World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Lan Na

Kingdom of Lanna



1292–15 January 1775[1]

1300 CE

Purple: Lanna
Orange: Sukhothai Kingdom
Light Blue: Lavo Kingdom
Red: Khmer Empire
Yellow: Champa
Blue: Dai Viet
Capital Chiangrai (1262–1275)
Fang (1275–1281)
Wiang Kum Kam (1281–1296)
Chiangmai (1296–1775)
Languages Lanna language
Religion Animism, Buddhism
Government Monarchy
 -  1292–1342 Mangrai the Great
 -  1441–1487 Tilokarat
 -  1579–1607 Nawrahta Minsaw
Historical era Early Modern
 -  Capture of Haripunchai 1292
 -  Foundation of Chiangmai 1296
 -  Ayutthaya-Lanna War 1456–1474
 -  Burmese rule 2 April 1558[2]
 -  Fall of Chiang Mai 15 January 1775[1]
Today part of  Thailand

The Kingdom of Lanna, RTGS: Lan Na; (Northern Thai: ᩋᩣᨱᩣᨧᩢᨠᩕᩃ᩶ᩣ᩠ᨶᨶᩣ, Northern Thai pronunciation: , lit. "Kingdom of Million Rice Fields"; Thai: อาณาจักรล้านนา, RTGS: Anachak Lan Na, Thai pronunciation: ; Burmese: ဇင်းမယ် ပြည်, IPA: ) was a kingdom centered in present-day northern Thailand from the 13th to 18th centuries. The cultural development of the people of Lanna, the Tai Yuan people, had begun long before as successive Tai Yuan kingdoms preceded Lanna. As a continuation of the Ngoenyang kingdom, Lanna emerged strong enough in the 15th century to rival the Ayutthaya kingdom, with whom wars were fought. However, Lanna was weakened and then became a Burmese tributary state in 1558. Lanna was ruled by successive vassal kings, though some enjoyed autonomy. The Burmese rule gradually withdrew but then resumed as the new Konbaung dynasty expanded Burmese influences. Taksin of Thonburi finally took Lanna in 1775 and broke it down into a number of tributary kingdoms.


  • History 1
    • Early Establishment 1.1
    • Disunity and Prosperity 1.2
    • Expansions under Tilokaraj 1.3
    • Decline 1.4
    • Burmese rule 1.5
    • End of Burmese rule 1.6
  • Lanna language 2
  • Historical writings on Lanna 3
  • Notes 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


Early Establishment

Mangrai, the 25th king of Ngoenyang (modern Chiang Saen) of the Lavachakkaraj dynasty, whose mother was a princess of a kingdom in Sipsongpanna ("the twelve nations"), centralized the mueangs of Ngoenyang into a unified kingdom or mandala and allied with the neighboring Phayao Kingdom. In 1262, Mangrai moved the capital from Ngoenyang to the newly founded Chiang Rai – naming the city after himself. Mangrai then expanded to the south and subjugated the Mon kingdom of Hariphunchai (centered on modern Lamphun) in 1281. Mangrai swore allegiance with two other kings – Ngam Mueng of Phayao and Ram Khamhaeng of the Sukhothai Kingdom in 1276 and 1277 respectively.

Mangrai moved the capital several times. Leaving Lamphun due to heavy flooding, he drifted until settling at and building Wiang Kum Kam in 1286/7, staying there until 1292 at which time he relocated to what would become Chiang Mai. He founded Chiang Mai in 1296, expanding it to become the capital of Lanna. Claimed territories of Mangrai's Lanna include modern northern Thailand provinces (with exception of Phrae – which was under Sukhothai – and Phayao and Nan – the Kingdom of Payao), Kengtung, Mong Nai, and Chiang Hung (modern Jinghong in Yunnan). He also reduced to vassaldom and received tribute from areas of modern Northern Vietnam, principally in the Black and Red river valleys, and most of Northern Laos, plus the Sipsongpanna of Yunnan where his mother originated.

