H. M. Taksin the Great

taksin the great, king of thailand The Thonburi Period was brief, spanning the reign of only one king. HM Tak Sin the Great was one of Thailand's great heroes and great tragedies.

Born of a Chinese father and Thai mother, Sin of Tak was the cavalry commander just before the sacking of Ayuttaya. When the fall of Ayuttaya seemed eminent, Tak Sin formed his cavalry, broke through Burmese lines and escaped to an area currently called Trat.

Tak Sin reorganized his army, absorbed the forces of the local strongman and set out to reclaim Thailand from the victorious Burmese. He was also fortunate to have the services of a great military leader in Chao Phaya Chakri. Fighting side by side through many battles and for 7 months Tak Sin's forces were able to drive the Burmese from Thailand.

HM Taksin ascended the throne and established the city of Thonburi. Stories say that some time after taking the throne HM Taksin became deranged, claiming that he was the Buddha. He is said to have abused his courtiers and the Sangha alike.

Chao Phaya Chakri had returned from a campaign against the Khmer when officials urged him to depose HM Taksin and ascend to the throne himself. It must have been a difficult decision for Chao Phaya Chakri. He and HM Tak Sin had been friends and comrades in arms. Apparently deciding that it would be best for the kingdom, he deposed his old friend.

A council declared that HM Tak Sin had to be executed in the prescribed manner for royalty. No royal blood could be shed. So the condemned King was put in a silk bag and beaten with sandalwood clubs. It is said the Chaophaya Chakri could not bear to be present for the execution.

Taking the throne as HM Buddayotfachulalok, the new monarch moved the capitol across the river to what is now Bangkok and formed the House of Chakri. HM would become known as Rama I, the first great King of the present Chakri Dynasty.

But one legend tells the story with a different ending.

Speculation: Because Tak Sin was half Chinese he knew the Thai people would never really accept him as their king. Neither was he of royal lineage. Also, during his campaigns, Tak Sin had hired the services of Chinese and Japanese mercenaries. He had personally guaranteed their payment in gold. So although Thailand had been freed of the Burmese, it suddenly had severe political and financial problems.

The Legend: HM Tak Sin had become weary from the fighting and with the affairs of state. He also had no way to settle his debts with the mercenary armies. So HM pretended to be insane.

Someone was substituted for HM Tak Sin in the silk bag. And afterwards, Tak Sin was secreted away from Thonburi and to the south where he spent the rest of his life as a monk.