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CHIANG MAI
 
NORTHERN THAILAND'S HIGHLIGHTS


Chiang Mai : History of Chiang Mai

Three Kings Monument, Chiang Mai
Three Kings Monument situated in front of the Thai Art & Culture Hall near the intersection of Phra Pokklao Rd.
and Inthawarorot Rd.

The history of Chiang Mai can be traced to the reign of King Mengrai (1259-1317) who established the Kingdom of Lanna in the northern region. In 1296 the King cooperated with King Ramkhamhaeng of Sukhothai and King Ngam Muang of Phayao to choose an appropriate site for founding the capital of Lanna. The present location of Chiang Mai was selected. It took about 4 months to complete the building task. That's how Chiang Mai became the capital of Lanna.

In 1558, Chiang Mai town was captured by Burengnong, a very competent King of Burma. But 38 years later, King Naresuan of Ayutthaya seized Chiang Mai back from the Burmese. Later the town fell to the hands of the Burmese again before King Narai of Ayutthaya succeeded in its recovery. Ayutthaya took control of the town for 20 years. After that Chiang Mai was alternately ruled by the Burmese and became independent.

In 1774, King Taksin of Thon Buri, who reestablished Thai sovereignty after Ayutthaya had been defeated in the war with Burma in 1767, realized the vital strategic importance of Chiang Mai, made an attack on the town and took it as a vassal town. In the reign of King Rama V (1868-1910), Chiang Mai's status was elevated from a vassal town to be part of a monthon (an administrative unit used at that time). When the Thai government abolished this unit, Chiang Mai became a province in 1933.