PHRA NANGKLAO CHAOYUHUA
King Rama III (1824-1851)
King Phra Nangklao
Chaoyuhua, or King Rama III of the Chakri Dynasty, was born in Bangkok on
March 31, 1788. He was the son of King Rama II by a junior wife, Chao Chom
Riem. King Rama III was crowned at the age of 37.
King Rama III
was really well versed in government affairs and a genius in law and
trade. King Rama III was fully aware of the problems of international and
domestic trade, and knew all about the trading seasons. He was extremely
conscious about the trade imbalance with foreign countries. He had managed
to earn such a large amount of foreign exchange that his father King Rama
II called him "Chow Sua", a Chinese term meaning "Taipa", or trading boss.
King Phra Nangklao showed exceptional generosity and politeness
thus gaining admiration from people of all ranks-royalty as well as
commoners. Without the designation of an heir to the throne after the
death of Rama II, the Accession Council, therefore, gave consent for
Prince Chesdabodin, to be bornated king Rama II at the age of 37.
As for religion, he patronized all of them whether it was
Brahminism, Christianity, Hinduism Or Sikhsm. King Rama III keenly
encouraged both monks and novices to take courses in Buddhism in the
capital city as well as in the provinces. King Phra Nangklao compiled a
new version of the Buddhist Tripitaka that was widely distributed
throughout the country. He went as far as to permit monks to use various
castles as classrooms for teaching Buddhism.
In education, King
Rama III gave full support to whoever showed talent. He also ordered a new
textbook Chindamanee to be written which was used until the reign of King
Rama V. He made Wat Phra Chettupon the center of knowledge for various
subjects such as literature, medical science, Buddhism, and history, and
grew plants that possessed medicinal values around the temple compound.
Concerning relation with foreign countries, King Rama III moved
with extreme caution since he had to preserve both the integrity and the
sovereignty of the kingdom as at that time neighboring countries were
being colonized so much so that he commented before he died.
Rama III also gave the advice of bewaring the influence of Westerners
which mentioned that we can learn from them for the good of our country,
then do so but donít get fatuous with their entire way of living.
This particular advice of King Rama III was adhered to by
surveying kings and proved so successful that Thailand has remained free
and independent to the present day.
King Rama III's most
impressive action was his treatment of the next in line for succession to
the throne. Even though he had many sons who could have been designated to
be the next king, he paid more attention as to whom the position should be
best owed upon, keeping in mind the survival of the kingdom. Once, before
he passed away, he said to an audience consisting of people of all ranks.
"If anyone of the Royal Family is fit in all respects to become the next
king-in daily administration, in religious affairs and in protecting the
populace as well as the kingdom's independence-then, that person should be
the next king. Feel free to make your own decision without regard to my
own feelings. All I ask for is that you do not solve your conflicts
through force which will inevitably hurt the people."