Naresuan (2006) 

 

 

 

Director:     Chatrichalerm Yukol.

Starring:     Wanchana Sawatdee (King Naresuan ), Pratcha Sananvatananont (Prince Naresuan, youth) , Nopachai Jayanama (Rachamanu), Taksaorn Paksukcharoen (Manechan), Chatchai Plengpanich (King Thamaracha), Grace Mahadumrongkul (Princess Supankulayanee), Intira Jaroenpura (Lurkin), Sompob Benjatikul (King Bayinnaung ), Jakkrit Amarat (Nanda Bayin ), Sorapong Chatree (Mahathera Khanchong ), Saranyu Wongkrajang (King Chakrapadi ), Jirayu La-ongmanee (Bunting, youth) , Suchada Chekly (Manechan, outh) , Napatsorn Mitraim (Crown Prince Minchit Sra).

King Naresuan the Great (1590 to 1605); a follow-up to The Legend of Suriyothai

 

 

Spoiler warning:  below is a summary of the entire film. 

 

 

 


Historical Background:

Somdet Phra Naresuan Maharat or Somdet Phra Sanphet II – the King of the Ayutthaya kingdom from 1590 until his death in 1605, Naresuan is one of Siam's most revered monarchs, known for his campaigns to free Siam from Burmese rule. During his reign, Siam reaches its greatest territorial extent and influence.

1555 (April 25) – born in the city of Phitsanulok’; the son of King Maha Thammarachathirat of Phitsanulok and his queen Wisutkasat. His mother was a daughter of Maha Chakkrapat and Queen Sri Suriyothai. His father was a Sukhothai noble, who had defeated Vorawongsathirat in 1548 and put Maha Chakkrapat on the throne. He was therefore an influential figure.

Prince Naret was also known as the Black Prince to distinguish him from his siblings. His younger brother Ekathotsarot was known as the White Prince, and his elder sister Suphankanlaya was known as the Golden Princess.

1563 -- Bayinnaung, the King of Pegu, leads massive Burmese armies in an invasion of Siam. King Bayinnuang laid siege to Phitsanulok. Maha Thammarachathirat came to believe that the city would not be able to withstand a long siege, so he surrendered to the Burmese. King Bayinnuang took Phitsanulok and made the Kingdom of Sukhothai a Burmese tributary. Maha Thammarachathirat had to send his sons - the Black and the White Prince - to Pegu as captives to ensure the king's fidelity.

Naret, along with other captive princes from other kingdoms, are educated in martial arts and war strategy of Burmese and Portuguese style. He is later noted for his new tactics that led him to victory over the Burmese. Naret then found himself under competition with Bayinnuang's grandson (Nanda Bayin's son) Minchit Sra.

1569 – Bayinnuang takes Ayutthaya and installs Maha Thammarachathirat as the King of Ayutthaya. After seven years of captivity, Prince Naret, along with his brother the White Prince, are released to Ayutthaya in exchange for his sister Supankanlaya as Bayinnuang's concubine.

1569 – Maha Thammarachathirat makes the 14-year-old Naret the Uparaja and King of Phitsanulok as Naresuanin.

1574 – Naresuan joins his father in the expedition to conquer Vientiane, but he suffered from smallpox.

1581 – Bayinnuang dies, to be succeeded by his son Nanda Bayin.

1583 – Nanda Bayin's uncle, who was the Lord of Innwa, rebels against his nephew at Pegu. Nanda Bayin then asks for Siamese troops and support against Innwa. Naresuan marches the Siamese armies to Innwa, but slowly, in order for the rebellion to be crushed by the time he reached Innwa or else the Lord of Innwa would get Nanda Bayin.

This, however, raises Nanda Bayin's suspicions about Naresuan's loyalty. Nanda Bayin then secretly orders his son Minchit Sra to defeat Naresuan's army and kill him upon reaching Pegu and orders Kiet and Ram - the two Mons of the city of Kraeng on the Sittoung River - to attack Naresuan in the rear after he had passed Kraeng while Minchit Sra attacks the front.