Disunity and Prosperity

Central Chedi at Wat Doi Suthep, Chiang Mai

In 1317, Mangrai died and was succeeded by his second son Paya Chaisongkram (Khun Hham). After four months of ascension, Chaisongkram moved the capital to Chiangrai and appointed his son Thau Saen Phu as the Uparaja (Viceroy) of Chiangmai. Chaisongkram’s brother, Khun Kruea, King of Mong Nai and third son of Mangrai, invaded Chiang Mai for the throne. Facing the invasion of his own uncle, Saen Phu fled the city. Thau Nam Tuam, another son of Chaisongkram, intervened and repelled Khun Kruea. Chaisongkram then appointed Nam Tuam the Uparaja replacing Saen Phu in 1322. However, it was rumored that Nam Tuam was planning a rebellion, so Chaisongkram turned back to Saen Phu in 1324. Saen Phu founded the city Chiang Saen and died in 1334. His son Paya Kam Fu replaced him but reigned only few years annd was succeeded by his son Pa Yu which returned to Chiang Mai by his son Pa Yu.[3]

Theravada Buddhism prospered in Lanna during the reign of religious Kue Na who established the dhatu of Doi Suthep in 1386. Kue Na promoted the Lankawongse sect and invited monks from Sukhothai to replace the existing Mon Theravada that Lanna inherited from Haripunchai.

Lanna enjoyed peace under Saenmuengma (which means ten thousand cities arrive – to pay tribute). The only disturbing event was the failed rebellion by his uncle Prince Maha Prommatat. Maha Prommatat requested aid from Ayutthaya. Borommaracha I of Ayutthaya sent his troops to invade Lanna but was repelled. This was the first armed conflict between the two kingdoms. Lanna faced invasions from the newly established Ming Dynasty in the reign of Sam Fang Kaen.

Expansions under Tilokaraj

Map Lanna under King Tilokaraj

The Lanna kingdom was strongest under Tilokaraj (1441–1487). Tilokaraj seized the throne from his father Sam Fang Kaen in 1441. Tilokaraj's brother, Thau Choi, rebelled to reclaim the throne for his father and sought Ayutthayan support. Borommaracha II sent his troops to Lanna in 1442 but was repelled and the rebellion was suppressed. Tilokaraj conquered the neighboring Kingdom of Payao in 1456.

To the south, the emerging Kingdom of Ayutthaya was also growing powerful. Relations between the two kingdoms had worsened since the Ayutthayan support of Thau Choi's rebellion. In 1451, Yuttitthira, a Sukhothai royalty who had conflicts with Trailokanat of Ayutthaya, gave himself to Tilokaraj. Yuttitthira urged Trilokanat to invade Pitsanulok which he had claims on, igniting the Ayutthaya-Lanna War over the Upper Chao Phraya valley (i.e. the Kingdom of Sukhothai). In 1460, the governor of Chaliang surrendered to Tilokaraj. Trailokanat then used a new strategy and concentrated on the wars with Lanna by moving the capital to Pitsanulok. Lanna suffered setbacks and Tilokaraj eventually sued for peace in 1475.

Tilokaraj was also a strong patron of Theravada Buddhism. In 1477, the Buddhist Council of Tripitaka Recompilation was held near Chiang Mai. Tilokaraj also built and rehabilitated many notable temples. In 1480, Tilokaraj sent aid to help the King of Lan Xang to free his kingdom from Vietnamese occupation. Tilokaraj then expanded west to the Shan States of Laihka, Hsipaw, Mong Nai, and Yawnghwe.


After Tilokaraj, Lanna was then subjected to old-style princely struggles that prevented the kingdom from defending itself against powerful growing neighbors. The Shans then broke themselves free of Lanna control that Tilokaraj had established. The last strong ruler was Paya Kaew who was the great-grandson of Tilokaraj. In 1507, Kaew invaded Ayutthaya but was repelled – only to be invaded in turn in 1513 by Ramathibodi II and Lampang was sacked. In 1523, a dynastic struggle occurred in Kengtung State. One faction sought Lanna support while the another faction went for Hsipaw. Kaew then sent Lanna armies to re-exert control there but was readily defeated by Hsipaw armies. The loss was so tremendous that Lanna never regained such dominance.

