Pattani Kingdom

The Sultanate of Patani Darussalam
كراجأن ڤتاني
Kerajaan Patani
The Sultanate of Patani


Map of the Sultanate of Patani
Capital Patani
Languages Patani Malay
Religion Sunni Islam
Government Monarchy
Historical era Middle Ages
   Established 1516
   Conquest by Siam in 1785, later followed by annexation 1902
Succeeded by
Rattanakosin Kingdom
Today part of  Thailand
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Pattani (Patani) or the Sultanate of Patani was a Malay sultanate in the historical Patani Region. It covered approximately the area of the modern Thai provinces of Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat and much of the northern part of modern Malaysia. The 6–7th century Hindu state of Pan Pan may or may not have been related.

Early history

Further information: Pan Pan

Langkasuka was a Hindu-Buddhist kingdom, founded in the region as early as the 2nd century CE, which appeared in many accounts by Chinese travellers, the most famous of whom was the Buddhist pilgrim I-Ching. The kingdom drew trade from Chinese, Indian, and local traders as a stopping place for ships bound for, or just arrived from, the Gulf of Thailand. Langkasuka reached its greatest economic success in the 6th and 7th centuries and afterward declined as a major trade center. Political circumstances suggest that by the 11th century Chola invasion, Langkasuka was no longer a major port visited by merchants. However, much of the decline may be due to the silting up of its harbour, shown most poignantly today because the most substantial Langkasukan ruins lie approximately 15 kilometres from the sea.

Patani became part of the Hindu-Buddhist Empire of Srivijaya, a maritime confederation based in Palembang. Srivijaya dominated trade in the South China Sea and exacted tolls on all traffic through the Straits of Malacca. Malay culture had substantial influence on the Khmer Empire, and the ancient city of Nakhon Pathom.

The founding of the Islamic kingdom of Patani is thought to have been around the mid-13th century CE, with folklore suggesting it was named after an exclamation made by Sultan Ismail Shah, “Pantai Ini!” (Pronounced as "Pata ni!")("This beach" in the local Malay language).[1] However, some think it was the same country known to the Chinese as Pan Pan.

An alternative theory is that the Patani kingdom was founded in the 14th century. Local stories tell of a fisherman named Pak Tani (Father of Tani), who was sent by a king from the interior to survey the coast, to find a place for an appropriate settlement. After he established a successful fishing outpost, other people moved to join him. The town soon grew into a prosperous trading center that continued to bear his name. The authors of the Hikayat Patani chronicle claim this story is untrue, and support the claim that the kingdom was founded by the Sultan.

The Patani kingdom's golden age was during the reign of its four successive queens from 1584, known as Ratu Hijau (The Green Queen), Ratu Biru (The Blue Queen), Ratu Ungu (The Purple Queen) and Ratu Kuning (The Yellow Queen), during which the kingdom's economic and military strength was greatly increased to the point that it was able to fight off four major Siamese invasions, with the help of the eastern Malay kingdom of Pahang and the southern Malay Sultanate of Johor.

Patani and the Siamese Kingdom


In the 14th century CE, King Ram Khamhaeng the Great (c.1239 – 1317) of Sukhothai (also known as Pho Khun Ramkhamhaeng, Thai: พ่อขุนรามคำแหงมหาราช), occupied Nakhon Si Thammarat and its vassal states – including Patani.


Patani 1837

The Thai Ayutthaya kingdom conquered the isthmus during the 14th century CE, bringing it into a single unified state, with Ayutthaya as a capital, and many smaller vassal states under its control. This consisted of a self-governing system in which the vassal states and tributary provinces owed allegiance to the king of Ayutthaya, but otherwise ran their own affairs.

A sheikh named Sa'id or Shafi'uddin from Kampong Pasai (presumably a small community of traders from Pasai who lived on the outskirts of Patani reportedly healed the king of a rare skin disease and after much negotiation (and recurrence of the disease), the king agreed to convert to Islam, adopting the name Sultan Ismail Shah. All of the sultan's officials also agreed to convert. However, there is fragmentary evidence that some local people had begun to convert to Islam prior to this. The existence of a diasporic Pasai community near Patani shows the locals had regular contact with Muslims. There are also travel reports, such as that of Ibn Battuta, and early Portuguese accounts that claimed Patani had an established Muslim community even before Melaka (which officially converted in 1413), which would suggest that merchants who had contact with other emerging Muslims centres were the first to convert to the region.

