Portugal in the Orient


John Villiers*

Plan of Ayutthaya by Alain Manesson Mallet, 1683

From the time of its foundation in 1351, the Thai kingdom of Ayutthaya, known to the Europeans as Siam, was a trading state, actively participating in the traditional network of maritime trade that spanned the vast maritime area from the Red Sea to Japan. It was also an agrarian state. The site of its capital at the confluence of the Chao Phraya and two other rivers in the middle of a large and fertile plain made Ayutthaya ideally suited for wet-rice cultivation as soon as the land had been cleared and a plentiful supply of water secured. Like Pagan, Angkor, Mojopahit and the other great agrarian monarchies of Southeast Asia, Ayutthaya was largely self-sufficient in foodstuffs and, indeed, exported much of its produce, notably rice, sugar-cane, palm-oil, arrack, ginger, fruit, vegetables, salt, hides and fish. 1

From the beginning, Ayutthaya pursued an aggressive and expansionist policy aimed at attaining domination of the Chao Phraya basin and control of the seaports that would provide outlets for its trade. Ayutthaya's chief rivals were the Thais of Sukhothai to the north, the Mons of Pegu and the Burmese of Ava and Toungoo to the west and the Khmers of Angkor to the east. The threat from the Burmese was never successfully overcome and it was they who brought about the final downfall of Ayutthaya in 1767, but Sukhothai was reduced to vassalage in 1419 and finally annexed in 1438, while frequent attacks were launched against Angkor, culminating in its capture in 1431. By the time of King Boromatrailokanat (Trailok), who reigned from 1448 to 1488, Ayutthaya had become undisputed master of the Chao Phraya basin and the new centre of the Thai world. The Thai chronicles tell us that by that time Ayutthaya claimed suzerainty, if it was not always able to impose it, over sixteen principalities or cities (muang), which included Tenasserim, Tavoy, Martaban and Moulmein in Lower Burma, Chanthaburi, Phitsanulok, Sukhothai, Phichai, Sawankhalok, Phichit, Kamphaeng Phet, Nakhon Sawan, Nakhon Si Thammarat and Songkhla in central and southern Thailand, and Malacca in the Malay Peninsula. As with most capital cities in Southeast Asia that had been established and built in accordance with Indian ideas of cosmology, Ayutthaya was conceived as the magical centre of the Siamese kingdom surrounded by its four muang luk luang (cities of royal sons), which were usually governed by sons or other close relations of the king. In the early fifteenth century these were Lopburi to the north, Phrapradaeng to the south, Nakhon Nayok to the east and Suphanburi to the west. Outside this central area were the semi-autonomous provinces or muang phraya maha nakhon, and beyond these again the vassal states or muang prathetsarat, such as Malacca and Sukhothai. 2

João de Barros in his Décadas da Ásia, written in the 1550's, tells us that the Chao Phraya River made Ayutthaya" very abundant in all sorts of seed and foodstuffs" and that most of the people were engaged, then as now, in agriculture, so that there were few manufacturers, and the kingdom offered few opportunities for foreign traders. 3In reality, Ayutthaya had already by that time become one of the richest commercial centres and most powerful kingdoms in Asia, equalled in European eyes only by China and the empire of Vijayanagar in India. Fernão Lopes de Castanheda, who lived in Asia from 1528 to 1538, wrote that the king of Siam was "a very great lord, both in territory and people", whose realm stretched from the Bay of Bengal to the coasts of Indochina and who had "many and good ports on both these coasts", all of them "great cities in which much very rich merchandise" was traded. Among the chief products of the kingdom he mentions gold, silver, benzoin, lacquer and tin. He goes on to say that the capital city of Ayutthaya lay thirty leagues up "a river so wide and deep that laden junks can sail there", and that it was "a very great and populous city with rich and beautiful buildings and very much trade, being supplied with a great abundance of goods".4

