawnghwe.
After Tilokaraj, Lanna then subjected to old-style princely struggles that prevent Lanna from defending against powerful-growing neighbors. The Shans then broke themselves free of Lanna control established by Tilokaraj. The last strong ruler was Paya Kaew who was the great-grandson of Tilokaraj. In 1507, Kaew invaded Ayutthaya but was repelled, only to be invaded in turn in 1513 by Ramathibodi II and Lampang was sacked. In 1523, a dynastic struggle occurred in Kengtung. One faction sought Lanna support while the another faction went for Hsipaw. Kaew then sent Lanna armies to re-exert control there but was readily defeated by Hsipaw armies. The loss was so tremendous that Lanna never regained such dominance.
In 1538, King Ketklao, son of Kaew, was overthrown by his own son Thau Sai Kam. However, Ketklao was restored in 1543 but suffered mental illness and was executed in 1545. Ketklao’s daughter, Chiraprapa, then succeeded her father as the queen regnant. As Lanna was plundered by the dynastic struggles, both Ayutthaya and the Burmese saw this as an opportunity to overwhelm Lanna. Chairacha of Ayutthaya invaded Lanna in 1545 but was negotiated by Chiraprapa. Chairacha returned next year sacking Lampang and Lamphun and threatened Chaing Mai itself. So, Chiraprapa was forced to put her kingdom under Ayutthayan tributary.
Facing pressures from the invaders, Chiraprapa decided to abdicate in and 1546 and the nobility gave the throne to her brother-in-law Prince Chaiyasettha of Lan Xang. Chaiyasettha moved to Lanna and thus Lanna was ruled by a Laotian king. In 1547, Prince Chaiyasettha returned to Lan Xang to claim the throne and ascended as Setthathirat. Setthathirat also brought the Emerald Buddha from Chiang Mai to Luang Prabang (the one that would be later taken to Bangkok by Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke).
The nobles then chose Meguti, the Shan saopha of Mong Nai whose family related to Mangrai, to be the new king of Lanna. It was said that, as a Shan king, Meguti violated several Lanna norms and beliefs. In 1558, the unfortunate Meguti faced invasions by Bayinnaung of Pegu. Bayinnaung swiftly took the kingdom and Meguti became the puppet Lanna king supervised by Bayinnaung. For another two centuries, Lanna existed under Burmese supremacy.
Burmese Rule and Siamese Capture
Bayinnaung then organized his massive troops preparing to capture Ayutthaya. As he tried to free his kingdom from Burmese control, Meguti was executed in 1564. Bayinnaung then made Visuttidevi, one of his concubines of Mangrai descent, the queen regnant of Lanna. In 1578, Visuttidevi died. Bayinnaung then gave Lanna to his son with Visuttidevi, Noratra Minsosi. Burma allowed a substantial degree of autonomy for Lanna but strictly controlled the corvée and taxation, siphoning the available resources for the Burma’s wars.
After Bayinnaung, the Burmese authority weakened and fell under the sway of Naresuan’s expansions. For several times, Lanna served as the resource of Burmese armies for the invasion of Ayutthaya. Also Setthathirat of Lan Xang sought to undo Burmese influences in the area. In 1595, King Neokeow of Lan Xang threatened to march through Lanna to invade Burma. Noratra Minsosi then decided to seek Naresuan’s supports by bringing Lanna under Siamese tributary. The tributary to Siam was, however, short as the Siamese control was proved to be temporary.
Noratra Minsosi was succeeded by his brother Phra Choi but was overthrown by Minsosri’s son Phra Chaiyathip in 1608. Then, Phra Choi managed to take the throne back in 1613. After the assassination of Nanda Bayin, Burma fell into anarchy of three kingdoms. King Siseongmueng of Lanna who was the adopted son of Minsosi and formerly the King of Nan tried to exert independence but was subjugated by Thalun in 1631.
