The Kingdom of Lanna was a kingdom centered in present-day northern Thailand from the 13th to 18th centuries. The cultural development of the people of Lanna, the Tai Yuan people, had begun long before as successive Tai Yuan kingdoms preceded Lanna. As a continuation of the Ngoenyang
The Kingdom of Hiran or of Ngoenyang was an early Tai Yuan kingdom in existence from the 7th through 13th centuries AD and was originally centered on Hiran – near today's Amphoe Mae Sai in Chiangrai – and later on Ngoenyang or Chiang Saen, in modern-day Thailand...

 kingdom, Lanna emerged strong enough in the 15th century to rival the Ayutthaya kingdom
Ayutthaya kingdom
Ayutthaya was a Siamese kingdom that existed from 1350 to 1767. Ayutthaya was friendly towards foreign traders, including the Chinese, Vietnamese , Indians, Japanese and Persians, and later the Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch and French, permitting them to set up villages outside the walls of the...

, with whom wars were fought. However, Lanna was weakened and then became a Burmese tributary state
Tributary state
The term tributary state refers to one of the two main ways in which a pre-modern state might be subordinate to a more powerful neighbour. The heart of the relationship was that the tributary would send a regular token of submission to the superior power...

 in 1558. Lanna was ruled by successive vassal kings, though some enjoyed autonomy. The Burmese rule gradually withdrew but then resumed as the new Konbaung dynasty
Konbaung dynasty
The Konbaung Dynasty was the last dynasty that ruled Burma from 1752 to 1885. The dynasty created the second largest empire in Burmese history, and continued the administrative reforms begun by the Toungoo dynasty, laying the foundations of modern state of Burma...

 expanded Burmese influences. Taksin
Taksin ; was the only King of the Thonburi Kingdom...

 of Thonburi
Thonburi Kingdom
Thon Buri was the capital of Siam for a short time during the reign of King Taksin the Great, after the ruin of capital Ayutthaya by the Burmese. King Rama I removed the capital to Bangkok on the other side of the Chao Phraya River in 1782...

 finally took Lanna in 1775 and broke it down into a number of tributary kingdoms.

Early Establishment

Mangrai, the 25th king of Ngoen Yang (modern Chiang Saen
Chiang Saen
* Amphoe Chiang Saen, a district in modern Chiang Rai Province* Chiang Saen, a capital in the ancient Lanna kingdom, and the namesake of the modern district...

) of Lavachakkaraj dynasty, centralized the city-state
A city-state is an independent or autonomous entity whose territory consists of a city which is not administered as a part of another local government.-Historical city-states:...

s of Ngoen Yang into a unified kingdom and allied with the neighboring Kingdom of Payao
Kingdom of Payao
The Kingdom of Payao began with a revolt against the Chiang Rai rulingship in the northern Thailand.- Legend and History:Payao legend began with one lord titled Lord Sri Jomtham, son of Lord LaoHgern ruler of the Hiran Ngoenyang Kingdom. During the late reigning period of LaoHgern, he have divided...

. In 1262, Mangrai moved the capital from Ngoenyang to the newly-founded Chiangrai – naming the city after himself. Mangrai then expanded to the south and subjugated the Mon
Mon people
The Mon are an ethnic group from Burma , living mostly in Mon State, Bago Division, the Irrawaddy Delta, and along the southern Thai–Burmese border. One of the earliest peoples to reside in Southeast Asia, the Mon were responsible for the spread of Theravada Buddhism in Burma and Thailand...

Hariphunchai was a Mon kingdom in the north of present Thailand in the centuries before the Thais moved into the area. Its capital was at Lamphun, which at the time was also called Hariphunchai...

 kingdom centered on modern Lamphun
Lamphun is a town in northern Thailand, capital of Lamphun Province. It covers the whole tambon Nai Mueang of Mueang Lamphun district...

 in 1281. Mangrai swore allegiance with two other kings – Ngam Mueng of Payao and Ram Khamhaeng of Sukhothai
Sukhothai kingdom
The Sukhothai Kingdom ) was an early kingdom in the area around the city Sukhothai, in north central Thailand. The Kingdom existed from 1238 till 1438...