Ayutthaya was indeed exceptionally well placed both for controlling the riverine trade between the Upper and Lower Chao Phraya and, once it had acquired control over some of the major seaports in the Malay Peninsula and on the eastern coast of the Bay of Bengal, for engaging in maritime trade over a wide area. The city of Ayutthaya itself and Ligor (Nakhon Si Thammarat) gave access to the Gulf of Siam and thus to the trade routes in the Indonesian archipelago and the South China Sea, while Mergui and the other ports in Lower Burma that came under Siamese rule between 1460 and 1490 provided outlets to the Indian Ocean. Duarte Barbosa, writing about 1516, says that Mergui at the mouth of the Tenasserim River was frequented by merchants of many nations, especially Muslims, who brought copper, quick-silver, vermilion, cloth dyed in grain, Cambay cotton cloth, silk, printed Mecca velvets, saffron, opium, threaded white coral, and rosewater transported from Mecca and Aden in little copper barrels and sold by weight, with the barrel included. All these goods were imported from Mergui into Siam, where they were highly prized. 5 The tributary state of Kedah on the west coast of the Malay Peninsula produced pepper for the Siamese market, while Pahang on the east coast was an important source of gold. 6 Ayutthaya's suzerainty over the Malay sultanate of Malacca, which was successfully maintained at least until the 1480's, enabled the Siamese to participate in the highly lucrative trade which flowed through that great emporium.

Ayutthaya's first overseas commercial links, however, seem to have been established with China. As early as the mid-thirteenth century the kings of two of the states that preceded Ayutthaya in the Chao Phraya basin, Sukhothai (Hsien) and Lopburi (Lo-hu) had sent tribute missions to China to seek recognition of the legitimacy of their rule from the Ming emperor and to obtain trading privileges. It is possible that the founder of Ayutthaya, Prince U Thong, who took the regnal name of Ramathibodi I, was a member of a powerful Chinese merchant family, who, by marrying a daughter of the Thai ruler of Suphanburi, was able to set himself up as king of an independent Thai state. In 1373 King Boromaracha I (1370-1388) received formal investiture from China. In 1408 the Chinese Admiral Cheng Ho visited Ayutthaya on his maritime expedition to the Indian Ocean and was given audience by King Intharacha (1408-1424). By the mid-fifteenth century there was already a flourishing Chinese merchant community in the capital. The inscriptions show that in 1429 members of this community contributed to the costs of building and endowing Wat Ratchaburana, one of the largest and most sumptuous of all the great royal temples of Ayutthaya. 7

For a state which depended so much on overseas trade, naval power was most important and, as neither the Thais nor the Khmers and Mons who had preceded them in the area were seafaring peoples, the Chinese apparently provided Ayutthaya with most of its sailors. A law of King Trailok uses Chinese terms for the titles and functions of the members of the crews of the royal junks. 8

The central chedi of Wat Phra Si Sanphet in Ayutthaya founded in the fifteenth century by King Trailok

At the beginning of the sixteenth cen-tury Tomé Pires wrote in his Suma Oriental that "the land of Siam is very large and very plenteous with many peoples and cities, with many lands and many foreign merchants, and most of these foreigners are Chinese, because Siam does a great deal of trade with China". According to Pires, the Chinese paid lower dues and were generally given more favourable treatment than the other foreign traders who frequented Siamese ports, most of whom were Muslim Arabs, Persians, Bengalis and Kelings from the Coromandel Coast. Pires tells us bluntly that the Siamese did not like the Muslim merchants. 9 Nevertheless, they were settled in all the principal ports of the kingdom and exercised a powerful influence, not only in commerce but also in the administration. Many Muslims, particulary Indians and Persians, served as ministers, provincial governors and factors and, as a result of the Muslim domination of its international trade, Ayutthaya maintained close relations with a number of Muslim states. It was only in the mid-seventeenth century when Muslim commercial dominance in Southeast Asia began to be seriously undermined by the Europeans and when the introduction of Christianity began to be seen as a threat to Islam, that the influence of the Muslims in Buddhist Ayutthaya declined. 10