For a century, Lanna kings ruled under Burmese suzerainty. As the Lanna kings were strictly manipulated by Burma, the resistance was then instead led by common people – ranging from the respectful monks to those who claimed to have extraordinary powers or merits. Narai of Ayutthaya launched the invasion of Lanna in 1662. The Siamese sacked the cities including Chiang Mai but the rule was short. In 1664, Burma decided to end the autonomy of Lanna and installed Burmese agents to be the nobles of Lanna. And in 1701 Chiang Saen was annexed to be a Burmese city. In 1727, a man named Thepsingh led the Lanna resistance and successfully freed Lanna from the Burmese rule. However, the independence was short as Burma retook Lanna the same year.
In 1732, an elephant mahout who was said to have powers called Tipchang made himself the lord of Lampang, giving birth to the Lordship of Lampang and Tipchak dynasty. Tipchang’s kingdom paid tribute to Ava. Tipchang’s grandson, Kawila], planned the liberation of Lanna and Lampang. Kawila and Phraya Chabaan, a Lanna noble, became the leading figures. Kawila requested supports from Taksin of Thonburi who sent Phraya Chakri (future Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke) and Phraya Surasi (future Maha Sura Singhanat) to Lanna. In 1774, the joint Lampang and Thonburi forces capture Chiang Mai, ending two hundred years of Burmese rule. Kawila was installed as the king of Lampang amd Phraya Chaban as the king of Chiang Mai, both as a vassal of Siam. In the early twentieth century they were annexed and became part of modern Siam, the country now called Thailand.
Thonburi and Bangkok period
The heirs of Rama I became increasingly concerned with the threat of European colonialism after British victories in neighboring Burma in 1826. The first Thai recognition of Western power in the region was the Treaty of Amity and Commerce with the United Kingdom in 1826. In 1833, the United States began diplomatic exchanges with Siam, as Thailand was called until 1939, and again between 1945 and 1949. However, it was during the later reigns of King Mongkut, and his son King Chulalongkorn, that Thailand established firm rapprochement with Western powers. It is a widely held view in Thailand that the diplomatic skills of these monarchs, combined with the modernising reforms of the Thai Government, made Siam the only country in South and Southeast Asia to avoid European colonisation. This is reflected in the country's modern name, Prathet Thai or Thai‐land, used since 1939 (although the name was reverted to Siam during 1945–49), in which prathet means "nation" and thai means "free".
The Anglo-Siamese Treaty of 1909 defined the modern border between Siam and British Malaya by securing Thai authority over the provinces of Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat and Satun, which were previously part of the semi‐independent Malay sultanates of Pattani and Kedah. A series of treaties with France fixed the country's current eastern border with Laos and Cambodia.
End of Absolute Monarchy and Military rule The Siamese coup d'état of 1932 led by a group of young military and civil servants. The coup, usually called 'The Revolution of 1932', transformed the Government of Thailand from an absolute to a constitutional monarchy. The cabinet was presided by the prime minister. Military men always played a significant role in the politics even before 1932. In 1912, during the Rama VI reign, the arrest of young soldiers took place as a plot of coup urging the constitution and the change of the king's status was found.
King Rama VII, Prajadhipok initially accepted this change, granting the Constitution but later abdicated from his position due to disagreement with the government. The new, revolutionary government decided to install his ten year old nephew, Ananda Mahidol as the new monarch. Upon his abdication, King Prajadhipok said that the duty of a ruler was to reign for the good of the whole people, not for a selected few. Thai politics ran into turmoil as the revolutionary government plunged into factions; military and intellectuals. A coup and a rebellion took place. Eventually the military faction took control. The regime became evidently authoritarian under the prime minister Luang Phibulsongkram, one of the members of the Revolutionary military wing.
The young King Ananda Mahidol (Rama VIII) died in 1946 under somewhat mysterious circumstances, the official explanation being that he shot himself by accident while cleaning his gun. He was succeeded by his brother Bhumibol Adulyadej, the longest reigning king of Thailand, and very popular with the Thais. Although nominally a constitutional monarchy, Thailand was ruled by a series of military governments, most prominently led by Luang Phibunsongkhram and Sarit Dhanarajata, interspersed with brief periods of democracy.
