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Ayutthaya was a Siamese kingdom that existed from 1351 to 1767 until it was invaded by the Burmese. Second Thai Empire is after formation of the First Thai Empire ( Sukhothai ). 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 city walls. In the sixteenth century, it was described by foreign traders as one of the biggest and wealthiest cities in the East. The court of King Narai (1656-1688) had strong links with that of King Louis XIV of France, whose ambassadors compared the city in size and wealth to Paris. Before Ayutthaya fell to the Burmese invasion in 1767, its vassals included the Northern Shan states of present-day Myanmar, Lanna (Chiang Mai, Thailand), Yunnan & Shan Sri ( China ), Lan Xang ( Laos ), Champa ( Vietnam ), and some city states in the Malay Peninsula.

The Siamese state based at Ayutthaya in the valley of the Chao Phraya River grew from the earlier kingdom of Lavo, which it absorbed, and its rise continued the steady shift southwards the centre of gravity of the Siam-speaking peoples as other kingdoms in this surrounding area had done, such as the kingdom of Supannaphum (Dvaravati) and the kingdom of Sukhothai situated Northern of Ayutthaya. In 1351, to escape the threat of an epidemic, King U Thong moved his court south into the rich floodplain of the Chao Phraya on an island in the river which was the former seaport city of Ayothaya, where he founded a new capital, which he called Ayutthaya, meaning the City of Kings.

After a bloody period of dynastic struggle, Ayutthaya entered into what has been called its golden age, a relatively peaceful episode in the second quarter of the eighteenth century when art, literature, and learning flourished. There were foreign wars. The Ayutthaya fought with Nguyen Lords (Vietnamese rulers of South Vietnam) for control of Cambodia starting around 1715. But a greater threat came from Burma, where the new Alaungpaya dynasty had subdued the Shan states. Cont: on page 2

Ayutthaya Page 2 Unesco World Heritage site Ang Thong Province Page 1, Ang Thong province, Thailand, The geography and the Facts