In 1538, King Ketklao, son of Kaew, was overthrown by his own son Thau Sai Kam. However, Ketklao was restored in 1543 but suffered mental illness and was executed in 1545. Ketklao’s daughter, Chiraprapa, then succeeded her father as the queen regnant. As Lanna was plundered by the dynastic struggles, both Ayutthaya and the Burmese saw this as an opportunity to overwhelm Lanna. Chairacha of Ayutthaya invaded Lanna in 1545, but Chiraprapa negotiated for peace. Chairacha returned next year, sacking Lampang and Lamphun, and threatened Chiangmai itself. So, Chiraprapa was forced to put her kingdom under Ayutthaya as a tributary state.

Facing pressures from the invaders, Chiraprapa decided to abdicate in 1546 and the nobility gave the throne to her nephew (son of her sister), Prince Chaiyasettha of Lan Xang. Chaiyasettha moved to Lanna and thus Lanna was ruled by a Laotian king. In 1547, Prince Chaiyasettha returned to Lan Xang to claim the throne and ascended as Setthathirath. Setthathirath also brought the Emerald Buddha from Chiangmai to Luang Prabang (the one that would be later taken to Bangkok by Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke).

The nobles then chose Meguti, the Shan saopha of Mong Nai whose family was related to Mangrai, to be the new king of Lanna. It was said that, as a Shan king, Mekuti violated several Lanna norms and beliefs.[4]

Burmese rule

The kingdom then became a casualty of Burmese king Bayinnaung's expansionist drive. Bayinnaung's forces invaded Lan Na from the north, and Mekuti surrendered on 2 April 1558.[2] Encouraged by Setthathirath, Mekuti revolted during the Burmese–Siamese War (1563–64). But the king was captured by Burmese forces in November 1564, and sent to then Burmese capital Pegu. Bayinnaung then made Visuttidevi, a Lan Na royal, the queen regnant of Lan Na. After her death, Bayinnaung appointed one of his sons Nawrahta Minsaw (Noratra Minsosi), viceroy of Lan Na in January 1579.[5][6] Burma allowed a substantial degree of autonomy for Lanna but strictly controlled the corvée and taxation.

After Bayinnaung, his massive empire quickly unraveled. Siam successfully revolted (1584–93), after which all the vassals of Pegu went their own way by 1596–1597. Lan Na's Nawrahta Minsaw too declared independence in 1596. In 1602, Nawrahta Minsaw became a tributary of King Naresuan of Siam. However, Siam's control was short-lived. The actual suzerainty effectively ended with Naresuan's death in 1605. By 1614, Siam's control over Lan Na was at most nominal. When the Burmese returned, the ruler of Lan Na Thado Kyaw (Phra Choi) sought and received help from Lan Xang, not his nominal overlord Siam, which did not send any help.[7] After 1614, vassal kings of Burmese descent ruled Lan Na for over one hundred years. Siam did try to take over Lan Na in 1662–1664 but failed.

By the 1720s, the Toungoo Dynasty was on its last legs. In 1727, Chiang Mai revolted because of high taxation. The resistance forces drove back the Burmese army in 1727–1728 and 1731–1732, after which Chiang Mai and Ping valley became independent.[8] Chiang Mai became a tributary again in 1757 to the new Burmese dynasty. It revolted again in 1761 with Siamese encouragement but the rebellion was suppressed by January 1763. In the 1765, the Burmese used Lan Na as a launching pad to invade the Laotian states, and Siam itself.

