Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Cambodian Royal Chronicle

43) Preah Chao Ba Art [The Siamese Ruler]

(1356-1359, Capital Angkor)
After the death of Preah Chao Basat, the Siamese authority appointed Preah Chao Ba Art who was, at that time, 62 years old to continue its administration over Cambodia. In 1359, Preah Chao Ba Art died of old age, and his brother named Kombang Pisey was, in turn, appointed to administer Cambodia.

44) Preah Chao Kombang Pisey [The Siamese Ruler]
(1359, Capital Angkor)
Preah Chao Kombang Pisey took over the administration of Cambodia in 1359, following the death of his brother, Preah Chao Ba Art. One month into his rule, a Cambodian Prince named Sri Suryovong, who had fled to the neighboring kingdom of Laos during the Siamese occupation of Angkor, had returned to Cambodia and began to raise an army to mount a revolt against the Siamese occupation.
After gathering enough strength, the Cambodian liberators marched on Angkor. With the aids of other Cambodians who worked within the Siamese occupying administrators, the Cambodian liberators and the patriots were able to obliterate the Siamese forces and, eventually, killed Preah Chao Kombang Pisey in battle. The Siamese occupying forces suffered tremendous casualties. Only about 10% were able to retreat to Thailand. The rest were either killed, or captured in battles. After the victory, Prince Sri Suryovong was crowned king in Cambodia.

45) King Sri Suryovong [I]
(1359--1366, Capital: Angkor)
King Sri Suryovong I was the nephew of both King Sri Lumpongraja and Prince Sri Suryotey. While both of his uncles were fighting the Siamese invaders at Angkor, he went to mobilize an army in Laos. In 1359, he successfully led his army to liberate Angkor from the Siamese and ascended the throne that same year.
During his reign, King Sri Suryovong I managed to get back some territories lost during the war and the occupation of Cambodia by the Siamese.

46) King Borumraja
(1366--1373, Capital: Angkor)
King Borumaraja was the son of King Sri Lumpongraja. He was crowned King in 1366 by members of the royal family and court council. There was not much historical record mentioning about his reign and accomplishment. However, there were some evidences indicating that he had established relationship with the Ming Dynasty of China. King Borumaraja reigned for 7 years. He died in 1373.

47) King Dhamasauk
(1373--1394, Capital: Angkor)
King Dhamasauk was also the son of King Sri Lumpongraja. He succeeded the throne in 1373. Toward the end of his reign, the Siamese once again waged war with Cambodia. The war was at a stalemate for 7 months and both sides suffered tremendous casualties.
Realizing that they could not overrun Angkor by direct fighting, the Siamese then sent 4 military officials into Angkor as spies. The 4 spies pretended to surrender themselves and pledge allegiance to the Khmer King. Once they were in, the 4 spies recruited 2 Khmer army officers and together they passed secret information about the Khmer defenses to the Siamese armies.
Because of these spies, the Siamese armies were able to break the Khmer defense through the West gate of Angkor and ferocious fighting spread into the center of the city. King Dhamasauk died in the fighting in 1394. And the Siamese once again occupied Cambodia. However, the occupation did not last, for there was turmoil in Siam and the Siamese armies had to return to their country.
According to another source, King Dhamasauk died in 1380. At that point, the Siamese sent another ruler named Prince Indraraja (a.k.a. Ponhea Prek) to govern Cambodia. Soon after, around 1382, a 12-men team of Cambodian suicidal commandos in disguise successfully penetrated Prince Indraraja’s court and assassinated him.

48) King Sri Suryovong II
(1401--1417, Capital: Angkor)
King Sri Suryovong II was the son of Prince Sri Suryotey. His reign was coincided with the turmoil in Siam (Thailand). The Siamese armies were occupying Cambodia at the time but had to abandon the Khmer kingdom in order to return to restore order and stability in their country.
Seeing the opportunity, the Khmers ascended King Sri Suryovong II to the throne in 1401. King Sri Suryovong II reigned for 16 years. He died in 1417 and left behind a 17-year old son named Ponhea Yat.

49) King Borumsokha
(1417--1420, Capital: Angkor)
King Borumsokha was the nephew of King Sri Suryovong II. He succeeded the throne in 1417 following the death of his uncle. In 1420, the Siamese sent an army to invade Angkor again. A ferocious war between the Siamese and Khmers ensued. King Borumsokha bravely fought the Siamese to his death. And the Siamese finally captured Angkor. One year later in 1421, a Khmer royal prince named Ponhea Yat successfully expelled the Siamese from Angkor and was crowned king afterward.
(To be continued)

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