Pattani Kingdom

Pattani Kingdom

Patani (Pattani) is known to have been part of the ancient Srivijayan kingdom. It then covered approximately the area of the modern Thai provinces of Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat and much of the northern part of modern Malaysia. The King of Patani is believed to have been converted to Islam some time during the 11th century.

Like many of the small kingdoms in Southeast Asian history, Pattani broke away from an older ancient state. Most did not have their own written language, enjoyed only short periods of real independence and have long since disappeared.

Early History

Langkasuka was a Hindu-Buddhist kingdom founded in the region as early as the second century that appeared in many accounts by Chinese travelers, the most famous of whom was the Buddhist pilgrim I-Ching. The kingdom drew trade from Chinese, Indian, and local traders as a stopping place for ships bound for, or just arrived from, the Gulf of Thailand. Langkasuka reached its greatest economic success in the sixth and seventh centuries and afterward declined as a major trade center. Political circumstances suggest that by the eleventh century Chola invasion, Langkasuka was no longer a major port visited by merchants. However, much of the decline may be due to the silting up of its harbor, shown most poignantly today by the fact that the most substantial Langkasukan ruins rest approximately 15 kilometers from the sea.

Pattani became part of the Hindu-Buddhist Empire of Srivijaya, a maritime confederation based in Palembang. Srivijaya dominated trade in the South China Sea and exacted tolls on all traffic through the Straits of Malacca. Malay culture had substantial influence on the Khmer Empire, and the ancient city of Nakhon Pathom. Despite claims that the origins of the name Pattani means "this beach", it may been the same country known to the Chinese as Pan Pan.

Patani and the Siamese Kingdom


In the 14th century, King Ramkhamhaeng the Great (c.1239 - 1317) of Sukhothai (also known as Pho Khun Ramkhamhaeng, _th. พ่อขุนรามคำแหงมหาราช), occupied Nakhon Si Thammarat and its vassal states - including Pattani.

It is not known precisely when Patani was first founded, but evidence points to sometime in the fourteenth century. Local stories tell of a fisherman named Paktani who was sent by a king from the interior to survey the coast to find a place for an appropriate settlement. After he established a successful fishing outpost, other people moved to join him. The town soon grew into a prosperous trading center that continued to bear his name. The authors of the Hikayat Patani chronicle mentioned this story as untrue when they told their own tale of the king founding the city, but this latter story seems an attempt to undermine an already established tradition and gain more glory for its early rulers.


The Thais conquered the isthmus during the thirteenth century. Their kingdom was a single unified state with Ayutthaya as a capital and many smaller vassal states under its control. Thus, they used a self-governing system whereby the vassal states and tributary provinces owed allegiance to the king of Ayutthaya, but otherwise ran their own affairs.

A sheikh from Kampong Pasai (presumeably a small community of traders from Pasai who lived on the outskirts of Patani) named Sa'id or Shafi'uddin, in various accounts, healed the king of a rare skin disease and after much negotiation (and recurrence of the disease), the king agreed to convert to Islam, adopting the name Sultan Ismail Shah. Afterward, all of the sultan's officials also converted. There is fragmentary evidence, however, that some local people had begun to convert prior to the king's conversion. First of all, the existence of a diasporic Pasai community near Patani shows that local people had regular, close contact with Muslims. But there are also travel reports, such as that of Ibn Battuta, and early Portuguese accounts that claimed Patani had an established Muslim community even prior to Melaka (which officially converted in 1413), which would suggest that non-courtiers, probably merchants who made contact with other emerging Muslims centers of the time, were the first to convert in the region.

During much of the fifteenth century Ayutthaya's energies were directed toward the Malay Peninsula, especially the trading port of Malacca, which fell under the rule of the Malacca Sultanate. Ayutthaya's sovereignty extended over Malacca and the Malay states south of Tambralinga (Nakorn Sri Thammarat). Ayutthaya helped to develop and stabilize the region, opening the way for the lucrative trade on the isthmus. This attracted Chinese merchants seeking specialty goods for the markets of China.

The sixteenth century witnessed the rise of Burma, which under an aggressive dynasty had overrun Chiang Mai and Laos and then made war on Ayutthaya. In 1569 Burmese forces, joined by Siamese rebels, captured and looted the city of Ayutthaya, carrying the royal family into captivity in Burma. Dhammaraja (reigned 1569-90), a Siam provincial governor who had aided the Burmese, was installed as vassal king at Ayutthaya. Thai independence was later restored by his son, King Naresuan the Great (reigned 1590-1605), who rebelled against the Burmese and by 1600 had driven them from the country.

Determined to prevent another act of treason like his father's, King Naresuan set about unifying the country's administration directly under the royal court at Ayutthaya. He ended the practice of nominating royal princes to govern Ayutthaya's provinces, assigning instead court officials who were expected to execute the policies handed down by the king. Thereafter, the royal princes were confined to the capital. Their power struggles continued, but were at court under the king's watchful eye. Even with King Naresuan's reforms, the power of the royal government over the next 150 years should not be overestimated. With the fall of Ayutthaya to the Burmese in 1569, Patani had become virtually independent.