In early January 1941, Thailand invaded French Indochina, beginning the French-Thai War. The Thais, better equipped and outnumbering the French forces, easily reclaimed Laos. The French decisively won the naval Battle of Koh Chang.
The Japanese mediated the conflict, and a general armistice was declared on January 28. On May 9 a peace treaty was signed in Tokyo, with the French being coerced by the Japanese into relinquishing their hold on the disputed territories.
On December 8, 1941, a few hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Japan demanded the right to move troops across Thailand to the Malayan frontier. Japan invaded the country and engaged the Thai army for six to eight hours before Phibunsongkhram ordered an armistice. Shortly thereafter Japan was granted free passage, and on December 21, 1941, Thailand and Japan signed a military alliance with a secret protocol wherein Tokyo agreed to help Thailand regain territories lost to the British and French (i.e. the Shan States of Burma, Malaya, Singapore, & part of Yunnan, plus Laos & Cambodia) Subsequently, Thailand undertook to 'assist' Japan in its war against the Allies. It should be remembered that the Seri Thai operated freely, often with support from members of the Royal family (Prince Chula Chakrabongse) and members of the government and that the Thai Army was considered untrustworthy by the Japanese.
After Japan's defeat in 1945, with the help of a group of Thais known as Seri Thai who were supported by the United States, Thailand was treated as a defeated country by the British and French, although American support mitigated the Allied terms. Thailand was not occupied by the Allies, but it was forced to return the territory it had regained to the British and the French. In the postwar period Thailand had relations with the United States, which it saw as a protector from the communist revolutions in neighboring countries.
During the 1960s many of the rural poor felt increasingly dissatisfied with their condition in society and disillusioned by their treatment by the central government in Bangkok. Efforts by the Thai government to develop poor rural regions often did not have the desired effect in that they contributed to the farmers' awareness of how bad off they really were. It is interesting to note that it was not always the poorest of the poor who joined the anti-government insurgency. Increased government presence in the rural villages did little to improve the situation. Villagers became subject to increased military and police harassment and bureaucratic corruption. Villagers often felt betrayed when government promises of development were frequently not fulfilled. By the early 1970s rural discontent had manifested itself into a peasant's activist movement.
The peasant's movement got started in the regions just north of the central plains and the Chiang Mai area (not the areas where the insurgency was most active). When these regions had been organised into the centralised Siamese state in King Chulalongkorn's reign, the old local nobility had been allowed to grab large tracts of land. The end result was that by the 1960s close to 30% of the households were landless. In the early 1970s university students helped to bring some of the local protests out on to the national stage. The protests focused on land loss, high rents, the heavy handed role of the police, corruption among the bureaucracy and the local elite, poor infrastructure, and overwhelming poverty. The government agreed to establish a committee to hear peasant grief. Within a short time the committee was flooded with more than 50,000 petitions, way more that it could possibly handle. Officials called many of the peasants' demands unrealistic and too far-reaching.
The political environment of Thailand changed little during the middle '60s. Thanom and his chief deputy Praphas maintained a tight grip on power. The alliance between these two was further cemented by the marriage of Praphas's daughter to Thanom's son Narong. By the late 1960s, however, more elements in Thai society had become openly critical of the military government which was seen as being increasingly incapable of dealing with the country's problems. It was not only the student activists, but also the business community that had begun to question the leadership of the government as well as its relationship with the United States. Thanom came under increasing pressure to loosen his grip on power when the King commented that it was time for parliament to be restored and a new constitution put into effect. After Sarit had suspended the constitution in 1958, a committee was established to write a new one, but almost ten years later, it had still not been completed. Finally in 1968 the government issued a new constitution and scheduled elections for the following year. The government party founded by the military junta won the election and Thanom remained prime minister.
Surprisingly, the Assembly was not totally tame. A number of MPs (mostly professionals such as doctors, lawyers, and journalists) began to openly challenge some of the government's policies, producing evidence of widespread government corruption on a number of large projects. As a new budget was being debated in 1971, it actually appeared that the military's demand for more funds might be voted down. Rather than suffer such a loss of face, Thanom carried out a putsch against his own government, suspended the constitution and dissolved the Parliament. Once again Thailand had been returned to absolute military rule.