The foundation of the Malay sultanate of Malacca in a strategic position on the Straits of Malacca in the first years of the fifteenth century and its rapid development to become the most important entrepôt in Southeast Asia led to a great increase in trade between the Indian Ocean and the Indonesian archipelago. Malacca was dependent on imports for almost all its food supplies, and Ayutthaya soon became, along with the north Javanese ports, a leading supplier of rice to Malacca. Tomé Pires tells us that, in addition to rice, Ayutthaya exported salt, salted fish, arrack and vegetables to Malacca and each year sent up to thirty junks there laden with these goods. In return, Ayutthaya took a great variety of the valuable merchandise which was brought to Malacca from all over the Indian Ocean and the Indonesian islands, including male and female slaves, white sandalwood, pepper, quicksilver, vermilion, opium, orpiment (yellow trisulphide of arsenic), cloves, mace, nutmeg, muslin, camlets, brocades and other Indian textiles, carpets, rosewater, white cowrie shells from the Maldive Islands, wax, Borneo camphor, pachak, "which are roots like dry rampion", and gall nuts, which were used for making ink and dyes. 11

When he arrived before Malacca in July 1511, Afonso de Albuquerque was already well informed about the wealth and commercial power of Ayutthaya. He also knew that Malacca had rejected Siamese suzerainty some thirty years before and was at war with Ayutthaya, so that Siamese traders no longer frequented the city, and Siamese trade was becoming increasingly centred on the ports in the Bay of Bengal. 12 In October 1511, before he had even completed the conquest of Malacca, he asked a group of Chinese merchants who were sailing to Siam in two junks to take Duarte Fernandes with them to Ayutthaya to try to establish trade relations with the Siamese.

Fernandes was an officer in the Portuguese fleet who had come to Malacca in 1509 and spent two years in prison with Rui de Araújo. He had learnt Malay during his imprisonment and was "well qualified and well suited for the task".13 In seeking Siamese support for the attack on Malacca, Albuquerque's hand was strengthened by the knowledge that the king of Ayutthaya was involved in a war with his northern neighbour Chiangmai, and would therefore be unlikely to oppose the Portuguese conquest, even if he wished to do so.

Castanheda recounts that, when Fernandes arrived in Ayutthaya, King Ramathibodi II (1491-1529) sent out two hundred light boats called lancharas filled with men to escort the Portuguese envoy to his palace. Everyone came out to see this strangely dressed foreign visitor, and Fernandes arrived at the royal palace accompanied by a large crowd. The king received them very richly dressed in the Chinese manner and seated on a high gilded throne in a great hall adorned with brocaded hangings, with all his wives and daughters seated on either side of the hall, accompanied by their ladies dressed in brocade and silk and with much gold and jewellery. Fernandes was most courteously welcomed and presented to the king a sword with a jewelled hilt and a letter from Albuquerque written on behalf of King Manuel I of Portugal. He was then shown round the city and taken to see the royal white elephant, which Castanheda believed was "the only one in the world". Fernandes returned to Malacca with the Chinese captains and a Siamese ambassador, who carried a ruby "of very great price", a sword with a golden scabbard and a gold cup as gifts for Albuquerque from the king, three gold boxes and some jewelled bracelets from the queen, a sealed letter for King Manuel and a letter for Albuquerque in which King Ramathibodi congratulated him on his conquest of Malacca and offered "his person and his people in the service of the king of Portugal, as well as any supplies and merchandise he might need".14

Albuquerque at once sent António de Miranda de Azevedo to Siam with a retinue of six men and carrying rich gifts, including some cuirasses of crimson satin, a lance, a buckler, a helmet and other martial presents. One member of this embassy was Manuel Fragoso, who had been instructed to write a report on "the products, the dress and the customs of Siam, and the depth of the harbours", in other words to find out what commercial opportunities there might be for the Portuguese in Siam. 15 Miranda de Azevedo returned to Malacca "laden with honours and gifts" from the king of Siam, including twenty bells that were rung by being beaten with wooden sticks, two great bells for use in war, which made a "very fearful sound", twenty lances made of strong cane, and some swords. 16 Fragoso remained in Ayutthaya for two years and in 1513 went to Goa, accompanied by a Siamese envoy, to submit his report to Albuquerque. This report was never published, but it is probable that both Barros and Barbosa knew of it and made use of it in writing their accounts of Siam.

