Siamese Attacks on Angkor before 1430

by Lawrence Palmer Briggs

Publication: The Far Eastern Quarterly Vol. 8, No. 1, pp. 3-33

Language : English

November 1948 - 31 pages

Studying several historical sources, in particular the Annals of Ayuthia, the author refutes the common idea that the Siamese overran the Khmer rulers and captured Angkor Thom on one or more occasions before the final sack of that capital in 1430-31.

Among the author's main conclusions:

  • Boromoraja II (Paramardjadhirdja) of Ayuthia besieged Angkor Thom in 1430 and took it after 7 months, in 1431. This date is established by the most ancient and reliable of all the chronicles - Luang Prasoet's recension of the Annals of Ayuthia, as translated by Frankfurter - and by other data given herein.
  • Coedes has established, by means of a recension of a Cambodian chronicle found at Phnom Penh,75 that the capital was founded there by Ponha-yat in 1434, after he had spent a year at Basan. The Chinese say that embassies from Chenla to the imperial court ceased to come regularly during the period 1426-35.
  • The date of the accession of Boromoraja II of Siam may be fixed at 1424.
  • The accession of Barommo-soccoroch or Thommo-soccarach (Dhar-masok) of Cambodia is dated in 1428 by the simple fact that practically all versions of the Cambodian chronicles or annals agree that the siege of Angkor began in the third year of his reign. If 1430 is accepted as the date of the siege of Angkor, 1428 must be accepted as the date of the acces- sion of that king.
  • The belief that Rama Thibodi I of Ayuthia did not capture Angkor in 1350-53 or at any other time is based on the following facts: (a) Siamese annals do not mention such a conquest - they only mention a raid into Cambodia; (b) the Chinese, who had intimate relations with Cambodia after 1370 (see Table 2) give no hint of a Siamese conquest prior to 1430- 31; (c) nothing is said of the loot of the temples of Angkor, which would have been great; (d) the Laotian chronicles indicate that the king who was on the throne before 1330 was there after 1353.

About the Author

Lawrence Palmer Briggs

Lawrence P. Briggs (17 Oct 1880, Manton, Wexford County, Michigan, USA - ?) was a US diplomat and independent researcher who dedicated his major work to the Ancient Khmer Empire.

Teaching and traveling fellow of University of California, Lawrence P. Briggs serves as Superintendent of schools, U.S. Consul in Saigon (1914-17), Rangoon (1917-20), Riviere du Loup (1920-22), Nuevitas (1924-29), and Bahia (1932). His burial location remains unknown.

In the 1940s and 1950s, he published extensively his researches, in particular in The Journal of American Oriental Society. Reviewing his major published work (The Ancient Khmer Empire, 1951) in 1953, George Coedès, who had met him in Cambodia, noted that L.P. Briggs had started working on the manuscript in 1943, collating more than 750 research items on the subject. ´It is the first time that the already considerable body of research work relating to ancient Cambodia has been assembled, sifted and brought within reach to the English'speaking public´, noted Coedès.