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The Kingdom of Lan Na of The Tai Yuan

  • From the mid 1000 century until 1250 the Tai drifted into and settled throughout the Upper North. The main group to do so were the Yuan Tai. Their land to the north was referred to as Yonok which is the Thai version of the Pali word ‘’Yonaka ’’. The first documented ruler of the Tai was Mang Rai from the Tai Lue clan of Chiang Rung in Yunnan.Mangrai founded the now modern city of Chiang Rai (King Mang Rai's City) in 1263 and conquered Lamphun in 1292, later to found the City of Chiang Mai in 1298.
  • In 1327 these Tai Yuan founded the town of Chiang Saen, in 1338 the Tai Principality of Phayao came under the rule of Chiang Mai and by 1350 most of Lan Na was ruled by these Tai Yuan. The Tai controlled areas of Nan and Phrae were under the influence of the Tai of Sukhothai until 1444 and 1449. The Tai Yuan replaced the Mon as the regions administrators. They developed a new view of themselves in the world, maintaining their old animistic beliefs, with new ones adopted from the Lawa plus the Mon Buddhist traditions.
  • This was the time when the Tai captured Haripunchai and Lampang, established the new town of Chiang Mai, constructed Chiang Saen, captured Phayao and started construction of Wat Phra Singh in Chiang Mai.


The Period of The Golden Age of Lan Na (1355-1525)

  • This is the period of the dissemination of Theravada Buddhism, the discovery of the Emerald Buddha in Chiang Rai, the construction of Wat Chedi Luang in Chiang Mai, the capture and consolidation of Phrae and Nan into the Kingdom of Lan Na, the war with Ayuthaya and control over Si Satchanalai, construction of Wat Chet Yot at Chiang Mai and of economic prosperity and religious devotion.


The Period of Decline (1525-1558)

  • This was a period of political instability when noblemen challenged the authority of the Kings and when 2 Kings were assassinated, when Ayuthaya invaded and when the Lan Na noblemen finally invited the son of the King of Xan Chang (Laos) to come and be King, when he later returned to be King of Laos he took with him the Lan Na jems, the Emerald Buddha and the Sihing Buddha image.


The Period of Burmese Occupation (1558-1774)

  • Lan Na was in political chaos and the Burmese King invaded and conquered the place in 3 days. The Lan Na king remained but as a puppet and in 1578 the Burmese installed their own noblemen to rule. Burmese occupation lasted for 218 years.


The Period of Lan Na Restoration (1774- 1899)

  • This is the period which started when King Taksin of Thon Buri (Bangkok) and Phraya Kawila of Lampang expelled the Burmese from Chiang Mai and later Chiang Rai, when these cities were rebuilt and repopulated, when Lan Na's borders were extended to include Chiang Tung, Chiang Rung and Sip Son Panna, (areas now including parts of China, Laos and Myanmar), when Temples were restored or renovated, when the fortifications of Chiang Mai were upgraded, the Moats, the earthen ramparts and the City Walls rebuilt. At this time trade in teak with the British was profitable.


The Period of Lan Na Reformation (1884-1937)

  • This is the period when the cities of Lan Na became part of Siam and Bangkok sent Govenors and Lan Na was classified as a northern region, later to be incorporated in 1932 into the National Administration as a Province when the county system was abolished.