• Phutthaloetla Naphalai
  • พุทธเลิศหล้านภาลัย
King Rama II
Portrait at the Grand Palace, Bangkok
King of Siam
Reign7 September 1809 – 21 July 1824
Coronation17 September 1809
PredecessorPhutthayotfa Chulalok (Rama I)
SuccessorNangklao (Rama III)
ViceroyMaha Senanurak
Viceroy of Siam
Tenure1808 – 7 September 1809
AppointerPhutthayotfa Chulalok (Rama I)
PredecessorMaha Sura Singhanat
SuccessorMaha Senanurak
Born(1767-02-24)24 February 1767
Amphawa, Ayutthaya
Died21 July 1824(1824-07-21) (aged 57)
Bangkok, Siam
Issue34 sons and 39 daughters,[1] including:
HouseChakri dynasty
FatherPhutthayotfa Chulalok (Rama I)
ReligionTheravada Buddhism

Phra Bat Somdet Phra Phutthaloetla Naphalai (Thai: พระบาทสมเด็จพระพุทธเลิศหล้านภาลัย, 24 February 1767 or 1768[2] – 21 July 1824), personal name Chim (Thai: ฉิม), also styled as Rama II, was the second monarch of Siam under the Chakri dynasty, ruling from 1809 to 1824. In 1809, Itsarasunthon succeeded his father Rama I, the founder of Chakri dynasty, as Loetlanaphalai the King of Siam. His reign was largely peaceful, devoid of major conflicts. His reign was known as the "Golden Age of Rattanakosin Literature" as Loetlanaphalai was patron to a number of poets in his court and the King himself was a renowned poet and artist. The most notable poet in his employ was the illustrious Sunthorn Phu, the author of Phra Aphai Mani. The rapid growth of the number of his descendants was outstanding: he is believed to have had over 240 grandchildren.

Early life

Privy seal of King Loetlanaphalai, "a garuda hold the nāgas" (Wat Arun, Bangkok)

Chim was born in 1767 during the Ayutthaya Kingdom in Amphawa District, Samut Songkram. Chim was a son of Luang Yokkrabat of Ratchaburi and Nak of Samut Sakorn, as his father and mother were then known. They would later become King Rama I and Queen Amarindra, respectively.

In 1767, Ayutthaya fell to Konbaung Burmese invaders. His father, Phraya Ratchaburi, joined Taksin's forces to recapture the city. Under King Taksin, Chim's father rose rapidly to high rank as a military leader and was assigned with the campaigns to subjugate Laos and Cambodia. In 1782, his father crowned himself King of Siam (later named Rama I) and Chim himself was raised to the title of Prince Itsarasunthon of Siam.

Loetlanaphalai with his concubine Riam (later elevated to Princess Mother Sri Sulalai by her own son), fathered Prince Tub (ทับ – later Rama III) in 1787. Prince Itsarasunthon then had a secret affair with his own cousin, Princess Bunrod. In 1801, Rama I then found out that Princess Bunrod had been pregnant for four months and banished her out of the palace to live with her brother. Itsarasunthon, however begged his father to forgive him and the princess was reinstated and became his consort through the negotiation by concubine Khamwaen. Unfortunately, the baby died just after its birth. With Princess Bunrod, Loetlanaphalai also fathered Mongkut (1804) and Pinklao (1808). His another concubine namely Prang Yai, gave birth to Prince Nuam in 1808.

He also married his agnatic half sister, Princess Kunthon Thipphayawadi. They had three sons : Prince Abhorn (1816), Prince Klang (1819), and Prince Piu (1822). Later, Prince Klang would be known as Prince Mahamala. He was granted the title of Krom Khun Bumraap Porapuksa, the 4th level of Krom ranks by Mongkut then elevated to Krom Phraya by Chulalongkorn.

Prince Itsarasunthon was appointed to the Front Palace as Lord of the Front Palace or Uparaja in 1807 to succeed his uncle Maha Sura Singhanat who had died in 1803, though he continued to stay at the Thonburi Palace. Among his many other children was Prince Wongsa Dhiraj Snid (born Prince Nuam), who was a royal physician for many years as well as a field commander and diplomat.[3]


As the eldest surviving legitimate son of Rama I, Prince Itsarasunthon succeeded to the throne when Buddha Yotfa Chulaloke died in 1809. No royal naming system was established at the time Rama II was crowned. He was later named by his son Nangklao as Loetlasulalai but changed to Loetlanaphalai by his other son Mongkut and by the Rama convention, called Rama II. His consort, Princess Bunrod, was raised to Queen Sri Suriyendra.

As soon as Loetlanaphalai ascended the throne, Prince Kshatranichit, the surviving son of Taksin, rebelled as pretender to the throne. Loetlanaphalai's son, Prince Tub, effectively crushed the rebellion, proving himself to be competent, thus gaining his father's favor. Prince Tub was raised to Kromma Muen, given the Sanskrit-derived name Jessadabodindra, and made Minister of Foreign Affairs.[4]

Countering the last major Burmese invasions

Main article: Burmese–Siamese War (1809–1812)

The Konbaung king Bodawpaya, seeing that Rama I was dead, marched an army into Chumphon and conquered Thalang (Phuket City) in the same year. Loetlanaphalai sent his brother Maha Senanurak the Front Palace to recapture Thalang, which had been razed to the ground. This "Thalang campaign" was the last invasion by the Burmese into Thai territory.