1584 - 1586  --  Burmese-Siamese War.

1584 – Naresuan reaches Kraeng. However, Ram and Kiet were Naresuan's childhood acquaintances, so they informed Naresuan about Nanda Bayin's plans. Naresuan, upon realizing the intentions of Nanda Bayin, performed a ceremony to denounce Burmese tributary, saying; "All the holy deities with universal knowledge, the King of Hanthawaddi doesn't embrace the fidelity as the kings should do but is indeed intended to hurt me. From now on, the alliance of Ayutthaya and Hanthawaddi breaks, forever."

Naresuan then levies the Mons to join his campaigns under the leadership of Kiet and Ram and then marches to Pegu. Nanda Bayin, however, had already defeated the Lord of Innwa and was marching back to Pegu.

Naresuan decides to retreat but Minchit Sra himself leads the Peguan army to chase after Naresuan. The Burmese caught the Siamese at Sittoung River, culminating in the Battle of Sittoung River. The legend says that Naresuan shot a Burmese general across the Sittoung River - called the Royal Shot Across the Sittoung River. After the death of his general, Minchit Sra retreats.

1583 – Naresuan orders all northern cities including Phitsanulok to evacuate as it would become the battlefield between Ayutthaya and Pegu. So, Phitsanulok ceases to be the seat of Sukhothai kingdom and Naresuan becomes the last king of Sukhothai.

1583 – Nanda Bayin orders his uncle the Lord of Pathein and Noratra Mangsosri the Burmese King of Lanna to lead the Burmese armies into Siam but the Burmese are defeated by the Siamese.

1586 – Nanda Bayin himself leads the Burmese armies to Ayutthaya and lays siege on the city for 13 months without success.

1590 – Maha Thammarachathirat dies. Naresuan us crowned as the King of Ayutthaya as Sanphet II.

1590-1592 – Burmese-Siamese War.

King Naresuan made his brother the White Prince the Uparaja with equal honor as Naresuan himself.

1590 – Minchit Sra marches into Siam through Chedi Sam Ong. Instead of taking defensive positions s at Ayutthaya, Naresuan chooses to march to Chedi Sam Ong. Minchit Sra, thinking that the Siamese would stay at Ayutthaya for defensive purposes, marches unprepared. The Burmese are coaxed into a field where they are ambushed by Naresuan's armies. With his armies scatttered, Minchit Sra retreats back to Pegu.

1592 – Nanda Bayin orders his son to attack Ayutthaya again. Minchit Sra, along with the Lord of Pyay, Natshinnaung the son of the Lord of Toungoo, and the Burmese King of Lanna, lead the Burmese into Siam. Minchit Sra himself marches through Chedi Sam Ong peacefully and reaches Suphanburi, while others came from the north. Naresuan was planning to conquer Cambodia, but then he given the new situation he had to change his mind. Naresuan encamps his armies at Nong Sarai. The Burmese arrive, leading to the Battle of Nong Sarai.

During the battle, the elephants of Naresuan and Ekathotsarot went mad and ran into the midst of the Burmese. Siamese Chronicles states that there were fake Minchit Sras but Naresuan pointed out the real one from the honorary decorations. Naresuan then urges Minchit Sra to fight with him: "My brother, why do you hide yourself in the canopy shadows? Let us fight the elephant battle for our own honors. No future kings will do what we are going to do."

1593 (January 18) -- the personal battle between Naresuan and Minchit Sra is now a highly-romanticized historical scene known as Yuttahadhi, the Elephant battle. After narrowly missing Naresuan and cutting his hat, Minchit Sra is slashed to death on the back of his elephant. This date is now observed as Royal Thai Armed Forces day.

Naresuan builds a pagoda on the site of Yutthahadhi as a victory monument. Naresuan wants to execute all the soldiers in the battle of Nong Sarai who had provided no support to him and his brother. Somdet Phra Wannarat - a bhikkhu - calms Naresuan to get him to lift the punishment. Naresuan then instead orders them to be taken to Tavoy and Tenasserim.

