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Taksin  Somdet Phra Chao Krung Thon Buri; ( April 17, 1734 – April 7, 1782 ) was the only King of the Thonburi Kingdom and was of Thai Chinese heritage. He was a leader in the liberation of Siam from Burmese occupation after the Second Fall of Ayutthaya in 1767, and the subsequent unification of Siam after it fell under various warlords. He established the city Thonburi as the new capital, as the city Ayutthaya had been almost completely destroyed by the invaders. His reign was characterized by numerous wars, fought to repel new Burmese invasions and to subjugate the northern Thai kingdom of Lanna, the Laotian principalities, and a threatening Cambodia. He was executed and succeeded by his long-time friend King Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke who then created the Chakri dynasty and the Rattanakosin Kingdom.

Although warfare took up most of King Taksin's time, he paid a great deal of attention to politics, administration, economy, and the welfare of the country. He promoted trade and fostered relations with foreign countries including China, Britain, and the Netherlands. He had roads built and canals dug. Apart from restoring and renovating temples, the king attempted to revive literature, and various branches of the arts such as drama, painting, architecture and handicrafts. He also issued regulations for the collection and arrangement of various texts to promote education and religious studies. In recognition for what he did for the Thai’s, he was later awarded the title of Maharaj ( The Great ).

King Taksin was seen by some radical historians as a King who differed from the Kings of Ayutthaya, in his origins, his policies, and his leadership style, as a representative of a new class. During the Bangkok Period right up till the Siamese Revolution of 1932 King Taksin was, said, not as highly honoured as other Siamese Kings because the leaders in the Chakri Dynasty were still concerned about their own political legitimacy. After 1932, when the absolute monarchy gave way to the democratic period, King Taksin become more honoured than ever before. Instead, King Taksin became one of the national heroes. This was because the leaders of that time such as Plaek Pibulsonggram and even later military junta, on the other hand, wanted to glorify and publicise the stories of certain historical figures in the past in order to support their own policy of nationalism, expansionism and patriotism.

King Taksin, and the Monument at Thon Buri, Bangkok.