Burmese–Siamese War (1563–1564)

War with Burma (1563)

Second Siege of Ayutthaya

Burmese victory

Siam becomes Burmese vassal (1564–1568)

After the war of 1548, Maha Chakkrapat insisted on battling Burmese armies near Ayutthaya, so he heavily fortified the city. He, however, de-fortified other cities in order to prevent the Burmese from taking them as bases. The census was taken to derive all available manpower to war. The arms and horses and elephants (white elephants) was caught and accumulated in the full-scale preparation for war.

King Chakkraphat (r. 1548-1569) captured a lot of white elephants during his reign and this news crossed the borders quickly.

In 1563 AD, the successor of Tabinshweti, King Bhueng Noreng invaded for another time Ayuthaya Kingdom after he had taken Chiang Mai in 1556 AD / 2 April 1558.

King Bayinnuang, takes control of the situation, crushes all opposition and sets about colonizing all neighboring states. Chiangmai (which was not part of the Kingdom of Ayutthaya) and all of northern Thailand fall to the colonizing Burmese forces and King Bayinnuang soon becomes known as “The Conqueror of Ten Directions

Bayinnaug (now king), upon hearing about the sevenlucky” white elephants, demands two for himself. As Maha Chakkrapat refused to give off his elephant this time, Bayinnaung marched to Ayutthaya.

King Bayinnuang, who knew Siam from his campaigns with Tabinshweti, leads a vast army through Three Pagodas Pass. A further army comes through Mae Lamow Pass (Tak Province). It is reported that the armies number 120,000 men (including 2,000 Portuguese mercenaries), 18,000 cavalry and 8,500 war elephants. On the way, the town of Pitsanuloke has to be taken but the Governor, Phra Mahathamraja , proved a “turncoat” and, after signing a treaty of friendship with King Bayinnuang, joins forces with the Burmese King.

Bayinnaung had captured the whole kingdom of Lanna in 1558. With auxiliary troops from Lanna, Bayinnaung marched a mass army into Sukhothai kingdom. Maha Thammarachathirat then realised the greatness of Bayinnuang army and readily surrendered, giving up Phitsanulok to Bayinnuang and became Burmese tributary.

Maha Thammarachathirat, the King of Phitsanulok and Maha Chakkrapat’s handful noble, had allied himself with Bayinnuang in 1563.

At Chainat, Bayinnaung clashed with Prince Ramesuan‘s army but was able to break through.

First he seized the towns of Sawankalok and Pijai and then he turned his full attention on the capital. As the troops of 200,000 Burmese and vassal state warriors clearly outnumber the Thais, King Chakraphat has no other option than to agree on the Burmese peace conditions.

Bayinnaung reached Ayutthaya and laid siege on the city – bombarding the city so immensely that Maha Chakkrapat sued for peace in 1564. Maha Chakkrapat gave white elephants and his son Prince Ramesuan as a captive to Bayinnaung.

Wat Na Phra Men or the “Monastery in Front of the Funeral Pyre” sometimes called Wat Na Phra Meru has marked a historical event in the reign of King Maha Jakrapad. He chose it as a meeting place to stop the war with King of Burma, Bayinnaung in A.D 1563.

King Chakkraphat saw that the Burmese army largely outnumbered his and decided to resolve the issue through parleys. He ordered to erect a royal building with two thrones, equal in height in the area between the Phra Meru Rachikaram Monastery and the Hatdawat Monastery. Then he had a jeweled-adorned throne prepared higher than the royal thrones, and had a Buddha image to preside over the meeting. The terms imposed by the King of Burma were onerous. Prince Ramesuen, Phya Chakri and Phya Sunthorn Songkhram, the leaders of the war party, were to be delivered up as hostages, an annual tribute of thirty elephants and three hundred catties of silver was to be sent to Burma, and the Burmese were to be granted the right to collect and retain the customs duties of  the port of Mergui – then the chief emporium of foreign trade. In addition to this, four white elephants were to be handed over, instead of the two originally demanded. Phra Mahathamraja is to remain as ruler of Pitsanuloke and Viceroy of Siam.

King Chakkraphat had no choice than deliver up to keep a truce. All Siamese prisoners were released and the Burmese army returned.

The Burmese War of 1563 was also called the War of White Elephant.


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