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Home Page Site Map. site map for www.Thailand-Delights.com Surin Province, Page 1, History, Geography & Districts of the Province

Surin Proviince, History of the Province


The earliest settlers in this region were hunter-gatherers. The Neolithic, with the introduction of agriculture, dates from 2,500 to 1,500 years BCE. The Bronze Age dates from 1,500 - 500 BCE, and the Iron Age from 500 BCE to 500 CE. It is in the Iron Age that the first evidence of human settlement emerges in the province, with about 60 known Iron Age sites.

In historical aspect, Surin's story can be dated back thousands of year B.C. when Suay or Kuay ethnic group migrated along the Mekong River to settle around Dongrek Range. Kuay ethnic people, found in Thailand and Laos, is talented in catching and training elephants. Some 2,000 years ago, during the Khmer Era, the town of Surin was established. After the fall of Khmer Empire, the town was neglected until 1763, when Luang Surin Pakdi (Chiang Poom), headman of Muang Tee Village, led his people to settle at Ban Khu Prakai, which currently is the town of Surin. He was promoted as the first mayor later on.

The earliest known historical period is the Dvaravati. This was an Indian based culture, which defused through the north-east region of what is now Thailand. Evidence of this culture is found in Surin region dating to between the 7th to 11th centuries CE. It was in this period that Buddhism became the dominant religion of the region.


Following the Dvaravati period, the powerful Khmer Empire expanded its influence throughout what is now the southern Isan region of Thailand. This period covers the 7th to 13th centuries CE. Surin was an important part of the ancient Khmer empire. Temple ruins and a substantial ethnic Khmer minority remain part of Surin. Khmer stone inscriptions date from c. 600 CE. Over the next several centuries a growing number of Khmer sites were constructed in the province, most notably Prasat Sikhoraphum. These sites would have formed part of the network of Khmer infrastructure centred on Prasat Phanom Rung.

With the collapse of the Khmer empire in the 13th century Surin province faded from history. It is in the 18th century that it re-emerges. At this time a Kuay local leader named Chiangpum became the royally appointed ruler of the region. According to legend he presented a rare white elephant to the Chao Phaya Chakri, future King Rama I. In gratitude, Chiangpum was awarded the royal title Luang Surin Phakdi and appointed the village headman. When Rama I became the Thai monarch, he appointed Luang Surin Phakdi as the province's governor. In 1763 the village was moved to the location of the modern city of Surin, and was upgraded to a city with the name Muang Prathai Saman. There is a local legend that this move was due to better water supplies at the new site. Also, that the original location of the town was at Muang Thi, about 15 kilometres to the east of the modern city. In 1786, the city's name was changed to Surin in honour of its governor. The province slowly grew in population, there was a continual influx of people from surrounding areas, principally Cambodia (part of what is now western Cambodia was ruled by Bangkok at this time), however Surin was largely self-sufficient, and somewhat isolated. This changed with the arrival of the railroad in 1922. Surin and its economy was exposed to the wider world. Chinese and Indian merchants settled, manufacturing increased, and Surin joined the modern world.

Surin Province, Page 3, Map of Surin, Getting to Surin Province