In 1518 a third Portuguese embassy, led by Duarte Coelho, was sent to Ayutthaya to conclude a formal treaty. Coelho had already been twice to Siam, once with Miranda de Azevedo's embassy and once when forced by storms in the Gulf of Siam to take refuge in the Chao Phraya estuary. He took with him a large retinue and carried letters from King Manuel to King Ramathibodi confirming the terms of Miranda de Azevedo's earlier agreement.

By the treaty of 1518 the Portuguese were permitted to settle in Siam, and to trade at Ayutthaya, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Pattani and Mergui. In return, groups of Siamese were allowed to settle in Malacca, and the Portuguese promised to provide Ayutthaya with arms in their war against Chiangmai. 17 Before long the Portuguese had established several factories in Siam, and trade between Malacca and Ayutthaya was thriving, while the Siamese armies began to employ Portuguese military advisers and to use Portuguese arms and ammunition. In his Asia Portuguesa, Manuel de Faria e Sousa says that in the Siamese army which fought against Chiangmai in 1628 the king's bodyguard was made up of 120 Portuguese, and that there were three maeses de campo (colonels), of whom two were Turks and one a Portuguese. After the victory of the Siamese, the king rewarded the 120 Portuguese by bequeathing them 30,000 ducats in his will, allowing them exemption for three years from payment of all duties in any port in the kingdom and granting them freedom to preach their religion anywhere in his dominions. 18

Throughout the sixteenth century, as Ayutthaya's prosperity steadily increased, relations with the Portuguese remained good. As the ship's secretary Gaspar Lopes wrote from China in October 1551 to his brother António Lopes de Bobadilha, the Portuguese had only Siam and Japan as their friends and "we can come and go and conduct trade if we pay the tolls on arrival".19 By the end of the century the Portuguese were trading with Ayutthaya and other Southeast Asian ports out of Macau as well as Malacca and thereby helping to maintain Siam's commercial links with Ming China. Marcelo de Ribadeneira declares in his Historia de las islas del archipielago, published in 1601, that Ayutthaya at that time was "very rich and abundant in all merchandise, for many ships of Chinese and Portuguese from Macau and Malacca and Muslims of Pattani and Brunei and other parts carry it there. From that kingdom they take cotton thread, brazilwood, much silver and lead... benzoin and deer skins... They also kill many tigers, ounces, rhinoceroses and other animals and sell the hides to merchants... Because there are so many elephants, there is a great abundance of ivory with which the merchants load their ships... There are few important people in Siam who do not have very large ships which they send to China and other kingdoms to trade."20

The report that Joost Schouten wrote for the Dutch East India Company in 1636 gives a detailed description of Siamese trade in his time, based on firsthand experience. He says that in the city of Ayutthaya the trade was "very good and free in its course" and that the principal commodities exchanged there were Indian cotton cloth, Chinese goods, precious stones, gold, benzoin, lacquer, wax, sappanwood, eaglewood, tin and lead, "vast numbers" of deer skins, 150,000 deer being killed annually and sold with much profit to the Japanese, and above all rice, of which many thousand tons were bought every year by foreign merchants. 21

Like many Asian rulers, the kings of Ayutthaya were the first merchants in the realm and exercised a monopoly over trade, although this does not seem to have been formalised until 1630, when a decree of the usurper King Prasat Thong (1630-1656) made all trade in the kingdom a royal prerogative. No visiting merchant could sell his goods until the king had bought what he wished at his own price and nobody was permitted to buy rice or other staple commodities until the king's supplies, which were collected as a tax in kind from his subjects, had all been purchased, again at a price fixed by him. 22 According to Schouten, the king had his own ships and factors trading in Coromandel and China, in Pegu and Ava, Chiangmai and Luang Prabang (Laos), in addition to his trading activities at home, "all of which bring him incredible profit and no small disturbance to private merchants".23