End of Burmese rule

In the early 1770s, Burma was at the peak of its military power since Bayinnaung, having defeated Siam (1765–67) and China (1765–69). The Burmese army commanders and governors became "drunk with victory". This arrogant repressive behavior by the local Burmese government caused a rebellion in Lan Na.[9] The new Burmese governor at Chiang Mai, Thado Mindin, was disrespectful to local chiefs and the people, and became extremely unpopular. One of the local chiefs, Kawila of Lampang revolted with Siamese help, and captured the city on 15 January 1775, ending the 200-year Burmese rule.[1] Kawila was installed as the king of Lampang and Phraya Chaban as the king of Chiangmai, both as vassals of Siam.

Burma tried to regain Lan Na in 1775–76, 1785–86, 1797 but failed each time. In the 1790s, Kawila consolidated his hold of Lan Na, taking over Chiang Saen and Luang Prabang (1792–1794). He then tried to take over Burma's Shan state of Kengtung and Sipsongpanna (1803–1808) but failed. Nonetheless, the Kingdom of Chiangmai, as a vassal state of Siam, had come into existence.

Lanna language

Kham Mueang or Phasa Mueang (Thai: ภาษาเมือง) is the modern spoken form of the old Lanna language. Kham Mueang means "language of the principalities" (Kham, language or word; mueang, town, principality, kingdom) as opposed to the languages of many hill tribe peoples in the surrounding mountainous areas. The language may be written in the old Lanna script, which somewhat resembles that of the Thai, but differs significantly in spelling rules. Due to the influence of the latter, it also differs significantly from the modern pronunciation of Kham mueang.[10][11]

Historical writings on Lanna

  • The Chiang Mai chronicles - Probably started in the late 15th century and enlarged with every copying of the palm leaves manuscript. Current version is from 1828, English translation available as ISBN 974-7100-62-2.
  • Jinakālamāli - composed by Ratanapañña (16th century) an account of the early rise of Buddhism in Thailand and details on many historical events.
  • Zinme Yawazin - Burmese chronicle of Zinme (Chiang Mai). See: 'The Zinme Yazawin', in: Forbes, Andrew, and Henley, David, Ancient Chiang Mai Volume 4. Chiang Mai, Cognoscenti Books, 2012. ASIN: B006J541LE


  1. ^ a b c Ratchasomphan, p. 85
  2. ^ a b Wyatt, p. 80
  3. ^ Cœdès 1968, pp. 226-7.
  4. ^ 'King Mae Ku (Mekuti): From Lan Na Monarch to Burmese Nat' in: Forbes, Andrew, and Henley, David, Ancient Chiang Mai Volume 1. Chiang Mai ,Cognoscenti Books, 2012.
  5. ^ Hmannan, Vol. 3, p. 48
  6. ^ 'Queen Hsinbyushinme', in: Forbes, Andrew, and Henley, David, Ancient Chiang Mai Volume 1. Chiang Mai ,Cognoscenti Books, 2012.
  7. ^ Hmannan, Vol. 3, pp. 175–181
  8. ^ Hmannan, Vol. 3, p. 363
  9. ^ Htin Aung, pp. 183–185
  10. ^ Natnapang Burutphakdee (October 2004). ]Attitudes of Northern Thai Youth towards Kammuang and the Lanna Script [Khon Muang Neu Kap Phasa Muang (M.A. Thesis). 4th National Symposium on Graduate Research, Chiang Mai, Thailand, August 10–11, 2004. Asst. Prof. Dr. Kirk R. Person, adviser. Chiang Mai:  
  11. ^ See: Forbes, Andrew, 'The Peoples of Chiang Mai', in: Penth, Hans, and Forbes, Andrew, A Brief History of Lan Na (Chiang Mai City Arts and Cultural Centre, Chiang Mai, 2004), pp. 221-256.

