Forum kicks off Thon Buri celebration

Forum kicks off Thon Buri celebration

The King Taksin monument in Thon Buri is seen at sunset. (Photo by Pattanapong Hirunard)
The King Taksin monument in Thon Buri is seen at sunset. (Photo by Pattanapong Hirunard)

The Fine Arts department has launched a project to celebrate the 250th anniversary two years from now of Thon Buri city, a former capital that is now part of Bangkok.

The old capital was established by King Taksin the Great in 1768 when he, then Phraya Vajiraprakan, defeated other factions that rose to power after the fall of Ayutthaya in 1767 to the Burmese army.

Thon Buri remained the capital for 15 years until Somdej Chao Phraya Chakri, a key warrior of King Taksin, took power, establishing a new dynasty and moving the capital across the river to Bangkok.

Thon Buri later became a province until it was annexed to Bangkok in 1981.

Renowned historian Sunait Chutintaranond on Friday led talks at a forum held to herald the project launch. He said the public should give recognition to King Taksin for his vision.

He was the only leader who thought of re-establishing a new capital on the same scale as Ayutthaya which was then in ruins and beyond reconstruction. Others, such as the rulers of Chanthaburi and Phitsanulok, simply took care of their territories, he added.

The loss of Ayutthaya in 1767 was diffrent from the first time as Burma intended to crush the capital and set it on fire. Ayutthaya sustained little damage in the first defeat in 1569 as Burma wanted symboric recognition, allowing the rulers to run the capital, he said.

Phraya Vajiraprakan fought against those rulers to gain the manpower and food he needed to establish the capital and counter Burma.

The historian noted that what King Taksin did was important, because without his action, Bangkok might not be what it is today.

Fine Arts Department director-general Ananda Choochoti said the agency was now gathering ideas on how the celebrations in 2018 should be organised. 

"This is just a beginning," he said on Friday.

Experts say there are still gaps in the historical record about King Taksin and his mission that need to be filled and information clarified, so that the public can know the great king better.

There should be more research studies on Thon Buri and King Taksin while obscure historical documents must be cleared up, they said.

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