 in 1276 & 1277 AD respectively. Mangrai moved the capital several times. Leaving Lamphun due to heavy flooding, he drifted until settling at and building Wiang Kum Kam
Wiang Kum Kam
Wiang Kum Kam is the recently restored settlement along the Ping River, which was built by King Mangrai as his capital before he moved it to Chiang Mai...

 in 1286/7, staying there until 1292 at which time he relocated to what would become Chiang Mai. He founded (started actual building) of Chiangmai in 1296 expanding it to become the capital of Lan Na. Claimed territories of Mangrai's Lan Na include modern northern Thailand provinces (with exception of Phrae
Phrae Province
Phrae is one of the northern provinces of Thailand. Neighboring provinces are Phayao, Nan, Uttaradit, Sukhothai and Lampang.-Geography:Phrae is located in the valley of the river Yom.-History:...

 – which was under Sukhothai – and Phayao
Phayao Province
Phayao is one of the northern provinces of Thailand. Neighboring provinces are Nan, Phrae, Lampang and Chiang Rai. In the north-east it borders Xaignabouli of Laos.- Geography :...

 and Nan
Nan Province
Nan is one of the northern provinces of Thailand. Neighboring provinces are Uttaradit, Phrae and Phayao. To the north and east it borders Sainyabuli of Laos.-Geography:...

 – the Kingdom of Payao), Kengtung, Mong Nai
Mong Nai
Mong Nai is a town in Mong Nai Township in the Shan State of Burma.-References:...

, and Chiang Hung
Chiang Hung
Kingdom of Heokam or Kingdom of Chiang Hung was a political entity of Tai Lue people centered on the city of Chiang Hung or modern Jinghong the capital of Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture...

 (modern Jinghong
Jinghong romanised as chiang rung, chiang hung, chengrung, cheng hung, jinghung, keng hung and muangjinghung) is the capital of Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture, Yunnan province, China, and the historic capital of the former Tai kingdom of Sipsongpanna.-Location:Located between 100°25' -...

 in Yunnan
Yunnan is a province of the People's Republic of China, located in the far southwest of the country spanning approximately and with a population of 45.7 million . The capital of the province is Kunming. The province borders Burma, Laos, and Vietnam.Yunnan is situated in a mountainous area, with...

). He also reduced to vassaldom
Vassal state
A vassal state is any state that is subordinate to another. The vassal in these cases is the ruler, rather than the state itself. Being a vassal most commonly implies providing military assistance to the dominant state when requested to do so; it sometimes implies paying tribute, but a state which...

 and received tribute
A tribute is wealth, often in kind, that one party gives to another as a sign of respect or, as was often the case in historical contexts, of submission or allegiance. Various ancient states, which could be called suzerains, exacted tribute from areas they had conquered or threatened to conquer...

 from areas of modern Northern Vietnam, principally in the Black
Black River (Vietnam)
The Black River is a river located in China and northwestern Vietnam. Its source is in Yunnan Province of China...

 and Red river valleys, and most of Northern Laos, plus the SipSongPanNa
Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture
Xishuangbanna is an autonomous prefecture in Yunnan Province, China. The capital city is Jinghong, the largest settlement in the area and one that straddles the Mekong River, called the Lancang River in Chinese.-Name:...

 ("twelve thousand fields") region of 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 Chiangrai and appointed his son Thau Saen Phu as the Uparaja
Uparaja or Ouparath, also Ouparaja , was a royal title reserved for the vice royal in the Buddhist dynasties in Burma, Cambodia, and Laos and Thailand as well as some of their minor tributary kingdoms.-Burma:...

A viceroy is a royal official who runs a country, colony, or province in the name of and as representative of the monarch. The term derives from the Latin prefix vice-, meaning "in the place of" and the French word roi, meaning king. A viceroy's province or larger territory is called a viceroyalty...

) of Chiangmai. Chaisongkram’s brother, Khun Kruea the King of Mong Nai
Mong Nai
Mong Nai is a town in Mong Nai Township in the Shan State of Burma.-References:...