1593 – Naresuan sends Siamese forces to lay siege on Tavoy - a Mon city - by the Minister of Kromma Tha and Tenasserim and Mergui by the Samuha Kalahom , all quickly fell. Nanda Bayin lauches Burmese fleets to recapture the cities. The Samuha Kalahom then seizes the galleons at Mergui to construct a fleet and sails and marches his armies over land to counter Burmese attack from Martaban. The Siamese are able to repel the Burmese.

1593-1594 – Siamese invasion of Cambodia. After Yuttahadhi, Naresuan launches his campaigns to subjugate Cambodia. He sends four armies to capture Champasak, Banteymas (modern Ha Tien in Vietnam), Siem Reap, while Naresuan himself would go after Battambang - all forces were then to be joined at Lovek.

1594 – they all reach Lovek and loot the place to the ground. King Borommaracha V flees to Vientiene. Naresuan takes Borommaracha's brother Sri Suriyopor captive and takes his daughter as his concubine.

Naresuan leaves a Siamese army at Oudong to oversee Cambodia.

1595 – Naresun is driven out by Rama Chungprey.

As Burmese control over the tributaries weakened, the Mons took this opportunity to free themselves. The Mon governor of Moulmein rebels against Pegu and requests Siamese support. Naresuan sends troops to take the Mon city of Martaban that sided with Pegu. Nanda Bayin sends the Lord of Toungoo to Martaban but he is repelled and forced to retreat. The capture of Martaban exerted Siamese control over the Mon state.

1595 – siege of Pegu. Naresuan eventually marches his troops to Pegu. He lays siege on the city for three months but was unable to enter. The huge forces of the Lords of Pyay, Toungoo, and Ava arrive to free Pegu. Naresuan decides to retreat.

1599-1600 – Burmese-Siamese War.

1595  --  the Lord of Pyay stages a rebellion against Nanda Bayin, followed by Toungoo, Rakhine, Lanna, and Lan Xang. King Nokeo of Lan Xang preparing to march through Lanna to Pegu to rescue the Laotian captives. Noratra Mangsosri of Lanna (Nanda Bayin's brother) places his kingdom under Siamese tributary to get Ayutthayan support. Naresuan sends Siamese forces to prevent Laotian forces from entering Lanna.

1599  --  after  series of upheavals in the Burmese Empire, Naresuan decides to invade Pegu again. Naresuan allies himself with Rakhine. The Lord of Toungoo feared, however, that if Naresuan had taken Pegu Siamese power would become too great and might engulf Toungoo itself. So, the Lord of Toungoo encourages the Mons to rebel against Siam. Naresuan then subjugates the Mon rebellions.

Toungoo finally takes Pegu the same year with the help of Rakhine. Toungoo tajes Nanda Bayin and leaves for Toungoo. When Naresuan reaches Pegu, he finds the city in ruins. He requests Toungoo to sent Nanda Bayin back to him but Toungoo refuses.

Naresuan lays siege to Toungoo but fails. Naresuan then goes back. He sends his brother Ekathotsarot to calm Lanna inner conflicts.

The Kingdom of Ayutthaya reaches its greatest extend.

Anaukpetlun crowns himself as the King of Ava to counter Toungoo and goes on his a campaign to subjugate the Shans. However, the Shan King of Hsenwi is Naresuan's childhood friend. So, he marched armies to rescue Hsenwi.

1605 – during his journey, Naresuan dies. The King actually returned to Wiang Haeng, where he died of disease, probably smallpox. His brother King Ekathotsarot becomes his successor as king.

1600 – according to the Shan, King Naresuan helped them win independence for the Shan State with his ally, the Prince of Hsenwi. They say that both had been hostages at the Burmese court, and King Naresuan died while rushing to the aid of a friend of his youth.

 

 

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