Schouten's account lists the principal sources of the crown revenues in the early seventeenth century. "The dominion and revenue of the crown is great," he wrote, "amounting yearly to many millions." It was derived from the sale of commodities such as rice, sappanwood, tin, lead and saltpetre, profits from gold, which foreign merchants could only buy from the king's factors, customs duties on imported goods, tributes and presents from vassal princes and governors of cities and provinces, "who know how much they must contribute", and profits from royal trading activities in China and on the Coromandel Coast. All these revenues made the king of Siam "one of the richest princes of India". Most of the money was spent on building and repairing temples, rewarding his subjects for meritorious service and defraying public expenses. 24

Ribadaneira says that in time of war the king did not have to spend anything, because all the great lords of the kingdom would offer their vassals to serve in his armies and their treasure to meet his expenses. When one of these great lords died all his property passed in the first instance to the king, who would give the sons part of their father's revenue as a posthumous reward for his services to the crown. 25 Furthermore, according to a law believed to have been promulgated by Ramathibodi I in 1360, all the land in the kingdom belonged to the king and was "only given to the people to live on".26

Whereas the kings of Sukhothai had filled a paternal role as leaders of their people, the kings of Ayutthaya were more remote figures, wielding absolute authority and hedged about with Indian rituals which invested them with semi-divine status, comparable to the Khmer rulers of Angkor, many of whose court rituals and traditions the Siamese inherited. The language spoken at the court of Ayutthaya was based on Khmer and Sanskrit, the sacred language of Hinduism, and, like the Angkor rulers, the Theravada Buddhist kings of Ayutthaya were considered to be incarnations of the Hindu gods whose names they frequently adopted. King Trailok, for example, was said to be well versed in the Three Gems of Buddhism (Buddha, Dhamma, Sangha) as well as in the ancient Hindu Vedas, and to be a reincarnation of eleven Hindu deities, ranging from Varuna, the rain god, and Agni, the fire god, to the Hindu Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Siva. 27 The only real check on the king's power was that imposed by the nominally independent rulers of the four cardinal muang, with whom he had to maintain friendly relations in order to ensure sufficient supplies of men and treasure. 28

Seventeenth century French plan of Ayutthaya

Consequently, building temples was as important an activity for the kings of Ayutthaya as it had been for the rulers of Sukhothai, Pagan, Angkor, and the Sailendra kingdom in Java. By erecting and endowing a temple, if possible of even greater magnificence than that of his predecessor, each king sought to glorify himself and, especially if he were an usurper, to legitimize his rule. At the same time, each royal foundation served the practical purpose of accommodating a community of monks and temple slaves (kha phra), who provided the king with readily accessible manpower. 29 The founder of Ayutthaya, Ramathibodi I, built the magnificent Wat Phutthaisawan in the Khmer style on the west bank of the Chao Phraya on the site of the palace he had lived in before establishing his capital at Ayutthaya. Trailok built Wat Phra Si Sanphet, the most important temple in Ayutthaya, within the precincts of his palace, as well as the majestic Wat Ratchaburana and the no less imposing Wat Mahathat nearby. 30 In 1630 the usurper Prasat Thong built the huge and elaborate Wat Chai Wathanaram on the site of the palace of his mother, through whom he claimed a blood relationship with his predecessors, Intharacha II and Chettha.

Although most of the estimates given in sixteenth and seventeenth century European sources of the size of Southeast Asian armies are clearly exaggerated, there is no doubt that the kings of Ayutthaya could bring very large forces into the field. Osório, whose figures are probably as reliable as any, says that in the early sixteenth century there were said to be 12,000 elephants in Siam, of which 4,000 were kept in a permanent state of readiness for war. 31 Barros maintains that in the city of Ayutthaya alone the king could muster 50,000 men and that in the wars against Laos in the 1540's he took into the field 20,000 cavalry, 250,0000 infantry and 10,000 elephants for fighting and for carrying baggage, as well as many oxen and buffaloes. 32 António Bocarro maintains that in the war against Pegu in 1590, King Naresuen (1590-1605) took out four ceremonial elephants carrying the royal insignia of white umbrellas with gold fringes and spikes and encrusted with precious stones, 500 war elephants, 10,000 cavalry and 50,000 infantry, all armed with gilded helmets and shields. 33 Barros believed that usually only Thais were recruited for the army, because it was thought that men of other nations, even though they were subjects of the king of Siam, could not be trusted to understand and carry out his commands. 34 Schouten, however, says that Malays and other Muslims and Japanese all served in the Siameae armies. He adds that the Siamese navy was well equipped, but the sailors were "pitiful".35