This strongman approach which had worked for Phibun in 1938 and 1947, and for Sarit in 1957-58 would prove to be unsuccessful. By the early 1970s Thai society as a whole had developed a level of political awareness where it would no longer accept such unjustified authoritarian rule. The King, using various holidays to give speeches on public issues, became openly critical of the Thanom-Praphas regime. He expressed doubt on the use of extreme violence in the efforts to combat insurgency. He mentioned the widespread existence of corruption in the government and expressed the view that coups should become a thing of the past in the Thai political system. Furthermore, the junta began to face increasing opposition from within the military itself. Being preoccupied with their political roles, Thanom and Praphas had become more removed from direct control of the army. Many officers felt outraged by the rapid promotion of Narong and the fact that he seemed destined to be Thanom's successor. To these officers, it appeared that a political dynasty was being created.
The 1973 democracy movement
In the end it was the students that played the decisive role in the fall of the junta. Student demonstrations had started in 1968 and grew in size and numbers in the early 1970s despite the continued ban on political meetings. In June 1973, nine Ramkhamhaeng University students were expelled for publishing an article in a student newspaper that was critical of the government. Shortly after, thousands of students held a protest at the Democracy Monument demanding the re-enrolment of the nine students. The government ordered the universities to shut, but shortly afterwards it backed down and allowed the students to be re-enrolled.
In October the situation became more serious when another 13 students were arrested on charges of conspiracy to overthrow the government. This time the student protesters were joined by workers, businessmen and other ordinary citizens. The demonstrations swelled to several hundred thousand and the issue broadened from the release of the arrested students to demands for a new constitution and the replacement of the current government.
On October 13, the government yielded to the public's demand and the detainees were released. Leaders of the demonstrations, among them Saeksan Prasertkul, called off the march in accordance with the wishes of the King who was publicly against the democracy movement. In a speech to graduating students, he criticized the pro-democracy movement by telling students to concentrate on their studies and leave politics to their elders [military government].
As the crowds were breaking up the next day, the historic October 14, many students found themselves unable to leave because the police had attempted to control the flow of the crowd by blocking the southern route to Rajavithi Road. Cornered and overwhelmed by the hostile crowd, the police soon responded with violence by launching barrages of teargas and gunfire. Within minutes, a full scale riot had erupted. The military was called in, and Bangkok witnessed the horrifying spectacle of tanks rolling down Rajdamnoen Avenue and helicopters firing down at Thammasat University. A number of students commandeered buses and fire engines in an attempt to halt the progress of the tanks by ramming into them, with disastrous results.
With chaos reigning on the streets, King Bhumibol opened the gates of Chitralada Palace to the students who were being gunned down by the army. Despite orders from Thanom that the military action be intensified, army commander Kris Sivara had the army withdrawn from the streets. The King condemned the government's inability to handle the demonstrations, ordered Thanom, Praphas, and Narong to leave the country, and notably condemned the students' supposed role as well. At 06:10 pm Bangkok Time, Field Marshal Thanom Kittikachorn resigned from his post as Prime Minister.
The 1973 democracy movement have resulted in the separation of several Northern Thailand provinces to split away from Thailand on 15 October 1973 to form the United Northern Thai States of Lanna, marking the end of the constitutional monarchy rule within Northern Thailand.
With the vulnerability of a new nation, problems in creating a stable government, corruption practices and the increasing people's support for Communism became a worrying threat to Lanna. After Adirake Santichai became the Prime Minister of Lanna, he immediately passed several anti-Communism acts and anti-corruption acts in a bid to control the spread of communism and corruption. Lanna immediately sought international recognition of its sovereignty and joined the United Nations on Christmas Eve 1973. Lanna have signed a trilateral relationships with Laos and North Vietnam (later known as Vietnam) in 8 January 1974 which allowed the Lannie and Laonian access to the sea for trading. Under Santichai, Lanna have several bilateral relationships with USA, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore and the UK.
It later joined the ASEAN in 27 March 1975, despite Thailand's disapproval. Industralisation in Lanna began during Santichai's second 5 years term in office from 1978 to 1983, increase the GDP and reducing the unemployment rate of Lanna.
