(Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons. Wat mural depicting Prince Naresuan on horseback stabbing the Burmese commander in 1586)
The city of Ayutthaya was a burnt out husk of its former self. Depopulated and unprotected, 3,000 Burmese occupants were the last defenders against vultures circling the city.
King Bayinnaung, undisputed victor of the wars of the past few decades, paid little attention to his new puppet king, Maha Thammaracha. But beneath his nose, Ayutthaya was beginning its long recovery. Central to that story was the “Black Prince” – Naresuan, future King of Ayutthaya. Under this austere and abrasive warrior king, Ayutthaya would break free from Burmese dominance and reestablish itself as the preeminent power in mainland Southeast Asia.
In time, Naresuan would take the Age of Warfare to its climax – but in doing so would alienate his people, accelerating the end of the era of warfare in the region. The end of the Age of Warfare was at hand – and a new era would soon dawn.