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18 January 2009

On this day in history: King Naresuan killed Crown Prince Minchit Sra, 1591

Born in April 1555, Naresuan was the son of Prince Maha Thammaracha, who later became King Sanphet I of Ayutthaya (part of modern day Thailand). At that time the Burmese occupied the Kingdom of Ayutthaya and as such they took the seven year old Naresuan as hostage to ensure the fealty of his father. For the next nine years the Burmese King Bayinnaung raised Naresuan as a prince in his palace at Pegu, until Narusuan returned home in exchange for his sister Princess Suphan Thewi. Soon after his return, Naresuan became Governor of Phitsanulok at the instigation of his father, who was now King.

Three years after the death of the King Bayinnaung, Naresuan's father declared that he was no longer a vassal of the Burmese. During the ensuing war Crown Prince Naresuan led his father's forces as well as those he recruited from neighbouring regions. Rather than fight a defensive campaign he decided to take the fight to the enemy occupying Lanna, a buffer states between the two countries.

In 1590, Naresuan's father died and he became King Sanphet II. One year later the Burmese invaded and again Naresuan went on the offensive in spite of the numerical superiority of the Burmese forces. On 18th January 1591, along with his younger brother, Prince Ekatosrost, he led a small force in an attempt to lure the opposing army into a trap. The Burmese forces took the bait, chasing Naresuan's small force into an ambush at Nongsarai.

During the battle, Naresuan spotted the Burmese Crown Prince Minchit Sra, who he challenged to single combat. The two fought atop their war elephants until Naresuan killed Minchit Sra with a blow from his lance. So demoralised were the Burmese that they retreated with the body of the Prince, effectively ending the Burmese aggression against Ayutthaya.

The date of the battle is celebrated today in Thailand as Royal Thai Armed Forces Day.


Anonymous said...

It is a shame that so many historical events are marked by bloodshed. I found this a most informative read.

Anonymous said...

It is interesting to read about this; we can certainly learn a lot from history. If ever there is a war now, if it can be fought like the way of the two princes, then all the others would be spared. Then again, no one would hope for war of any kind; the people are always the one to suffer.

Borkiman said...

Thanks you both for leaving comments.

BK: I think the battle continued while the leaders fought. The loss of their commander demoralised the Burmese to such a degree that they fled the field. Nevertheless, I think there have been cultures in which scores were settled by single combat between champions.