, 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
Theravada ; literally, "the Teaching of the Elders" or "the Ancient Teaching", is the oldest surviving Buddhist school. It was founded in India...

 religion prospered in Lanna during the reign of religious Kue Na who established the dhatu of Doi Suthep
Doi Suthep
Doi Suthep , is a mountain located in Chiang Mai Province, Thailand.-Description: Doi Suthep is one of the twin peaks of a granite mountain located west of Chiang Mai, the other peak is known as Doi Pui and is slightly taller .Doi Suthep is located 15 km away from Chiang Mai city centre.Most...

 in 1386. Kue Na promoted the Lanka
Sri Lanka is the name given in Hindu mythology to the island fortress capital of the legendary king Ravana in the great Hindu epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata...

wongse sect and invited monks from Sukhothai to replace the existing Mon Theravada that Lanna inherited from Haripunchai.

Lanna enjoyed peace under Saenmuengma (which means ten thousand cities arrive – to pay tribute). The only disturbing event was the failed rebellion by his uncle Prince Maha Prommatat. Maha Prommatat requested aid from Ayutthaya. Borommaracha I
Borommaracha I
Borommaracha I or Khun Luang Pa Ngua is the third king of Ayutthaya Kingdom. His name Khun Luang Pa Ngua literary means the fifth price....

 of Ayutthaya sent his troops to invade Lanna but was repelled. This was the first armed conflict between the two kingdoms. Lanna faced invasions from the newly-established Ming Dynasty
Ming Dynasty
The Ming Dynasty, also Empire of the Great Ming, was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644, following the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty. The Ming, "one of the greatest eras of orderly government and social stability in human history", was the last dynasty in China ruled by ethnic...

 in the reign of Sam Fang Kaen.

Expansions under Tilokaraj

The 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
Borommaracha II
Phrabat Somdet Phra Boromaracha Thirat II or Chao Sam Phraya was the king of Ayutthaya kingdom. His reign saw early expansions of Ayutthaya....

 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. Relations between the two kingdoms had 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 the Ayutthaya-Lanna War
Ayutthaya-Lanna War
Yuttittira – a Sukhothai royalty and Trailokanat’s relative - was a close childhood friend of Trailokanat. Trailokanat himself promised him the title of Uparaja. However, after Trailokanat’s reforms, Yuttittira ended up with the title of the Governor of Pichit...

 over the Upper Chao Phraya valley (i.e. the Kingdom of Sukhothai). In 1460, the governor of Chaliang surrendered to Tilokaraj. Trailokanat then used a 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 Buddhism. In 1477, the Buddhist Council of Tripitaka
' is a traditional term used by various Buddhist sects to describe their various canons of scriptures. As the name suggests, a traditionally contains three "baskets" of teachings: a , a and an .-The three categories:Tripitaka is the three main categories of texts that make up the...

 Recompilation was held near Chiang Mai. Tilokaraj also built and rehabilitated many notable temples. In 1480, Tilokaraj sent aid to help the King of Lan Xang
Lan Xang
The Lao kingdom of Lan Xang Hom Kao was established in 1354 by Fa Ngum.Exiled as an infant to Cambodia, Prince Fa Ngum of Xieng Dong Xieng Thong married a daughter of the Khmer king. In 1349 he set out from Angkor at the head of a 10,000-man army to establish his own country...

 to free his kingdom from Vietnamese occupation. Tilokaraj then expanded west to the Shan States of Laikha, Hsipaw
Hsipaw , is a town in Shan State, Myanmar on the riverbank of Myitnge River. It is 200 km northeast of Mandalay.-Shan Saopha:Hsipaw is perhaps one of the most well known and powerful saopha states of Shan State...

, Mong Nai
Mong Nai
Mong Nai is a town in Mong Nai Township in the Shan State of Burma.-References:...

, and Yawnghwe.