The maintenance of royal power in Ayutthaya ultimately depended as much on military might and on the king's ability to command large resources of manpower as on commercial acumen. All freemen were obliged to render to the crown six months' labour each year, and this labour was organized by specially appointed officials known as mun nai, who were responsible for ensuring that every freeman fulfilled the terms of his service. 36

By the middle of the seventeenth century the Portuguese, who had already been driven out of many of their Southeast Asian strongholds, had lost much of their influence at the court of Ayutthaya. Schouten's account of 1636 says that before the coming of the Dutch (the first Dutch mission, led by Cornelis Specx, arrived in Ayutthaya in 1604), the Portuguese had "great correspondence and amity" with Siam, and that the envoys sent by successive viceroys, governors and bishops of Malacca were always well received and given rich presents by the king. They were the "only and chief merchants of the whole kingdom" and many Portuguese who settled in Siam "advanced to great office and preferments". They were granted complete freedom to practise their religion and "their chief priest had also a monthly pension allowed him for his more splendid subsistence". However, as soon as the Dutch gained a foothold and began to intercept Portuguese shipping in the Indian Ocean, they began to replace the Portuguese as the leading European merchants in Siam and by Schouten's time the Dutch East India Company already dominated the carrying trade between Ayutthaya and Japan and were also shipping large quantities of Siamese goods to their own port of Batavia in Java. 37 Nicolas Gervaise, writing in the 1680's, describes the trading activities of the Dutch, the French and the English, but makes no mention of Portuguese trade and says that the Portuguese settlers in Siam suffered from extreme poverty. 38

Though the remarkable economic development of Ayutthaya in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries undoubtedly owed much to its treaty relations with Portuguese Malacca, it owed no less to its trading links with Malacca's competitors, at first with Southeast Asian Muslim states such as Aceh, Pattani and Banten, and subsequently with the Dutch East India Company. After the fall of Malacca to the Dutch in 1641, the Portuguese share in the international trade of Ayutthaya diminished still further. However, Portuguese merchants still frequented Siamese ports, Portuguese missionary priests still worked, with only very limited success, among the devoutly Buddhist population, and Portuguese soldiers of fortune continued to fight for successive Siamese kings in their frequent wars. It was in consideration of the military assistance the Portuguese had given in the Burmese invasion and sack of Ayutthaya in 1767, that they were given a grant of land, at first in Thonburi and then in Bangkok, and were thus enabled to continue in the new capital the Settlement founded in Ayutthaya nearly three centuries before. 39


1. Charnvit Kasetsiri, Ayudhya. A History of Siam in the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries (Oxford University Press, 1976) pp. 78-9.

2. Charnvit, pp. 93-100.

3. João de Barros, Da Ásia. Década Terceira, Parte Primeira (Lisbon, 1777) 2, p. 169.

4. Fernão Lopes de Castanheda, História do Descobrimento e Conquista da India pelos Portugueses, 4 vols (Coimbra, 1924-33) 2, III, p. 156.

5. Duarte Barbosa, Livro em que dá relação do que viu e ouviu no Oriente (Lisbon, 1946) p. 199.

6. Barbosa, p.200.

7. Charnvit, Ayudhya, pp. 81-3, 111-3.

8. Charnvit, pp. 83.

9. Tomé Pires, Suma Oriental, trans and ed. Armando Cortesão, 2 vols (London: Hakluyt Society, 1944) 1, p. 103.

10. See Omar Farouk Shaeik Ahmad, 'Muslims in the kingdom of Ayutthaya' (JEBAT, Bil. 10, 1980/81) pp. 206-14.

11. Pires, Suma Oriental, 1, p. 104.

12. Pires (Suma Oriental, 1, p. 108) says the Siamese had not traded in Malacca for 22 years (i. e. since about 1493), while Rui Brito de Patalim wrote from Malacca to the king on 6 January 1514 that the Siamese had not been to Malacca for thirty years (i. e. since 1484) [Artur Basílio de Sá, Documentação para a história das missões do padroado português do Oriente: Insulíndia, 5 vols (Lisbon, 1954-58), 1, p. 104].