Chinese merchants, beginning with Cheng Ho in the period 1406-1433, played a major role in the rise of Patani as a regional trade center. They were soon joined by other groups such as the Portuguese in 1516, Japanese in 1592, Dutch in 1602, English in 1612, and of course a great number of Malay and Siamese merchants who worked throughout the area. The United East India Company and the English East India Company established warehouses in Patani in 1603 and 1612, respectively, and carried out intense trading there. Patani was particularly viewed by European traders as a way of accessing the Chinese market. After 1620, the Dutch and English both closed their warehouses, but a prosperous trade continued, mainly with the Chinese, Japanese, and Portuguese, for much of the rest of the century. Following the 1688 invasion by Ayudhya, political disorder ensued for the following half-century during which time local rulers were unable to quell the lawlessness that consumed the region. Most foreign merchants abandoned their trade in Patani at that time.

In the mid-17th century, however, Ratu Kuning (the Yellow Queen), believed to be the last of the four successive rulers of Pattani, died. Pattani went through decades of political chaos and conflict, suffering a gradual decline.

One hundred years later, Ayutthaya under King Ekatat (Boromaraja V) was faced with another the Burmese invasion. This culminated in the fall and complete destruction of Ayutthaya in 1767. Siam was broken apart, Patani declared its independence.

General Taksin (later King Taksin) managed to defeat the Burmese and reunify the country, opening the way for the establishment of the Chakri dynasty by his successor, King Rama I. A resurgent and much stronger Siam, led by Prince Surasi (Vice-King Boworn Maha Surasinghanat), the younger brother of King Rama I, sought the submission of Pattani.

Patani in the Bangkok Period

A series of attempted rebellions prompted Bangkok to divide Pattani into seven smaller states during the reign of King Rama II. Yala and Narathiwat remain separate provinces to this day.

Chronology of Rulers

Inland Dynasty

*Sultan Ismail Shah, founder of the kingdom according to one account, and the first ruler to convert to Islam. In actuality, other rulers must have preceded him. It is also likely that during his reign the Portuguese first visited the port to trade, arriving in 1516. He was called King Phaya Tu Nakpa before his conversion.
*Sultan Mudhaffar Shah (c. 1530-1564), son of Sultan Ismail Shah, who died during an attack on Ayudhya (Siam).
*Sultan Manzur Shah (1564-1572), brother of Sultan Mudhaffar Shah.
*Sultan Patik Siam (1572-1573), son of Sultan Mudhaffar Shah, who was murdered by his half-brother, Raja Bambang.
*Sultan Bahdur (1573-1584), son of Sultan Manzur Shah, who was considered a tyrant in most accounts.
*Raja Ijau (1584-1616), sister of Sultan Bahdur, during whose reign Patani attained his greatest economic success as a middle-sized port frequented by Chinese, Dutch, English, Japanese, Malays, Portuguese, Siamese, and other merchants.
*Raja Biru (1616-1624), sister of Raja Ijau.
*Raja Ungu (1624-1635), sister of Raja Biru, who was particularly opposed to Siamese interference in local affairs.
*Raja Kuning (1635-1649/88), daughter of Raja Ungu and last queen of the Inland Dynasty. Controversy surrounds the exact date of the end of her reign.

Kelantan Dynasty

*Raja Bakal, (1688-1690 or 1651-1670), after a brief invasion of Patani by his father in 1649, Raja Sakti I of Kelantan, he was given the throne in Patani.
*Raja Emas Kelantan (1690-1704 or 1670-1698), thought by Teeuw & Wyatt to be a king, but claimed by al-Fatani to be a queen, the widow of Raja Bakal and mother of the succeeding queen.
*Raja Emas Chayam (1704-1707 or 1698-1702 and 1716-1718), daughter of the two preceding rulers, according to al-Fatani.
*Raja Dewi (1707-1716; Fatani gives no dates).
*Raja Bendang Badan (1716-1720 or ?-1715), he was afterward raja of Kelantan, 1715-1733.
*Raja Laksamana Dajang (1720-1721; Fatani gives no dates).
*Raja Alung Yunus (1728-1729 or 1718-1729)
*Raja Yunus (1729-1749)
*Raja Long Nuh (1749-1771).

ee also

*Pattani Province
*Pattani (region)
*South Thailand insurgency
*Yawi language

Further reading

*Ibrahim Syukri. "History of the Malay Kingdom of Patani". ISBN 0-89680-123-3.
*Thailand: Country Studies by the Library of Congress, Federal Research Division
*Maryam Salim,"The Kedah Laws",Dewan Bahasa and Pustaka,2005 ISBN 983-62-8210-6
* "พงศาวดารเมืองปัตตานี" " [ ประชุมพงศาวดาร ภาคที่ 3] ", พระนคร : หอพระสมุดวชิรญาณ, 2471 (พิมพ์ในงานศพ หลวงชินาธิกรณ์อนุมัติ 31 มีนาคม 2470) - Historical account of Patani made by a Thai official.

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