In 1820, fearing an imminent attack by the Burmese on Siam, Rama II ordered his staff to collect all information in regards to potential Burmese invading routes into Siam.[5]

Culture and literature

View of the city of Bangkok in 1822

It was said that during Rama II's reign, if one could write a refined piece of poetry, then one would be able to become a royal favorite, as Loetlanaphalai himself was a poet. The reign was a cultural renaissance after the massive wars that plagued the First Reign; particularly in the fields of arts and literature. Poets employed by Rama II included Sunthorn Phu the drunken writer (Phra Aphai Mani) and Narin Dhibet (Nirat Narin). His sons, Jessadabodindra and Paramanuchitchinorot, were encouraged to excel in poetry. Poramanuchit later became a Sangharaj (Buddhist hierophant) and was well known for his religious works.

Rama II's reign saw the reconstruction of Thai culture and royal traditions. In 1811, the grand royal funeral was held for King Rama I. In the same year, a cholera epidemic broke out in Bangkok. Loetlanaphalai ordered Apat Pinat or sickness-repelling ceremonies to be performed. He also established the education and the examination system of Buddhism by dividing it into nine levels. In 1817, the Vesak festival was restored.

Foreign relations

Statue of King Rama II at Wat Arun
Monarchs of
the Chakri dynasty
Phutthayotfa Chulalok
(King Rama I)
Phutthaloetla Naphalai
(King Rama II)
(King Rama III)
(King Rama IV)
(King Rama V)
(King Rama VI)
(King Rama VII)
Ananda Mahidol
(King Rama VIII)
Bhumibol Adulyadej
(King Rama IX)
(King Rama X)

In 1810, the first Rattanakosin-to-China mission was sent to the Jiaqing Emperor.

Since the Siamese revolution of 1688, Western presence had been reduced to a small scale as the Thai Kings ceased to encourage foreign influence. This, coupled with the Napoleonic Wars, meant there was little contact between Thailand and foreigners.

However, the wars caused many subsequent changes, which were observed in Southeast Asia. The British interest in Malaya increased as their trade with China increased. The Sultan of Kedah, a Siamese vassal, gave Penang off to the British without consulting Siam in 1786, followed by the British acquisition of Seberang Perai. Soon the British replaced the Dutch as the dominating naval power south of Siam.

The mission of the Portuguese governor of Macau in 1818 was the first formal Western contact in Siam since the Ayutthaya times. The British founded Singapore in 1819 and Jaslis, a missionary from Yangon, introduced the printing press in the same year. The Portuguese established the first western consulate in 1820. The first renewed formal British visit was made by John Crawfurd in 1822.

Death and succession

In July 1824, he died "very suddenly". It was said to be caused by strangury, but rumours were not without strong suspicions of his being poisoned.[6] According to the succession rule then theoretically in force,[7] the throne would go to the son of Queen Sri Suriyendra, Prince Mongkut; however, his elder half-brother Jessadabodindra succeeded the same day. Though only the son of a concubine, he had served their father in putting down a revolt and then as Kromma Tha (Ministry of Trade and Foreign Relations.) The elder brother's experience counted for more than the theoretical claim of the much younger and inexperienced brother, who nevertheless did succeed his elder brother much later, and sired many sons but raised none of their mothers to the rank of queen, thus technically none of his sons had claim to the throne over their half-uncle whose mother was a Rama II's principal consort.



  1. ^ Baker, Chris; Phongphaichit, Phasuk (2009). A History of Thailand. Cambridge University Press. p. 31. ISBN 978-0521767682. Retrieved 10 July 2019.
  2. ^ "Rama II". britannica.com/. Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 24 February 2021.
  3. ^ Harper, Tim, Amrith, Sunil G. "Histories of Health in Southeast Asia" pp. 23-26
  4. ^ Norman G. Owen (2005). The Emergence Of Modern Southeast Asia. National University of Singapore Press. p. 95. ISBN 9971-69-328-3.
  5. ^ Sunait Chutintaranond (March 1992). "The Image of the Burmese Enemy in Thai Perceptions and Historical Writings" (PDF). thesiamsociety.org. Chulalongkorn University. Archived (PDF) from the original on 15 March 2023. Retrieved 14 August 2023.
  6. ^ Roberts, Edmund (1837) [First published in 1837]. "Chapter XIX―History of Siam". Embassy to the Eastern courts of Cochin-China, Siam, and Muscat : in the U. S. sloop-of-war Peacock ... during the years 1832-3-4. Harper & brothers. p. 300. Retrieved 25 April 2012. stranguary.
  7. ^ Wales, H. G. Quaritch (14 April 2005) [First published in 1931]. "Pt. III, Ch. VI, 1. Succession". Siamese state ceremonies. London: Bernard Quaritch. p. 67. Retrieved 25 April 2012. The Succession to the Throne of Siam is, in theory, regulated by the law of A.D. 1360....

See also

Rama II House of ChakriBorn: 24 February 1767 Died: 21 July 1824 Regnal titles Preceded byRama I King of Rattanakosin 1809–1824 Succeeded byRama III VacantTitle last held byMaha Sura Singhanat Viceroy of Rattanakosin 1808–1809 Succeeded byMaha Senanurak