13. Gaspar Correia, Lendas da Índia, ed. M. Lopes de Almeida, 4 vols (Oporto, 1975) 2, p. 262.

14. Castanheda, História, 2, III, pp.156-58; D. Jerónimo Osório, Da vida e feitos de El-Rei D. Manuel, 2 vols (Oporto, 1944) 2, pp. 53-4.

15. Afonso de Albuquerque, Commentarios do Grande Afonso Dalboquerque capitão geral que foi das Indias ed. Joaquim Veríssimo Serrão, 2 vols (Lisbon, 1973) 2, IV, p. 104. Correia says the ambassador was Simão de Miranda de Azevedo, not António (Lendas, 2, p. 263).

16. Correia, Lendas, 2, p. 263-34; Osório, El-Rei D. Manuel, 2, p.72.

17. Barros, Da Ásia, p. 151-2.

18. Manuel de Faria e Sousa, Ásia Portuguesa, 3 vols (Lisbon, 1666-74) 3, IV, p. 420-1.

19. Georg Schurhammer, S. J. Francis Xavier. His Life, His Times, 4 vols (Rome, 1982) 4, p. 311.

20. Fr. Marcelo de Ribadeneira, História de las islas del archipielago y reynos dela Gran China, Tartaria, Cuchinchina, Malaca, Sian, Camboxa y lappon (Barcelona, 1601) II, p. 171.

21. Joost Schouten, A Description of the Government, Might, Religion, Customes, Traffick and other remarkable Affairs in the kingdom of Siam, trans. Capt. Roger Manley (London, 1663) p.148.

22. David K. Wyatt, Thailand: A Short History (Yale University Press, 1984) p. 86.

23. Schouten, Description, p. 148.

24. Schouten, p. 130.

25. Ribadeneira, História, II, p. 165.

26. Charnvit, Ayudhya, p.101. See also Barros, Da Ásia, III, 2, p.170.

27. Charnvit, Ayudhya, p. 105.

28. Charnvit, p. 101-5.

29. Charnvit, p. 101.

30. In 1500 Ramathibodi II placed in one of the sanctuaries of Wat Phra Si Sanphet a colossal bronze Buddha image sixteen metres high and covered in gold plates called Phra Si Sanphet, which gave its name to the temple.

31. Osório, El-Rei D. Manuel, 2, p. 54.

32. Barros, Da Ásia, III, 2, pp. 160-1.

33. António Bocarro, Década XIII da História da Índia, 2 vols (Lisbon, 1876) p. 119.

34. Barros, Da Ásia, III, p. 161.

35. Schouten, Description, p. 135.

36. Wyatt, Thailand, p. 71.

37. Schouten, Description, pp. 149-51.

38. Nicolas Gervaise, The Natural and Political History of the Kingdom of Siam, trans. and ed. John Villiers (Bangkok, 1989) pp. 58, 61-3.

39. Wyatt, Thailand, p. 88. On Ayutthaya in the late seventeenth century see Dhiravat Na Pombejra, "Crown Trade and Court Politics in Ayutthaya in the Reign of King Narai (1656-88)" in J. Kathirithamby-Wells and John Villiers eds., The Southeast Asian Port and Polity: Rise and Demise (Singapore University Press, 1990) pp. 127-42, and George Vinal Smith, The Dutch in Seventeenth-Century Thailand (DeKalb, Ill., 1977).

* Dr. John Villiers, after gaining his doctorate in Portuguese History at the University of Cambridge, served in the British council for nineteen years, seven of them in Indonesia before being appointed Director of the British Institute in Southeast Asia in Singapore and Bangkok (1979-1985). His principal research interests are in the maritime history of Southeast Asia and the Portuguese and Spanish empires in the East, and he has published numerous books and articles in these subjects. He is a Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society and a member of the Council of the Hakluyt Society in London.

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