After Tilokaraj, Lanna was then subjected to old-style princely struggles that prevented the kingdom from defending itself against powerful growing neighbors. The Shans then broke themselves free of Lanna control that Tilokaraj had established. 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
Ramathibodi II
Somdet Phra Chettathiraj or Somdet Phra Ramathibodi II was the King of Sukhothai from 1485 and King of Ayutthaya from 1491 to 1529. His reign was marked by the first Western Contact with the Portuguese.-King of Sukhothai:Prince Chettathiraj was the youngest of Trailokanat's three sons...

 and Lampang
Lampang, also called Nakhon Lampang to differentiate from Lampang Province, is the third largest town in northern Thailand and capital of Lampang Province and the Lampang district. Traditional names for Lampang include Wiang Lakon and Khelang Nakhon. The city is still growing rapidly as trading...

 was sacked
Looting —also referred to as sacking, plundering, despoiling, despoliation, and pillaging—is the indiscriminate taking of goods by force as part of a military or political victory, or during a catastrophe, such as during war, natural disaster, or rioting...

. In 1523, a dynastic struggle occurred in Kengtung. One faction sought Lanna support while the another faction went for Hsipaw
Hsipaw , is a town in Shan State, Myanmar on the riverbank of Myitnge River. It is 200 km northeast of Mandalay.-Shan Saopha:Hsipaw is perhaps one of the most well known and powerful saopha states of Shan State...

. 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
Queen regnant
A queen regnant is a female monarch who reigns in her own right, in contrast to a queen consort, who is the wife of a reigning king. An empress regnant is a female monarch who reigns in her own right over an empire....

]. As Lanna was plundered by the dynastic struggles, both Ayutthaya and the Burmese saw this as an opportunity to overwhelm Lanna. Chairacha
Phrabat Somdet Phra Chairachathirat reigned 1534–1546 as King of the Ayutthaya kingdom of Siam. His reign was remarkable for the influx of Portuguese traders, mercenaries, and early Modern warfare technology.-Uparaja:...

 of Ayutthaya invaded Lanna in 1545, but Chiraprapa negotiated for peace. Chairacha returned next year, sacking Lampang and Lamphun, and threatened Chaingmai itself. So, Chiraprapa was forced to put her kingdom under Ayutthaya as a tributary state.

Facing pressures from the invaders, Chiraprapa decided to abdicate in 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 Setthathirath
Setthathirath is considered one of the great leaders in Lao history. Throughout 1560s up until his death, he successfully defended his kingdom of Lan Xang against military campaigns of Burmese conqueror Bayinnaung, who had already subdued Xieng Mai in 1558 and Ayutthaya in 1564...

. Setthathirath also brought the Emerald Buddha
Emerald Buddha
The Emerald Buddha is the palladium of the Kingdom of Thailand, a figurine of the sitting Buddha, made of green jadeite , clothed in gold, and about 45 cm tall...

 from Chiangmai to Luang Prabang (the one that would be later taken to Bangkok
Bangkok is the capital and largest urban area city in Thailand. It is known in Thai as Krung Thep Maha Nakhon or simply Krung Thep , meaning "city of angels." The full name of Bangkok is Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahintharayutthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom...

 by Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke
Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke
Phra Bat Somdet Phra Poramintharamaha Chakri Borommanat Phra Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke , posthumously titled "the Great", or Rama I , was the founder and the first monarch of the reigning House of Chakri of Siam . He ascended the throne in 1782, after defeating a rebellion which had deposed King...


The nobles then chose Meguti, the Shan saopha
Saopha, Chaofa, or Sawbwa was a royal title used by the rulers of the Shan States of Myanmar . The word means "king" in the Shan and Tai languages...

 of Mong Nai whose family was related to Mangrai, to be the new king of Lanna. It was said that, as a Shan king, Mekuti violated several Lanna norms and beliefs.

Burmese rule

The kingdom then became a casualty of Burmese king Bayinnaung
Bayinnaung Kyawhtin Nawrahta was the third king of the Toungoo dynasty of Burma . During his 30-year reign, which has been called the "greatest explosion of human energy ever seen in Burma", Bayinnaung assembled the largest empire in the history of Southeast Asia, which included much of modern day...