On October 1979, Thailand have tried to overthrow Lanna's current government through the failed assasination plot of the Prime Minister Adirake Santichai in an attempt to cause public unrest and eventually allowing Thailand the opportunity to regain control over Lanna. As Santichai was told about this plot, he immediately issued a public statemate to the international press in order to obtain help from the other countries of the world. Several countries, including USA and China, supported Lanna and several high power leaders of Thailand resgined, including the Prime Minister Kriangsak Chomanan at that time, due to investigation findings that several of the Members of the Parliament and military leaders were plotting on the assasination attempt.
With a new change of attitude towards Lanna after the then Thai Prime Minister Prem Tinsulanonda took office, it offers Lanna military support should any other countries atempt to attack Lanna. As Lanna have no military or no plans to develop a military system, Lanna then agreed to the proposal, much to the widespread disapproval of the Lannians and it became a hot topic for discussion during the 1983 Lanna general elections. When a newly elected Prime Minister Dao-Amporn Naruemon came into office, she immediately deemed the Thailand's military support law as invalid and approve the national service law. Still, the law invalidity did not dampen the growing relationships between Lanna and Thailand.
In September 1990, during Prime Minister Duchanee Hanuman first term in office, he approve a controversal bill in which the government are allowed to demolish several old buildings in the cities of Lanna for high-rise residential buildings due to the exploding population of Lannian cities. This sparks widespread protests in several cities of Lanna. Due to miscommunications within the government, the army, which were deployed to control the protestors should they turn violent, attacked the peaceful protestors out of the blue, causing a widespread riot. Despite attempts by the Prime Minister Hanuman ordering the army to stop attacking the civilians, the riot continue for several days. The riot ended when sereval military leaders were stripped of their military titles and were banned from serving the military. As a result, the controversal bill was amended and the communication system of Lanna improve significantly, including the newly introduced mobile phone network and internet network.
When Prime Minister Annan Chongrak came into power in 1998, he renamed Lanna's official name to the New Republic of Lanna and began to approve bills that will allow Lanna to run closer in obtaining a developed nation title, but risking the financial state of Lanna due to the ongoing 1997 Asian Financial Crisis due to the fact that the development programmes of Lanna have a budget of US$470 million. He took the gamble and begun to relax foreign investment. A 7 Year Utility Plan was introduced to supply more-than-enough power supply, water supply, gas supply and more frequent trash collection throughout the whole country by 2005. A public bus transportation system have also been introduced in a bid to ease the traffic congestions of the cities of Lanna. Highways, roads and airports will be refurbished, expanded and will receive more frequent maintenance. A new education system has been adopted, providing free primary education and heavily reduced secondary education in a bid to increase the literacy rate. The health system will be improved. New commercial and industrial areas will be built to provide more jobs to the current 14% unemployed population.
By 2001, the Human Development Index rose from 0.357 in 1980, 0.418 in 1990 to 0.761 in 2000. Its economy have also risen by an average of 12.8% annually, allowing the government to invest more into improving the people's life of Lanna. Despite worries of overpopulation, no birth control measures have been put into act as the housing to population ratio have been rising steadily over the years. From 2002 to 2008, birth rate have begun to drop steadily to the current 2009 birth rate of 2.27. In 2006, the estimated population have reached 34 million. On the same year, a project to eliminate slums begun. By 2007, Lanna have achieved the developed nation status.
In 2009, news of the Donaxeration of Fornax having two dependecies on Earth sent shockwaves throughout Earth, with a majority of the Earth nations fear of space nations attempting to overtake Earth. Lanna was some of the few Earth nations who saw treated this event as a good sign and immediately stregthen ties with Rafforsia and begun diplomatic ties with West Borneo, now known as Borneo. With Lanna's growing interest with the donaxeration and Fornax's willingness to accept Lanna as part of its donaxeration, Lanna join the Donaxeration of Fornax as the third nation of the Fornax Earth Colonies on 12 January 2010, sparkling a space interest within Lanna.