See also


  • Hmannan Yazawin (in Burmese) 1–3 (2003 ed.). Yangon: Ministry of Information, Myanmar. 1829. 
  • Ratchasomphan, Sænluang; David K. Wyatt (1994). David K. Wyatt, ed. The Nan Chronicle (illustrated ed.). Ithaca: Cornell University SEAP Publications.  
  • Wyatt, David K. (2003). Thailand: A Short History (2 ed.).  
  • Forbes, Andrew, and Henley, David, Khon Muang: People and Principalities of North Thailand (Chiang Mai: Teak House, 1997). ISBN 1-876437-03-0
  • Forbes, Andrew, and Henley, David, Ancient Chiang Mai Volume 1. Chiang Mai, Cognoscenti Books, 2012. ASIN: B006HRMYD6
  • Forbes, Andrew, and Henley, David, Ancient Chiang Mai Volume 3. Chiang Mai, Cognoscenti Books, 2012. ASIN: B006IN1RNW
  • Cœdès, George (1968). The Indianized States of South-East Asia. University of Hawaii Press.  
  • Garry Harbottle-Johnson - Wieng Kum Kam, Atlantis of Lan Na, ISBN 974-85439-8-6
  • Hans Penth - A brief history of Lan Na, ISBN 974-7551-32-2; Penth, Hans, and Forbes, Andrew, A Brief History of Lan Na (Chiang Mai City Arts and Cultural Centre, Chiang Mai, 2004).
  • Michael Freeman - Lanna, Thailand's Northern Kingdom, ISBN 974-8225-27-5
  • David K. Wyatt, Aroonrut Wichienkeeo - The Chiang Mai Chronicle, ISBN 974-7100-62-2
  • คณะทายาทสายสกุล เจ้าหลวงเมืองพะเยา, สถาบันศิลปวัฒนธรรมโยนก. ครบรอบ 100 ปี แม่เจ้าทรายมูล (มหาวงศ์) ไชยเมือง และประวัติสายสกุลเจ้าหลวงเมืองพะเยา พุทธศักราช 2387 - 2456. พะเยา : บ.ฮาซัน พริ้นติ้ง จก., 2546
  • คัมภีร์ คัมภีรญาณนนท์, นาวาอากาศเอก. เจ้านายฝ่ายเหนือ
  • นงเยาว์ กาญจนจารี, ดารารัศมี : พระประวัติพระราชชายา เจ้าดารารัศมี. เชียงใหม่ : สุริวงศ์บุ๊คเซนเตอร์, 2539
  • ปราณี ศิริธร ณ พัทลุง, เพ็ชร์ล้านนา. เชียงใหม่ : ผู้จัดการ ศูนย์ภาคเหนือ (ครั้งที่ 2), 2538
  • เจ้าวงศ์สัก ณ เชียงใหม่, คณะทายาทสายสกุล ณ เชียงใหม่. เจ้าหลวงเชียงใหม่. กรุงเทพฯ : อมรินทร์พริ้นติ้ง แอนด์ พับลิชชิ่ง จำกัด (มหาชน), 2539
  • สมหมาย เปรมจิตต์, สถาบันวิจัยสังคม มหาวิทยาลัยเชียงใหม่. ตำนานสิบห้าราชวงศ์ (ฉบับสอบชำระ). เชียงใหม่ : มิ่งเมือง, 2540
  • สรัสวดี อ๋องสกุล, ประวัติศาสตร์ล้านนา. กรุงเทพฯ : อมรินทร์พริ้นติ้ง (พิมพ์ครั้งที่ 2), 2539
  • ศักดิ์ รัตนชัย, พงศาวดารสุวรรณหอคำนครลำปาง (ตำนานเจ้าเจ็ดพระองค์กับหอคำมงคล ฉบับสอบทานกับเอกสารสืบค้น สรสว.ลำปาง)

External links

  • Christopher Buyers (August 2001 – October 2009). "Luang Prabang". The Khun Lo Dynasty Genealogy > Lan Na, 1727. The Royal Ark. Retrieved March 3, 2012. All materials contained in this site are the subject of copyright. Many items are in use under licence. Therefore, on no account may copies be made of text, photographs, graphics or any other materials, without the express written consent of the site owner. 

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.