's expansionist drive. Bayinnaung's forces invaded Lan Na from the north, and Mekuti surrendered on 2 April 1558. Encouraged by Setthathirath, Mekuti revolted during the Burmese-Siamese War (1563–1564). But the king was captured by Burmese forces in November 1564, and sent to then Burmese capital Pegu. Bayinnaung then made Visuttidevi, a Lan Na royal, the queen regnant of Lan Na. After her death, Bayinnaung appointed one of his sons Nawrahta Minsaw (Noratra Minsosi), viceroy of Lan Na in January 1579. Burma allowed a substantial degree of autonomy for Lanna but strictly controlled the corvée and taxation.

After Bayinnaung, his massive empire quickly unraveled. Siam successfully revolted (1584–1593), after which all the vassals of Pegu went their own way by 1596–1597. Lan Na's Nawrahta Minsaw too declared independence in 1596. In 1602, Nawrahta Minsaw became a tributary of King Naresuan
Somdet Phra Naresuan Maharat or Somdet Phra Sanphet II was the King of the Ayutthaya kingdom from 1590 until his death in 1605. Naresuan was one of Siam's most revered monarchs as he was known for his campaigns to free Siam from Burmese rule...

 of Siam. However, Siam's control was short-lived. The actual suzerainty effectively ended with Naresuan's death in 1605. By 1614, Siam's control over Lan Na was at most nominal. When the Burmese returned, the ruler of Lan Na Thado Kyaw (Phra Choi) sought and received help from Lan Xang, not his nominal overlord Siam, which did not send any help. After 1614, vassal kings of Burmese descent ruled Lan Na for over one hundred years. Siam did try to take over Lan Na in 1662–1664 but failed.

By the 1720s, the Toungoo Dynasty was on its last legs. In 1727, Chiang Mai revolted because of high taxation. The resistance forces drove back the Burmese army in 1727–1728 and 1731–1732, after which Chiang Mai and Ping valley became independent. Chiang Mai became a tributary again in 1757 to the new Burmese dynasty
Konbaung dynasty
The Konbaung Dynasty was the last dynasty that ruled Burma from 1752 to 1885. The dynasty created the second largest empire in Burmese history, and continued the administrative reforms begun by the Toungoo dynasty, laying the foundations of modern state of Burma...

. It revolted again in 1761 with Siamese encouragement but the rebellion was suppressed by January 1763. In the 1765, the Burmese used Lan Na as a launching pad to invade the Laotian states, and Siam itself.

End of Burmese rule

In the early 1770s, Burma was at the peak of its military power since Bayinnaung, having defeated Siam (1765–1767) and China (1765–1769). The Burmese army commanders and governors became "drunk with victory". This arrogant repressive behavior by the local Burmese government caused a rebellion in Lan Na. The new Burmese governor at Chiang Mai, Thado Mindin, was disrespectful to local chiefs and the people, and became extremely unpopular. One of the local chiefs, Kawila of Lampang revolted with Siamese help, and captured the city on 15 January 1775, ending the 200-year Burmese rule. Kawila was installed as the king of Lampang and Phraya Chaban as the king of Chiangmai, both as vassals of Siam.

Burma tried to regain Lan Na in 1775–1776, 1785–1786, 1797 but failed each time. In the 1790s, Kawila consolidated his hold of Lan Na, taking over Chiang Saen
Chiang Saen
* Amphoe Chiang Saen, a district in modern Chiang Rai Province* Chiang Saen, a capital in the ancient Lanna kingdom, and the namesake of the modern district...

 and Luang Prabang (1792–1794). He then tried to take over Burma's Shan state of Kengtung and Sipsongpanna (1803–1808) but failed. Nonetheless, the Kingdom of Chiangmai
Kingdom of Chiangmai
Kingdom of Rattanaingsa or Kingdom of Chiangmai was the vassal state of Siamese Rattanakosin Kingdom in the 18th and 19th century before being annexed due to the centralization policies of Chulalongkorn in 1884...

, as a vassal state of Siam, had come into existence.

Historical writings on Lanna

  • The Chiang Mai chronicles - Probably started in the late 15th century and enlarged with every copying of the palm leaves manuscript. Current version is from 1828, English translation available as ISBN 974-7100-62-2.
  • Jinakālamāli - composed by Ratanapañña (16th c.) an account of the early rise of Buddhism in Thailand and details on many historical events.
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.