During much of the 15th century Ayutthaya's energies were directed toward the Malay Peninsula, especially the trading port of Malacca, which fell under the rule of the Malacca Sultanate. Ayutthaya's sovereignty extended over Malacca and the Malay states south of Tambralinga (Nakorn Sri Thammarat). Ayutthaya helped develop and stabilise the region, opening the way for lucrative trade on the isthmus. This attracted Chinese merchants seeking speciality goods for the Chinese market.

Fall of Ayutthaya

The 16th century witnessed the rise of Burma, which under an aggressive dynasty had overrun Chiang Mai and Laos and made war on Ayutthaya. In 1569 Burmese forces, joined by Siamese rebels, captured and looted the city of Ayutthaya, carrying the royal family into captivity in Burma. With the fall of Ayutthaya in 1569, Patani became virtually independent.

Dhammaraja (reigned 1569–90), a Siamese provincial governor who had aided the Burmese invaders, was installed as a vassal king in Ayutthaya. Thai independence was later restored by his son, King Naresuan the Great (reigned 1590–1605), who rebelled against the Burmese and by 1600 had driven them from the kingdom.

Determined to prevent another act of treason like his father's, King Naresuan set about unifying the country's administration directly under the royal court at Ayutthaya. He ended the practice of nominating royal princes to govern Ayutthaya's provinces, instead assigning court officials who were expected to adhere the policies handed of the king. The royal princes were confined to the capital city. Their power struggles continued, but they were at court under the king's watchful eye. Even with King Naresuan's reforms, however, the power of the royal government during the next 150 years should not be overestimated.

Growth as a trade entrepot

Patani 1782

Chinese merchants, beginning with Zheng He in the period 1406–1433 CE, played a major role in the rise of Patani as a regional trade center. They were joined by others including the Portuguese in 1516, Japanese in 1592, Dutch in 1602, English in 1612, and Malay and Siamese merchants who traded throughout the area. In 1603 the Dutch East India Company (VOC) established warehouses in Patani, followed by the English East India Company in 1612, both carrying out intense trading. In 1619, John Jourdain, the East India Company's chief factor at Bantam was killed off the coast of Patani by the Dutch.[2]

Patani was seen by European traders as a way to access the Chinese market. After 1620, the Dutch and English both closed their warehouses, but a prosperous trade was continued by the Chinese, Japanese, and Portuguese for most of the 17th century.

Reassertion of Thai power

Following a 1688 invasion by Ayutthaya, political disorder continued for five decades, during which the local rulers were helpless to end the lawlessness in the region. Most foreign merchants abandoned trade with Patani.

Death of the Yellow Queen

In the mid-17th century Ratu Kuning (the Yellow Queen) died. She is believed to be the last of four successive female rulers of Patani, which then went through decades of political chaos and conflict, experiencing a gradual decline.

One hundred years later, Ayutthaya under King Ekatat (Boromaraja V) faced another Burmese invasion. This culminated in the capture and destruction of the city of Ayutthaya in 1767, as well as the death of the king. Siam was shattered, and as rivals fought for the vacant throne, Patani declared its complete independence.

King Taksin finally defeated the Burmese and reunified the country, opening the way for the establishment of the Chakri dynasty by his successor, King Rama I. In 1785, a resurgent Siam sent an army led by Prince Surasi (Viceroy Boworn Maha Surasinghanat), younger brother of King Rama I, to seek the submission of Patani.

Patani in the Bangkok Period

Bunga mas, the tribute sent every three years to the Siamese ruler in Bangkok as symbol of friendship by the ruler of Patani. The sending of the Bunga mas began in the 14th century.

Patani was easily defeated by Siam in 1785 and resumed its tributary status. However, a series of attempted rebellions prompted Bangkok to divide Patani into seven smaller Puppet kingdoms in the early 1800s during the reign of King Rama II. Britain recognised the Thai ownership of Patani by treaty in 1909. Yala and Narathiwat remain separate provinces to this day.

Chronology of Rulers

Inland Dynasty (Sri Wangsa)

First Kelantanese Dynasty

Second Kelantanese Dynasty

See also

Further reading


  1. History of the Malay Kingdom of Patani, Ibrahim Syukri, ISBN 0-89680-123-3
  2. Keay, John (2010). The Honourable Company: A History of the English East India Company (EPUB ed.). Harper Collins Publishers. p. location 1218. ISBN 978-0-007-39554-5.
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